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FitBit Flex: First Impressions

FitBit Flex Total   FitBit Flex Wear

(photo credit – Me)

(left from top to bottom and left to right – 2 wrist bands, dongle, FitBit tracker, and USB cable)

(right from left to right – FitBit tracker and my wrist band)

This is not going to be a full review. This is just going to be my first initial impressions. I’ve had my FitBit Flex for a little over two weeks, and so far I love it. The setup on the FitBit website is super easy.

You plug your FitBit device into the USB port and it prompts you to download the desktop dashboard. It asks you to enter your name, age, height, and weight. From there, it syncs your information to the website, and generates basic goals (set up as “tiles”) for you to achieve. Daily step count, daily calorie burn, distance/miles, very active minutes, sleep, badges, and friends. I think those were the original tiles. I also added the weight tile, the calories in versus out tile, and the food plan tile. I’ll go into more detail about the tiles in my full review.

Thoughts on the wrist band. It’s very comfortable. It’s like wearing a watch. It’s very light weight, and the band is adjustable. They send you two wrist bands, a large and a small one. I wear the small band. The FitBit Flex counts steps every time your arm moves, so I had a wild thought the other day. I thought maybe the large wrist band would fit around my ankle. No such luck. So, it’s on my wrist. Some people choose to place the tracker in their sock, or for the ladies,  in their bra. I’ll stick to the wrist.

Charging the FitBit Flex is great. The website FAQ says the Flex should last about five days until it needs to be charged. Mine lasted for eight days, so I am very impressed by that. Charging the device is simple. You plug in the charging cord into a USB port, pop the tracker out of the wrist band, and pop it into the charger. I timed it, and it took about two hours to charge. It’s fully charged when all five lights are lit up. The first four lights popped up in about an hour. That last light took about another hour. Not too bad though. Two hours of charging for eight days usage.

Calorie calculation is interesting. Especially on my elliptical. On SparkPeople. when I enter the calories for a Leslie Sansone video it comes up as light aerobics and is about 230 calories burned. On FtBit, when I look at the time frame that I did the video, it comes up to about 286 calories burned. For my elliptical workout, my machine tells me I burn about 280 calories in 30 minutes. During that time frame on FitBit, it usually comes out to around 180. I believe that’s about right. I’ve always heard that cardio machines overestimate the calories burned. So, I’m trusting FitBit with my calorie burn.

The sleep tracker is awesome. I know I wake up several times during the night, so I was curious as to how this would register. To get the FitBit Flex to go into “sleep tracking” mode, you need to tap it several times until you feel the device vibrate and you see two lights (one on either side) flash. Now you’re in sleep mode. You do the same thing to get it out of sleep mode, just tap it several times until it vibrates.

Each morning I look at the sleep tracker tile on the FitBit website. It tells you how long you were in sleep mode, how many minutes you were restless, and how many times you woke up. I’m not sure how it knows when you actually wake up, probably by how active your arm is. But it is accurate. I tested it a few times. I mentally remembered the times I woke up, and it was there on the tracker in the morning. Wednesday night for example, I was restless for 13 minutes and was awake for three. That’s right. I remember exactly when and why I woke up Wednesday night.

The last thing I’ll talk about is the mobile app and the fact (and I love this) that SparkPeople and FitBit have joined forces. The FitBit mobile app is great. You can check out all of your goals on your smart device. You can also access their food and fitness trackers from the app. Here’s what I love. You can sync your FitBit account with your SparkPeople account. What happens with this, is your active minutes (I’m still not sure which minutes are chosen) from FitBit will sync over your your SparkPeople fitness tracker But, whatever activity you enter on SparkPeople won’t sync over to FitBit. Vice versa with the food trackers. Your SparkPeople food tracker will sync over to FitBit’s, but not the other way around. Fine with me as I have all the food entered on SparkPeople. Plus, if there’s a food that’s not on Spark, I can add it quickly with the bar code reader. My iPod Touch can scan a bar code and the food information will magically appear. FitBit does not have a bar code scanner option.

OK, so these are my first impressions. A little longer than I had intended. but I tend to ramble (at least in writing) when I’ve found something I really enjoy. I’m going to wait another month or so before doing a full review. I may break that review up into parts, we’ll see.

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  1. September 21, 2013 at 7:12 am
  2. September 23, 2013 at 7:00 am

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