FitBit Flex – Review

I got myself a FitBit Flex a few weeks ago because I won a gift card to a sporting goods shop. So, I don’t have any particular investment in the outcome here as it cost me nothing. But having worn it for a few weeks, I can give you my review:

They shouldn’t call it a FitBit, they should call it a StepBit, because that’s the only kind of fitness activity it is capable of registering. Walking, hiking, and running are great forms of exercise, however many people who work on weight management every day (like me) have a whole lot more in their universe of physical activity than just step-based exercise. For example, that 60 minutes of yoga/pilates fusion that produced rivers of sweat and shaking limbs? Not registered as active minutes. The 40 minutes of metabolic training from which I was sore for three days after? No active minutes. Lifting weights? Nada. An hour-long bike ride? Not recognized. Swimming? Can’t register, not waterproof.

An active person, engaging in a wide variety of exercise adventures, doesn’t need a FitBit, and in fact will only find it frustrating and disappointing.

The only other tracking available with the Flex is the sleep tracking (all other tracking it claims to offer are things you have to input yourself via the app – I don’t need a FitBit for that). While interesting, it’s not telling me anything I don’t already know – when I have a restless night I know it because I wake up feeling tired. Having the FitBit nag me because I only got 6 hours 18 minutes sleep and was restless or awake 32 times isn’t really actionable information.

My husband has had one for a few months longer than me and I asked him how he felt about it. He said he liked it for the silent alarm in the morning so he could get up without waking me. And that otherwise it was only good for sating slight curiosity about how many steps/miles he took in a day. But the miles calculation is only approximate, so that’s not particularly awesome either.

All in all, for anybody who is already accustomed to tracking their fitness life using another method, like I am, or does a variety of exercise regularly, I can’t say I’d recommend a FitBit Flex. For me, it’s not adding anything I didn’t already know or suspect, and the activity it’s incapable of measuring is a significant portion of my regular routine. Would not purchase again.

However, if your only form of exercise is step-based and you think counting them each day might help you challenge yourself to walk more, then maybe? Mine was about $70. I know there are models with more capabilities, but I haven’t used those so I can’t speak to whether or not they’ve figured out how to detect other activity.

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4 Responses to “FitBit Flex – Review”

  1. Trystan Says:

    I basically agree w/your review, except I like it. I got one free from my office’s “wellness” program (ehem), so it was NBD. But I mostly do a lot of walking, & the device being mainly a pedometer is interesting for that purpose. I also have chronic insomnia so I was interested to see the variation in my crappy sleep patterns & the breakdown of when / how often I woke up, since I haven’t been able to track it well otherwise. All that said, I was never going to buy one myself!

    • Laina Says:

      Exactly! I got it for free so NBD, sometimes I find the information interesting, but it hasn’t reduced or removed any of the tracking I need to do. Just a little extra info. I wasn’t going to buy one though!

  2. yolsgaard Says:

    I got mine from my kids. I use it to track steps and to have contests with my daughter which is really fun. I never win, but she cheers me on. 🙂 I enjoy it.

  3. Kareina Says:

    I haven’t got one, but seeing some friends posting their step totals on FB made me curious enough to check, and sure enough, there are free phone apps that work as step counters. Like you, I am aware that much of my exercise doesn’t register at all, even though my phone is pretty much always on my person, and I don’t bother to even go look at the graphs very often, but it is interesting to go back and look at the step totals now and then.


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