The fitbit flex is an activity and sleep tracker wristband that syncs its information via bluetooth or a wireless USB dongle. In many ways the fitbit and its online and smartphone applications are practical and useful but there are a few aspects that leave it from being the ultimate activity tracker.
In The Box
The fitbit flex package includes two wristbands of different sizes, USB charging cable, USB wireless dongle, and a fitbit tracker. I was surprised to find that two different wristbands were
included which is different from its other competitors that require you to size your wrist or make an educated guess before you buy a wristband. Using the USB charging cable in my laptop I have found that the tracker is charged fairly quickly and can be done easily in a simple web surfing session. I’m glad fitbit shipped the flex with a wireless dongle because their smartphone support is very limited at the moment and If you do not own an iPhone 4s or later nor a Samsung S3, S4 or Note 2 you can go ahead and count yourself out on bluetooth smartphone support. Fitbit is said to be working on adding more smartphone support to its portfolio but who knows how long that could take.
Through my daily use I have found that the wristband provided is comfortable and it seemingly disappears after you manage to get the almost impossible-to-secure clasp fitted into its slots. Yes, it may be a little difficult to get the clasp inserted into its slots, but its a necessary evil to overcome because the wristband doesn’t seem to want to leave your wrist unless you want it to. Throughout the day it’s easy to check your goal progress by double tapping the display which lights a series of leds to indicate your how far you have to go. If that’s not enough for you, if you have a supported smartphone going to the app will automatically re-update your stats and give you access to your step count, food intake, overall activity, and and calorie burn estimate. I have found that the step counter is mostly reliable… however, just like any other wristband pedometer it will track certain movements as steps, too.
Moving our focus to the applications fitbit provides to view our stats, we see the one area in which fitbit lags behind is competitors. The smartphone application is limited in its support, it does not show as much detailed information as the online application, and the food database is much more limited to its other competitors. Countless times I have found myself looking up food nutrition information in order to accurately input my food information, which realistically isn’t that bad of a thing but it can be a little annoying sometimes. Where the smartphone application lags behind, the online application is much better and displays information more clearly and detailed. I’m hoping that through a series of updates fitbit will eventually manage to bring the same look and feel from their online application to their smartphone counterparts.
The sleep tracker is a nifty little addition but I honestly don’t care for its information much. To turn it on you have to tap the display repeatedly until the fitbit vibrates signaling that it is in sleep tracking mode (the same method will also make the device return to the activity tracking mode). The online and smartphone application both tell you how long you slept, how many times you awoke, and how many times you were restless but beyond that there is really anymore useful information.
The fitbit flex is a comfortable, accurate, and useful device. It’s durable and gives a decent amount of useful and engaging information. However, where it lacks is its ability to display that information. It’s smartphone application leaves much to improve and I can’t see myself being completely satisfied with it until it is comparable to its online counterpart. Wireless syncing is a easy enough, however unless you have a supported smartphone you will have to use the blinking leds on the display as your only method of checking your progress (unless you’re next to a computer that has the USB dongle installed).
With that said, I do recommend this product because in my opinion its comparable to more expensive activity trackers and definitely beats out any competition within its price range.