It’s early days yet for 2016, which means the gyms are still bursting with new members eager to keep their New Year’s resolutions. The bloom has not fallen off the rose, so to speak, when it comes to counting calories and steps on a more rigorous basis. Even the regulars are still enthusiastic about their decisions to take their workouts up a notch. Perhaps this will be the year they train for their first marathon, or finally let their friends convince them to sign up for a Tough Mudder hazing into the world of amateur athletes who like to get dirty during their workouts.
No matter the level of exercise expertise – whether it’s baby steps on the treadmill or CrossFit craziness with blocks of cement – many health-conscious consumers may be contemplating keeping track of their workouts via a wearable like the Fitbit. With seven devices – including the new Blaze – at six difference price levels, the process of picking out the Fitbit that’s right for you can be a bit daunting. Let’s take a look at the Fitbit product line based on the goals they each serve best, paying attention to price and battery life along the way.
The Zip is a clip-on tracker perfect for those who are just dipping their toes into the world of wearables and working out. The water-resistant device tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and active minutes throughout the day. The easy-to-use display shows activity stats and time of day at the tap of a finger. It even features a smiley face that grows as your activity increases and the hours pass.
As with all Fitbit devices, the Zip syncs wirelessly with smartphones and computers to an accompanying app that lets wearers see progress and analyze trends via charts, graphs, and leaderboard, should they want to compete with friends and family. Users can even log food with a barcode scanner, and take advantage of the app’s calorie estimator, meal shortcuts, and expanded database.
Priced at $59.95 and featuring a battery life of up to six months, the Zip is ideal for those who enjoy less intense workouts, as well as those who aren’t fond of wrist-worn wearables. It’s also a safe bet for those who want to give wearables a try, but don’t want to break the bank the first time around.
With a battery life of more than 10 days (depending on utilization patterns) and a price point of $99.99, the One adds sleep-tracking capabilities to the Zip activity tracking features. Like the Zip, the One tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and active minutes, and also floors climbed. The rain-, splash- and sweat-proof clip-on also monitors how long and how well a user sleeps via an accompanying wristband worn during the night. It even offers a silent alarm that wakes users with a gentle vibration.
In addition to the app features listed above, the One also enables users to log workouts, view monthly exercise calendars, and use MobileRun to track run stats and map routes. Wearers can also use the accompanying app to set sleep goals, review sleep quality, and view weekly sleep trend graphs. It will even reward a job well done with digital badges.
The Fitbit One is a good bet for the regular runner who prefers a clip-on to a wrist-worn device, yet wants the extra bells and whistles of tracking runs and planning routes via the added app features. It’s also a good choice for those who are interested in learning how to benchmark and improve their sleeping habits.
The Fitbit Flex brings users into the realm of wrists. The bracelet-like device with removable tracker lights up to show goal progress throughout the day, and, as with the Zip and One, tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and active minutes. It also monitors how long and how well wearers sleep, syncing all daily (and nightly) stats to a smartphone or computer. It also features a similar bevy of app-related graphs, charts, and benchmarking, plus the ability to log food, record workouts, compete in challenges, and earn badges.
Though the Flex is also priced at $99.95, its battery life is half – just five days. The most obvious, distinguishing feature between the One and Flex is the flexible band. The more fashion-conscious will love the ability to mix and match Flex-friendly wristbands from Tory Burch and Fitbit. This particular Fitbit is perfect for the user who prefers a wristband to a clip-on, and wants to accessorize their wearable.
Fitbit steps into the realm of connectivity with the Charge. In addition to the features of the previous three devices (with the exception of the ability to switch out wristbands), the Charge offers caller ID, time display, and real-time tracking – users can see every statistic as it happens via the bright OLED display. The added technology plus seven- to 10-day battery life equates to a $129.95 price tag.
Users interested in tracking their heart rate in addition to activity and sleep may want to opt for the Charge HR, which automatically and continuously tracks wrist-based heart rate and simplified heart-rate zones. (Buyer beware, however, as Fitbit has been named in a class-action lawsuit alleging that its PurePulse heart-rate sensor doesn’t accurately measure heart rate during intense physical workouts.)
Building on most of the features of its other products, the Charge HR also automatically recognizes when exercise occurs and records it to the Fitbit app. With a battery life of up to five days and a price point of $149.95, the Charge HR seems like the right fit for users interested in incorporating heart rate into their activity and sleep tracking routines.
Fitbit’s newest wearable, the Blaze, is the company’s first foray into the smartwatch arena. Available for pre-order, with first shipments expected in March, the device introduces a variety of new features, including a color touchscreen and on-screen workouts. Users can also view real-time stats from different sport modes like running, biking, and cardio.
The Blaze offers something for fashion-conscious via custom watch faces and several watch band options. The Apple Watch competitor also features Fitbit’s standard activity tracking options, plus music control, call, text, GPS navigation, and calendar updates. It offers a five day battery life and a $199.99 price tag. The Blaze may be the best bet for that fitness aficionado who also wants all the features of a smartwatch. It is certainly meant to appeal to the more technically savvy in the health-conscious crowd.
The Surge seems like the perfect device for the semi-professional athlete in all of us. The standard activity tracking features of the Charge are included, along with powerful GPS tracking that allows users to see distance, pace, split times, elevation climbed, and route review.
The Surge’s form is more like that of the Charge HR, but it does incorporate several smartphone-like features, including call and text notifications, and music control. Its longer, seven-day battery life plus GPS capabilities equates to a price of $249.95. This particular wearable is for users who live and breathe their sport of choice on a daily basis, and want to stay somewhat connected while doing it.
When all’s said and done, your choice of Fitbit will ultimately come down to three things – the price you’re willing to pay, the goals you want to achieve, and the battery life that best suits your lifestyle. Identify these criteria then read through the descriptions again to find the right Fitbit for you.
February 02, 2016