The Fitbit Aria is a smart scale that, when paired with the company's clip-on Body Tracker, can help you keep tabs on your overall level of fitness. In addition to your weight, this scale measures percentage body fat and BMI, and automatically uploads data to Fitbit.com. A free iPhone app lets you see all of these stats when you're on the move. But does this $129 scale carry its weight?
The Fitbit Aria has the most unique design of any smart scale. The tempered glass is lined with four load cells that measure body fat, but the two lines that divide the Aria into four quadrants are slightly curved, which gives it a very artistic look.
The bottom of the scale is made of large half circles that make it look like it's resting on bubbles. The Aria has a round, backlit display, which really adds to its fun design. Like the Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale, the Aria comes in black or white, and measuring 12.3 x 12.3 x 1.3 inches, it's almost the same size.
When we first turned on the Aria, the LED display read "hello." Like all the other smart scales, you can immediately start using it without setting up the "smart" functions. However, connecting the Aria to a Wi-Fi network and associating it with your Fitbit account will add some very useful features.
Unlike the Withings scale, we did not have to connect the Aria to a computer via USB to link it to our Wi-Fi network. After downloading the Fitbit setup app--the same one we used for the Fitbit Ultra--we reseated the battery to put the scale in setup mode. Then, the desktop app was able to find the scale and connect to it over our Wi-Fi network.
Like the Withings scale and the iHealth scale, the Aria asked us to either sign into an existing account or set up a new one. The setup process took us about four minutes to complete.
Several people can use the Aria scale, but they each must have a Fitbit account. If the scale detects a weight change of more than 8 pounds since the last measurement, it will ask you to pick the profile that the weight should be assigned to. If none of the profiles are correct, it will be treated as a guest measurement.
Unlike the Withings scale, we did not have the option to choose different body profiles--so the athlete in the house will be treated in the same way as the casual weight-loss user.
The Fitbit app (available for Android and iOS) is the same one we used for the Fitbit Ultra Wireless Tracker, and keeps tabs on calories, water consumption and activities on-the-go, features that the Withings app does not have. After syncing our weight via Wi-Fi, the app then synced with our online account. The app benefits from a colorful and user-friendly interface.
Unlike the iHealth iScale app, the Fitbit app populates predictive search results for activities and food items as you type. The suggestions are helpful and the food tracker can save custom food items, add the user's favorite foods and populate a list of the most common things the user has logged. The selection of foods and activities is impressive; when we typed in "running," it even suggested the video game Wii Sport Running and calculated calories burned.
We love all the beautiful charts and graphs Fitbit creates with fitness data. The brightly colored interface made checking our weight and competition less doom-and-gloom and more fun and competitive. The openness of the Web layout is simple and modern, like the industrial design of the scale itself.
Fitbit's online dashboard has even more features than the mobile app, including a journal and custom trackers; we set ours to display how many beers we consume per day. This feature reminded us how often we indulged in a particular habit. Unfortunately, custom trackers don't show up in the mobile app.
In addition to boasting about weight loss through Twitter and Facebook, there is a third sharing option that will automatically create a daily or weekly average activity post of all of your public stats to Wordpress, great for someone with a diet or exercise blog. The importance of support and social dieting is also not lost on Fitbit. There are location-based groups online that you can join to share tips and get encouragement.
In order to test the accuracy of the Fitbit Aria, we measured our weight and body fat on the scale three times consecutively. The weight was the same, but the body fat percentage varied by 1 to 2 percent. Unlike the Withings scale, the Aria did not have arrows that showed us where to place our feet, so we had a slightly harder time getting centered.
Like the Withings scale, the Aria uploaded the measurements to our Fitbit account instantly via Wi-Fi. Like the other scales, the accuracy is quoted with an over and under rate, and our results were consistently within those brackets.
After weighing in, the scale showed our three-letter initials. If the weight of two users are too close, you can tap your feet on the scale to scroll through to the next user. We are able to use the online portal to change a misassigned weight, and also recognize other users.
The Fitbit Aria offered the best results when we used the device in tandem with the Fitbit Ultra. The amount of data collected made us much more aware of our daily activities and diet.
The Fitbit Aria is a great smart scale with body fat analysis. But the true value comes from the easy-to-navigate app and the Web portal with food and activity trackers. We also like the way in which the Aria interacts with other Fitbit products, making it a more complete device. At $129, $30 less than the Withings scale, the Fitbit Aria is a smart scale done right.