Minimal, comfortable design; High level of customizability; Comprehensive suite of applications; Wide range of connected devices and services
Android app a bit buggy
With a svelte design, low price and a well-developed app ecosystem, the Fitbit Flex is the best all-around fitness-tracking band available.
When it comes to personal fitness devices, Fitbit has a strong track record of connected scales and health trackers. However, the company recently fell behind the curve in the realm of wearable wrist devices such as the Nike+ Fuelband and Jawbone UP. No more. The Fitbit Flex is a wristband that tracks your daily activity as well as sleep patterns. At $99, it's less expensive than other offerings, too. Find out why the Flex is the must-have wearable fitness device of 2013.
Getting the band on your wrist is a slightly different story, as we had to push down so hard on the clasps to secure the device that it would sometimes leave a temporary indentation on our skin.
The Flex is water resistant, and users can wear it safely in the shower or even while swimming at depths up to 10 meters (about 33 feet). The band also comes with a USB charging cable and a USB dongle, the latter of which can be plugged into your computer to wirelessly sync when your Flex is in range. A series of five blinking lights on the Flex will show progress towards your step goal as the day goes by, with each bulb representing 20 percent achievement.
Of course, Fitbit knows that there's more to health tracking than just keeping tabs on your steps and sleep patterns. Both the mobile applications and Fitbit's Web-based management system allow you to manage and track your weight, body fat percentage, food and water consumption, and additional exercise activities performed throughout the day.
While the iPhone app worked as advertised throughout testing, we ran into a few issues with the Android version, most noticeably with graphs and charts failing to properly load. Fitbit is aware of these issues and will hopefully have fixes before launch. The company updated the Android application three times in the week we had the device.
Syncing Your Device
The Jawbone UP, by comparison, forces you to plug the device into your smartphone's headphone jack in order to sync data.
If your phone has Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and is on Fitbit's approved list of devices, the Flex will automatically update whenever your handset is in range. The iPhone and iPad, along with Samsung's Galaxy S III and Note II were all supported at the time of publication, though more devices will likely be added soon.
Diet is a key driver of overall health, and Fitbit Flex allows users to track their daily food consumption. The device has a comprehensive database of foods, and this database aims to make the tracking process as painless as possible. Searching for "banana" on the Fitbit Web application returns over 600 results, though the options are a bit more limited on the mobile applications, which returned around 30 results.
Once you've logged your meals, Fitbit will store this information in your most recent and most frequently used sections in the Add Food menu. You can also add foods you eat regularly to your Favorites, which then get stored in My Foods for easy adding later on.
As someone who has trouble sleeping when the conditions aren't perfect, this tester was a bit worried about trying to fall asleep while essentially wearing a bracelet. Fortunately, the Flex is very comfortable on the wrist, and didn't affect sleeping patterns.
Apps and Accessories
Jawbone currently syncs with 10 apps: RunKeeper, My Fitness Pal, Map My Fitness, Withings, iFTTT, Wello, Notch.me, Sleepio, Lose It and Maxwell Health.
Fitbit also produces a WiFi scale, the Aria, which automatically uploads your weight and body fat data whenever you step on the scale. The Aria will set you back about $130.
What good is getting in shape if you can't brag about it? Fitbit lets you connect with Facebook friends or email contacts to share your fitness data. Connecting will let you encourage friends to keep at their goals, while Fitbit's leaderboard creates some competition. You can also share your daily results via Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress.com and Microsoft Health Vault for those friends without Fitbit accounts.
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|Accessories Type||Recording Device|
|Accessories Type||Cell Phones Accessories|
|Accessories Type||Bluetooth Device|
|Accessories Type||Apple Accessories|
|Weight||0.47 - 0.51 ounces (depending on band)|