Attractive, comfortable design; Tracks stairs climbed; Records sleep patterns; Easy setup
Hard to attach to your wrist;
The Fitbit Force is a wearable fitness tracker with a bright OLED display and can record your sleep and the number of stories you climb.
It's not a smartwatch, per se, but the Fitbit Force is definitely one of the smartest fitness trackers yet. This device sports a bright OLED display that lets you view the time, but more importantly, lets you view your progress at a glance. There's also a new altimeter that tracks how many stairs you climb each day. Combined with sleep tracking, is this $129 device worth the $30 premium over the Fitbit Flex and other wristband-style fitness gadgets?
A plastic clasp secures the Force to your wrist, but we found it very difficult to close. We had the same trouble with the Flex, too. At 1.15 ounces, the Force is five times as heavy as the Withings Pulse (0.28 ounces), but is still comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, and looks less conspicuous on your wrist. By comparison, the Pebble smartwatch is a slightly heavier 1.3 ounces.
Unlike the Flex, which has a removable dongle, the Force is permanently connected to the wristband; a small port on its underside lets you attach the included charging cable, which plugs into a notebook or power via USB.
The Force is available in two sizes, small and large (Fitbit provides a sizing chart on its site) and in two colors: black and slate. Hopefully, Fitbit will add additional colors, as it has with the Flex.
After downloading the Fitbit app to our iPhone 4S and creating a free account, we paired the Force to our phone via Bluetooth. After that, any time we opened the app, it immediately synced with the Force.
Being able to track how many stairs you climb is a neat feature, but we prefer the heart rate monitor in the Withings Pulse, which gives us more concrete data about our health.
When you hit your goals for the day, the Force vibrates and displays a little animation on-screen. And, when you sync with the mobile app, you get an email for each badge you earn -- such as walking 10,000 steps in a day, or climbing 10 floors. It's a nice little carrot.
For an additional $49 per year, the Fitbit Trainer feature analyzes your activity, helps you set goals to increase your physical activity, and lets you compare your statistics against other Fitbit users.
In addition to its own app, the Force also works with 32 other fitness apps, including MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, EveryMove, TrendWeight and MyFitLeague. It also can link to the Fitbit Aria scale, so you can sync your weight data, too.
With a future firmware update, the Force will also show incoming call notifications for iOS 7 devices (iPhone 4S and higher).
When it's time to wake up, you can set the Force to gently buzz. We like that you can set individual alarms for each day of the week, too.
Fitbit says that the Force should last 7 to 10 days on a charge. After 5 days of use, it was down to about 50 percent. That's a little less than the Pulse, which will last about two weeks between charges.
For just $20 more, you could also pick up the Pebble smartwatch, which has a wider range of apps -- including fitness apps. However, you need to have your smartphone with you to take advantage of this functionality. For anyone looking to measure their daily and nightly activity, though, our advice would be the same as Obi-Wan Kenobi's: Use the Force.
|Accessories Type||Bluetooth Device|