1,506 of 1,546 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2011
Color Name: Black/BlueVerified Purchase
Update November 2012: There's a newer Fitbit out -- the Fitbit One! You can check out my video review by cutting and pasting this link into your browser:
I purchased the original Fitbit (now referred to as the Fitbit Classic) only to have the company roll out the Fitbit Ultra a couple of days later. The overlap between the two devices has given me a great opportunity to experience both and know what's different about this one.
How both Fitbits Work: You have a few choices on where to wear the Fitbit (typically waist, pocket, chest pocket or bra), and you keep that Fitbit on you for 24 hours. There's another piece that can be attached to the Fitbit if you have thicker clothing on in order not to spread the Fitbit apart too far and damage it. Every time you're within 15-ft range of your WiFi base station plugged into your computer, the Fitbit attempts to upload your data. After an upload it then doesn't try again for another 15 minutes. You can force an update by placing your Fitbit actually on the base. This is also the way you charge the Fitbit.
Speaking of the charge, it is fast and lasts days, maybe even weeks. Many choose to charge the Fitbit in the base while they're in the shower. Since I work at the computer, I just take it off once a day or so and rest it in the base until I'm ready to get up and go do something.
I should also mention installing and pairing the device is hassle-free. The instructions are clear. You download the software from their web site. Pairing the device with the software on your computer is a piece of cake. It's also easy enough to do if you have a replacement Fitbit you're installing. Just right-click on Account Setup in the system tray, and the Fitbit guides you through the quick process.
What will the Fitbit Ultra do? The Fitbit Ultra is a very accurate step counter. It also shows calories burned and distance walked. There's a cute (not too girly, guys) flower that you make "grow" the more activity you do. And it tracks your sleep. You have a little Velcro wrist band (perfect size for women and men) with a pocket. At night, you slip the Fitbit into the pocket and press and hold the button, which puts the Fitbit in sleep mode. You have a choice between normal and sensitive setting, adjustable from the web site.
The sleep was something I thought would be kind of gimmicky and not really that important to me. Boy was I wrong. I really enjoy seeing how many times I wake up during the night and if there's that typical 90-minute cycle of sleep reflected or if I barely moved at all. On the web site, this information is reflected as a sleep efficiency percentage. Now, it's not extremely accurate, because Fitbit doesn't know the difference between your lying there still and your being asleep. However, you'll probably realize soon that if you're lying there, reading a book, just move your hand every one in a while. Later, in the morning, you can adjust your sleep times through the web site to cut off any unnecessary activity at the beginning.
What is Fitbit Not Good at? It's very step-oriented, so that means it's not going to accurately record your use of an elliptical machine, Pilates, weight lifting, rowing machine, swimming (don't get it wet!) or anything else that doesn't result in a typical stepping motion. However, you can manually record these activities on the web site, and it will overwrite the data for that period of time.
New to this version:
---It will also count stairs climbed (hills count) and translate those into floors. It's just one more way to challenge yourself. On the web site you can earn badges for how many stairs and floors you've climbed. The site also gives you interesting little messages about what that climbing equals, such as "you've just climbed the world's tallest snowman," and if you're the curious type, you can click the message to learn more.
---You've got a clock! Since I almost always have a phone on me, I underestimated how much I was going to enjoy this feature. It's so much easier and to just press a button at your waist and look down to see the time.
---There's a stopwatch. Training for a race? Just trying to beat your previous times? You can use the stopwatch to record an activity.
---Righty and lefty friendly. I'm right-handed, but I like to wear the Fitbit at the left side of my waist. The words were backwards, but I learned that through the web site I could change the direction of the words.
---Give it a name. You have 8 characters to input a name or other info. That's not enough for a full phone number with area code. However, you if you search the Internet for "short email address," there are a number of email address services that would fit that 8-character allotment and allow you to forward any email to your regular email address. This might come in handy if you (heaven forbid) were to lose your Fitbit.
---Friendly little chatter. So you're sitting on the sofa and you realize you should really get up and move your body. You stand up, and a blinked message catches your eye: GO GO GO or Hello! or I like you. You're bonding already, and the feeling is mutual. And if it isn't, you can disable this from the web site. You can actually disable any of the features you don't want to see on your Fitbit.
With either version of the Fitbit, you get a great web site with plenty of features to keep you busy. Track your nutrition, specific activities (like swimming, weight lifting or yoga) that aren't reflected well on Fitbit (you cannot expose it to water). Monitor your weight, blood pressure, glucose, fat, and more. With the free version, you have one customizable tracker as well. Wanting even more motivation, you can upgrade to their Premium plan for 50 bucks a year and get more detailed records on how you compare against your peers, your records over time, unlimited number of customizable trackers, and my personal favorite -- the Trainer. The Trainer looks at your history and devises a plan to slowly increase your activity. It's just a slow, steady increase that you'll barely notice at all, and over time, those are the kinds of changes that last. After a week, the Trainer noted I was exceeding its plan for me, so it asked me if I wanted to ramp up a little faster. I loved the choice!
If you're debating, I'll tell you this. The device has made me more aware of my activity (or inactivity) and pushes me to do more. It becomes rather addictive to hit those marks and have those successes daily. I'm moving more and losing weight. I'm drinking more water, as that's also tracked on the web site. Fitbit just makes you more aware in general. I don't think money is ever wasted if it makes you more active and healthy and you use whatever it is you buy (be it a gym membership or a Fitbit).
If you have a now Fitbit Classic and are wondering whether to upgrade, I'll tell you that I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I like some of the features. Some things I felt that I could take or leave ended up being my favorite -- such as the clock. Also know that the color of blue in the Fitbit Ultra is not the same as the sort of teal color of the Fitbit Classic. It's not better or worse, but different.
In summary, I highly recommend this Fitbit Ultra, whether you're new to Fitbit or considering upgrading. It's well worth the money. In the meantime, you don't have to own a Fitbit to be able to use the web site. If you're on the fence, why not join the web site and start recording things like your weight and get active in the Community forum? That will get you a feel for how things work and how Fitbit might be life changing for you as well.
p.s. If/when you do take the plunge, I highly recommend ordering this inexpensive lanyard Safety Leash for Pedometer (1) Unit. Helps Save Pedometers From Loss and Misplacing and Not Lose Them While Running or Walking and Exercising. Too many users have horror stories of losing their Fitbits, drowning them in toilets and oceans, etc. Both items work very well together and provide peace of mind.
UPDATE September 20, 2012:
I wanted to let any readers know that Fitbit is coming out with TWO new trackers that are currently in preorder, due to be released in mid-October, so you may want to hold off on this purchase and get the new model that has more features.
So almost a year later, this remains one of the best purchases I've ever made. And no, I've still not received anything from the company for my reviews -- I'm just an enthusiastic customer. I have lost around 30 pounds since I received my Fitbit. Although that lanyard seemed to be a really important thing, I'm pretty careful, so I eventually quit using the lanyard. I have had some close calls, but so far the Fitbit hasn't been flushed, laundered or otherwise lost.
Things I'm finding I haven't gotten the use from: The Premium membership. Some people swear by this. I thought it was pretty cool at first, but then my life became busier and I didn't have time to get the use out of this feature. Food logging is good but still inferior to some popular apps (like Calorie Countery by MyNetDiary) that aren't yet integrated. I haven't found an easier way to log nutrition than use a smartphone to scan the barcode on a product, and Fitbit doesn't yet have this capability. It also doesn't have the database of foods that some other apps have.
Mostly, I attribute the weight loss to gradual life changes of eating less and moving more PLUS Fitbit making me more aware of movement or lack thereof. It feels good to set a daily step goal (even if less than 10,000) and reach it. It's not been a fast way to weight loss, but it's been one of the sanest, and hopefully lasting, ways. I've rewarded myself by going ahead and preordering the Fitbit One and am looking forward to reviewing it.
UPDATE November 7, 2012: If you found this review helpful, you can check out my review of the new Fitbit One here:
742 of 771 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2011
Color Name: Black/Blue
I received my first Fitbit for an early Christmas present last year in 2010 and LOVED the features. I had been increasing my workouts at the gym and was working retail at the time, so I loved seeing my steps and calories burned adding up. I also don't sleep well, and the Fitbit was able to tell me how restlessly I actually slept. After having the Fitbit for a month, I was in love.
HOWEVER...by the end of February, my Fitbit was falling apart. I was attaching the device to my bra as suggested or to slim pants. If you want your Fitbit to last beyond two months, I suggest you NEVER do this. The blue plastic part on the inside separated from the outside shell revealing the hardware inside and making it impossible to attach to the base station and charge. I'm the kind of person who is never hard on things I own and was very frustrated by the seemingly cheap, inflexible plastic. I did wear the device every day, but being that it is a device meant for tracking fitness progression, I assume the goal IS to wear the Fitbit every day.
I finally contacted customer service in March describing my disappointment in the product and to their credit they did send me a new Fitbit with no questions asked and simply asked me to return my old one. Unfortunately, when my new Fitbit arrived, the display was so faded that I could only read my stats in a completely dark room. Once again customer service had to ship me a new device.
I am now using the same device that was replaced in March and while it still works, it started falling apart again in November. I had ONLY been using the Fitbit with the included belt clip so as not to break the device's delicate structure, but the outer shell still started breaking away from the blue plastic. The belt clip is also made from the same cheap, inflexible plastic so I'm on my second one of those as well.
In short, I love what the Fitbit is aiming to achieve. The features are great, and I became almost obsessed with trying to beat my personal bests. Unfortunately, a lot needs to be done to improve durability. If you plan on using the Fitbit every day with the belt clip, it still may only last you a year or so. If the company comes up with a way to solve these problems, I would rate this product five stars. Until then, it is only just so-so for me.
298 of 316 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2012
Color Name: Black/BlueVerified Purchase
I was an avid user of the bodymedia bodybug (now named the "Armband Advantage") for the past year. When it came time to renew my bodybug subscription at $9.95 a month, I did a little shopping around and opted to pay $100 for the fitbit with no subscription. Be forewarned that I can't really sing the praises of the fitbit without comparing it to the bodybug.
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND SMALL. It is MUCH easier to inconspicuously wear the fitbit than the bodybug. I'm looking forward to wearing tank tops this summer without having a conspicuous armband on. It was fine for bumming around and shopping; people would ask me about it and I didn't mind answering questions. But when it came to going out at night or attending weddings in sleeveless dresses, I was forced to leave the bodybug at home. Sometimes I'd pop it out of the armband and put it in my bra, but even that was sometimes a challenge. The fitbit easily clips on my bra with no bulges or discomfort.
- NO BEEPS OR SOUNDS. The bodybug made 3 beeps any time it made contact with your body for the first time, or if it lost contact with your body. Kinda embarrassing if you're in a quiet atmosphere.
- COMFORTABLE. Fitbit doesn't sit against your skin, so it's much more comfortable. I don't care what bodymedia says, it's not always comfortable to have a sweaty piece of plastic against your skin all day. (In their instructions they recommend you take it off for an hour a day, so no calorie tracking on the bodybugg for that time period).
- AFFORDABLE. The unit itself is about half the price of bodybugg. As for the online data, the graphs and info on fitbit.com are comparable, if not better than those on bodymedia.com; with no monthly subscription needed (saving you about $10 a month). You can buy the 'premium' fitbit access for $49 a year (still less than half the price of bodymedia.com), but I find the charts on fitbit.com are fine for my needs. Charts show activity throughout the day in 5-minute increments. The one thing that it doesn't offer is the ability to see how many calories you burned for a specific time period. Bodymedia.com allows you to drag your mouse across the graphs to hone in on certain time frames (i.e. show me the total calories burned from 3pm to 3:30pm). But you can a) add it up manually (mouse over the bars in the chart for each 5-minute increment between 3pm and 3:30pm. A popup shows the number of burned calories/steps, etc. during each 5-minute increment) or b) use the recording feature mentioned below.
- EASY TO TRACK WORKOUTS. Fitbit has a small button that is pretty much a stopwatch, but works well in tracking workouts and sleep. Press and hold the button for a few seconds to start the stopwatch/"recording" and press again to stop it. The duration of the activity will be displayed on your activity log on Fitbit.com. If it's during the day, fitbit assumes it's a workout. If it's at night, fitbit assumes it's sleeping (but you can manually change it). To make a short story long, I use this feature for my workouts and I can easily see data just for the workout session. In comparison, Bodybugg didn't have this feature. I had to take note of what time I started and stopped my workout, then use my mouse to "hone in" on that time frame in the graph in order see the calorie burn.
- WIRELESS. I love the wireless functionality. If I'm within 15 feet of my laptop, data is automatically uploaded. Bodybugg has this functionality, too, but I had the version that you have to pop out of the armband and connect via USB to your computer.
- ACCURATE. The fitbit is every bit as accurate as the bodybug. I do the elliptical machine and clip fitbit onto my sock. I've gotten good results doing this. There's a lot of hype that bodybug has "4 different sensors," but I'm not convinced that 4 are any better than the 2 in the fitbit. As far as I can tell, the bodybug only uses accelerometer data for its calcs. Anyway, the fitbit is just as accurate.
- INTERACTIVE. Love that you can personalize a message to show up on the fitbit. In addition to displaying your personal message, random fitbit messages like "Vamos!" or "Walk Me" are displayed randomly. Too cute! I also like getting weekly emails that show me my progress or congratulate me on certain achievements (10000 steps, 10 flights of stairs, etc.)
- DISPLAY IS ON THE UNIT. Unlike Bodybugg, which is kind of a 'black box' until you sync it to your computer, you can push the button on your fitbit at any time and see all the data for that day (steps, calories, miles, stairs, etc.). I found this to be very handy when it's getting towards midnight and I need to get more steps in. I just walk around my apartment, then check the display to see if I've met my goal. Also has a clock, which is nice.
- SMALL. Okay, if I HAVE to pick a con, it's that it takes some time to get in the habit of taking the fitbit off one set of clothes and putting them on another. In the beginning I'd change clothes to go out, only to later remember that my fitbit was clipped on the first outfit. I can definitely see how people have accidentally washed their fitbits. No biggy.
- NO DATA EXPORT. You can't export your data from the fitbit site unless you buy the premium access. Not a deal breaker for me (and premium access is still cheaper than bodymedia anyway).
- DAILY DATA DOESN'T RESET UNTIL YOU SYNC IT. I haven't fully tested this, but there was a 2-day period where I was traveling and unable to sync to my computer. I noticed that the data on the second day looked pretty high, so I assume it was still counting from the day before. Everything was fine in the online dashboard once I synced it. Not a big deal for me.
SUMMARY: Any pedometer or similar tool will be a great asset to any fitness program. I find myself wanting to take extra steps and take the stairs just to get "credit" for them in my daily tallies. I think fitbit is an affordable and easy tool to use. Hope this helps!
UPDATE June 2012: NEW "PRO:" Two of my family members now have fitbits so we can compete against each other on the website. I see my ranking in steps, activity level & distance. I got one for my mom 'cuz I figured she'd be easy to beat, and she beats me everyday! As such, I'm trying to up my steps to compete with her. This is a great feature that's definitely on the "PRO" list. When other people can see how many steps you do, it adds accountability. If I'm watching tv it will force me to get up and get some steps in while thinking "I don't want friends to see I've only done 2000 steps today." Competing against others is optional; you have to send them an invite to be your fitbit friend.
You can also link your fitbit account to your foursquare account to 'unlock' more fitness badges.
220 of 232 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2011
Color Name: Black/Blue
I've been a Fitbit user for 2 years now and have convinced several people to buy Fitbits and join my social fitness group. The new Fitbit Ultra is a small upgrade over the old Fitbit, and as such, doesn't warrant replacing your old Fitbit with the Ultra version. However, the Ultra is still a 5-star product when used properly. Even if you already have a heart rate monitor and a GPS unit, the Fitbit can become the center of your active world.
I'll start by saying that no one "needs" a Fitbit. It is a luxury item. If you're active, and goto the gym on a regular basis, and do a decent job watching what you eat, this device might not seem useful. I've also had plenty of people defiantly tell me that they just need a cheap pedometer that costs 1/10th the price of a Fitbit plus a journal and they can get the same functionality. To a degree, these statements are all true. The power of the Fitbit resides in its simplicity and social networking, but it's very hard to fully appreciate without using the device for two weeks. Once you understand what the Fitbit provides, though, you can never go back.
There are minimal instructions included with the Fitbit. Luckily the install is rather simple. Goto the Fitbit website, create a user name and login for yourself, download and install the driver, plug in the USB charging stand and you should be ready. You'll have to place your Fitbit onto the charger when prompted in order to obtain a pin number that identifies your Fitbit with your user name, but the entire process only takes about 5 minutes.
The Fitbit Ultra looks and feels the same as the original `bit (you can get the plum accent color, though). There is only 1 button on the device and a small OLED screen. The screen has a sharp, attractive blue hue and is bright enough to read in all conditions except broad daylight. The button is nothing fancy, but has a solid enough click for my taste. I guess you can say that the Fitbit has a hinge, but it only opens a few degrees, which is sufficient to clip the device directly onto a bra strap or that little coin pocket on a pair a of jeans. A belt clip attachment is included to situate the Fitbit on belts of most thicknesses. There is also a USB charging stand that doubles as the wireless data base and a soft wrist strap for wearing your tracker while you sleep. The Fitbit is durable, but the one thing it cannot handle is water. Obviously, you can't swim with it, but I've had friends of mine wear their `bits in their bra strap underneath a shirt and fleece on a cool fall day, work up a sweat, and have their Fitbits die due to the highly humid environment within their shirt. Its fine during a gym workout, just be careful if you're keeping it contained in a non-breathable location while sweating.
At its core, yes, the Fitbit is an expensive pedometer--but a highly accurate one. I've counted 150 steps in my head many times and it was spot-on. I've used a PreCor elliptical that told me I went 2873 steps and the Fitbit told me I went 2870. That's quality. Distance accuracy can get close to 5% error, but only if you calibrate your walking and running stride lengths in your profile settings (calibrate by measuring off 50 feet, walk the 50 feet and count the # of steps, divide the 600 inches by your number of walking steps. Repeat 2 more times and take the average. Do the same for running). Otherwise your distance can be off by 20%. The Ultra's main difference from the previous model is that it keeps track of flights of stairs. In a 3 step ranch house, walking up and down the 3 steps 8 times in a 5 minute period didn't seem to register as a flight or two. However, when I've gone up 5 consecutive flights all at once it does seem to be pretty accurate. As long as you keep the Fitbit clipped to your waist/pocket areas or bra strap, it seems to be good. The Ultra also has a stopwatch function, but looking down to my waist, hitting the button and trying to see the timer wasn't really practical during a run. Just wear a watch instead. Finally, the sleep tracking works well, but I find it to be a bit of an annoyance. If you want to wear the soft wrist strap and keep track of your sleep efficiency, it will definitely help you. But after 2 weeks I found that I was such a sound sleeper that I didn't want to deal with the 2 minutes of set up time to find the wrist strap and put it on. Instead, I now just start the sleep timer when I crawl in bed and put the Fitbit on my nightstand. When I wake up, I hit stop. This way it still gives me a very good idea of how many hours I'm sleeping per night. It's helped me realize that if I average under 6.25-6.5 hours of sleep per day for a week, I feel awful, but if I'm over that mark, I perform better during the day.
Simply sitting near the wireless base while your computer is on will upload the data from your Fitbit (it takes seconds to upload all data) for analysis into 5-minute, binned increments. Meaning, it keeps track of all the steps you take from 7:30-7:35 and then 7:35-7:40, and so on...for 24 hrs a day, up to 7 days. You do not need to charge the Fitbit on the base for it to transfer data. My battery lasts about 6-7 days with normal use, and I only have to leave it on the charger for 30 minutes to go from low battery to full.
Once the data are uploaded to the website (it all happens automatically, you don't have to hit any upload buttons), they are ready to be analyzed. There is a lot of data to mine through, but the website is well organized and very accessible. Just by looking at your day's 5-minute bins, you can essentially identify where you walked from the parking garage to your office, where you walked to the far conference room, how many times you walked to the bathroom, etc. For me, once I saw my sedentary daily life, the Fitbit helped me break my lazy habits. Once you're keeping track of your life stats, anyone with a shred of competitiveness will want to improve on them. The Fitbit drives you to walk to the far bathroom instead of the once close to your desk. When you get home from work and see that you only have 5000 steps it compels you to goto the gym for 5000 more, especially if you see that you've only been averaging 7,000 steps a day for the past two weeks.
The final incentive for getting a Fitbit is for the social aspects. I'm not a social website kinda guy, but here is an example where the social connections make sense. You can invite friends to your profile, and depending on everyones' privacy settings, you can see their daily stats. The website even makes a comprehensive leaderboard section where you can compare yourself to your friends and the Fitbit community as a whole. The company has also redesigned the website several times in the past 2 years. Now you can track your lifetime steps (I have over 3.5 million so far), flights, and distance. There are badges that you can earn (think achievements for xbox games) for goals such as 10,000 step days.
The site also keeps track of manually inputted data. I enter my weight every day and it has kept those numbers for over a year. It's much more valuable, and powerful, to see your weight loss over the course of months and years instead of just day-to-day. And it is all automatically graphed for you after you enter the numbers. There are tracking tabs for glucose, heart rate, blood pressure, and custom categories that you can create. The final tracking option is food, and it is incredibly comprehensive. The website has a huge log of foods and their calorie contents, just start typing "hamburger," and options for generic hamburgers, McDonald's, Bob Evans, Wendy's, In-N-Out and LOTS more will appear from a drop down list. You can create favorites for 1-click logging, which is convenient if you have the same bag lunch a couple times a week. It does take awhile to log everything here, so I rarely use the food track feature, but it very much there if you want to take advantage of it.
You don't need to get a Fitbit. It is a toy, a gadget, a luxury. However, it does its job extremely well. You still need to have the right mindset to use the device, though. If you've NEVER worked out and have no interest in doing so, this device won't yell at you like a personal trainer will. But if you have some motivation, even a weak kindling fire, and perhaps need to be a little bit more efficient to get you moving more and more, the Fitbit will definitely help. Even more so if you have friends with Fitbits so you can challenge yourselves on the leaderboards. Once you get used to mindlessly putting it on everyday like I have, it simply becomes part of your life. Tracking your stats for your life is incredibly helpful and cannot fully be appreciated until you wear this device for 2 weeks. After those two weeks, try giving this little gadget up...I doubt anyone will be able to unclip it from your jeans coin pocket without a fight.
I hope this review was helpful if you've been on the fence about buying one, but overall I feel like this is a 5-star product.
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2012
If you are like me, you have tried all kinds of things to lose weight and be more active in hopes of finding one that "sticks". Running, aerobics, you name it, I have tried it. This little gadget has changed everything because it led to the epiphany that I don't just need a specific activity to "stick" to be healthy---I just need to be active enough (doing whatever) to burn off the calories I put in my body and meet my health goals. It's so simple and we all know it's true, but what the Fitbit does is arm you with the power of extremely high quality, real-time information to make better decisions every single day, in the very moment you are making them.
For example, I set a goal for a 500 calorie per day deficit to lose one pound per week, and when it comes time for dinner there's no arguing with the numbers. Either I have enough burned calories for what I want to eat or I haven't. What this means is that now I either have something lighter to eat or I take a walk or climb stairs or do something else to burn enough calories to equal it out. If I didn't have this information, I would not know concretely what decisions do or do not fit into my goals. The difference this has made in my mindset about my own body cannot be overstated! It's a simple, elegant rethinking of my own relationship with my body, and that has been truly groundbreaking. No magic bullet, but a drastically improved awareness.
As for the technology itself, I find it to be very accurate. The iPhone app and the graphs and charts of the website are absolutely top notch, best in class. It's so rewarding to see spikes on the graph for when I took the stairs, and it's so motivating to see those flat stretches in the middle of the day because I get up and move around so I don't see them again. I now take the stairs and walk breaks just to make sure I see those spikes! The badges and social aspects are great too, and I even found myself going up and down my stairs at home 30 times yesterday just so I could burn off my dinner and get the 50 flights per day badge! I never would have done that if fitness was still this abstract general goal of mine, but now it's a concrete goal of, "Ok, I need to burn 90 more calories tonight."
All and all, this little device has proven to me that I don't need a magic bullet to have the healthy lifestyle that I want. I don't need new interests or habits or sports to take up or better workout clothes. I just need a better understanding of how my activity level relates to my food choices, and the information to truly match those up with my goals. Fitbit does all this, and does it well. Thanks Fitbit!! Now I am trying to get all my friends to buy one too so we can compete on the leaderboards. :)
140 of 158 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2012
Color Name: Black/BlueVerified Purchase
Like many others I purchased the Fitbit Ultra thinking it would be an excellent way to record my activity levels, and their website which functions similarly to other sites like Livestrong.com is very nicely organized and provided a nice amount of visual aids and tracking fields to allow you to stay on top of things. After a few weeks of use, the website is decidely the best part of this product, and can be used without purchasing a Fitbit.
-Seems to track steps accurately (when you're walking anyway, see cons)
-Wireless syncing is automated, pain-free, and reliable.
-'Stairs Climbed' tracking is nice.
-Poor engineering. At first the product feels slick and has a nice, rubberized feel. Within a few days though I started noticing that each time I took the clip off of my waist that the pieces of plastic had coming apart at the seams and I would have to 'snap' the thing back together in 3-5 individual locations. Seriously?! At this price I would expect this thing to be sealed shut with lasers. No excuse for this.
-Inaccurate mileage. I read a number of complaints about the unit inaccurately tracking mileage, which was often refuted as the unit not being calibrated to stride length. I spent a ridiculous amount of time attempting to calibrate my sride length; cross referencing specific routes with a number of dynamic maps such as Google and Bing, and it made no difference. My regular 4 mile route was typically over-estimated by about 1.5 miles. Even distances as short as 1/4 mile were recorded up to twice the actual distance.
-Sleep tracker is useless. Based on the readings, you'd think I was a chronic sleepwalker. I even recorded myself sleeping on my webcam one night to make sure this wasn't the case, and after correlating the times Fitbit showed a spike of activity ('awake') with the video showing absolutely no motion beyond a slight arm twitch or roll-over, it was obvious that this feature is entirely useless.
-Tracks steps while travelling in vehicles. As others have noted, the unit often will track steps while driving, and mine arrived with some 32,000 steps already recorded on it, which I assume is from the shipping. Since there is no way to turn the unit off or edit the data from the website to correct for this error later, it makes it impossible to know for sure that you have an accurate reading.
As I said, it's a good idea and I look forward to this technology developing a little bit more; but for now this product is entirely too expensive to be so flawed. I will continue to use their website to monitor my weight-loss, but I will be returning the Fitbit Ultra to Amazon on Monday.
105 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2011
Color Name: Black/BlueVerified Purchase
I received my fitbit last Thursday and tried it on Friday after charging.
I have a bodymedia armband and I love it for the information it provides, however I wanted to try out the fitbit and see if I can get comparable data without the monthly cost or constant contact with my skin.
So far the fitbit is fairly close to the armband. Even the sleep is fairly close (the first day the actual sleep number was exactly the same between the fitbit and the bodymedia).
The fitbit does read a little low on the calories and steps in comparison to the bodmedia, however that's better than reading too high. At least I work harder and hopefully burn more calories, but it's close enough where I get useful and effective information.
Here are some comparisons:
10/14/2011------5hrs 4min----5hrs 4min
10/15/2011------3hrs 56min---6hrs 14min (may be how I started counter on fitbit)
10/16/2011------5hrs 8min----5hrs 37min
10/17/2011------4hrs 59min---5hrs 21min
10/18/2011------4hrs 57min---4hrs 48min
So the data is not right on, but not that far off. Especially considering this is much lower in cost (initial purchase price and no monthly fee) and doesn't have to read your actual body measurements/parameters.
It is nice that the Fitbit is so small and unnoticeable. It doesn't get in my way and it doesn't bulge like the armband does. I've had my bodymedia armband for a few years now and up until recently I didn't seem to have an issue. However, lately the armband leave my skin irritated.
Another positive about the fitbit is that the display lets you see the steps, calories, activity (love the flower) without having the synch it to a PC. I love seeing my data live, throughout the day. I can adjust my activities if I see I'm low.
My only problem is that my stairs are not working. Hence, the 3 stars.
No matter how many stairs I take, the stairs continually show "0." Not very motivating to see that message. I have four floors at work that I take and one floor in my house (to get from the main level to my bedroom). So I'm curious to see how many stairs I take and see how much that influences whether I take them more often.
I sent an email and Friday and heard back on Monday with a question for my fitbit email information (I had sent them an email from a separate email). I hadn't heard back and sent them another email to see if they received it okay. They did write back today, but with the response that this is a known issue...
This is the part that disappoints me, if it's a known issue shouldn't it have been resolved before sending the units out???
I don't believe it affects everyone as I've seen posts on the fitbit community site where people discuss how many stairs they log (It sounds like a neat feature and most people seem happy with it, when it works).
So right now I'm just waiting to hear back on why my stairs aren't logging and when (or if) it can be fixed.
I've been working with the fitbit team (Farrah is awesome). She helped me out and communicated back and forth until I got my replacement (yah!). Very excited to have working stairs, it is a pretty awesome feature and is a motivator to take the stairs more often. It is fun to see what I've "climbed" based on the altitude I've climbed on the stairs! Not only did the team replace my unit, they worked to find out what happened to make my previous unit stop. This is very appealing feature in a company, mistakes or issues will happen. I think how they handle issues is what defines a good company. The fact that they want to take the time to figure out what happened and make sure it doesn't happen again, is pretty cool in my opinion.
The reason for 4 stairs after having a fully functional unit was the sleep feature. This is only because I'm comparing it against the bodymedia armband. The extra effort to set the start/stop often makes me skip the sleep feature, whereas the bodymedia automatically registers the sleep. That's my only con (but that's comparing to the bodymedia). Otherwise, their sleep feature is pretty neat (when I take the time to start/stop it).
An update to rating due to disappointing customer service. Still have an issue with the stair logging. When I wrote this issue on their help and support forum, they gave an email to contact saying to get a replacement.
When I wrote the support email they said it's a known issue (after ~a week) and that the expected fix availability is unknown. Frustrated with the inconsistent responses from different departments within the company and that they still post on their help and community forum to write their support email for a replacement (which didn't happen after writing their support email).
If you read their community forum for help and support, a number of users have issues with their stair logging. Just a note: they do say their stair logging does not work on stair machines or machines. It has an altimeter that reads altitude change so it will only log when you CLIMB an actual staircase. It will not log when you descend an actual staircase.
I was trying to be patient, but after 19 days I'm a little fed up with their customer service. I was hoping to try this out and get some for family and recommend to friends, but not sure now.
When you buy something based on features, you expect those to work or some sort of resolution. It's almost been 3 weeks and still no resolution.
58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2011
Color Name: Black/BlueVerified Purchase
I've been on a diet since July; with the help of my Fitbit, I've lost 42 pounds (so far). I started with the Fitbit Wireless Personal Trainer. From the start, I was incredibly happy with my Fitbit Classic, and things have just been getting better. The company regularly updates the accompanying website, which you can log your food on to. My favorite improvement is the "Food Goal" part. It tells you how many more (or less) calories you should eat to meet your goals.
I love the "Big Brother" aspect of this gadget. Sure, you can cheat on what you enter food-wise on the website, but you can't really cheat the steps, etc. Because of my Fitbit, I no longer watch TV while sitting or lounging on the couch. I often jog, dance, or sway in front of the idiot box. Now, with the Ultra, when I walk to the gym, I take the route with more hills.
When I got my "Ultra Upgrade" in the mail, I was concerned about my data: would it be lost? No, the switch was seamless. All you need to do is right-click on the Fitbit icon in the system tray at the lower right corner of your computer. Select "Account Setup" and follow the prompts for an existing member. I'm keeping my old one in case anything happens to this one; I'll be able to stay connected to my Fitbit account.
As a side note, I've persuaded three people to buy their own Fitbits, much to the glee of the persuaded. One is in her 30's, one in her 50s, and another in her 60s. I almost feel as though I am a cult member; I can't shut up about it.
*Update* 23 January 2012
I still love my FitBit; mainly because it has helped me bring my total pounds lost to SIXTY-ONE!
69 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2011
Color Name: Black/Blue
Got FITBIT ULTRA few days ago (direct from their web site thru. my company's link). The unit seems to be very sleak and is very portable.
After a full charges and created user profile with thier web site, I was so excited to begin the "walk/run" just for the fun of it... but not for long. After 6 hours of the next day, the device is no longer responds or displays any info. I connected, resync, reset, attemped to upgrade firmware based on their web site's recommendation but no luck. I've tried to contact their support several times but no reponse by real person.
The syns only worked for very first time and data was way off. It recorded that I did about 11,900 steps and archived at about 9 miles... wow 9 miles, really...? I actually ran only for 5 miles and walked few hundred steps, but 9 miles is totally not accurate .
Anyway, the concept is good but if you run into any problem and need their customer support... well, you may have to think again before buying their product. I am feeling $$ lighter in my pocket :(.
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2012
I absolutely love my new Fitbit. When I read on the box that it can be as addicting as Facebook to check out I didn't believe the hype. Until I started using it. Now I check it all the time. I love how it's more than just a pedometer. I find myself trying to move around more when I'd normally just be sitting around. I want to add more steps and get more flights in to challenge myself. I feel like this is going to be a huge positive thing for my health and well-being.
I'm so glad I decided to get this little teeny tiny fitness motivator. It pushes me to do more physically and gets me off of the couch. I sit at work and can't wait to get home to take my dogs out. Before it seemed like a chore now it's, how much more can I do.
The Fitbit is small and fits in your pocket. It can also be worn on the little holster clip that attaches to your belt or bra. For sleep tracking you just slip the entire unit into the wrist strap they provide and keep it on the non-dominant hand then push and hold the track button for 2-3 seconds until it starts counting or say's start. Then just go to sleep like normal. In the morning when you wake up hold the track button again for 2-3 seconds until it say's stop. The next time you're near (that's right, you don't have to plug it in, just be near the base plugged into your computer) it will update and sync your sleep habits.
Not only does this unit count your steps and track your sleep habits but it also can track your calories. You just enter what you've taken in for food and it will tell you how many more calories you can eat for the day to reach your limit. (If you're trying to lose weight) The more you move the more calories you can take in and the tracker figures all of that out for you with the nifty computer application.
To be honest, I can't say enough good things about this. I'm really glad I purchased this. At first I thought $99 was too much for a glorified pedometer but this is really so much more and well worth the price. I've never felt more motivated or happier.