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This review is from: Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, Black (Sports)
I upgraded from the Ultra. You can read my comprehensive review of the Fitbit Ultra at Fitbit Wireless Activity/Sleep Tracker, Black/Blue.
First, I am sold on Fitbit because I've lost over 30 pounds since starting with the Ultra approximately a year ago. I don't work for the company and have received nothing from them for my enthusiasm -- I just find this is something that really works for me.
IMPORTANT Before you read further or miss this: You have to have a phone that has Bluetooth capability for this new Fitbit to sync with your phone. If you're upgrading from the Ultra to this Fitbit One for the sync capability, you'll be disappointed if your phone can't sync. If you've got an iPhone, Bluetooth capability is currently only on the iPhone 5 and 4S. You can still upload your data to the computer with a different phone, but the Fitbit One will not sync with your phone.
How the Fitbit Works: 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. Whereas the Ultra had a built-in clip, this one has to use the included silicone clip. The upside of this is that the silicone is unlikely to crack, which is something several owners of the Ultra complained about. The downside is that the Fitbit could possibly come out of the silicone case if the case were to get pulled on clothing or some other object. Whereas you used to be able to buy a lanyard to secure your Ultra, in the case of the One, you would only be securing the silicone case and your Fitbit would be lost. Time will only tell whether the silicone case idea is an actual improvement over the Ultra's design.
On receiving your Fitbit, there's a booklet says to charge your Fitbit for 5 minutes. The charge is supposed to last for about a week. When the Fitbit battery is completely depleted, charging is to take approximately two hours. If you're like me, you'll find yourself just popping the Fitbit into its charger whenever you know you'll be sitting at the computer a while. Unlike the Ultra, which used one USB port on your computer, this Fitbit will use two: One is a small piece that communicates wirelessly with your Fitbit. The other is what I believe people are referring to as a "dongle" -- it's a USB with a short cord: You snap your Fitbit into the end, and that's how the Fitbit charges.
I should also mention installing and pairing the device was virtually hassle-free. Since I was upgrading the Ultra, I just synced my Ultra by putting it in the cradle and then unplugging that USB. The instructions for the Fitbit One are clear. You download the software from their web site. Pairing the device with the software on my computer was easy. I was asked what kind of device I was pairing as well as whether I'd still be using the Ultra.
What will the Fitbit One do? The Fitbit One 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. The included wrist band attaches with a very fine Velcro-type material, making it a perfect size for men and women. This Fitbit One wrist band also has holes in it apparently to help ensure that the band doesn't feel hot on your wrist. Included in the band is a little 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. When you awake, you just press and hold the button again to tell Fitbit that your sleep time is over.
New to this Fitbit One is a silent alarm function. Basically, you can set vibrating alarms from either the Fitbit web site or from your Bluetooth-enabled phone. When I tried it out while awake, it was a soft little vibrating that I commented was as likely to wake me as "an ant wearing socks, tiptoeing across the floor." But I kept a (somewhat) open mind and still set an alarm for 7:30 a.m., which would give me enough time for an 8-hour sleep. Much to my happiness, I awoke to the soft little vibration on my wrist. My assessment on this is that I know that if I'm particularly tired, sick or know I'm going to get less than 8 hours of sleep, I cannot trust this as I've had to set an alarm across the room sometimes to wake up. If I have to be up early for something important, I will still need to set a traditional alarm. Depending on how deeply you sleep, your mileage may vary.
Once you press the button to indicate you're trying to fall asleep, the Fitbit begins recording sleep data by noting how often your wrist moves. Wrist movement is interpreted as awake time. 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. I am finding that the web site food database is still inferior to other sites like MyNetDiary or Lose It, particularly since those allow scanning of barcodes for easy recording of food intake. However, a happy discovery is that Lose It can sync with Fitbit's web site, so I can record my food on Lose It rather than doing so through Fitbit's site. This is a good time to mention that there are also many other apps that Fitbit has partnered with that will sync your data.
As with the Fitbit Ultra, the Fitbit One will:
---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! 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. I found this annoying after a while, and I disabled it through the web site. Through the web site you can actually disable any of the features you don't want to see on your Fitbit.
Is the Fitbit One Smaller Than the Ultra? Yes and no. As mentioned, the One fits inside a silicone clip. You really don't want its slippery little body moving around in a pocket, so you'll be using this clip. With the clip, the Fitbit One is actually larger than the Fitbit Ultra. Without that silicone clip, it is, indeed, smaller. Please check out my photos and you'll see a size comparison.
As I stated on my Fitbit Ultra review, use of the Fitbit web site is 100% free. In fact, you can start using it before ever owning a Fitbit device. That's what I did before my previous Fitbit arrived. The site has an active Community of users trying to be healthier as well as device support. If you have questions about the Fitbit, I think the forum on the web site is probably going to get you a faster answer than emailing the company.
So over a year later, after starting with Fitbit, owning and wearing a Fitbit has been one of the best decisions I've made. I went to a Quantified Self meetup, and one of the users asked why I'm still wearing the Fitbit if it's already established a habit of exercising. The answer is this: The Fitbit allows me to add gamification to something I don't enjoy (exercise!). It challenges me to reach my goals. If I have a period in which I've gotten few steps, I feel an internal nagging that I want to get that number back up where it belongs. It helps me analyze my sleep and see how that affects other factors in my life.
After writing the update on my previous review for the Ultra, I actually DID re-invest in the Premium membership (49.99 on the web site) in order to get the Trainer feature back. I needed some help with goal-setting, and I wanted to be able to download my data in a CSV format. The fact that you cannot download your data without the Premium membership is a small annoyance to me, as I believe you put that data into the site and deserve to be able to download it without paying for a Premium membership. Another disappointment is that the custom trackers that I created through the Premium membership are not included in the CSV download. However, overall, I'm back to finding that Premium membership adds enough value that it's worth it to me. I'll have to reevaluate this when it comes time for renewal (be sure to disable auto-renewal if you don't want to be charged automatically). So again, no, you don't have to pay anything to use the Fitbit web site and get the basic features. The Premium membership just adds some extra perks that you may find helpful in taking your health to the next level.
Has Fitbit been a fast way for me to lose weight? Nope. I lost the 30+ pounds over a period of a year. However, it's been a painless, sane and lasting way to lose weight. I attribute the weight loss to the awareness the Fitbit has brought me. Because I'm more aware of my activity (or inactivity), I just naturally make better decisions on a daily basis. If you're motivated to do so, you could lose weight quickly with the Fitbit by always tracking food intake and energy expenditure. I've found that making a gradual and permanent lifestyle change has been the best for me. I can't wait to see what new goals I'll be reaching for and achieving over the next year!
UPDATE in MAY 2013: Please note that Fitbit now reportedly works with more than just the iPhone. I also wanted to let you know that I'm still happy with the Fitbit and wear it every single day. However, this one has nearly been lost on a few occasions due to the silicone case getting caught on clothing, causing the Fitbit to flip out. I am a very fastidious person who is careful about things (always puts my keys in the same place, etc.), so if this is an issue for me, it may be for others. I wish they hadn't changed the holder, but I understand the need to since the previous version was starting to crack at the stress points. IF this is a big concern for you, I would recommend preordering the FITBIT FLEX, which is one you wear on your wrist. The upside is that you'd have it on 24/7 and can wear it in the shower, etc., and the downside for me is that I don't want to see it on my wrist every day. Hope this helps anyone trying to make a decision. Again, I'm very happy with the Fitbit One, but I am having to be very careful with it to prevent losing it.
UPDATE in DECEMBER 2013: My Fitbit had its first structural failure this month, and I wanted to update you with the problem. The silicone case has a place on it where two pieces are attached. This is the side that slides into your clothing, making it a weak point. One day I noticed the two pieces separating, and I pushed them back together. The other day I pulled my Fitbit out of my pocket and found the small piece was missing. Thankfully, later I found it and will try to glue the two pieces together. That section is a poor design because it's under stress when you remove the Fitbit from your clothing. I've added a picture above showing the two pieces. As far as whether I still love the Fitbit, yes, I do; however, I still think the silicone case is a poor design. There have been numerous occasions where I've almost lost the Fitbit due to it popping out of the silicone case. Hopefully, the company will improve on this design in their next release.
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Showing 1-10 of 88 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 7, 2012 2:05:25 PM PST
R. Kolin says:
Thanks for another great review. I've been debating an upgrade from the Ultra because of the alarm function, as well as the Bluetooth capability. I use a Mac computer, and my Fitbit has been a little quirky with syncing wirelessly. I think I'll take the plunge.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 7:42:22 PM PST
You're welcome, R. Kolin. Hope it works out for you. So far so good here!
Posted on Nov 8, 2012 2:24:43 AM PST
Posted on Nov 11, 2012 8:01:01 AM PST
Fantastic review. Thanks for taking the time! I own an Ultra and your review helped me decide whether I'll be upgrading or not.
Posted on Nov 14, 2012 12:13:39 PM PST
Laurel Palmer says:
Liora, thank you so much for your great review. My Zumba class is taking a Fitbit challenge and your review of the new product is great. I'm thinking seriously about purchasing one but am hesitating because of the previous version's not-so-good reviews, and especially poor customer service.
Posted on Nov 14, 2012 12:37:49 PM PST
Indy Music 101 says:
Great review, thank you for posting this!
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 3:26:18 PM PST
Hi, Laurel, You're very welcome. I was happy with the Ultra, but the longer I have the One, the more I like it even better. I'm still a little paranoid that it'll somehow get popped out of its silicone case, but so far, so good. The Ultra reviews here are 4/5 stars, so it seems like most people have had a pretty decent experience with it. Customer service seems to be getting mixed reviews depending on the user, so I don't have much personal experience with that aspect. Basically, I don't think you can go wrong with either an Ultra or a One as long as you buy it either directly from the company or through Amazon so they'll honor the warranty if something were to happen. Good luck!
Posted on Nov 14, 2012 8:59:12 PM PST
D. Reilly says:
Thanks for a great review Liora. I love my Ultra and have been thinking about upgrading to the One, basically for the bluetooth capability. I'm glad you put in your review about the bluetooth limitations. I noticed on the Fitbit website that the One uses Bluetooth 4.0, which a lot of devices do not support. Luckily, mine do.
One concern I have after reading your review is about the fact that the One does not clip on, like the Ultra does. I'm actually on my second Ultra after losing the first. I now use a Cell Phone Strap Black/ Silver Tone Split Ring (10) to attach my Ultra to my key ring and put it in my pocket. It looks like I would lose that capability with the One. Does it seem secure in the holster?
I also don't like the idea of using two USB ports. I'm wondering if the computer already has Bluetooth 4.0, if the second dongle is even necessary.
One thing I am thinking is that if the second one is just for charging, perhaps that can be plugged into a USB wall charger instead of using a precious USB port.
Thanks again for all of the information. i'll definitely need to do more research before switching.
Oh, btw, I use the myfitnesspal website to track food intake. It also has barcode scanning and syncs with the fitbit site.
Posted on Nov 14, 2012 9:12:59 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2012 9:23:40 PM PST
Too funny - you sound just like me. Seriously, I know I've left similar comprehensive posts on websites regarding the FitBit Ultra and the weight loss I achieved in my first year (like you, just about 30 pounds). Everything you said in your review is 100% accurate as it pertains to my understanding of and relationship with the FitBit. It's the gamification and making me aware that has been the real trick to relatively simple, painless weight loss.
I personally prefer the LoseIt! app/website for tracking my calorie intake and since the FitBit and LoseIt sites can link up and share info, I'm good to go! By setting a conservative goal of one pound a week, I still had plenty of elbow room to eat pizza and drink beer. The extent of my work out is about two 40+ minute walks a day. One in the morning, one at (a light) lunch. The FitBit would push me to get those extra few steps I needed to hit that daily goal.
I can't recommend this thing enough - IF you're serious about lifestyle modification to lose weight. You can't just buy one of these things and wear it and expect to lose weight. It helps you track what you're doing, but it's still up to you to DO what needs to be DONE. The FitBit makes it easy to track the burn - that's passive, but it's still up to you to track the intake, but the FitBit (and/or LoseIt) site/app database will make that easier to do. And the more you add to your personal database, the easier the input gets over time.
That said, I didn't join a gym. I didn't buy an expensive piece of exercise equipment to use as a towel rack and/or dust collector. I didn't go on a crazy diet and/or cut all the carbs or meat or treats out of my menu. I just tracked my calories, budgeted for treats and used this bit of kit as an excuse to be more active - to get in extra steps during my daily routine and to take more stairs. I spent $99 on a FitBit and lost 30 pounds. After almost a year, I lost that FitBit and now I'm spending another $99 for the new FitBit One... I'm going to pick up lost time and I'm going to lose that extra 10 pounds and hit my goal of 40 pounds lost.
The one thing I will say is that it's discouraging to lose weight and not notice, but it takes a while to make an impact - for me, I didn't SEE the weight loss until 17 pounds - for me, that was like 3-4 months in of a daily routine. So don't get discouraged if you don't notice anything at 5, 10 or even 15 pounds! Just stick to your daily/weekly goals and let the FitBit and calorie tracking help you. And once you do, you WILL see success and when you do, it's hard NOT to evangelize this product to any/everyone who will listen! :)
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 9:19:49 PM PST
It seems secure so far, but I note there is at least one reviewer here who apparently lost his quickly when it was in its silicone case (I was happy to see that Fitbit offered to replace it, but still would rather not even deal with the worry of losing the Fitbit). I've tried pulling on the case a little to see what kind of bump would cause it to fall out and haven't succeeded yet. I'm not sure whether over time silicone can stretch and cause it to become less secure; hopefully Fitbit tested that thoroughly. There doesn't seem to be any great DIY way to secure the Fitbit now; at most you'd be securing the silicone clip case and still losing the Fitbit itself.
That is a really good question about whether the second dongle is necessary, and I'm not sure. You could just leave the one unplugged until it's time to charge. Charging takes a really short time -- not hours. I don't have a dedicated hour or anything I give to charging: I just do it occasionally when I think of it and know I'll be at the computer for a few minutes to send email or whatever. Sometimes I'll just pop it in while I'm getting a shower.
Good news about myfitnesspal. Lose It just sent an email stating that they were going to have new "Premium" features that they'll charge for, one being syncing with Fitbit. I emailed them to ask whether that will cost current users of Lose It and Fitbit and received a reply that it's just new signups. Seems like there will be a mass exodus to a different app that does it for free if they start charging.
Good luck. If you learn about whether that second dongle is needed if the computer already has Bluetooth, please come back and let us know! One can never have too many USB ports :)