It was about 6 months ago that I received my Fitbit Flex. It was a Father’s Day gift that ended up getting delayed in shipping, but I began wearing it all the time from that point forward.
In honesty, this wasn’t my first experience with a Fitbit product, as I had received the Fitbit One as a Christmas present in 2012. While I really enjoyed the product, the downfall for me ended up being that the clip-on solution was difficult for me to keep track of. In fact, after just 2 weeks, I managed to lose it after clipping it onto a pocket of my dress pants at work.
So, when the Flex came out, I was immediately interested, as I assumed (correctly) that the wrist-mounted unit would be easier to keep track of. In fact, it’s no more cumbersome than a watch (which I haven’t worn for a while). One of the funny things is that I do tend to look at it like a watch, but since it only has progress indicator lights it’s no good for that (though the newer Fitbit Force would address this problem). In the first few weeks, I also had concerns about the durability of the wrist strap, but they have proven to be unfounded. The
While the indicator lights are initially set to measure progress towards your goal in “steps”, I quickly changed mine to “miles”, as it is a more descriptive measure for me to evaluate in my day-to-day activities. I currently have mine set with a target of 5 miles/day which is easy to do on days that I run, but a little more of a challenge the rest of the time. When I hit this target, the lights go off and it vibrates to let me know I’ve reached my goal. This also matches up well with the 5 indicator lights, which let me know when I’ve passed each mile marker throughout the day with just a couple of taps on the device (to make the indicator lights go off).
The Flex is surprisingly accurate. I wear it when I run, and when I’ve done my early-morning long runs, my goal notification always goes off just before I hit the 5-mile mark on my TomTom runner. While I had initially hoped it would be accurate, I’ve found that it is usually accurate within a tenth of a mile, which is more than enough for regular fitness tracking.
Additionally, the Fitbit ecosystem has proven to be versatile. While most of the time it syncs with the provided dongle I have plugged into a USB port on my laptop and uploads my activity updates straight to the Fitbit site (see my profile), if I happen to be traveling or away from home for the day, I can also sync with my phone via Bluetooth to get more details about my daily activity.
The Flex also offers sleep tracking, which I view as more of a “neat” feature than anything critical. Basically, I just tap the unit several times until it vibrates and indicates sleep mode, and then do the same in the morning. I can then go on the Fitbit site and view the quality of my sleep. The unit will note periods of activity during sleep that may help you better understand your sleep patterns. However, since I have small children who may wake me at any hour of the night, it’s hard for me to actually act on that data.
Lastly, one of the most convenient features of the Flex is it’s battery life. I was initially concerned that I’d have to be charging it frequently, but I’ve come to find that it will last at least a week on a full charge, and often closer to 10 days. And then when I do need to charge it, it only takes 1-2 hours (depending on if I plug it into a dedicated outlet or just use a USB port on my computer). Often, I just skip a night of sleep tracking and let it charge fully while I sleep.
Ok, so I don’t wear it “all the time”, as I don’t wear it while showering, letting it charge or doing construction projects around the house (the vibrations of hammering or similar activities activate sleep mode too easily), but I do wear it whenever reasonably possible.
In the end, if you like to track your activity and are a stat-geek like myself, the Fitbit Flex is a great addition to your collection. It’s accurate, easy and convenient without being unreasonably priced.
If you happen to already have a Fitbit product, feel free to send me a friend invite from my profile.