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Flex by FitBit
Category: Fitness
Works With: iPhone 5, Mac
Price: $100

The FitBit Flex is a $99 rubber band you put on around your wrist to track how many actions you have taken every day. It links by means of Bluetooth to your iPhone, or through a dongle to your Mac. If you’re entirely inactive, it’s a wonderful device that could effectively encourage you to make some small modifications to your way of living prior to your heart explodes in front of your computer system desk one day. If you’re already even gently active, though, the FitBit Flex is a puzzle of a product that appears fetishistically focussed on how much you walk while absolutely disregarding the amount of you bike, swim or even run.

The Fitbit Flex has been getting a bargain of favorable press recently for its no-frills, light weight technique to task monitoring, and it’s easy to see why: it’s a great design. The heart of the Flex is a little Bluetooth dongle about the size of the first joint of your pinkie finger that inserts itself into a stylized rubber band around your wrist. These bands are swappable, and come in many colors, so you can adorn them to your attire to a degree.

The Flex is extremely small and light, and only has 5 LED lights that show you throughout the day what percentage of actions you’ve actually taken towards your day-to-day objective. As a result, battery life is quite wonderful: the FitBit Flex can go a week between fees quickly. Entirely, this amounts to a gadget that’s an enjoyment to wear: it doesn’t do much, but it’s likewise simple to forget.

The Flex outside of its rubber band holster.

The Flex outside of its elastic band holster.

The FitBit Flex’s entire raison d’etre is to track actions. By default, FitBit sets a daily goal of 10,000 steps for most users, which you can alter through the accompanying software application. According to FitBit, 10,000 actions a day is’ a rough equivalent to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to collect 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. It needs to be enough to minimize your threat for illness and assist you lead a longer, healthier life … Unless you’ve an extremely active lifestyle or career, you probably don’t reach 10,000 steps on a provided day without putting some effort into your activity. ‘

The good information is that the FitBit Flex tracks actions very well. You use it on your wrist and it simply continues counting the tiny little bumps of your tread throughout the day, squirting them through Bluetooth 4.0 to your linked iPhone or to your Mac when it’s in distance for tracking. Even without your phone, you can see the number of steps you’ve actually made to your day-to-day objective by tapping the Flex, which will reveal you a series of lights, each one equivalent to 2,000 actions. When you hit 10,000 actions (or any other objective you set), the FitBit Flex vibrates and its lights shimmer to show you you have managed to make your everyday quota: anything over that’s just gravy.

All well and good, and like I stated, the FitBit Flex is simply great at counting actions. The trouble, however, is that counting actions is in fact a relatively one-dimensional means to track physical fitness, or even task. And that’s essentially all the FitBit Flex does.

To make sure, 10,000 steps a day seems like a substantial amount, and in fact, it is: it’s about the equivalent of walking 5 miles a day. But truthfully, you should be practically pathetically sedentary to not make near 10,000 steps a day simply in the course of your daily tasks.

Need evidence? Take a look at me. I work from house, I’ve no commute, I live and work in a small apartment, I’ve a BMI of over 30, and in the last 3 weeks of checking the FitBit Flex, there’s only a single day I did not make a 10,000 step goal … which was a day I basically spent completely on the couch. Even then, I missed 10,000 steps by less than fifty steps. This isn’t a high obstacle to clear.

By default, the Flex doesn't track the eating of ramen.

By default, the Flex doesn’t track the eating of ramen.

10,000 is just the default objective, naturally, and FitBit declares it’s approximately 50 % more actions in the day than the typical American takes … a fact which is practically too depressing for words. However the point remains that if the Surgeon General’s referral to doing the bare minimum to minimize your danger for disease is so easy to keep, then for a task tracker to be really helpful, it’s to be practical in tracking various other kinds of activity as well. Walking’s just inadequate. But for the Flex, walking is the only task it tracks automatically, and steps are its only currency.

For me, this was the most aggravating aspect of the Flex. Every morning, for example, I typically swim a mile at the regional YMCA, however the Flex, while waterproof, cannot sign up that at all. Rivals such as the Nike Fuelband can at least measure that I am doing some kind of activity there, but as far as the Flex is worried, if I am not walking, it’s not tracking. The same holds true with cycling, another thing I do relatively regularly. And while the FitBit Flex does count the ‘steps’ of the 5 mile jogs I take 3 or 4 times a week, it can’t distinguish that steps made while running might be of a higher value than actions made in between the sofa and the refrigerator. To be reasonable, the FitBit companion software application allows you to track all these activities, but the Flex itself just doesn’t care.

The Flex has some other cool features besides step-tracking. The Flex will track your rest, but not specifically well, it registers every motion in bed as a duration where you’ve awakened. It’ll also function as a ‘quiet’ alarm, buzzing you awake in the early morning, which if you copulate a partner might be its neatest general trick. Which’s about it. All for $99.

There are not really major strikes against the FitBit Flex at the end of the day. If you do more activities than simply walking, you can enter them all by hand into the app, in addition to meals eaten and other such information, while the Flex itself tracks your passive task throughout the day. Overall, it’s a pretty good image of your total health. Even so, I think it’s necessary to temper expectations with the Flex. In truth, unless you want to greatly invest effort and time into FitBit’s task monitoring software, the Flex will be an underwhelming accessory for anybody who’s reasonably active currently. And as a motivational device? The Flex is best aimed at either the thoroughly sedentary, or those for whom various other kinds of workout besides walking are challenging or impossible.