Fitbit Flex Review – Worth The Fuss?
The Fitbit Flex, definitely affordable, and one of the most popular activity trackers around.
To find out if it’s worth all the fuss, here is our Fitbit Flex review.
What’s in the box?
1 x Fit Flex device, 1 x Bluetooth Dongle, 2 x Wrist Straps (different sizes), 1 x Proprietary USB Charger.
The strap itself is a very simple design, with the Fitbit device slotting into the band to show the 5 light display. Two straps are included, one large, one small. The strap clips together in a strong clasp/hole setup that feels like it’s not going to come off in a hurry. Although simple in design, getting the thing attached to the wrist proved to be quite tricky. Overall the design is functional but although not in the same league as the Nike Fuel Band SE or the Jawbone UP24, once on the wrist the Flex is light, comfortable and easy to wear. The strap is currently available in 8 colors – Black, Slate, Tangerine, Teal, Navy, Violet, Blue, and Lime.
Fitbit Flex charging needs to be done when removed from the strap, but you shouldn’t have to do this very often as battery life seems to last between 5 and 6 days. Although removing the device from the strap to charge it seems like a bit of pain, you’ll see it’s necessary as the device is a sealed unit with just 3 contacts at one end. This makes the Flex pretty water tight. The device is charged via a proprietary usb charger which can be plugged into either a pc usb port or a mains usb plug. You can’t actually see the battery life on the device itself you’ll have to rely on the app for that. We’d recommend charging from a wall socket as the device charges much quicker this way.
The manufacturer says that the Flex is waterproof to a couple of meters, we didn’t try this, but swimming and showering proved no problem. The device didn’t measure swimming activity very well as it only does steps.
Inside the tiny device is a processor that measures different motion patterns, to determine things such as steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled and even the quality of your sleep.
The display, as previously mentioned, is a 5 LED light display – all 5 lights lit denotes 10,000 steps taken. (1 light = 2000 steps) You can also track your night time activity – hours slept, times woken up and sleep quality. It also has a built in vibrate/alarm function.
To wake the device up to check progress etc, a firm double tap is all that’s required. To put the device into sleep mode, rapidly tap the face until two lights are displayed telling you sleep mode has been activated. To bring the device out of sleep mode just rapidly tap again until the display indicates the device is awake.
Ok, the device gives you a basic heads up on how you’re doing, but to get the full benefit you’ll need the app.
One the most important differences between the Fitbit Flex and many of its rivals, is it doesn’t have the ability to display figures to show you your progress, only the five light display. To properly use your device you need to hook it up to your phone or tablet. The device supports iOS, Android and Windows operating systems.
When the Fitbit Flex was first released it was only available on Apple devices and a very limited number of Android devices, which seemed to be a major drawback. Fitbit have since addressed this, and the App is now available on a wide range of smart phones.
It’s definitely worth checking to see if your phone is on the list before you buy. You can check here.
You’ll also need a Fitbit account, which is basically an email and a password, here’s the link – sign up page.
You can also download the app before you buy the Flex itself if you wish, which is worth doing as it gives you a good idea of what you’re going to get stats wise. Search for “Fitbit” on the app store relevant to your device.
There are also a whole host of other apps that will also sync with your device, Walgreens, Myfitnesspal and Foodzy to name a few. You can find a list of compatible apps here.
To get started, you first need to download the Fitbit software dashboard to your Pc or Mac. The software download can be found here.
Once the software is installed, sign in to your new account and the software will guide you through the straight forward set up instructions. Once you have gone through the set up instructions you will be asked to sync your device via the bluetooth dongle. The bluetooth dongle uses bluetooth 4.0 and as result uses a lot less power.
To connect your device, hold the device near the dongle and double tap to wake the device up. The dongle will detect the device (on first set up this sometimes takes a little while) and you will get a screen confirming that your Flex has been found. After the device has been set up once the dongle will normally detect the device within 10 feet.
Next you will need to link the app to your device via your Fitbit account. Open the app, log in to your account and via bluetooth, connect your device to your phone. When the device is synced to your phone the app will tell you that the link is successful.
When opened the app displays the main screen which shows you distance traveled, calories burned, how much water consumed and current weight.
The next menu is the activities screen which shows you steps taken and how far you are towards your goals.
Next is your weight screen along with calories burned. N.B. turning the screen to landscape mode will display more information such as extended graphs etc.
Next is the “Friends” screen where can add friends who have a Fitbit account, so you can see their stats and how they are doing.
Finally comes the food screen. The food menu is pretty comprehensive, but sometimes does struggle to find certain food items, and searching through the database can sometimes become a little tedious. Hopefully in later updates of the app the Fitbit team may consider incorporating a bar code style scanner to make things a little easier.
You can also monitor your sleep activity from the app. You can set the device to sleep mode by repeatedly tapping the device as said before, but you can also manually enter the time you are going to sleep and the time you awoke via the app itself.
Another nice little feature is the ability to set a silent vibrate alarm via the app. Just choose the time and day you want the alarm to go off and the Flex will buzz accordingly.
That concludes our Fitbit Flex review. To sum up, as an affordable activity and sleep tracker, the device functions very well even though it doesn’t have a traditional display as such. The app and Fitbit dashboard are comprehensive and will definitely help you achieve your fitness and weight loss goals.