Fitbit One activity tracker review
Fitness gadgets are all the rage these days, but you'd be forgiven if you've never heard of Fitbit.
Effectively, the Fitbit One is a wearable computer that tracks your activity and tells you how well you're doing. With a big helping of motivation, its main aim is to help you get fitter.
Fitbit One review: Design
The Fitbit One is absolutely miniscule, and virtually weightless, yet still has a nice OLED display which shows steps, calories, distance, time and a slightly odd flower which tells grows as you become more active. It also shows how many floors you've climbed.
The One also tracks your sleep by monitoring movement while you're in bed. For this, you have to remove it from its rubber belt clip and insert it into the pocket on the wrist band that's included in the box. It also has a silent alarm, and will vibrate to gently wake you up.
It's available in black or burgundy. The black model has a blue display, while the burgundy one has a pink display.
Fitbit One review: Mobile app
The FitBit One has built-in Bluetooth and can sync wirelessly with iOS devices with Bluetooth 4 (that's the iPad 3 and 4, iPad mini, iPhone 4S and 5). The Fitbit will sync automatically.
Fitbit One review: Data
Once you start using Fitbit's companion app and the website, you quickly become overwhelmed by data. As well as all the data shown on the One itself, there's a myriad of graphs showing everything from activity to sleep and calories burned.
You can also manually enter other activities besides walking or running, such as swimming and cycling - calories are estimated for you. You can also track your weight - either manually or by using Fitbit's Aria Wi-Fi scales, and enter all the food and drink you consume.
Fitbit has partnered with quite a few other services, so if already use an app such as MyFitnessPal, you can use that expansive food database instead of Fitbit's own by linking your Fitbit account.
You can see your activity on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. It is also possible to set a variety of goals, but the default for Fitbit is 10,000 steps per day.
Fitbit One review: Motivation
With the Fitbit one, you might see a pop-up notification on your iPhone – or get an email – saying you're nearly at your goal, but there's no reward for hitting it, apart from your own satisfaction.
Each day you'll receive badges, such as for 5,000 steps or 10 floors climbed, as well as cumulative ones, for total distance covered, total floors climbed and so on.
Fitbit One review: Friends
Another motivational tool is the ability to compete with friends. Obviously they also need to own a Fitbit One, but rather than competing only against yourself, you want to top the charts each week.
Fitbit One review: Accuracy
We counted out 1,000 steps and the Fitbit, which was placed in our pocket, missed only 17 of those. It does also count pedal revolutions as steps while cycling, as long as the Fitbit is in your pocket.
Interestingly, the Fitbit One counts not only the calories you burn through exercise but also estimates the amount you burn simply by existing (it bases this on your age, height and weight).
In terms of sleep tracking, the Fitbit One has Normal and Sensitive modes, but you'd be forgiven for missing this as it's an option only available on the website. Similarly, that's where you can turn on or off the various measurements displayed on screen.
Even Normal mode, the Fitbit said I'd woken up a dozen times on some nights. In reality, it means you turned over in your sleep, but it's not exactly a scientific measure of how well you've slept. It does tell you how long you've actually slept versus the amount of time you were in bed, which can be interesting, but again, these aren't figures to take too seriously.
Fitbit One review: Convenience
Open the Fitbit One's box and you'll find several bits and pieces, including the two different carriers (the belt clip and the wristband), a Bluetooth USB dongle, and a charging cable.
It requires a short proprietary USB cable. As well as being easy to lose, it's inconvenient having to find said cable each time the One needs charging.
Fortunately, the Fitbit One does last around a week with a moderate amount of charging.
As the Fitbit is commonly placed in a pocket or clipped onto an item of clothing, it's easy to leave it behind when you change. We lost count of the number of times that happened over the three months of testing it.
Plus, when you slip the One into the wrist band you have to remember to hold the button to start the timer, otherwise it won't measure your sleep.
Fitbit One review: Bottom line
The Fitbit One costs £80, which may sound a lot, but it's considerably cheaper than competing devices such as Nike's Fuelband, which costs £130.
Overall, if you're looking for something to motivate you to exercise more and accurately measure your steps, the Fitbit One is a reasonably priced gadget with lots of functions.
The Fitbit One costs £80, which may sound a lot, but it's considerably cheaper than competing devices such as Nike's Fuelband, which costs £130. Overall, if you're looking for something to motivate you to exercise more and accurately measure your steps, the Fitbit One is a reasonably priced gadget with lots of functions.