A bunch of people including my editor have great interest in a piece of tech that is small, stylish, and supposedly helps you get fit. I’m going to split this up into a separate post for each product I’m going to cover over the next month. They are: the Fitbit Flex, Force, and Nike Fuelband. These products all boast the same thing, and promise to help you get fit. Now before I get into the exact details of the first product, The Flex, I want to touch on two popular and important questions that are always associated with these products.
How do these bands work?
Depending on the one you use these bands are really just a piece of plastic that went into a Best Buy and started borrowing pedometers, accelerometers, batteries, Bluetooth, and a bunch of other tracking devices from phones and other tech you might find in a fitness gym. Combining these different technologies within the band (along with your phone and companion app) it starts gathering information and putting everything into charts and numbers to tell you how well you are doing. Some of the bands also track your sleep and how well you sleep, not much information out there on how this is done but it is something offered.
Do they really work?
This is a tough one because of the lack of science going into the bands. By that I mean that I cannot find any health professionals or doctors who say that this device will help you get the results you want or that it is accurate in the info it does give you. Pedometers and accelerometers aren’t going to give you the kinds of information that you would get from a fitness professional. Some don’t have heart rate monitors, which are considered to have accurate tracking. A good point to make here is that you should not substitute the info you get from any tracker instead of going to a medical professional in order to get the help you need. USA Today has a good article outlining the skepticism from the medical community HERE.
So what makes these things so useful and popular? Well almost all of them are banking on the idea that motivation always wins. Think about it. You pay a lot of money at a gym, hire personal trainers, spend money on new running shoes every 1,000 miles, and work hours every day making sweat. What gets you to do that? Some type of motivation, and it’s a little different for each individual. These bands bank on rewarding your motivation by offering numbers that either look promising or need work. This motivation to reach a certain heart rate or number of steps per day is what gets you working hard. If you work hard and keep it up you can really start seeing the reward. So what does the flex have to offer?
The Flex is a very small product that isn’t showy. It doesn’t really offer any extras except four lights that tell you how close you are getting to your goal. They do come in a ton of color choices for your personal style and are adjustable but that’s about all it offers on the outside. The Flex is a pure tracker that’s designed to be a minimal daily distraction. It’s lightweight and focuses on its own data measurements. The flex is the cheapest of the group (that I will be comparing) and makes the most sense for the person who wants a tracking device that does everything like the Fitbit Force, for a cheaper price of $99. As you get closer to your daily goal the lights begin to light up on the wristband. When you connect the Fitbit to a computer you get a lot more detailed information with different charts and numbers there to help you reach your goals and make important decisions. This should help you to reach your goals more quickly and raise them to a higher level. It tracks your sleep as well as letting you know how long you slept and how well you slept. The band can also wake you up with a silent alarm (vibrations). Let’s look at the spec sheet that comes with the Fitbit Flex.
- Wireless dongle (for connecting to computer)
- Large and Small size options
- Water resistant and can submerged to 10 feet
- 5 day battery life
- Adjustable band
- Max Altitude 30,000 Feet
- Operating Temp: -4 degrees to 113 degrees F
All in all the Fitbit Flex is a solid device that is focused purely on performance. It delivers detailed information while being discreet at the same time. When I looked at it in person it’s a band that I could live with on a daily basis and not worry about it getting in the way. The Flex does have an app for both Apple and Android devices but is a product which prefers to be loaded into a PC or Mac. The latter shows the true muscle of the device and can give you the most detailed information on the device.
I would love to hear from you if you have one of these! Has it helped you? Do you think it delivers on the promises? Let us know!