The FitBit Flex is a slim, stylish device that is with you all the time. During the day, it tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. At night it tracks your sleep quality and wakes you silently in the morning. Overall a very clever piece of kit. The Flex consists of two separate parts – the sensor and the strap. It doesn’t include an LED display like its predecessor the FitBit “One” but that does allow it to be smaller, sleeker and more lightweight.
Instead of the LED screen, five LED lights indicate the number of steps taken through the day and are only activated by double tapping the device.
The strap is very simplistic; unlike a watch strap or even a bracelet, it just uses a plastic grey latch. You simply poke the plastic ‘prongs’ (there’s probably a technical term for them, but… well, they are) into a couple of holes on the strap with a satisfying dull thunk. The strap itself comes in a whole range of colourful straps, which allows users to customise the look to suit their own personality (or day’s outfit). Because the actual counter simply pops into the strap, you can chop and change the strap all you want.
One of the most prominent changes from the FitBit “Jawbone” to the Flex is the inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0 wireless syncing. Instead of having to manually remove the device each time and manually plug it into your phone to sync, the FitBit will periodically wake up and connect to your phone, keeping your stats up to date.
The flex is also pretty accurate when counting steps – it won’t be dead on, presumable as it’s on your wrist and not on your leg, but it’s pretty damn close. After walking 200 counted steps, it was reading 187… which could have purely been my steps being irregular or something. Measuring next to the Jawbone, it is far more accurate; the Jawbone only reading 153 steps. However, neither being spot on, it makes you wonder about the idea of the wrist strapped device counting your steps – and whether it should be mounted to a leg or in a trouser pocket?
Overall, the FitBit is a pretty awesome piece of kit, delivering all the information needed to keep on top of your fitness (though be warned – obsession starts to creep in once you begin tracking your steps and calories burned. It’s a nightmare, I got totally sucked in!). The wristband could use a little more work; it’s lightweight and comfortable, but looks more like a freebie charity wristband, or the watchband on a kids watch than truly a stylish piece of tech. And it could be more accurate with step counting. It did also take a little practice before I got the snap-and-thunk connection sorted.
But all that said, the FitBit Flex has shown the strengths of its platform, wireless syncing is essential in this product line-up and having a strong app ecosystem is a huge benefit to fitness trackers out there. I personally love the product, but I’m looking forward to the next one, hoping they improve on these small issues, then the product will be perfect.
But if you know someone this Christmas who would like something like this, FitBit is perfect – you can’t really go wrong.
The FitBit Flex is available from Halfords for £75, with additional bands in different colour available in packs for under £23.