Brands can only dream of becoming a necessity in every day life. That said, tablets, smartphones, and watches, are all items that most people use everyday. And very quickly, fitness gadgets are starting to become another tagalong item in your every day routine. The Fitbit Flex is one such piece of gadget wizardry that has weaved its way into our everyday lives.
Having tested the very ‘first’ Fitbit, proceeded by the Fitbit Zip, Fitbit One and even the Fitbit Aria scale, you can say we have very much ensconced ourselves in the Fitbit ecosystem. Fitbit’s products offer an all encompassing tracker for your daily activities, and that includes sleeping, eating, running, walking, and everything in between if you let it. And while the fundamentals of the Fitbit Flex in comparison to other Fitbit wireless trackers haven’t changed all that much, the way you wear it and how it displays your activity has changed. So instead of wearing a clip attached to your pants or bra, the heart of the Fitbit Flex is the Flex Tracker which is housed inside of a rubber bracelet. For over a month I have slept, walked, washed dishes, cooked, done laundry, rode a bicycle, and yes, even went to the bathroom wearing the Flex. It has also been places my Fitbit One has never been.
The Fitbix Flex comes with a rubber bracelet that is waterproof . This bracelet-like form-factor makes it easy to wear it and forget it. That said, probably the poorest aspect of the Flex band’s design is the fasteners that hold it together. It is nearly impossible to close on your own because you have to align the band with the notches in order for it to close correctly. In most cases, you’ll need help putting it on and adjusting it on your wrist for a comfortable fit. In any case, so far, and with heavy use, the bracelet has held up, and when I eventually decide to switch it up, Fitbit is offering up a nice selection of bands to choose from in different colors.
Furthermore, where the Fitbit Flex and differs from the other Fitbit line of trackers is how simple the notifications are. Gone is the calorie burn count, how many steps you walked, and the lovely vine like flower that grows with your daily progress. In exchange, you are alerted to your progress by a succession of dots. Just tap your flex band and several dots will light up indicating how well your progress was for the day. Once you achieve your goal, the Fitbit Flex will vibrate, and that is your cue to go eat a big piece of pizza with ice cream.
By default, 10,000 steps is the goal that sets off the band’s vibration, but that can be adjusted via the Fitbit dashboard. And the dashboard is really where you are going to see every little bit of detail for your Fitbit Flex. And with the Fitbit Flex, it is almost a necessity to frequently log into the Fitbit app, or the Fitbit online dashboard, if you want to know if you’re meeting your daily goals. Thankfully, both the app and the Fitbit dashboard continue to be regularly updated and are extremely user friendly and very resourceful.
The Fitbit Flex offers a welcome and alternative design in the Fitbit family of wireless trackers. And while its indicators are minimal at best, at least it offers more progress information at a glance, than the Jawbone Up does. Also the Fitbit app and its robust online dashboard is extremely easy to use, making it easy for all age categories to monitor their fitness progress throughout the day. Would I have liked the band to have been a bit more interesting in design – sure! But it is possible that additional styles will be coming soon. Furthermore, some may think it is a cop-out that Fitbit just didn’t make a smarter band, instead of essentially just taking a tracker and stuffing it into another accessory – but we say that instead of trying something new and failing, Fitbit stuck with what they knew works best and just decided to apply it to your lifestyle in a different way. And it’s certainly a bonus that with this wireless tracker form-factor, you wont likely accidentally send it off to the dry cleaners. The Fitbit Flex is available now and retails for $99.95.
The Good: You’ll never leave home without it. Battery lasts a full 7 days. Design makes it more unlikely to lose than a tracker with a clip design. If you are already in the Fitbit ecosystem – transistioning to the Fitbit Flex will be a breeze. It’s light on your wrist. Seamless dashboard and app make it easy to monitor your activities.
The Bad: Band is cheap feeling and difficult to close on your wrist by yourself. You will rely on the app or dashboard heavily for how you are doing throughout the day. Also, the indicators on the Fitbit Flex offer minimal information of your progress.