After a recent conference in which many of my friends were already in full competition with each other using Fitbit gadgets (Fitbit Force and Fitbit Flex), I made the plunge and picked up a Fitbit Force. Two weeks into using the Force, I’m pleased, having fun, a bit more active and of course geeked out over the design and tech of it.
Keep in mind I haven’t used any of the other fitness bands or activity trackers on the market like the Nike FuelBand, the Fitbit Flex or the Jawbone Up. That said, I can’t imagine being more impressed with another simple health tracking product as much as I am with the Force.
The Force band and corresponding mobile app and website help you track steps, miles, floors (stairs), active minutes, calories burned, weight, sleep, calorie consumption and water consumption. Not all of these metrics are tracked via the band as you can imagine, some require app entry. Lastly, the app allows you to compete with friends on steps, nudge, cheer and message each other (more on that later). Social pressure and game on.
The Fitbit Force Band Itself
There are more than a few elements to what the Fitbit Force “experience” is, but lets focus on the actual band itself to start with. It’s well designed, sleek, attractive and light weight. Two weeks in and I’m not even aware it’s on my wrist most of the time.
- Sleek, futuristic design that offers as much fashion as function (at least for me)
- Clear digital display that features a watch display in addition to activity metrics
- Simple one touch button to flip between screens/metrics
- Holds a charge for about 6 days
- Simple set-up in about 5 minutes
- The band fastener can sometimes be hard to clip
- The device is one, so no replacing just the band if you need a new one
- Other reviews cite the clasp coming undone, I haven’t had that happen yet
The Fitbit App Is Awesome
In both design and function I’m loving the Fitbit app. Once I downloaded it to my iPhone I was impressed with the simple, clean and intuitive design … just like the band. While the Force also syncs with your laptop via USB and the browser version allows much more of a dashboard, I find the app to be easily more than what I need to check up on my daily progress and my friends.
As I mentioned, the browser based dashboard through your Fitbit.com account gives an even more robust charting display, but I rarely look at it since the app gives me the things I really care about.
One thing that didn’t impress me with the Fitbit app is the calorie counter to track what you have eaten. For the last year I have used MyFitnessPal for that and I find it to be much more robust for that. MyFitnessPal has a deeper food database, especially for home prepped items and a handy barcode scanner to input food products into your daily food diary. I hope that a future Fitbit app upgrade will include building this feature out further.
Friendly Or Fierce Competition?
As I finish writing this post I received a Facebook post from Ed Reese letting me know he was gunning for me. Not only is the competition within the Fitbit app, Ed has taken it public on Facebook. Funny stuff … but yet pressure to stay on top. Just one more motivation to keep at it.
It Will Track You, It Won’t Slap You
The Force won’t change your life, you have to do that. If you are expecting that an activity tracking device will revolutionize your health and exercise regiment you’ll be disappointed. It won’t move your hand to slap you to get out of bed and workout or get off the couch.
It will however bring data and competition to your activity if you let it. I’m enjoying putting a number to how much I exercise in a day, how much water I drink, my sleep patterns and more. The use of the Force has prompted me to get up from my desk more often in the office, take the stairs over the elevator and even walk the long way to get somewhere.
At the end of a week of data it will even send you a summary email breaking down your totals, trends and ranking with friends.
Overall, I’m loving the Fitbit Force as you can tell. I’m hoping it becomes a long term integration with my health and fitness as I can use more of that on the positive side.
Other Fitbit Force Reviews
Here are a few other reviews I read prior to deciding to buy my Fitbit Force.
- Engadget: Fitbit Force review: a wrist-worn pedometer with smartwatch aspirations
- Business Insider: REVIEW: The Nike FuelBand Versus The Fitbit Force
- CNET: Fitbit Force Review, A fitness tracker tour de force (VIDEO)