Consumer electronics continue to be dominated by wearable tech and wearable tech continues to be dominated by fitness bands. Fitbit has been a pioneer and leader in wireless fitness technology since 2009 and the Fitbit Flex is the current flagship in its line of fitness trackers. Its other fitness band, the Fitbit Force, is out of production and in recall due to a small number of users developing a skin rash from wearing it.
Like other fitness bands, the Fitbit Flex is designed to be worn all the time, tracking activity during the day and sleep at night. Similar to the Jawbone Up, the Flex doesn’t have a screen, but relies on tiny LED lights to indicate your progress in meeting goals. The tiny lights indicate what percentage of your goals have been met in 20% increments. You decide what goal is being tracked, whether calories burned, steps taken or distance covered. In addition to these three metrics, the Flex tracks active minutes during the day, and the amount and quality of sleep at night.
While the Flex syncs with iPhones and certain Android devices, it doesn’t share the compatibility issues that the Jawbone has since it comes with a USB dongle that will handle syncing directly to a PC or Mac. Via the cloud-based app, it is then easy to have the data synced to your handheld device if desired. Another difference some people like is that the tracker is actually a small device that fits inside the band. This allows you to change out the band to different colors or potentially use the tracker in other devices, a possibility also featured in the Sony Smartband. Since the actual electronics fit inside the plastic band, it is a bit more water-resistant than some of its competitors. Keep it on while you shower, bathe or wash the dishes, but don’t take it swimming.
As with all fitness bands, the Flex keeps track of fitness and calories simply by counting the steps you take during the day. The calorie calculation is based on your age, weight and height entered during the setup process. For tracking sleep, you have to tell the Flex to enter sleep mode by a series of taps. This might be a little cumbersome when all you really want to do is turn out the light and close your eyes.
If you are looking for a well-designed and fairly economical fitness band to be your constant companion in your quest for well-being, give the Flex by Fitbit a try.