FitBit Flex Review

On opening the FitBit Flex* I was sceptical that this would be another gadget to add to the pile of workout paraphernalia I’d previously accumulated; resistance bands, skipping ropes, yoga matts in a variant of thicknesses and colour. 

You see, I have this theory that if I buy the kit, I’ll use it and this time I will definitely loose weight. 

Of course to date I use the ruddy things once before the novelty wears off and they make their way to the charity shop during one of my six-monthly clear outs!

All the gear but no idea...

The Fitbit sat rather comfortably around my wrist. A thin, lightweight, rubber band which is by no means a fashion statement. Although it’s discreet appearance is probably to its credit as it subtly compliments any outfit and not just your sporty gym get up, unlike a lot of it’s bulky, garish competitors. 

The box comes with two wrist straps sizes as standard and I use the smaller of the two. Completing the box is a 3cm dongle that is charged via the USB lead included, then easily fitted into the rubberised capsule of the wristband. 

There’s no display per say, everything is done via an app which was quick and easy enough to set up. For non-smart phone users you can also access your account via the web with the device speedily transferring its data via bluetooth. 

The circular, cool-blue lights indicate it’s mode. You can set it for its main purpose as a pedometer or double-tap with two fingers - much like the Apple Mac's trackpad - to switch to sleep mode.

Personally I’m not keen on the idea of sleeping with the band on. I'd find it irritating as I like to strip everything off (jewellery wise - perves!) so I don’t feel restricted. Going to bed with the wristband on would defeat the object of assisting my sleep, so I cannot really comment on this function. 

The pedometer mode however was good fun to use and I did find myself making a conscious effort to move around a lot more in order to reach the daily goal which I'd left preset at the recommended 10,000 steps a day. I’d find myself peeking at the app to see if I was any closer to the target and over exaggeratedly striding up and down to ensure it was achieved.

I have to admit the accuracy is questionable. I noted when checking the app after being plonked at my desk for a few hours that it had generously claimed I’d walked around 70 steps. I think it had picked up my vigorous typing of the keyboard (and definitely not the manoeuvre of me shovelling multiple Cadbury’s Hero’s repeatedly into my gob...) as I understand it tracks wrist motion as apposed to your actual steps. 

Once I’d learned this I found myself jolting my wrist up and down whenever I was nearing my 10k target because the band cheerily vibrates when you hit your goal. Even as a grown up I am excited at the prospect of earning myself a virtual pat on the back. But of course I could do this whilst sat down, very much defeating the object. 

I fully appreciate I was cheating no one but myself but what can I say!? The obsessive compulsive in me didn’t want a “target not reached” red X sullying the rest of my weeks’ efforts on the apps display. 

In contrast I also found it temperamental when I was actually walking. You see I’m usually clutching my phone in my hand flipping through tracks on Spotify or WhatsApp'ing friends as I pound the pavement. I therefore keep my arm relatively stationery, not often swaying them in the alternate motion you’d perhaps expect of a walker.

So maybe I’m the one being cheated?! 

The charging cycle and battery life is quite impressive (once every 4/5 days or so) and the app’s layout is clean albeit basic, making it doodle for tracking device novices to navigate, although there is a premium service you can pay extra for which is further detailed. 

Did it encourage me to walk more? Yes it did. 

Is it an accurate representation of your daily steps? Well, I’m not so sure. 

But this affordable piece of tech really did encourage me to move around a lot more than I usually would and anything that assists in getting a bit more Slimming World ‘Body Magic’ into my day can surely only be a good thing.

Fitbit devices are available at Decathlon.

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