For a while now, the world of fitness wearables has been calling to me. I must confess I have never totally dedicated myself to a fitness tracker. There have been moments were a fitness band has lived on my wrist for a couple of days only to be swiftly evicted.
Now the time has come to finally commit and throw caution to the wind. I intend to fully immerse myself in the rapidly growing industry, but first I must decide which brand will suit my lifestyle best? After much thought, I have decided to trial the Fitbit Flex. The popular brand will be my wrist buddy for a full week. Why the Flex? well it has been described by Fitbit themselves as “the stylish wristband that fits your lifestyle”. So I decided to put that statement to the test and find out whether those words ring true. Roll on 16th November 2016.
When I get dressed in the morning, I usually adore looking through my accessory box, which is full of trendy, vintage and stylish pieces. Today was going to be different, before I select a ring or maybe a bracelet I decided to first unbox my Fitbit Flex, a device designed to track activity and sleep. At first glance, I was far from amused with the nondescript flat band made with soft rubbery material. To say I was disappointed by the design is an understatement, but I wasn’t discouraged. Although the band’s minimal detailing and sporty design did not have me doing back flips of excitement, I was impressed with its ability to wirelessly sync over Bluetooth 4.0. I also found myself appreciating its distinguishing feature, the LED display that illuminates to represent your progress. My curiousity was aroused, I wanted to find out how a device currently priced at £79.99 would improve my lifestyle for the better.
MONDAY 16TH NOVEMBER
Day 1 started with putting on the Fitbit Flex with my outfit of the day- black dress, denim shirt and chelsea boots. The lightweight rubber band wrapped around my wrist with ease, but getting it closed with the two-pin system proved to be quite a challenging. Once I had it on, the confusion set in, as I wondered what comes next? Shrugging my shoulders, I decided to just get on with my day.
By the evening I had forgotten that I was even wearing it. When I remembered that my wrist was no longer nude, I decided that it was time to take a peek at the Fitbit app on my phone, so I could find out just how active I had been. I was aware that I could view my progress while wearing it, but I could not quite figure out what all those blinking lights meant so I left that conundrum for another day.
TUESDAY 17TH NOVEMBER
Having slept with it on, I woke up appreciating the Flex’s simple, fuss-free nature. When I was brushing my teeth I noticed that it had picked up quite a bit of dirt but the water-resistant Flex returned to near enough new after my morning shower.
With a fashion event to attend, I wore my favourite jumpsuit by icelanic design house e-Label, only to quickly realise that the 24 hour Flex is simply not glamorous enough for a night out. So I decided that an outfit change was in order, and that it had to be something with sleeves long enough to hide the Flex (sigh).
ALSO READ: The Death of The Activity Tracker
WEDNESDAY 18TH NOVEMBER
I decided to do a morning work out, and was quite excited to see how being purposely active will affect my results. I was a little bit disappointed to learn that the Flex cannot give you exact data on the wrist. You are only able to retrieve it on the accompanying app that is downloaded on your mobile. What this meant was that I had to make an estimate based on the goal I had set. Which was a shame because I still I had not figured out what those lights meant.
After a long day of workout followed by working on FashNerd, I found myself lying on the sofa with a much needed glass of wine. It was a moment of reflection as I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if the Flex delivered notifications other than the vibrating and flashing that leaves me wondering what it is trying to tell me? My last thought before I went to bed was that I should really learn to talk Flex.
THURSDAY 19TH NOVEMBER
One of the features that excited me about the Flex was the sleep tracking. I was giddy with the idea that the device can log the amount of time I was asleep, how many times and for how long I was awake during the night, as well as how many times and the total length of time I was restless for. So after 3 nights of wearing it to bed, this was the morning that I decided to analyse my results. I must share that I found the sleep tracking to be inconsistent at best. Another bugbear was that the Flex required me to tell it when I planned to sleep, rather than doing it automatically. This meant that I had to always log in the time and press “Begin Sleep Now”, a task that can sometimes be forgotten after a long exhausting day at work.
I was getting to know my wrist companion and I enjoyed seeing how far I had come. The Flex educated me on my step count, distance traveled, calories burned and active minutes. I was also happy that I was able to link it to my MyFitnessPal app, mainly because the Fitbit Flex’s database of nutritional data was kind of disappointing.
FRIDAY 20TH NOVEMBER
Following a run with a friend adorning a Jawbone UP2 we shared our statistics, and I learnt that the Flex’s step and distance tracking is a little over-generous in its calculation. The Fitbit Flex logged 5.33km for a 5km run and calories burned were also around 60 more than my friend’s. The stats raised a few eyebrows between my friend and I. What I did enjoy was that the available goals can be altered through the Fitbit app. I was not restricted to the default 10,000 steps.
I started to feel my interest waning so I decided to add a few friends with Fitbit devices on Fitbit.com. I hoped that they could be the motivation that kept me on the straight and narrow by comparing my stats and sharing my progress.
SATURDAY 21ST NOVEMBER
I am happy to confess that I am yet to charge my Flex. This is a big bonus, because I would have hated to have to think about charging yet another device. The band has a week-long battery life that suits my busy lifestyle.
As I got dressed to head out for dinner with friends, I took a closer look at the design for the 100th time and realised that this functional band was definitely more brains than beauty. If only it was a little slimmer and a bit more rounded then maybe it could have complimented my velvet LBD and Steve Madden shoes.
SUNDAY 21ST NOVEMBER
Still not native in the Fitbit Flex language, I find myself getting exhausted with the unusually high number of taps it takes to access certain features, as well as a lack of explanation and interpretation for some of the data it provides.
By the evening, my week with Fitbit Flex came to an end. I learnt the following;
Design & Comfort: The Fitbit Flex is lightweight and very comfortable. It is not intrusive and unwieldy which made it easy to wear all week. As for the design, I was not impressed, but I know that their are a few people out there who love its simple look, so each to their own.
User Friendliness: Although some features were unnecessarily hard to reach, the Fitbit Flex features took a while to get used too including those blinking lights.
Value of Information: I enjoyed how the Fitbit Flex presented everything in percentages. This made it easier when it came to setting my goals. It’s downfall was that I did not have much success using the device to track my sleep accurately. There were nights where I knew that I awoke several times, but the Fitbit told me I’d slept straight through the night!
Inspirational Motivation: The Fitbit was my invisible companion. It silently managed to influence my behaviour somewhat, but whenever I found myself wearing something long sleeved, it quickly became a case of out of sight, out of mind.