Wearables are getting big. As the devices get smaller and smaller the industry gets bigger and bigger. With FitBit acquiring Pebble, the Apple Watch 2 doing poorly and Google still absent from the market it’s hard to tell what will happen. With wearable users still only around 325 million, there is huge room as the technology becomes accepted.
Why does this matter? Because a large portion of that group is using them to track fitness, sleep, and exercise. Finding great success and better self-awareness around those things. I myself bought one just for those reasons. A FitBit Flex 2 to be exact and have had it since the day they launched and shipped. I pre-ordered and everything, getting nothing extra which is ok but kind of a bummer as you usually expect some sort of pre-order perk. Since October 2016 I’ve basically been walking around every day with it on, washing when needed. This is through a few road trips, 2 cruises to Mexico and a Michigan winter. Here is what I found out.
Tracker – The tracker is exceptionally small and feels all though it could take some abuse. Compact is the right word when describing the whole setup and the tracker does not disappoint. It could be easy to lose though so be aware of that if you are like me and decide to stick it in a pocket when you want it but can’t wear a band. I’ll talk more about battery life later but I’m happy, to say the least. The front of the tracker sports a few lights that indicate your steps, notifications and other relevant information. Nothing super fancy there but I do like how soft and smooth the lights operate. Maybe that is a small detail but one that catches my eye when it does happen.
Band – The bands are made of a sort of plastic which is light and durable. Two of them come in the box, Large and Medium/Small. After charging and popping in your tracker it’s super easy to put on and take off. No clasps or anything of that sort, more of a pin kind of thing. The best part is that if anything gets on the band and tracker they are easy to remove, separate and wash. Also available in a bunch of colors, packs and some accessories for more fashionable looks. You could even get some generic chambers and make your own bracelet to hold your tracker. A lot of interesting things you could do with bands since the tracker is so small.
Charger – The charger is in the same style as previous flex chargers. It has three small pins for charging and a button for resetting your tracker. I find it super easy to pop in and out. The best thing for me is that it is small, only about 5 inches. This means portable when I travel.
Flex 2 connects via Bluetooth to their app. Be aware though, if you aren’t connected to the net that syncing is going to be troublesome. Not sure why but most of your data is stored online, on your Fitbit account. I’ve been unable to sync because I lacked the internet. Don’t worry though, just keep the tracker charged and when you finally get a connection it will pull all that unsynced data in. For instance, on a cruise, I don’t have the internet so I wore and tracked my steps but only got to see them once I got back. Kind of sweet actually.
Usage and Versatility
The uses of the whole Fitbit setup are pretty awesome. Since getting into the “track everything” mentality this has made it even better. Tracking is not only an important part of developing basic discipline but what is not tracked cannot be improved upon beyond that basic level. Why not use tools that help you see the REAL deal, not what you think is happening? Here is a list of all the amazing things you can track:
- Step Goals
Battery life. Often the elephant in the room it’s actually less about the product and more about the user. The Flex 2 is no different. In the beginning when I first used it the response may have been that the battery was not all that great. Lasting 2 or 3 days is nice but I was hoping for more. Through a few happenstances, I figured out that the problem getting me only 2-3 days was not the tracker but my settings. Make sure not to auto-sync and only sync once or twice a day. Using this method I have been able to get up to 4(maybe 5) days of solid battery life, with one more day of the red light when tap-checking my steps. It’s truly the syncing that is causing the battery drain so watch out and only sync when you actually need to know.
I will keep my quirks and quibbles to a small list:
- Syncing can glitch up sometimes.
- Exercise tracking can often be inaccurate on the type of exercise done.
- Initial pairing with an iPhone can extremely touchy and troublesome, once you get it though it will be fine.
- Connects technically with your phone even when not syncing, which I am guessing affects battery life.
- Not enough official band colors. (Yeah I went there)
- Overall Rating: 7.5
- Battery Life: ~4-5 days
- Waterproof: Yes
- Sleep Tracking: Yes
- Heart Rate: No
- Bands: Changeable
- Connects with Bluetooth
- Rugged Build
- Possibility for generic or custom bands