Fitbit One: turn your everyday life into a fun path to fitness

simple.b-dis-png.h47e3210a910010717f0d5ec74009f261I have had a Fitbit One Wireless Activity + Sleep Tracker for just over a week and absolutely love it. This a device that measures your activity, adds a competitive nature (with yourself and others), and is part of the craze of gadgets about the Quantified Self.

The general idea behind the Quantified Self is about gaining self knowledge through numbers, with the intent of self improvement.

The Fitbit One logs the number of steps taken, floors climbed, distance walked, calories burned, activity level and sleep patterns. This information is collected on a day by day basis and wirelessly transmitted by Bluetooth 4 via a PC/Mac or compatible device (such as the iPhone) to the Fitbit website where you can compete against others or just yourself. There are also virtual badges you can earn by achieving milestones, such as 10,000 steps in a day, climbing 25 floors in day etc.

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Functionality is also available via the website or mobile apps to log food consumed, water consumed, activities done, sleep and weight. Appropriate calories are calculated and used to inform you how well you are tracking towards your goals.

Key Advantages

  • One of the key advantages the Fitbit One has, in my view, is that it can be easily concealed in a pocket or attached in a non-conspicuous way. This was a consideration I had when comparing this device against the Jawbone UP and Nike+ FuelBand.
  • It is also a very simple device to use, tracks a reasonable amount of info and has only one button.
  • Syncing of information to the Fitbit website happens transparently “over the air” once you have done a very simple PC/Mac installation. A USB dongle is supplied for enabling a PC/Mac to communicate with the Fitbit One via Bluetooth 4.
  • The gamification features, with virtual badges, competing with others and yourself provide a good additional drive to exercise.
  • An API is available for integration with. There is also an ecosystem of applications emerging, inc. integration with sites such as Runkeeper and Endomondo.
  • There is a silent alarm that will vibrate to wake you up.

key Shortcomings

  • Whilst there are apps for iPhones and Android, the Android devices don’t currently support synching. The main reason from reading the forums appears to be that the vast majority of Android devices do not have Bluetooth 4 support and anything lower than 4 would have too big a drain on the battery of the Fitbit device. Support is however apparently coming soon for some devices.
  • When tracking sleep, you need to explicitly hold down the button for two seconds to start the sleep event and hold it down again to turn it off. Whilst it does work it’s not great.
  • Whilst data is available to be extracted, doing this easily via the Fitbit site requires paying a Premium fee.
  • Setting the silent alarm to wake up cannot be done on the device itself and needs to be via the website or iPhone app.
  • To charge the device required using a special connector (which is provided). Charging is required every 5-7 days so you don’t want to misplace this. It also feels a bit strange to not be attached to the device while it’s charging.
  • Logging of food is a bit tedious, then again I’ve found this with all similar sites.
  • Since a USB dongle is typically required to support synchronisation of information, care must be taken not to lose this small dongle.
  • Whilst the Fitbit device can apparently take a bit of rain, it is not waterproof so you can’t wear it all the time.

Overall Synopsis

Whilst there are some shortcomings, compared to its competitors I think it is currently the best of the bunch and enjoy using it.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links for the Fitbit One product. By clicking through you are supporting Simon G’s Blog and I thank you. The article is completely non-biased.

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