Fitbit One: Wireless Activity + Sleep Tracker

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Today, I finally got the One! The Fitbit One, that is. My very first Fitbit gadget.

I've been hearing about how great Fitbit is for some time now. But, I wasn't too convinced that a tiny gadget would help me to be more active. You see, it's no secret: I really suck when it comes to fitness/exercise.

It wasn't always this way, mind you. But, the last year or two has well and truly led me back to a more sedentary lifestyle.

As a work-from-home entrepreneur, my commute is both a blessing and a curse. I LOVE that it takes me less than a minute to get to my office - from the time I'm all showered and dressed 'til I sit down at my desk for my work day. And, most of the time, I don't really go very far from my computer for the rest of the day.

But, no matter how much I'm loving it (especially when I hear about traffic, bad weather, closed train lines, etc) - I'm guessing that the whole thing is not really doing my health any favours.

That's why I mentioned about a couple of months ago that I'm going to start setting myself a few new fitness goals. But now, I must admit: I haven't been doing too well, even with my really basic goals. Partly because I didn't know how to keep myself accountable. The tools I've been using weren't really helping me out enough by way of motivation. And, short of hiring myself a personal trainer, I wasn't quite sure what else to do at this stage.

This is how I ended up deciding that maybe investing in a Fitbit gadget isn't such a bad idea. After all, it's cheaper than a gym membership - and more likely to get me moving.

Finding The One: FitBit One

Testing Fitbit as my Fitness Tracker

Like any gadget I decide to try, I often try to do my research first before jumping in. When I did a call-out a couple of months ago when it comes to fitness trackers and tools, friends and contacts suggested all sorts of apps and gadgets. Of course, Fitbit was one of those gadgets that was mentioned often. I figured that this is a good place to start as any.

So, my next research question: Which Fitbit gadget would be best for me?

I found out that I have three immediate options: Fitbit Flex, Fitbit One, and Fitbit Zip.  Someone also told me that it might be worth waiting for Fitbit Force. It wasn't available in Australia yet, but it should be on the market early in 2014. I saw it being sold on Ebay for about AU$200(!).

Offhand, from the first three options, I would have immediately gone for the Fitbit Flex. It looked cool - and I like the idea of a wearable fitness tracker that I don't have to worry about remembering to use, as it will be just like a watch to wear. The fact that it was waterproof seemed extra cool. But, I decided against it because I read a few not-so-nice reviews in different places (ie, tech websites/blogs, fitness forums and personal blogs).

Personally, I wasn't too worried about the reports of inaccuracy on the Fitbit Flex. I know that these things won't be 100% accurate. However, the following points didn't appeal to me about the Fitbit Flex:

  • It has no real data display. Just lights that would let you know when you reach every 20% of your goal. You need to check your computer or your mobile phone app to get the data.
  • It primarily measures data using arm movements. Not a massive deal, but I thought it might be a little frustrating if it counts movements while I'm sitting down, eating in front of my computer - or while painting, reading, etc. Or, if it doesn't accurately count my movement if I was pushing a supermarket trolley because my arms are stationary while I pushing. I know that the settings may be changed and that the difference might not be too much. But, my biggest goal when it comes to my fitness at the moment is actually to get me on my feet and move - to avoid the massive back pains that I've experienced this year. 
  • It doesn't have an altimeter, so it can't count floors/stairs. I thought I'd like the ability to do that because I live in a two-storey house and I would like to encourage myself to use my 'natural exercise tools' without having to buy expensive exercise machines. Plus, it would be good if I can make myself take the stairs when I'm out and about, instead of taking the lift or the escalators - which I often do. 😉

The Fitbit Flex retails for AU$129.95 on the Fitbit website and at Harvey Norman. However, I found it on Ebay for AU$115.

I also considered the Fitbit Zip, as it was the cheapest of the lot (AU $79.95 on the website and at HN). I thought it might be a good idea to get on the Fitbit bandwagon with the most inexpensive device first. I know it doesn't have the Sleep Tracker, like the Fitbit Flex, Fitbit One, and Fitbit Force. But, having tried sleep tracker apps in the past, I haven't really found it useful to track my sleeping patterns in the past. So, this wasn't a dealbreaker for me. However, there were a couple of things that went against the Fitbit Zip for me:

  • The lack of altimeter function, like the Flex.
  • It runs on batteries, instead of a charging cable. It might not matter so much in the end, but I prefer gadgets that don't require such batteries if possible.

And yes, even though the Fitbit Force seemed like the most ideal for me, in terms of a number of functions that I like, I decided that it was not worth the wait for me at the moment because:

  • I read several reviews that said that while Fitbit Force is amazing, the clasp just wasn't all too great. It keeps falling off. That didn't sound so good.
  • It's not waterproof. One of the reasons the Flex was attractive to me was the idea that I might be able to use it to gauge my swimming activity. But, this is not the case here. Plus, unlike the Flex, I can't keep it on me all the time, so the idea of "just wear it and forget about it" isn't there.

And yes, the price! On Ebay, it's at AU $200. They might sell it more cheaply on the Fitbit website and/or HN when it becomes available in Australia. But still, it won't be as cheap as the Zip nor the Flex and the One.

So, as you already know, the winning Fitbit device for me right now is the Fitbit One. I really like the reviews that I've read about it. I was especially appreciative of those who did an actual comparison of the Fitbit One vs the Fitbit Flex. It helped me to make up my mind, even though my first instinct was to choose the Flex.

And yes, Fitbit One is the same price as the Fitbit Flex at AU$129.95 on the Fitbit website and at Harvey Norman. Since I found it on Ebay for AU$115, I bargained with the folks at HN and got it for this price.

I'll let you know in the next few weeks how it affects my daily activity and if I do end up liking this whole Fitbit phenomenon.

So far, I've tried to walk around in circles in my house, just so I can add up the steps. Heh. In any case, I have no idea if I can meet the default 10,000 steps a day goal and such. But, it will be interesting to see how I measure up.

About the Author Shai Coggins (MTeach, MSoc Sci App Psych)

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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