Fitbit One: Hands On Review
This review is specific to the Fitbit One tracking hardware with information on the Fitbit service available in my recent Fitbit: Online Health and Fitness Tracking article.
Having been interested in Fitbit for a long time now, but not having had the chance to get my hands on their products I was lucky enough to get to speak with one of their sales team at Mobile World Congress thanks to Nokia. Whilst at the event I was able to make contact with the Fitbit team.
As a result I received a black Fitbit One to trial and review which I have been testing for a few months now.
The Fitbit One makes recording some of these categories easier by automating the recording of steps, stairs climbed, calculated distance travelled and calculated calories burned. The advantage of the Fitbit One over the Fitbit Flex is that the Fitbit One has a built in display providing live updates on these categories as well as a clock and alarm feature. These features were added to the Fitbit Flex in the form of the Fitbit Force which had to be pulled off sale due to issues, (which I hope will be resolved soon) so whilst the Fitbit Force is unavailable the Fitbit One remains the most capable option.
Size & Appearance
The Fitbit One has a slim profile (5cm x 2cm x 1cm) and weighs in at a mere 8g making it hardly noticeable. The shape of the Fitbit One is smooth and rounded like a pebble eroded by water for many years. When this is added to its use of tactile materials with a smooth glossy plastic finish on the front and anodised/brushed aluminium look and feel on the rear the Fitbit One is a pleasure to both the eyes and fingertips.
The colour options are quite limited when compared to the rest of the Fitbit tracker range with only black and burgundy options available.
In addition to its MEMS 3-axis accelerometer, used to determine ‘Steps’ taken, ‘Distance’ travelled and ‘Calories Burned’ the Fitbit One incorporates an altimeter used to calculate ‘Stairs’ climbed and a cylindrical vibration motor to provide vibration feedback and a silent alarm feature.
During non-active hours the Fitbit One utilises its internal accelerometer to determine ‘Sleep Quality’ by monitoring the amount of movement during the night requiring the unit to be transferred from its clip holder to the included wrist band during sleeping hours.
Although the Fitbit One is not waterproof, it will survive rain, splashes and sweat helping protect it during outdoor and high intensity workouts, just remember to take it off before you hit the pool.
To provide feedback to the user the Fitbit One incorporates a high contrast, OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display, navigated by pressing a small low profile button next to the screen, providing direct access to the following information:
- Calories burned
- Floors climbed
- Flower (grows and shrinks based on your recent activity)
The Fitbit One benefits from an integrated lithium-ion polymer rechargeable battery which lasts about five days between charges. Charging is done via a small proprietary USB cable connected to either a PC or mains USB charger (not included) and the display provides a low battery and charging indicator. As with the Fitbit Flex, the Fitbit One sync logged data to the service via PC using a dedicated USB dongle or via the Bluetooth 4.0 and the official Fitbit app on iPhone and Android smartphones.
The Fitbit One is sold with a clip holder for active wear, a wrist band to hold the unit during sleeping hours, a USB charge cable and a proprietary Bluetooth USB dongle.
The Clip Holder looks and feels solid and high quality. The flexible, high grip, rubber used to tightly fit around the Fitbit One is a dream to use with the rubbery grip minimising the risk of the it sliding off clothing whilst training, although it also makes the clip harder to remove from the same clothing, feeling like it will damage/wear the clothing prematurely. It feels that a spring loaded form factor rather than the bent metal clip would be easier to attach and detach from clothing at least once a day.
The Wrist Band is the one packaged accessory that feels like costs have been cut. Although it looks nice when initially unpackaged, after a couple of months, the daily opening and closing of the velcro fixing has distorted the wristband making it feel like the Fitbit One will outlast the Wrist Band in no time at all.
In addition to this the slot through which the FItbit One is inserted and removed from the Wrist Band began to distort within a month implying that the Fitbit One could fall out whist wearing the Wrist Band.
Also the Wrist Strap feels too wide, being designed for the Fitbit One to fit across it’s width rather than in-line with the Wrist Band. As the mesh behind which the Fitbit One sits being square the fit is sloppy at best with the unit being able to rotate within the wrist band.
In my opinion the wrist band should follow that of the Fitbit Flex enabling its wearing during workouts if clothing limits the use of the clip. This would also have the Fitbit One sitting across the wrist greatly reducing the width of the Wrist Band and provide a longer lasting, more resilient accessory.
USB Charge Cable
The USB Change Cable is simple and effective with a standard USB plug at one end and a purposely designed cup for the Fitbit One to fit in on the other. Although it feels well made, it may have been easier for the user to incorporate a micro USB charging connection into the Fitbit One instead of a proprietary cable. This would then enable users to use common charging cables and connections across devices.
The Bluetooth USB Dongle is very compact and ensures that the Fitbit One only connects to the PCs that the user chooses to use as the Fitbit will not connect to standard PC Bluetooth connections without specific drivers only loaded into the official Fitbit app on iPhone and Android smartphones.
Initial setup was a breeze, requiring the USB dongle be inserted in the computer and the Fitbit setup software to be installed.
Once installed, a screen prompt is displayed requesting the user enters Fitbit login details or registers to the service.
The next check the set-up software performs is to search for the USB dongle.
Once found the software searches for a wirelessly connected Fitbit tracker (in this case the Fitbit One).
Once found the software checks the power level of the Fitbit One as there is a minimum power level required to complete setup.
Once the setup is complete the Fitbit One syncs automatically whenever it is within Bluetooth range of the plugged in USB dongle, transferring the recorded data directly to the web service via the connected PC.
Windows 8 Metro Official App
Although I am happy to say that there is an official Fitbit Windows 8 Metro app, I am saddened to say that it is a viewer only with no way to add or update information. This being said, the interface is quite easy to use and the look and feel is quite polished.
Windows Phone 8 3rd Party App
Based on a recent update in the Fitbit Community Help Forums there is an official Fitbit Windows Phone app in development although no expected release date has been provided. Hopefully the app will provide the level of functionality afforded to the official Fitbit iPhone and Android apps and this functionality will bleed over to the Windows app based on it being a global app (working on both Microsoft platforms).
In the interim, there are a number of unofficial 3rd party apps available in the Windows Phone Store, of which my favourite is Fitbit Tracker, providing more functionality than the official Fitbit Windows 8 Metro app as it enables the adding and updating of information in addition to viewing of information. Sadly, and possibly due to 3rd party limitations, none of the 3rd party Windows Phone 8 apps are able to sync directly to the Fitbit One unlike the official Fitbit app on iPhone and Android smartphones.
The more limited colour options and additional functions make the Fitbit One feel like it is aimed at sportier types wanting to record their fitness/health activities and sleep quality to analyse later in order to improve there fitness regime. The build quality and aesthetic of the unit make it feel well worth it’s (£79.99) price tag with the less capable Fitbit Flex priced identically. This being said, the wrist strap provided for the Fitbit Flex appears to be much better designed with a much more hard wearing appearance.
[NOTE: This review is solely related to the Fitbit One and not the Fitbit service which was covered by my recent Fitbit: Online Heath and Fitness Tracking article.]
Quality – 4/5
Value – 4/5
Quality – 2/5
Value – 3/5
[NOTE: The Accessories would have scored 4 out of 5, but the Wrist Band severely lets down the rest of the accessories, feeling like a low quality cost cutting exercise, which will not last the life of the unit.]