Fitbit One: Wireless Activity + Sleep Tracker


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.

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  1. says

    Shai, I had a very similar experience in choosing my Fitbit.
    Beginning with the notion of actually having and wearing an activity tracker. My wife suggested what might have been the best option. Put a rubber band around my wrist to remind me to exercise. Cheap enough… but not what I really wanted. I wanted to be more aware of my activity levels. Chart them, improve them and be able to set some goals.
    Rightly so, you and I started out with what features were important. For me, daily stats on my exercise program and my sleep habits were at the top of my list.
    I ended up choosing a Flex. It has passed the “waterproof” test to a certain extent. I have been swimming and showering with it on for a month now with no issues. It fits my wrist well, so much so that I really am unaware of it. I like the minimal display too, if there were more, I would find myself fidgeting with it during the day. I like that I have to use the app to check stats. And the stats are good, daily weekly and monthly.
    In addition, most Fitbit products communicate with other apps and fitness services. I have mine connected to my page as well as Microsofts Health Vault.
    Bottom line for me was recognizing that with today’s go go go lifestyle, I have to put the important things front of mind. Fitbit helps me do just that. And satisfys my geek tooth at the same time.

    • says

      Glad to hear your Fitbit Flex is working for you, Tom! It was a tough choice and I still wish I had a device that I can just keep with me, without thinking about it. But, so far, Fitbit One’s not doing too badly. :) I’d love to find time to figure out how to connect it to different things too, especially Microsoft’s Health Vault, Thanks for sharing your experience/feedback! :)
      Shai Coggins recently posted..2013 HighlightsMy Profile

  2. Leah Atkinson says

    I received a Flex from my hubby’s family for Christmas :) It is really motivating me to go out – several times I have gotten home from a busy day out and WANTED to go walking to get some extra steps. That is so very unlike me! :) I’ve only hit the 10,000 steps one day so far, but being holidays and the first week back at work I haven’t pushed myself very hard yet!

    Next time you’re in the office – lets go for a walk together! :)

    • says

      Hey, Leah! Your comment for this post got stuck in my Spam box, so only saw it now. Sorry. Anyway, hope you’re still loving your Fitbit. Though I haven’t been out on many walks since getting mine, I know that I’m more conscious about trying to get extra steps every day, now that I have it.

      Sadly, I’ve only hit 10k+ steps about 3 or 4 times since getting this 4 months ago. But, I think I’ve added at least 1+k steps to my daily average. :)
      Shai Coggins recently posted..Celebrating 40th Birthday, 1920s-styleMy Profile

  3. says

    Great post. I’ve been using my fitbit one for about a year. A few months ago the clip broke. I wrote to fitbit and the replaced it free. It took a few weeks and some mucking around, but hey it was a free replacement and the new clip is much more sturdy.
    I love my fitbit, I can wear it all the time and the goal orientation helps me keep my goals. I understand it’s not perfect but it helps me feel better. I like that each morning it tweets my stats and it is compatible with MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper.
    The Android interface looks more bold than the iOS interface that I’m used to. The recent app update also allows real time updating which is cool but not essential.