Fitbit: The Google Analytics Of Fitness

I was excited for the Fitbit ever since I heard about it at the Techcrunch 50 conference back in 2008. After 2 years following the development, I finally got my own Fitbit. After 3 months of daily use, here is my review.

The Fitbit is a small device that you wear on your hip in order to track your movements throughout the day. As you move, the Fitbit will count your steps just like any other pedometer. The device has one button on the front which will cycle through different stats with each push. When out and about you can check your total number of steps, the number of calories burned, distance traveled, and a flower representing your growth and overall healthiness for the day.

At bedtime you put the Fitbit into a soft wristband and you can track how long and the quality of your sleep. Holding the button down for a few seconds starts the sleep tracker and you have to remember to stop it when you wake up in the morning. As you fall in and out of sleep, the Fitbit tracks your movements and can tell how long it took you to fall asleep, how many times you woke up throughout the night and the actual time you were asleep vs the time you were in bed.

But what makes the Fitbit different happens when you get within a couple of feet of the base station.  The data is automatically uploaded to Fitbit.com where you can analyze your data with the help of pretty graphs. Not fussing with manually syncing the data yourself makes it a system that easily fits into ones life. You can build up a history of your daily activity without even thinking about. It’s like Google Analytics for your fitness!


Activity tracking aside, Fitbit.com also has a food log for tracking calories.  I don’t use this feature because you still have to measure the food and add it manually. If there was something that calculated nutrition information as it went into my mouth, I would be all over it. The Fitbit isn’t that good… yet.

Overall I’m really happy with my Fitbit. The only downside I can think of is the long order time (oredered one for my Mom in October and it didn’t get here until mid January). It is easily worth the $100 price tag in order to painlessly build up a history of my physical activity and sleep history. I don’t need this information right now, but one day I might, and this tool will come in handy.

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11 Responses to “ Fitbit: The Google Analytics Of Fitness ”

  1. wow this is neat! i think i may have to get one

    Reply

    Russell Heimlich responded on January 22nd, 2010:

    You totally need one!

  2. wow! this is kool! How much does it cost By the way ??

    Reply

    Russell Heimlich responded on January 26th, 2010:

    It’s $99 + $10 shipping.

  3. I have just got my Fitbit and although have only been using it for a few days its great – Strongly recommend you try :)

    Reply

    Russell Heimlich responded on May 17th, 2010:

    My FitBit actually died about two months ago. I wear it on my belt and sometimes it would catch on something and snap. After a couple of times doing this the wiring inside was eventually severed and now it’s a very light paperweight.

  4. I’m seriously considering ordering one today (although they’re a month behind on shipping)… Just wondering if you saw any downsides to this device (other than it dying) that I should be aware of before I order? Did it help you at all to stay fit or increase your awareness of your fitness level and eating habits?

    Reply

    Russell Heimlich responded on May 21st, 2010:

    I didn’t really get a FitBit with the aim of changing my health. I got it because I like monitoring my physical activity and sleeping habits. It was really eye opening to see my sleep activity. My physical activity is predictable so monitoring that became dull.

    If you are trying to improve your weight/sleep schedule/ physical activity the FitBit is a great tool to help keep you honest. It’s one thing to think you’re being active and getting plenty of sleep, it’s another to see it in cold numbers and graphs. Plus it’s so easy and stays out of the way.

  5. Great review! I am considering buying a fitbit because I’m interested in knowing approximately how many calories I burn throughout the day. Unlike some other monitors, such as the BioTrainer, FitBit doesn’t factor in heart rate or how much you sweat when estimating calories. Do you think these variables make much of a difference(because there is a huge price difference!)

    Reply

    Russell Heimlich responded on November 26th, 2010:

    The FitBit will give you a good idea of how active you are throughout the day which is a good estimate for calories burned but you’re right the FitBit does not monitor your heart rate.

    I like it to quantify my physical activity and generally like having all of this data at my disposal.

  6. I’ve had my fitibt for about three weeks. First the application would not load on my computer. Got that fixed. Now the fitbit won’t sync. I think this was a complete waste of $100.00. The fitbit is basically a glorified pedometer. Its calorie burn is just an estimate and I haven’t figured out yet how to adjust the steps to my stride length so the miles traveled is always off. I tested on a high end treadmill and it consistently understates the mileage. Don’t waste your money.

    Reply

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