Monthly Archives: May 2013

There’s a New Band in Town – The Fitbit Flex

The Fitbit Flex - pretty packaging

The Fitbit Flex – pretty packaging

The last thing I need is another activity tracking wristband.  I’m still hooked on both the Nike+ FuelBand and the UP by Jawbone. But I got so excited when I discovered there’s a new product available, the Fitbit Flex.

I first saw the Fitbit Flex online a few weeks ago. It has many features similar to the UP.  I kept wondering if it’s ‘as good’ as the UP (it costs $30 less. This is great news!).  When I spied it in Best Buy, BOOM, I had to get one.

It’s only been on the market a short time and I’ve only had it for a few days. But here’s my take on it so far!

Initial Impression

Despite how excited I was before I opened the package, we did not get off to a great start. My biggest frustration came with trying the band on.  A picture is worth 1,000 words!

The inside of my wrist was bright red by the time I successfully got the thing on.

I’ve since learned it works better to secure it wrong side up on your wrist and then twist it around. I highly recommend this approach!

The activity tracker is a tiny piece, about an inch long, that inserts into either the large or small band.  There’s a tiny, almost invisible arrow on top of the tracker, which guides you in inserting it correctly. This is very different from both the Nike+ FuelBand and the UP where the the activity tracker is part of the band.

 The Set Up Using the Fitbit App

When I downloaded the App I discovered that this is where they hide all the instructions! A little late, but good to know!

Initially I had problems setting up my band with the App. (I have an iPhone 4s. It’s also compatible with iPhone 5, select other Apple products and select Android phones).

After several frustrating attempts I had success and all was well with the world again!

You Can Also Sync to Your PC or MAC

If you don’t have a compatible phone or device, you can sync your Flex to your PC or Mac. This is also true with the Nike+ FuelBand. Unfortunately, with the UP you have to have a compatible phone. 

See you progress on the app throughout the day

See you progress on the app throughout the day

The App

Once you pair your Flex to the App the fun begins!  Every time you open the app it syncs your data like magic! No need to take it off your wrist (thank goodness!) It tracks your every move, you can set goals, it estimates calories burned, and more fun stuff I haven’t figured out yet.

So far, the app looks cool. Similar to the UP, it does have food log, (which is key with me).

I learned the hard way, though, that if you don’t completely close the app out in your phone when you’re not using it,  it really drains your phone battery.

Fitbit Flex Facebook Page

I was excited to discover the Flex has a very active Facebook page where users share both their praises and their misery. Occasionally their inquiries are answered by a Fitbit guru. Also, yesterday I saw that users were trading band colors here. Since everyone ends up with one size that doesn’t fit, people were trading that band for one in another color that does. “Anyone want to trade a large black for a small slate?”

https://www.facebook.com/fitbit?filter=2

I’ve just begun to dig into the Flex. More to come on this one!

I do have a good feeling so far!

Follow me on my journey!

What’s UP with the UP Band by Jawbone?

I got the UP band in December, 2012. Granted, I had been wearing the Nike+ FuelBand for 6 months. But the UP promised to be different. Maybe even better. More features and less   money?  Sold!

Image

What is it?

  • A wristband you can wear 24/7
  • Comes in 8 colors: onyx, mint green, blue, light gray, navy blue, red, orange, hunter green
  • Comes in 3 sizes: small, medium, large
  • Compatible with Apple iOS devices (5.1+) and Android (4.0+)
  • Price tag: $129.99

What does Jawbone say the UP does?

photo copy 4

The home screen shows progress of sleep, activity, and meals throughout the day.

         Band + App + You = the UP System

  • The band tracks your movement  and sleep
  • The app displays your data
  • You add things like meals and mood
  • The result = insight into YOU

The Features are Numerous! Here are some that initially peaked my interest:

  • Tracks sleep – light vs. deep sleep and waking moments
  • Tracks activity – distance traveled, calories burned, both active & idle time
  • Tracks food & drink
  • Smart alarm – wakes you at the right moment in your sleep cycle so you feel refreshed
  • Idle Alert – gently vibrates if you’re idle too long
  • 10- day battery life
  • Water resistant

My Experience – Does it Deliver?

What I like Most

(Click on the images for an enlarged view)

The UP App

Graphs and Logging Workouts

The graphs in the app are pretty amazing and give you quick insight into what you’re doing all day (or night).  Take a look at the middle graph. The long orange bars near the end of the day indicate my run. I was able to log it as a workout afterwards. That action produced the 3rd graph which gives details about my run.

Also, unlike the Nike+ FuelBand, you can log and get credit for non-step-based activities including yoga, spin, weights and so much more. (Sorry Nike, they beat you out on this big time).

And this just in: The UP app is now compatible with popular weight loss apps. You can link your accounts through the UP Ap.

Tracking Food & Drink is a Snap!

Logging food is an important part of a weight loss journey and the UP app makes it so easy. It has a massive food data base, and also the option to scan the bar code on an item’s package to input the nutrition info. – Cool!

Adding Teammates to your App Makes it fun!

photo copy 5

I got my husband an UP for his birthday and we’ve been in a friendly competition ever since.

When you add Teammates you can view their activity as well as your own. But don’t worry, you don’t have to share everything.

Here is our activity on a particular day.

Oh, so close!

Long Battery Life

The UP does have an impressive battery life and averages 8-9 days. It also sends a reminder on your phone to charge it when you’re within the last two days of battery life.

Excellent Customer Service

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to talk about contact customer service at this point, as I’ve only had the band for 5 months. However, about 4 months in, the battery wouldn’t hold a charge for even a day.

I contacted Customer Service by email and I had a brand new UP on my wrist within a week. I was super impressed! No hassles at all.

What I don’t Like

Power Nap Feature

This feature is suppose to wake you at the optimal time, anywhere from 25-45 minutes after you fall asleep, so you feel refreshed.  I tried it twice, you know, for research.  Well, it’s true there’s no sleeping on the job.  Both times it gently vibrated 25 minutes from the time I set it. There is too much pressure to fall asleep so fast and actually get some shut eye in such a short time. This feature doesn’t work for me.

No Visual LED Display

Checking your progress throughout the day isn’t as easy with the UP as with the Nike+ FuelBand. There is no display you can see when it’s on your wrist. You have to take it off , plug it into your phone, and wait for the data to upload. This is a drawback for the impatient.

Is the Sleep Data Really Accurate?

If you generally lie awake at night for hours on end, like I do, I think the UP will paint a much brighter picture of your ‘restful’ night. Unless you actually get out of bed, the UP tracks the time you’re lying there awake as light sleep. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see the breakdown of your sleeping pattern.

The ReCAP

All in all, I love this band.  It has more features than I’ve shared here. It has features I haven’t even used yet. In my opinion, the strengths greatly outweigh the weaknesses. It’s a motivator in getting enough activity in each day and it’s really fun to add and compete with teammates. Although the sleep feature isn’t perfect, it is helpful.  The bottom line is that this little band can aid in leading a more balanced life.

On a scale of 1-5

I give the UP 4.0 sit-UPS

The Nike+ FuelBand – Yay or Nay?

Image

I absolutely love fitness gadgets!  About a year ago I started hearing people talk about the Nike+ FuelBand, so of course I had to get one.  I’ve been wearing it pretty much ever since. In a nutshell, I love the instant motivation it gives me.

It’s not the only fitness band on the market, and may not be the best one, either. However, I say Yay!

What Is It?

  • A band you wear around your wrist
  • Comes in 3 colors: black, black ice, white ice
  • Comes in 3 sizes: small, medium/large, extra large
  • Price tag: $149.00

What Does Nike+ Say it Does?

  • The band translates your every move into a single number they call NikeFuel
  • NikeFuel reflects your level of effort throughout the day
  • NikeFuel is calculated the same for everyone so you can compare with your friends
  • It estimates calories burned through movement, estimates steps taken, acts as a digital watch and all of this information is easily accessed through the LED display with the press of a button.
  • It’s water resistant (you can wear it in the shower), but not waterproof (don’t wear it swimming).
  • Battery Life is 1-4 days
  • The Fuelband has a limited one-year warranty

My Experience – Does it Deliver?

What I like most

Visual Data

This is what I like most about this band.  Motivating information at the touch of a button!

Syncing to the phone app is a snap once you connect your band via bluetooth.

Excellent Customer Service

You never expect your purchased item to fail, but if it does, it’s nice to know that the Customer Service rocks and the Company stands behind its product.  Nike replaced my band after 11 months. It was easy!

Battery Life

Although the battery life is not as long as other activity tracking bands, it has improved . The battery on my original band lasted 2 days tops.  My current band lasts 3 to 4 days, which is what Nike claims.

What I don’t like

It’s not always a good measure

Although I love racking up my NikeFuel, the band has definite problems distinguishing between the intensity of certain movements. For example, I could possibly earn more fuel during an hour walking around Disneyland or shopping than I would during an hour of heavy weight lifting. As hard as I’m working and sweating, doing squats and pushups has never earned me very much fuel. That makes me sad!

Also, it’s very easy to rack up extra fuel by simply sitting in a chair and waving your arm around. It’s definitely not cheat proof!

Nevertheless, it is a good measure of you against you, from day to day. I happen to like a little friendly competition with myself!

The app doesn’t specify how much fuel you burn for individual activities

In other words, you can’t log a workout anywhere.  The best you can do is look at your current NikeFuel before you begin an activity and again at the end…if you remember.

Price 

Of any comparable product on the market right now, the Nike+ FuelBand is definitely the most expensive.

There isn’t a food journal

The lack of a food journal in the app is the biggest drawback for anyone who is seriously looking to lose weight using this band as a motivator. Other bands do have this feature in their apps. You’re on your own with calorie tracking with this band!

The ReCap

It does seem my reasons not to love the Nike+ FuelBand outweigh the reasons to love it. I mean, it’s lacking in many ways. However, I do really enjoy it. It was my first band and I’ve come to rely on being able to check my progress during the day at the touch of a button. I’m a visual person who is easily motivated by seeing my LED number light up!

On a scale of 1 -5

I give this 3.5 sit-UPS.

Next UP

My next blog will about the UP band by Jawbone.  I really love this one! Stay tuned!