Tag Archives: Fitbit

Fitbit Flex – Update

The Fitbit Flex - pretty packaging

The Fitbit Flex

I got my Fitbit Flex on Mother’s Day, May 12th and I encountered my first functional problem with it on Father’s Day, June 16th. That’s only 5 weeks later. This is a record I didn’t want to set! I realize that gadgets go wrong, but I felt a little sad, nonetheless. The biggest question is, how did Customer Service respond?

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I also have a Nike FuelBand and a Jawbone UP, and I love both for different reasons.  I had to contact Customer Service for both of these devices and was very impressed with their responses on both counts.

My first impression was that the Flex band would give the UP band a run for it’s money. They are very similar in function and the Flex is $30 cheaper.  But then, a product is only as good as the Company that stands behind it.  When things go wrong, I expect the company to step up, don’t you?

My Experience

Here’s what happened with the Fitbit Flex

I set my Flex for sleep mode before going to bed on Sat., June 15th by tapping the face rapidly for a few seconds.  A gently vibration signaled that the band changed settings.

Upon waking on the 16th I went to tap it rapidly again, but nothing happened.  I plugged it in to charge, but nothing lit up. The battery appeared dead and showed no signs of charging.

As I was scouring the Fitbit website for troubleshooting tips, I received an email that my Fitbit battery was low.  A nice feature if it arrives in a timely manner.  This was a little too late.

I found troubleshooting tips and followed them all. Nothing worked.

Contacting Customer Service

To contact the support team, you have to email them your problem.  Almost immediately they do send you back an automated response acknowledging you. Their response also contains this statement: “We do not currently offer live phone or chat support, but our support team is here to help seven days a week”. Yes, they said 7 days a week!

3 days later they responded to my email. I think this is a long time. It’s not just me, right?

In their response they restated all the troubleshooting tips I already tried.  In addition, they included one other tip: Clean the sensors of the tracker and charger with a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol. This actually worked!

Fitbit Help Page

So I went back to the website to check if this tip was there, and yes, somehow I missed it.  (Hey, I’m not proud! I will admit when I’m in error!) But if I missed it, how many others might miss it too?

It’s on the very bottom of the Help page, but the way that page is set up, it can easily be overlooked. The Help page is a very general troubleshooting page for ALL of their devices.  I think they should have a separate page for each specific device, with contains every tip for each specific device.  This would be very helpful to me.

My thoughts at this point

Truth be told, I am happy that my problem is fixed, but extremely annoyed at the same time. If Customer Service claims to be available 7 days a week, it shouldn’t take them 3 days to respond to a simple email request.

All in all, I still like my Fitbit Flex and am happy to be wearing it again. My favorite part is the gentle vibration it makes when you hit your step goal for the day. It gives me a feeling of joy. It’s the little things!

Now if they just improve the bigger things…

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I Need Some ZZZ’s! – A Look at the Sleep Tracking Abilities of the UP and Fitbit Flex

I would love to sleep 8 hours a night. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Sleep is so precious! And it’s very important for a healthy lifestyle and weight loss. One of the reasons I love activity tracking devices is they give me an overall picture of my total well being, including my sleep pattern.

Before I wore both the UP and the Fitbit Flex I thought my sleep was horrible. Well, I still kind of feel that way, but they tell me a slightly different story. The fact that the two devices agree with each other, for the most part, makes me feel a little better about my sleep. Hey, I might feel tired and sluggish, but the graph shows I slept well! The power of positive thinking goes a long way, or at least until nap time!

What Exactly do they Tell You about your Restful Night?

(I have an iPhone 4s and all information here is based on the iPhone apps).

The graphs show the same particular night’s sleep.  The UP is on the left, the Flex on the right.

UP Sleep Graph.  The dark blue estimates deep sleep, the light blue estimates light sleep, and the orange shows getting up and moving around.

UP Sleep Graph.
The dark blue estimates deep sleep, the light blue estimates light sleep, and the orange shows getting up and moving around.

The Flex Sleep Graph. The dark blue shows sleep. The light blue shows being awake and the red shows being restless.

The Flex Sleep Graph.
The dark blue shows sleep. The light blue shows being awake and the red shows being restless.

The Breakdown

The UP App

  • The graph is easier to read and gives a lot of detailed information.
  • I really can’t argue with any of it, except it says I woke up 2x. I really got up 2x, but woke up many more times without actually getting up. The app tends to show your awake time as light sleep.

The Flex App

  • The graph leaves a lot to be desired compared to the UP. It’s very general.
  • The only specifics it gives is how long you slept and how many times you woke up.  On this particular night it says I woke up 9x. This is very sad, but probably true!
  • The Fitbit website is more impressive than the app. The website will also tell you your sleep efficiency. (The % of time you spend in bed that you’re asleep). On this particular night my sleep efficiency was 93%. Not bad IF it’s true! Still, I wish all the info. available on the website was available in the app as well!

Despite the Differences, Both were very Similar in Estimating Total Hours Slept

  • 50% of the time they reported total time slept within 6 minutes of each other. This is pretty impressive to me as I generally lie awake for at least an hour every night.
  • For the most part, the Flex told me I slept longer than the UP.

3rd Party Apps

There are 3rd party sleep apps that you can sync your devices with to supposedly improve your experience. Once linked, your device automatically sends your sleep data to the app.  Here’s the scoop on what I found.

Sleepio for the UP

Sleepio is a 6 week program ‘clinically proven’ to help you overcome poor sleep. You don’t have to have an activity tracking device to use this program, but it does import your sleep data if you do.

They give you a one week free trial. After filling out a questionnaire about your lifestyle habits, you are directed to your first interactive session with The Prof (who is animated and has a dog named Pavlov). This session lasts around 20 minutes, clarifies your goals and explains how the program works. Near the end of the session, The Prof creates a case file for you like the one below.

This is my Case File after my free Sleepio session

This is my Case File after my free Sleepio session

You can only have one session with The Prof per week, so to continue the program you must upgrade. Prices range from $10 per week, to $80 for the entire course with a 12 week access, to $120 for a 24 week access.

You set your own goals, but their goal for you is to get your sleep efficiency to at least 90%. Since mine is shown here at 92%, I really can’t justify continuing.

The program also includes an extensive library of links to articles on sleep and an online sleep deprived community who support one another.

I’m not panning this app at all. It might be helpful to some people, but not to me at this time.

SleepDebt for Fitbit Flex

This description of SleepDebt is taken directly from the website.

“SleepDebt connects with your Fitbit to analyze your sleep data and debt. Set what time you want to wake up and how many hours of sleep you are aiming for per night, and the site will let you know what time you should go to sleep. Each night, it helps you catch up on your sleep, until you clear your sleep debt. We encourage you not to try to catch up all at once, so the site will only recommend 30% of your sleep debt at a time. Catch up on your sleep finally!”

So I input my information, and this is what came back:

After telling SleepDebt I want to aim for 8 hours sleep as well as catch up on my 'debt' a little, they suggested I go to bed before 7 pm.

After telling SleepDebt I want to aim for 8 hours sleep as well as catch up on my ‘debt’ a little, they suggested I go to bed before 7 pm.

They suggest I go to bed before 7 pm?  This is not helpful. I’m not impressed at all.

Usually I give sit-UPS on a scale of 1 to 5 to rate things.  This app doesn’t even make the sit-UP scale.  I’m giving it a DOWNward Dog. Sorry SleepDebt!

The ReCap

I like having a visual of my sleep in the form of a graph.

Do I believe I sleep as well as they say? Not usually.

Does it make me feel better to see that I actually did sleep when I think I didn’t? Absolutely!

The sleep tracking abilities are far from perfect but I find them helpful.  I love that the 2 devices, made from different companies, give me a very similar picture of my sleep.  Although I do prefer the UP app over the Flex, they both do a pretty good job.

The 3rd party apps don’t seem helpful to me, but perhaps to someone!

Until next time, wishing you sweet dreams and uninterrupted sleep!

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!