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Fitbit Tracker Review: Small and Awesome Fitness Tracker

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The Fitbit Tracker is a small clip that attaches to your clothing and monitors your activity throughout the day, creating a log of your walking, running and other activities — it can even monitor your sleep at night. All of this data get’s sent to the Fitbit Tracker website so you can analyze your activity level.

fitbit display options

Fitbit Tracker display

The small device is about the size of a USB stick, so you hardly know it is there. When you get close to your computer (within 15 feet) the Fitbit Tracker will upload your current activity through the included base station. While you are out, the Fitbit Tracker shows you how you are doing by telling you your steps, calories burned, miles traveled and shows you a flower that grows as you are more active.

I  tested the Fitbit Tracker out for a the past month and a half and hardly noticed we had it on our clothing or in a pocket. It was interesting to see how active, or un-active, we were in a given day. Compared to RunKeeper, which is best used for a specific activity, the Fitbit Tracker is with you everywhere, giving you a better picture of your day. The small size makes it compatible with working out or just working.

Activity

fitbit activity log

Fitbit activity log

The Fitbit Tracker provided an accurate accounting of steps taken, and as long as you enter your height and weight correctly you should see a reliable accounting for distance traveled and calories burned. The distance was a little off, but you can make adjustments to this to fine tune the device. The Fitbit Tracker is not water-resistant, but you can add additional activities like swimming to the online tracking center.

Sleeping

Fitbit sleep tracker

Fitbit sleep tracker

At the end of the day, strap your Fitbit Tracker to your wrist with the included soft band and you can also track your sleep. I really enjoyed getting a better picture of my sleep habits, and it turns out I sleep better than I thought. The report lets you know how long it took to fall asleep, how long you were really asleep and grades your sleep. It takes a few nights to get used to the band, but after that, I didn’t notice it.

Data

All of this information is uploaded to the Fitbit Tracker website where you ca splice and dice your data to see how you are doing. You can track food intake and weight on the site, bringing all of your health information into one place that provides pretty ways to track your data.

If you want to dive deeper and get more comparisons to other people in your peer groups you can pay $50 for a premium membership. With this you can get a “trainer” which looks at your activity levels to help you be mor active or lose weight, dive deep into your data, compare to other users and track your progress against custom goals.

Mobile Access

There is no mobile app, but you can see your progress on a slick webapp that works on the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Keep in mind that you won’t see your most up to date data while on the go, because your Fitbit Tracker needs to be near the base station to upload your activity.

Battery Life

The Fitbit Tracker has a self-contained battery which lasts 7 to 10 days. We found that it was almost always closer to 10 days, and gave us plenty of warning so we could recharge the device overnight.

Downside

FitBit size comparison

FitBit Tracker size comparison

As I mentioned, the device is really small. Combine this with the fact that it is meant to be worn on your clothing and taken everywhere and you have the potential for a big problem. While we didn’t lose the Fitbit Tracker during an activity, there was more than one time where it ended up in the laundry basket after a late evening walk.

fitbit on pocket

fitbit on pocket

Unfortunately, last week I didn’t remember to get it off my shorts quick enough and ran it through the wash. The Fitbit Tracker will turn on, but no longer holds a charge. If you Google, “Fitbit washing machine,” you’ll see that this is a common occurrence.

If you happen to send your Fitbit through the wash, or damage it in some way, you can get a replacement for $49.99 by emailing support@fitbit.com. This won’t keep your Fitbit safe, but it is better than buying a new Fitbit Tracker at full price.

The only other issue I ran into was that a bump would sometimes activate the “trip” mode, but this didn’t appear to affect tracking as a whole.

Is the Fitbit Tracker worth $99

During my time with the Fitbit I enjoyed the tracking and I am certain other data and fitness geeks will as well. Because it can track all aspects of your fitness and sleep automatically and allows you to log your intake the Fitbit Tracker is definitely worth the $99 price.

The only real downside we found was that the device is not able to take a trip through the washer. Most gadgets can skip this, but one that is designed to be attached to clothing every day should be a little more resilient.

Before you start using the Fitbit Tracker, look over Fitbit Tracker 101 and the product manual, otherwise you may wonder why the Fitbit Tracker is flashing at you suddenly.

 

If you love to analyze aspects of your life the Fitbit Tracker is a fun, automatic way to track your activity and sleep habits and worth the $99. I do recommend that you find a spot to put your Fitbit Tracker each evening when you grab a shower so that you don’t accidentally send it through the wash like I did.

Josh Smith is a longtime mobile tech user, currently using a Droid as his primary smartphone. Josh is also an editor at Notebooks.com where he reviews notebooks and other mobile tech. Follow Josh on Twitter @Josh_Smith or email him Josh@Notebooks.com.

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