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random thoughts from my life & the universe

The One

UntitledIf you’ve been here before, you may realize I have a thing for wearble technology, and specifically a thing for smart pedometers.  It’s no surprise that as a deskbound individual with a gym averion, I need something help me figure out just how much activity I am getting in my day.  My handy Fitbit Classic died a while back, so I decided to pick up the Fitbit One.  While the Fitbit Flex and the new Fitbit Force intrigue me, I’ve gotten accustomed to not wearing anything on my wrists, and I prefer to be a little more discreet with my activity tracking devices.

UntitledThe Fitbit One is similar in form factor to the Classic (You can see my comparison of the Zip to the Classic here) – sadly, when it died, I didn’t think to keep my Classic around for reference photos.  Unlike the original Fitbit, the One can be trimmed down to a sleeker form factor by popping it out of its silicone sleeve – and instead of a charging station, the One plugs into a USB dongle for charging.  I wish the USB charging dongle could also act as the wireless receiver for syncing to my computer – I’ve a limited number of USB ports, and a separate dongle and receiver setup means this Fitbit essentially occupies two ports.  It’s a good thing I have a USB hub attached to my computer 😛

UntitledLike the Zip, the One can be carried alone, or inside its silicone sleeve – I’m a little paranoid at losing the Fitbit, so I tend to stick it in its silicone sleeve and then carry the whole thing inside my pocket – the silicone makes the whole ensemble rather grabby, and a magnet for pocket lint, but I find it too grabby to want to wear it clipped to my pocket.

Unlike the Zip and the Classic, the One has the ability to track stairs climbed, and it also has a silent alarm to wake you from your sleep.  The One is otherwise very similar to the Classic with the types of things it tracks and how it reports progress, though in a sleeker package.  I’m happy to have the wee flower back again – I never did get terribly accustomed to the tamagotchi faces of the Zip.  In addition, the One has a perky stream of encouraging text chatter (which can be turned off if you so choose) that seems to activate when checked after moments of inactivity.

The web interface and mobile app are the same for all Fitbits, so I won’t rehash my previous commentary.

Summary:
1) Battery Life: Rechargeable – each charge seems to last me over a week.  I actually took my fitbit on a 1.5 week hiking trip, and it was still working when I finally got home to charge it – Activity level was significantly greater than my usual routine – hiking trip mean I was logging between 15,000 and 40,000 steps for those days vs struggling to hit 10,000 steps on workdays.
2) Display: The Fitbit One is very easy to read with a bright, crisp OLED display that can also be easily read in the dark.
3) Accuracy of Step Count: Accurate enough.
4) Accuracy of Stair Count: Accurate enough.
5) Accuracy of distance Traveled: Distance Traveled is an estimate based on calculations done by the fitbit devices.  The Fitbit seems to use a fairly straightforward #steps x step length calculation.  I haven’t prioritized carrying any of my devices on a predetermined route to check accuracy.
6) Sleep Tracking & Alarm I’ve only used it once or twice, mostly because 1) I don’t like wearing things on my wrists, so I’m not real thrilled with the rather large “cuff” they use to store the fitbit in for sleep monitoring and 2) I don’t like constantly removing and replacing the fitbit from its silicone sleeve.  That said, I didn’t find the sleep monitoring to be terribly sensitive – it’s basically tracking how much you thrash your arm about when you sleep – It didn’t register when I woke up well in advance of the alarm, probably because I didn’t really move about very much when I awoke.  The alarm is basically a vibration, if I was lightly asleep, I think it would wake me, but I’m not so sure it would work to get me out of a deep sleep.
6) Data and Graphs: the Fitbit web dashboard wins as far as a data output standpoint.  The app is okay, but does not provide the level of detail that the web dashboard does.
7) Synchronizing: the One seems to sync automatically to the computer that has the wireless receiver connected when I happen to have both in close proximity to each other.  The One will also synch to my phone, but it seems to take a little while once the app is launched to complete the sync.
8) Motivators: Fitbit offer Badges for milestones.  I haven’t really utilized the friends feature of Fitbit, so I can’t really comment on the social or competition aspects of the device. I’ve linked my fitbit to EarnedIt as well as Everymove so I can earn money for charities or towards rewards by using my Fitbit.  Sadly the Fitbit does not really prompt me to get out of my chair or post challenges to try to get me more active, so its really up to me to mentally set up those challenges or prompts for myself.
9) Price: Fitbit One (current model as of this writing) retails for $99.95.

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