FitBit: It tracks your exercise, sleep and eating habits

This will be the first exercise-oriented post I’ve made in the year and half I’ve been writing these weekly reviews. That may be a sign of my own state of rather poor fitness, or it may be a sign that there just aren’t that many gadgets that can help you stay in shape. I’d vote for the former rather than the latter.

By Magnus Nystedt (PRODUCT REVIEW)

Published: Sat 24 Dec 2011, 10:39 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:04 PM

The FitBit (I’ve tried the Ultra model) is a small little device, about the size of a typical USB flash drive, which clips onto your shirt or something else. The idea with the FitBit is that it records your activities. This involves how fast and far you walk and run, for example. It can also keep track of your sleeping habits, at least to a point.

It’s lightweight so you won’t really notice that you wear it, which is critical for it to do its thing. Inside we find accelerometer, altimeter and other circuitry. On the outside of the FitBit you see only an LED display, which gives you an overview of your recent activities.

To connect it to your computer (Mac and Windows) and to charge the FitBit you use the included USB dock. According to the specs one charge should last a week, which I think seems pretty correct. Setting up the FitBit the first time is really easy. You basically connect to, install free software and create an account. It will ask you some personal information like name, city, country, birthday, gender, height and weight. Much of this is then later used to calculate how many calories you burn and more.

The main problem I have with the FitBit is that you’re still required to do so much the manual way. That includes connecting it to your computer, entering what you eat, and other details. If you miss out on entering some data points or if you’re not careful enough to enter the right information, then the value of the FitBit is greatly diminished. The more this can be automated in the future, the better it would be, I think. But if you’re a bit of a geek, a gadget like this may help you shed the pounds from all that pizza.

Another small problem is that you may find it hard to find locally available groceries in the web interface. So if you’ve just had a dish containing something that is not readily available in the US, you may have to enter that yourself from the start instead, complete with nutrition information.

In conclusion, I think the FitBit is an amazing piece of equipment that few people really need. It’s $100 and another piece of kit to keep track of as it keeps track of you.

But if it can help you get and stay in shape, then it’s money well worth it.

Magnus Nystedt @mnystedt

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