Fitbit Flex Review – Wireless Activity and Sleep Wristband
The best way of living healthy is by making fitness a lifestyle. It has to be part of you. Don’t take it as an independent activity which has a-to-do list because once it becomes more of an activity than a hobby, you will get bored and give up so quickly.
Human beings we’re wired in a very interesting way, you can’t do the same thing over and over and maintain the same interest and love for that activity. However, when it becomes a hobby / lifestyle, you find ways of doing it better so that you stay entertained. In this detailed review of Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity and Sleep Wristband, I will cover all features of this activity tracker, pro ,cons and what you should expect from this tracker.
PERFORMANCE: 3.7 out of 5 (this is the same rating for Fitbit Surge, it’s not that impressing but at the same time its not bad, however, we have to find out why this popular fitbit tracker fails to get a 4/ 5 rating or even a 5/5 rating.)
WHAT FITBIT FLEX TRACKS?
- Tracks steps taken
- Distance traveled
- Calories burned
- Active minutes
- Sleeping patterns
Fitbit has done something other fitness tracker manufactures have not done yet. They have collaborated with well known fashion designers to redesign Flex bands, forget about the black / pink / teal / blue bands, now you can style your Flex trackers with a gold coated bright band, it will look like a gold bracelet and no one will tell that you’re wearing a fitness tracker. These exclusive Flex bands can be bought from Tory Burch store….
When it comes to changing bands, it’s a walk in a bank. All you have to do is to pop the slim Flex tracker out of the wristband and slip the tracker into that new fashionable band.
On the other hand, Flex’s default design is simple. It’s slim and nice looking. The entire band is plastic but not made out normal plastic materials. Fitbit has used matte plastic to make Flex’s bands and they come in various colors, giving you a choice to opt for what fits your style and test. However, I had a glance on the secure locks on the band; they don’t seem to be well made, when I compare Vivofit’s secure lock to that of Flex, there is a great difference. Vivofit secure locks where tailored to prevent the band from slipping off your hand, you can twist the lock manually and tighten the band on your wrist. But when it gets to Flex, I see the locks look exactly that of a digital plastic watch and I’m sure Flex can slip off your hand if you run at a very fast speed.
Flex’s tracker is removable. It is a very small piece which can be slipped into any band. I have checked out Tory Burch’s shop on Fitbit.com, he has also made necklaces which can house Flex Tracker, so if you don’t want to wear it as a wristband, you can wear it as a necklace and that is pretty interesting. [BRILLIANT IDEA]
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches ; 4 ounces (not heavy)
- Perfect step counter: – I don’t know if you have tried out other fitness band other than Fitbit Flex. But I did a small test over the weekend and I noticed that Flex does not count all steps yet other bands do. Now you might think it’s not perfect, but it is a perfect step counter because steps I take when going down the stairs are not valid steps. Why? There’s no intensity when going down stairs. To validate Flex’s accuracy, I tried to counts steps manual without checking Flex, but the results I got where exactly the same as Flex has counted yet the other tracker which I will not mention in this review, gave me the opposite.
- Interrupts your music and reports how far you gone and other related information:- I find it difficult to run without playing music. I always change my play list twice a week because new music keeps me going especially when running long marathons in the hills. However, as I go on with my jogging, Flex stops the music and reports to me my achievement; this is quite interesting because it motivates me. I schedule reports basing on goals, this reduces on the number of times I get interrupted during a run.
- Food Bar code scanner:- This feature helps people who want to monitor their food intake and calorie burn. The bar code scanner is a new feature embedded in Fitbit’s App. They have stores all sorts of foods, so every time you scan what you’re going to eat, information about that food will be displayed on the App’s dashboard. If you have the old App, please delete it and download the latest update, you will see a Log Food icon.
- Online Manual: – Fitbit does not include paper manuals anymore when selling fitness trackers. I think they noticed that people never read those manuals yet they cost money to print them. But now we leave in a digital edge so Fitbit has published user manual for each model. Simply go to Fitbit.com you will get a free user manual for Fitbit Flex and learn how to operate / use this wristband.
- Accuracy on a treadmill:- Every time I go to the GYM I see men & women wearing fitness trackers, so during the weekend I did the same, I wanted to test this Flex on a treadmill. I love jogging but never do it in the Gym, it seems boring to run in just one place, but I had to do to learn something. I got on to a treadmill and started jogging, but I was also counting with my mouth for the first 100 steps, trust me, Flex gave me the same results I had with a manual count and that is impressive.
- Affordable:- If you have been looking for a cheap fitness tracker below $100, look no further than this. Fitbit flex fits into everyone’s budget and it performs the most relevant tasks like tracking steps, sleeping patterns, distance and duration.
- Comes in different colors:- You have a choice to choose the right color basing on your style and gender. Flex comes in 10 different colors and these include; black, slate, violet, pink, navy, tangerine, teal, red, and blue.
- Sweat on the arm corrodes gold dots found where the band charges from. Once these gold dots are corroded by sweat, you will not be in position to charge this fitness band. So the best solution is to clean your tracker after use, make sure the charging area is not corroded.
- It’s not easy to snap the band on your hand when the product is still new:- Many users have complained about this, but after a few weeks it becomes easy to wear.
- It does not tell time: – True, Flex is just an activity & sleep tracker, it does not tell time as Fitbit Surge does. I know some users prefer wearing it a band not as a watch, but me I would prefer a wristband which tells time as well.
- Does not have a heart rate monitor:- Fitbit Flex is no equipped with a heart rate monitor. So if you want to read your pulse as you workout, I suggest you opt for Fitbit Surge. Many users have been annoyed by the lack of this feature, but It is clearly stated in its features, I see no reason why a person does not read product features before placing that (ADD TO CART BUTTON)
- Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband Review
- Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch Review
- Fitbit One Wireless Activity plus Sleep Tracker Review
- Activity tracking: – (Fitbit Flex keeps track of steps taken during the day, distance traveled, active minutes in a day and burned calories per workout. If who want to lose weight, you should always focus on calories burned, if they seem less, try to increase on the intensity of exercises you do)
- Sleep monitor + silent alarm (Fitbit Flex will wake you up silently without interrupting your spouse’s sleep. During the night, wear this sleep tracker, it will collect information on all sleeping patterns during the night and these include; no of times you woke up at night, restless sleeping and a good smooth sleep. If you have sleeping issues, you can use this data to know what exactly causes those restless sleeping nights and do something about it)
- Progress display:- (I doubt if you can use a fitness trackers which has no LED display. Fitbit Flex has LEDs which light up as you progress towards your goals. I suggest you set daily goals and be realistic to yourself but at the same time don’t feel sorry for yourself, because there is no gain without pain.)
- Wear + battery Life:- Flex’s battery lisf is 5 days. I guess this is a default life span of all Fitbit fitness trackers. If you don’t want interruptions, you can charge it when you’re going for bath. It takes only 1 hour to charge fully.
- Personal dashboard:- This feature is customized in Fitbit’s mobile App which you can download from iTunes / Android for free. After downloading Fitbit’s App, register with Fitbit and get a personalized account & dashboard which displays graphs, charts and tools tailored to help you track your progress on a daily basis. You can as well interact with friends via this platform.
Flex is a good fitness tracker but it has some stiff competition from related Fitbit trackers and other brands like Vivofit, Jawbone UP24, Withings Pulse, Misfit shine and Polar Loop. In my opinion; competition is healthy. In the chart below I have featured all fitness trackers by Fitbit. You can compare all models side by side and make the right purchase decision.
|Steps, calories, distance||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Sleep quality & silent alarm||no||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Continuous heart rate||no||no||no||no||Yes||Yes|
|Music control & notifications||no||no||no||no||no||Yes|
According to the chart above, Flex was released after Fitbit One and I guess it was their first wristband. When I try to compare its features and specs with big boys like Charge HR & Surge, Flex offers less and I guess that’s to why its price tag is a little bit low compared to that of SURGE & HR.
- Band:- I complained about Flex’s band, it does seem secure to me, but when I look at CHARGE HR & SURGE’S band, an improvement has been made, and those two are more secure on the hand than Flex.
- Display:- I will give credit to Fitbit as a company because on the glance you can tell that each new release has a great improvement both in design and functionality. Flex’s display is too small and all I can are dots. But when it comes to Charge & Charge Hr the screen gets a little bit larger than that of Flex and more data is displayed, however, all models lose out on display except SURGE. So before making your decision to buy Flex, try to consider Fitbit Surge, it’s quite expensive but it offers more features and the display is quite amazing.
- Features: – According to our comparison chart above, Flex has a few features compared to Charge HR & Surge. When buying a fitness tracker, you have to consider many factors and some of them include: features, design and reason why you need a tracker. Those two factors are very important, I know many of you think of price and forget the basics. Flex can count steps taken, calories burned, distance covered, track sleeping patterns, wake you up silently and also show you active minutes. If you’re comfortable with what it offers, then it’s okay you can buy it here…., but if you need more features like; Caller ID, Clock, Continuous heart rate monitor, Gps tracking, Calculate Floors climbed and snug fit band then you have to consider buying Fitbit Surge not Flex.
STAYING FIT WITH FLEX:
Even though Fitbit Flex has some stiff competition from other Fitbit trackers, it’s not a bad tracker, actually if you’re okay with reading your fitness data via its App, then the screen issue should be a big deal because data can be synced wirelessly to your smartphone or computer. The five indicator lights will keep you motivated, the more you work out, the more they grow and they also show you that the tracker is fully charged. Flex is somehow related to top range trackers like SURGE / CHARGE HR, it has a vibrating alarm which wakes you up silently and leaves your partner asleep, it counts steps taken, the app has goal setting and tracking features to motivate you and at the same time you can reward yourself with badges on each achievement.
WHY YOU NEED TO BUY FLEX ACTIVITY TRACKER?
I’m sure by the time you landed onto this post you were searching for a good fitness tracker. Working out alone is not easy and chances of giving up during the course are high. However, with the help of Flex fitness tracker, you will be motivated to work out on a daily basis. I know it does not have a move bar like Garmin Vivofit, but following the dotted lights will always beep when you spend a while without exercising. These dotted lights might look boring at first but when you get used to this device, you will fall in love with it. The main reason why you need to buy a fitness tracker is to be aware of your fitness level. Flex does not have a heart rate tracker so you might miss out on the feature and its advantages, but it can do what other premium fitness devices can do.
FITBIT FLEX vs GARMIN VIVOFIT
In the first comparison, we looked at all models made by FITBIT and I compared them with Flex to help you make the right purchase decision. This time I want us to look at the difference and similarities of Garmin Vivofit & Fitbit Flex. At the end of this comparison I will give you my verdict (final word)
I have made this comparison very easy to understand, you can compare Fitbit Flex and Garmin Vivofit side by side. However, let me go into details below:
- Similarities:- According to the our comparison chart above, Flex and Vivofit have some similarities. For example, they both sync wirelessly though Flex syncs faster than Vivofit, both count active minutes, calories burned, steps taken, distance covered and their straps can be changed any time. However, when it comes to Differences, Flex seems to lack many features and that might change my perception about it and I end up falling for Vivofit. In detail let’s cover each difference and make a final judgment:
- Flex has a silent alarm: – Good, since both devices can be used as sleep trackers, Vivovit might fail to wake you up on time yet Flex, will vibrate silently to make sure you wake up. Another thing about flex but not related to the alarm is that sleep mode feature. On Vivofit, you have to tap the button and set the band to sleep mode, if you forget to do that, it will not track your sleeping patterns. But Flex will automatically detect that you’re asleep and it will go on with its job and this makes Flex an amazing tracker.
- Vivofit has a move bar:- When you switch on Garmin vivofit, you will see a red move bar on the screen. This move bar is works as a waking up call for you to work out, yet at the same time it motivates you while working exercising by growing to the fullest. If you spend a full hour without being active, the move bar will indicate that and remind you to get active. On the other hand, Fitbit flex has dotted lights which act as Vivofit’s move bar. On the glance you might not know the meaning of these decorative lights but when you get used to Flex you will enjoy the device.
- Wirelessly Sync:- When it comes to this feature, I will give credit to Fitbit Flex because it syncs very fast. Vivofit takes a while to sync, some users have reported that it takes connect Vivofit to your smartphone. However, when it comes to moving data to your desktop computer, you might use a USB cable.
- Auto goal Setting:- This is a great feature and it makes me love Vivofit more than Flex. It’s not that I’m lazy, but feels good to know that some tusks are automated. As a Garmin Vivofit user, what you have to do is to log into your Garmin web account and complete fill in some information about yourself. Automatically the system will study your information and tailor daily fitness goals basing on your lifestyle. To me this feels personal and professional. It is a great feature which puts down Fitbit Flex. With Flex, you have to manually set these goals and revise them on a daily basis.
- Waterproof:- Both Flex and Vivofit are water proof wristband activity trackers, however, you can swim with your flex or have a shower while its on hand. I have read its description; Fitbit says it has been tested up to 1 ATM, so it can only be resistant to sweat, rain and splashed water. On the other hand, you can swim with your Vivofit up-to 50ft, but if you exceed that, some water might find its way inside the watch because pressure below 50 ft is too much and Vivofit was not customized for that extra pressure.
- Heart rate monitor:- Both Flex & Vivofit have no heart rate monitor, however, you can buy an HR monitor and pair it with your Vivofit. At least they had to think of that possibility even though they would have integrated the HR monitor at the bottom of the watch just like it was done with SURGE & CHARGE HR. I’m not sure if Flex can pair with any HR monitor, I will have to test it and see or you can as well do the test and give us a feedback using that commenting box below this post.
- Pedometer:- If you love cycling, I recommend Vivofit fitness band because it has a pedometer feature so it will be in position to pair with other fitness device on your bike and at the same time your activities / movements will be recorded. However, some users of Vivofit have reported that it fails to give accurate results when using an elliptical machine, but I will have to look into that and give you my feedback. Fitbit Flex does not have this pedometer feature.
- Tells time and date:- Unlike Flex which shows dotted Led Lights, Vivofit was designed well, it has normal features you would find on any digital watch. At a glance you can tell the actual time of the day and current date. I know some people all they need is an activity tracker not a watch, but it feels good to have all features in one device, in that case you don’t have to bother yourself wearing a watch on the other wrist.
- Led Display:- This is the only relevant feature that Vivofit misses. Once it gets dark, you will need aid of a touch to read data displayed on Vivofit’s screen and this annoys me. Flex has Led display so you can know your fitness level even when in darkness. The only think I hate about Flex is that dotted led display, trust me, if you don’t sync data from Flex to your smartphone, you might end up throwing away that cute device.
- Easy to use: – I will give credit to Vivofit when it comes to usability. This fitness device was tailored for anyone; you don’t have to be a geek or a fitness guru to know how to use Garmin Vivofit. Its display is quite big, it shows lots of data at once and you only have to use one button to navigate all features on Vivofit. When it comes to Flex, you will take a while figuring out how to use it.
- Snug Fit: – Vivofit has got a snap lock which ensures that the device does not slip off your hand while exercising. However, when I look at Flex’s band, all I can see is a normal plug-in lock, there is no way I can snap the lock to secure the band on my wrist.
- Good battery life: – Flex’s battery can hold charge for only 5 days, after that you have to charge fully for at least 1 hour. To me that is not a long time, however, you will miss out on data recordings for activities performed during that 1 hour charging time. If we do some math, you will be losing between 4-6 hours every month. On the other hand, Garmin Vivofit’s battery is not rechargeable, it continuously works for 360 days (12mnths), after this period you will need to buy new battery cells and continue using your Vivofit. During these 12 months, you will not lose any single hour of activity tracking and that puts Vivofit to the top.
After comparing Fitbit Flex with Garmin Vivofit, I will vote for Vivofit. I know Flex is good, but it seems to be outdated and it lacks some essential features. If you give Flex to a beginner they might not even understand how it works. Flex’s design has been revised that is to why we have new Fitbit trackers like CHARGE HR & SURGE. On the other hand, if you’re a great fan of Fitbit’s products, I suggest you revise your budget and buy Fitbit Surge; it has almost everything you need
FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH:
According to Fitbit, you should never stop moving with Fitbit Flex. It is a slim and stylish wearable fitness device designed to motivate you 24/7. With Flex, you will be in position to see your daily progress and at the same time it helps you learn how to sleep better. You can access your stats via a computer or smartphone using Fitbit website / mobile Application. Flex is your perfect workout partner whom you can always depend on. Set a goal and keep on going:- I guess that sounds simple, yep….that is what Flex allows you to do..
- This is a great motivational tool, it will help you keep track of your fitness and at the same time enable you set fitness goals, see burned calories, covered distance and so much more.
- Looks nice: – Majority of people who own Fitbit Flex are enthusiastic about them because of their coolest looks. Flex has many colors you can choose from but my favorite is blue, it looks cool on my Hand. On the other hand, you can order for different color bands and change the look of your Flex basing on your style of the day. When it comes to weight, you might not feel like you’re wearing anything on your hand, Flex is lightweight. However, as a new user, you might find some resistance when adjusting the clasp because the rubber seems to be stiff when the band is still new, though with time it softens and becomes easy to wear..
- Lightweight:- Flex weighs only 4 ounces and its product dimension is 0.6 x 0.4 x 8.2. So you will not feel uncomfortable wearing this fitness tracker. It is perfect for everyone.
- Water resistant:- If you love swimming, you will find this fitness tracker very relevant, however, it does not go beyond 10 meters. I guess professional swimmers go beyond these meters, in that case I suggest Flex to ordinary swimmers lime me.
- Durable:- This Fitbit Flex fitness tracker’s band is made out of TPU rubber which is a very strong & durable rubber. So the product will last for years and years. But I will not connect its band strength to its performance. We shall tackle that later.
- Syncs very well with a smartphone. I own an iPhone 4S but data is synced wirelessly making it easy to read steps taken, calories burned, hours of sleep and so much more. The sleep tracker can show you how often you sleep without interruptions, how many times you’re restless in a sleep and how many times you woke up during one night.
- Community:- There’s one thing I like about Fitbit Flex’s dashboard. It’s the ability to share my fitness goals with other people. This is a great motivational feature because I can connect with enthusiastic people, create competitions and at the same time share progress. It feels good when you know someone close is checking out your progress. If you connect Flex’s App to Facebook, you will be in position to see friends who use the same device.
- Remarkably accurate: – During winter, I give up on outdoor workouts so I use a treadmill. But I own both Flex & Garmin GPS watch, however, when I use Flex on a treadmill, it counts steps accurately better than my Forerunner Gps watch. I don’t why but I’m really impressed. I would expect Forerunner to perform better that an activity tracker like Flex but I guess it’s only perfect when I do outdoor workouts.
- It will change your lifestyle completely:- The main reason why we get fat and unhealthy is because we use automobiles even in areas we would have used our feet. I have discovered that walking to a restaurant / library / back adds to my step count and overall fitness. Changing my lifestyle saves me money I would have spent on fuel yet at the same time my fitness level gets better. In my opinion, it is a win-win situation. So, if you have been using a car, you should consider parking it at work, wear your Fitbit Flex on the wrist and start moving. It is good for your health.
- Limitations: – Flex has got a good number of negative reviews on Amazon, but that should not stop you from owning one as long as you know its limits. Many times people over-estimate what Flex can do and they end-up getting disappointed, so they put the all blame on Flex. That is not a good thing because Flex was the first 1.0 version of wrist-band produced by Fitbit, that means many things were lacking but as technology has evolved, we now have Fitbit Surge and I’m sure next year we shall have a new version which performs better than SURGE. What you have to know is that Flex has its own limitations, but overall it’s a very nice activity tracker. I suggest you read through its features and get to know what it can & can’t do.
- Size:- You can get Flex in two sizes; LARGE(size large fits wrists 6.5” – 7.9”) / SMALL (size small fits wrists 5.5” – 6.5”)
- Battery life: up to 5 days
- Battery type: Lithium-polymer
- Battery Charge time: 1 – 2 hours
- Radio transceiver: Bluetooth 4.0
- Flex tracks 7 days of detailed motion data
- Flex tracks daily totals for past 30 days
- It has vibration motor which wakes you up
- Has a LED display with 5 white indicator lights
- To see progress, you have to tap it twice
WHAT IS IN THE BOX?
- Fitbit Flex Wristband
- USB charging cable
- 2 wristbands (small and large)
- Wireless sync dongle
- Is it possible to Charge flex with a USB cable using a Laptop as power source?
Yes, that is possible, I have not done that, but I have charged my smartphone using a USB cable attached on my laptop. In that case, power is derived from the laptop’s battery. If you have a good laptop, it must be in position to hold charge for at least 4 – 5 hours. Flex charges fully in 1 hour and you get 5 days of run time.
- Do I get one band in the box after my Order?
No, you will get two bands in the box. One is small and one large. Choose from any of two bands, both of them are adjustable, though they feel stiff and difficult to adjust when they’re still new. But after using them for a while the bands become soft and flexible.
- Which devices does Flex sync with?
Flex snycs with most smart phones. Phones which use iOS , Android and Windows as operating systems can sync very well with Flex App. However, you should check out this link and see all supported devices.
- How does Flex monitor my sleep?
Before going to bed, tap flex’s 3 times so that it goes to sleep mode. Once it’s in this mode, it will start monitoring how often you move while asleep, how many times you wake up, how often you have restlessness sleep and when you have a good sleep. But make sure you wear it in your wrist; otherwise it will not do anything if it’s not on the wrist. When you wake up in the morning, tap it again so that it gets back to its normal activity tracking. Now sync gathered data to your Flex mobile App and see how you’re sleeping patterns where at night.
- Does Flex count car movement / riding as steps taken?
Much as you will be in motion, your body will be in one position. In that case, Flex will not pick up any steps. This is a smart device, it knows when you walk or sit, it can’t be gamed. So relax and have a walk. However, when you’re travelling, the car might hit a hump and your body will move, so that might be counted as step, but that should not bother you. It is a minor error which I think will be fixed in the near future.
- Is it possible to swim with Flex?
I have checked Flex’s specs, on Fitbit.com they say this tracker is water proof, but it can only be resistant to sweat and splashed water. Fitbit advises you not to wear it to a shower or swimming pool. So my answer is a NO….don’t wear Flex to a swimming pool.
- How many lights do I see when It’s fully charged?
You will see 5 full lights once Flex is fully charged. This will take at least 1 hour.
- Will Flex count steps when I don’t move my hand?
YES. I have been puzzled by this so I had to give it a test and see. Actually when I swing my hand while standing in position, Flex counts that as a step (wired), so I guess you avoid fooling it, because it will fool you as well.
We have come to the end of Fitbit Flex Review, I have tackled everything about this tracker, hope you make the right purchase decision. Remember to always walk around the office, reduce on the time you spend sitting. If possible, alternate you’re working positions, for example; you can sit for 30 minutes, walk for 10 minutes, and work while standing for 20 minutes.
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