So for the past few year or so I've been contemplating buying some sort of wearable fitness monitor. My first choice was the Jawbone Up, but given its severe issues (and no given ETA on when the 2.0 version might surface) I slowly started looking at other options. Mainly the Nike+ FuelBand and the Fitbit Ultra.
Now, the FuelBands are everywhere. I know of at least 4 or 5 people at work with one, and when I was still an active user of Path I had at least 3 friends there who would sync theirs with that application. Having many active friends and seeing the way the FuelBand could integrate with social apps was very tempting. But I didn't like the idea of wearing it on my wrist, as I tend to talk with my hands, and I also didn't like the idea of measuring my activity in their Fuel Points.
The Fitbit Ultra measures your steps taken, distance walked, and floors climbed (both hills and stairs count, every 10 feet is a floor) and calories burned. The floors climbed part was a big selling point for me because...I live in San Francisco! SO MANY HILLS. It clips easily on to your pants or bra (I usually wear mine clipped to the little inner pocket on my jeans) or you can just put it in your pocket. It also comes with a bigger belt clip for thicker items. Also comes with a wristband to wear at night and track your sleep!
You can sync your Fitbit with the website, showing you pretty graphs of your activity over time.
Along with tracking your fitness and setting goals on the Fitbit website you can also track your food, water intake and calorie intake/burn! Although I have to say their food options aren't as vast as LoseIt or MyFitnessPal's, but you can link your Fitbit to either of those apps and it'll sync the food you enter there. I also find myself trying to drink more water to see that little glass fill up throughout the day.
Now, I'm not a very big fitness person, so I really held off on buying one of these because of that. How could I be sure this wasn't just my gadget addicted self craving a new fix? But when I saw them on sale on Amazon for 25% off I just couldn't help myself. Plus I was SUPER excited that it would come in before PAX Prime, which were my most active days so far.
I've had it for little over a month now and I can definitely say I'm more motivated to boost my step count. Wait for Rich to come to me after work or walk to his office (about .8 miles away) and wait? Walk! Go to the closer train station or walk to a further one? Walk! Just a few weekends ago I suggested that instead of taking the bus from my place to Rich's that we instead walk the 2.5 miles. That's not something I'd normally suggest. I'm even packing my sneakers for my trip to Indiana this weekend to go hiking with my dad at the State Park we're staying at!
I especially love all the data and how it's displayed on the website. I love trying to beat my own personal bests, earning badges, and (secretly) competing with my friends I've added on the site. Which, by the way there aren't many of so I hope more of my friends get these soon!
However, there are a few issues.
While it boasts that it syncs wirelessly, it only syncs wirelessly with the dock...which has to be plugged into a computer. So, not really all that wireless. The newly announced Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip do sync wirelessly via Bluetooth with Android and iPhones. Oh, if I had only waited a month!
I've also noticed that on bumpy bus rides (*ahem* MUNI) it can register steps and floors. One work around for this can be starting an activity on the Fitbit (holding down the button until a stopwatch appears) when you get in the bus/train/car, stopping it once you're out and logging the activity as "driving/riding a bus/etc" on the site. This will clear out any steps it registered for that time, but it's not always easy to remember to do this. It does not register escalators or elevators or smooth car/train rides. So that's good at least.
And, finally, I don't know how accurate the sleep recording mode is. Basically if you're not moving it considers you asleep, even though you could be wide awake and just laying still trying to sleep. Although it is interesting to see how often I move around at night.
I'd definitely recommend the Ultra or its upcoming successor, the One, for the person looking to make some improvements to their daily lifestyle/fitness, or looking for some motivation. If you're already a highly active person you'd probably get more satisfaction out of a device with a heart rate monitor and more accurate distance measurements.
All in all I am completely in love with mine and so happy I purchased it.
Now I need to go walk around the house some to boost my steps before the end of the day!
Walking in circles,