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FitBit Ultra Step Tracker

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1 Review

Manufacturer: FitBit / Type: Step Tracker

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    1 Review
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      10.08.2012 12:52
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      A great device for tracking stepsand motivating increased activity

      Fitbit is an electronic pedometer that tracks not only steps taken and distance travelled but also stairs climbed and calories burned. It can also be used to track your sleeping patterns.

      The fitbit is expensive compared to other pedometers but I believe the added extras make it worthwhile.

      DESIGN
      The Fitbit comes with minimal packaging and is very easy to get started, just plug into your computer, register and you are good to go. It is black and comes with either a blue or plum highlight. I went for blue but to be honest as it's out of sight while you're wearing it, the colour doesn't matter.

      The instructions state that you can wear it on your trousers either clipped to belt or in your pocket or on your top, even clipped to your bra. I tend to keep it in my pocket and on my bra if I don't have a pocket and it's small enough not to cause unsightly bulges. If you are doing hot sweaty exercise, I would recommend not wearing it next to your skin as it can get damp which is not healthy for an electronic device.

      What the instructions don't mention is that it is fairly easy for the fitbit to pop out of its holder and go missing. I found mine on teh floor a few times and the website forums show it's happened to a few folk. I would strongly recommend either buying a specialist pedometer tether or as I do, attach it using a hair bobble.

      The information on steps etc is accessed by pressing a button on the side and it appears in blue electronic text with symbols. This also contains a clock. I find this very easy to read and understand but it is almost impossible to see in bright sunlight. Only one day worth of steps is available on the device itself.

      I find it quite robust and easy to use pedometer with a stylish but unobtrusive design.

      ACCURACY
      I have used a number of different pedometers over the years and have a good idea of what my step count should be. I have found this device to give an accurate measure of this. It doesn't get fooled by just swinging it around either which is great if you are tempted to cheat. The one odd thing it does do is count steps while you're in a car. I've no idea why this happens but I just mentally adjust my total for this when required.

      USEABILITY
      The battery life on the pedometer is excellent. I have just returned from a 10 day holiday and the pedometer still had one quarter of its charge. Given that I used it as a watch, I think that's excellent. You could easily take it on holiday for a couple of weeks without worrying too much but if you do want to recharge, you can use the standard USB plug. The website also has a battery level indicator to show you when you need to recharge.

      The device holds 31 days' worth of data, although only minute by minute data for 7 days, so there is no need to try and download while you're on holiday.

      Data from the fitbit is loaded to the website via a base station. The fitbit works wirelessly with this and so there is no need f or you to plug it in other than to recharge. This is great as I have a tendency to forget to put it back on.

      WEBSITE
      The fitbit data is uploaded onto a website where your data and history is available. The majority of this is free to use and they have guaranteed that it will remain that way. There is a premium element to the website which I will not include in this review as I believe that the basic package is strong enough for you not to need the premium element which is available for a 7 day free trial.

      The data is displayed on a dashboard (summary) page that shows steps taken, distance travelled, stairs climbed, calories burned, activity score and active minutes. The history of al this data is also available in daily and monthly views. The site also allocates step badges, height badges and fun information on what monument you've climbed in a day. The information is easy to see and understand and the badges work for me as a fun incentive to aim for the next level.

      The website also allows you to set weight management goals and track your calories eaten for the day by inputting foodstuffs. This works well and is relatively accurate but it does not currently include a barcode scanner which means each foodstuff has to be input manually. This can be overcome by linking the device through to myfittnesspal where both the calories eaten and burned can be synchronised. I think that this makes it a really powerful tool for weight loss management.

      The website also has a community section containing groups and forums. This is actively used and while there is a large USA element, there is an active collection of UK users. I have found everyone on it really helpful and supportive and someone is always setting a new challenge for you to join. You can also track your performance against other members of the community.

      ADDITIONAL FEATURES
      The fitbit has a timer element that can be used to record separate exercise activities which burn more calories than just walking would. You can then on the website allocate a more accurate calorie figure for this activity so increasing the weight loss management facility. I find the timer easy to start but for some reason I struggle a bit getting it to stop and it usually takes me a few goes but not a significant amount of time.

      The timer feature is mainly used for tracking your sleeping pattern. By using the special writstrap provided, the fitbit will record how long it took to fall asleep, how long you slept and when you woke. It will then give you a daily summary of your sleep patterns. It presents the data both as numbers and an excellent graphical form. I did find this helpful and it certainly made me think about getting to bed a bit earlier.

      The fitbit comes with an app that lets you track calories eaten in the day and see some history of steps taken. Unfortunately you cannot update your steps for the day using the app and need to be beside the base station for that. It can also be linked to a number of other apps including myfitnesspal and endomondo which makes it ideal for tracking fitness. I have used both of these and found it very easy to create the link to fitbit and the data was quickly and accurately updated. My favourite linked app for the fitbit is earnedit. This will give you rewards for the activity you do which is tracked through fitbit. Again really easy to link to and the data is accurate and updated very quickly. There are a number of other apps it connects to but I've never used them so cannot comment other than to say that fitbit have helpfully listed them all on one page an connecting to them is exceptionally easy to do.

      OVERALL
      Fitbit is an accurate pedometer which delivers a lot for an unobtrusive device. The added value you get from the additional details tracked and the website I believe is worth the premium price.

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