At $99, you may not expect it to do much, but the FitBit One packs a lot of useful features and it’s dead simple to use. Once it has tracked your day’s activities, it syncs seamlessly via a USB dongle or via the app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. The battery holds a charge for a solid week and charges fast via a USB charging cable.
And you all but forget that it’s in your pocket or clipped to your jeans because it’s tiny and lightweight, unlike the Nike Fuelband and Jawbone, which conspicuously wrap around your wrist.
One drawback – it’s almost too small. I’m constantly afraid I’m going to lose it.
One of the reasons I chose the FitBit One over its competitors is because it seemed to have a more open and developer friendly community. That means third parties can utilize the data the FitBit collects and make more use of it, say via apps. For example, EarndIt rewards users for their fitness activity with targetted fitness related deals and coupons.
However, it looks like Nike is working hard to get their users’ data into developers’ hands: Nike and Techstars have recently partnered to run the Nike+ Accelerator, a TechStars vertical accelerator to build startups utilizing the Nike+ platform.
I was a little disappointed by the lack of sleep tracking analytics. What I found missing was any kind of detail in the analysis of my sleep patterns and sleep quality. I had been using the Sleep Cycle iOS app developed by Maciek Drejak Labs and the FitBit One pales in comparison in terms of data collected. Sleep Cycle gives me a a sleep quality score and allows me to enter variables like whether I had a stressful day or caffeine before bed.
I initially thought I’d be annoyed by having to wear a wristband at night to hold the Fitbit One, but I actually don’t mind it. In fact, one of my favorite features is a silent vibrating alarm that wakes you up without making noise. I know my wife appreciates not having to hear my 5:00 a.m. alarm clock go off any more.
FitBit has implemented all of the gamification features you’d expect—badges, point competitions with friends, and tracking your own progress. It all feels very similar to Foursquare. You get points and badges for reaching certain thresholds of steps and calories burned. So far, my highest daily step count was just over 14,000.
The features are all there, but I didn’t find very many of my friends on the network. If you have a FitBit, connect with me and let’s fix that problem.
Will the FitBit One magically help you reach all of your fitness goals? Probably not. But it may make fitness fun again. And that may just do the trick. Now, if I could only resist all of these tasty holiday leftovers.