I have bought and used many different fitness trackers from the Polar watch linked chest strap heart rate monitor to the Nike+ shoe insert, Adidas Micoach no strap/in the sports bra heart rate monitor, Scosche Arm Band, iFit Chest Strap Monitor, Garmin Vivofit, and others I’m sure I’ve bought and forgotten. But, even when I’ve strayed and tried the flavor of the month, I’ve been a loyal wearer of the Fitbit from it’s first clip on to the latest Charge HR.
That said, I am quite disappointed that, as much as the Fitbit step monitoring product has “advanced” with each version, it has actually fallen behind the competition and I am strongly considering a change:
- The clip-ons (Zip, Ultra, and One) had a tendency to unclip and disappear mid-workout
- The Flex bands would come unsnapped during workouts, were brittle and cracked/broke, and worst of all, were apparently very yummy as my dogs chewed up 4 of them…hmmm
- As soon as it became available, I bought a Fitbit Aria Scale. Then I started noticing that I didn’t like having my weight broadcast to my Fitbit app and visible to my friends, “How Rude!” Apparently there’s a setting to stop that, but my shame was complete, so Aria and I ended our brief & rocky relationship!
- I loved the Force, which was on backorder forever then pulled off the market abruptly a short time later. The Force was waterproof – I could finally track “steps” while swimming! But the Force also had a tendency to emit a gentle yet stingy pulse every once in a while that left a mark. No Bueno indeed! So I returned to one of my Flex models from the drawer of obsolete trackers.
- With great excitement I saw the announcement for the Fitbit Charge and Charge HR that would be coming out in time for me to ask my husband to get me one for my Christmastime birthday. He got on the waiting list at the local sporting goods store and we waited patiently for the arrival. Finally the Charge became available so we snapped two of them up, anxious to see what all the hype was about. Besides being a bit bigger and having a new secure wrist strap, the Charge was just a more expensive version of the Flex, but happily we wore it while I secretly pined for the arrival of the be-all-to-end-all.
- The Charge HR! I don’t rely on steps alone to determine how my “Fit Day” has gone, I love the addition of a heart rate monitor that requires no chest strap and can count additional calories burned based on my actual 24 hour heart rate readings! That’s the good, now here’s the bad of the Charge HR that I immediately replaced my Charge with once it became widely available in May of this year. 1) The plastic housing for the stat screen cracked in the first 2 months of normal wear, causing me to have to contact the company for a replacement 2) It is NOT waterproof, in fact it’s barely water resistant. I had it on while standing in shallow water and got splashed. When I touched the Charge HR to remove it to a dry place, I got a painful shock! and 3) The battery life blows! I have to charge it every 36-48 hours. That is neither convenient nor does it allow me to get a whole day+ sleep picture. Charging it during my 5 minute (CA drought/water use imposed) shower just doesn’t cut it. I am in motion most of my day and have very few opportunities to take it off and charge it. That is not what this Fit Girl envisioned at all!
- They do have the Surge: A giant men’s watch-sized version that has a screen large enough to display all stats at once, but that doesn’t interest me at all.
I have to say that my Garmin Vivofit has the most features that meet my needs:
- It was less expensive than the closest Fitbit product with similar features
- It has a battery that is guaranteed to last at least 1 year – no taking off to charge – big advantage
- It can be worn 24/7 because it is truly water resistant. During the many times I had to have my One, Flex, and Charge replaced due to loss or damage, I have worn mine in the shower, the pool and when very sweaty during workouts and never had an issue. It’s kind of like the old Timex saying, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking!”
- It reminds you to stay active with move bar and audible alert
- It learns your activity level and proposes a personalized daily goal
- It shows steps, calories, distance and time of day on backlit display; monitors sleep
- It doesn’t track how many flights of stairs I walk and give me fancy little achievement awards, but I can add the stairs as an activity and monitor them that way
- It also won’t sync up to let me participate in Fitbit challenges, but I never win anyway (LMAO) so I can live without that “feature” too
- It automatically syncs to Garmin Connect™ to save, plan and share progress
- It does have heart rate tracking with the optional heart rate strap. That it needs a strap to monitor heart rate is the only negative to me on this one. If it had strapless heart rate monitoring I would have given up on my Fitbit long ago
- Another negative to the Garmin Vivofit is that some Apps say they make it compatible to share with the Fitbit App for competing with your friends. I have had great difficulty getting that to be a reality
After all of the time, money and effort I’ve invested in Fitbit, I have come to the realize that I am better off going back to the Garmin Vivofit to monitor my fitness goals. A very expensive lesson indeed. Hmmm
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