By now, you have probably heard about Fitbit, the company that makes wearable devices that can track things like how many steps you take in a day or even how well you sleep at night. Fitbit was started in 2007 and attracted about $2 million in venture capital by the end of 2008. That’s not a lot of money for a company working in an emerging technology, but they made it work. Since then, it has grown into one of the world’s most popular wearable tech companies.
Today, Fitbit makes a wide range of products that you can use to make informed decisions about your lifestyle choices. I was lucky enough to get in at the ground floor when Fitbit released its first product in 2009. At the time, I was pretty overweight. My doctor advised that I lose at least 60 pounds or risk running into some serious health problems. I realized that I needed to make some real changes in my life. I was too sedentary and didn’t eat a healthy diet. I justified this by saying that I was too busy working to support my family. My doctor wasn’t having any of that. He laid it on the line and told me that if I didn’t lose the weight, I would soon lose my family.
I honestly did not know how to make these changes, though. It’s not like I hadn’t tried to lose weight before. Nothing seemed to work. My doctor, who is about my age and is also interested in technology, told me that I should check out the Fitbit to see whether it would work for me. He knew that I was a data geek, so maybe wearable tech would keep me interested in making smarter, healthier decisions.
That first device changed the way that I look at my life. I’m so grateful that my doc suggested trying Fitbit. It has been a major part of my life ever since.
Top Features of Fitbit
While I started with the very first Fitbit device, the company has grown a lot and introduced at least a dozen new pieces of wearable tech. Since there are obviously differences between these devices, it’s a little difficult to say what features Fitbit offers.
I don’t want to skip this, though, because it’s an important part of reviewing the company. To keep things short and sweet, I’ll tell you about my favorite features of Fitbit Charge, which is the latest device I’ve bought. I’ll talk a bit about top features of the website and apps so you have a full understanding of what the company offers.
Some of my favorite features of the Fitbit Charge include:
- It’s long battery life (about seven days between charges)
- Wireless syncing that automatically connects to my other devices
- The OLED display that shows you the time as well as stats
- Fitness tracker that counts calories, distance, stairs, and steps
- Automatic sleep monitoring
- Silent alarm that wakes you up in the morning
- Smartwatch feature that tells you who’s calling your phone
It’s also a stylish little device. I have a black one that looks like a slim watch. You can also get it in a few other colors.
The Fitbit Charge is an activity and sleep tracker for casual exercises. If you’re a high performance athlete, you’ll probably want to get a Fitbit Surge.
My Fitbit device is pretty great on its own, but the Fitbit app turns it into a really powerful data tracker that has put me in better control of my life. Some of the top features in the app will let you:
- Log the food you eat
- Track the distance you run
- Set workout goals
- Start challenges with friends
- Earn badges that keep you motivated
- Record workouts and view them later
- Track goals throughout the day
The data analytic features are what really helped me drop serious weight. I don’t think I ever really knew how much I was eating each day until I got my Fitbit. Just seeing that information will open your eyes and encourage you to lead a healthier lifestyle.
More recently, I’ve taken advantage of the app’s social features. Being able to connect with my friends means that I can cheer them on when they aren’t reaching their own goals. It also means that I can taunt them when I’m kicking some serious butt in a challenge we set up. The social aspect is all about motivation. It really works for me.
The Fitbit website is a great way to learn more about the company’s products and app features. It also offers plenty of interesting articles that have helped me make healthier choices.
If you aren’t sure which Fitbit device is best for you, use the website’s Fitness Quiz to find an option that matches your exercise preferences.
Most of the Fitbit devices cost between $100 and $150. That may seem a little pricey if you haven’t bought wearable tech before. Considering that your Fitbit can replace your watch, though, it’s a great deal. I’m actually a little surprised that the products haven’t gotten increasingly expensive as the company has added more features. I think it’s a good sign that Fitbit is interested in keeping its products affordable for average people. The company could focus on making really expensive items that only some people could afford, but it hasn’t done that.
Criticisms of Fitbit
As far as I know, Fitbit is the leader in wearable tech. I’ve seen products from other companies. Some of them look pretty good, but I wouldn’t say that any of them are better than Fitbit.
If I had to find a criticism, I guess it would be that you really do need a recent smartphone to take full advantage of your Fitbit. Without a recent model, you might not have access to all the features you need.
Customer Support for Fitbit
Fitbit has a bit of a hands-off approach to customer support. Realistically, there isn’t a need for intensive support since the devices and app are pretty intuitive. If you want a quick answer to a question, I suggest using the Fitbit Community. Chances are that someone has already asked your question and gotten a reliable answer.
If you don’t get the answers you need on the community page, then you can send a message to Fitbit customer service relations through most popular social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.
FAQ About Fitbit
The Fitbit website actually addresses this pretty well. You can rinse the band with water shortly after your workout or you can wipe it with a bit of rubbing alcohol. Whatever you do, don’t try to clean it with soap. They probably won’t hurt the Fitbit, but they can get caught in the band and irritate your skin.
You’ll want to wipe away sunscreens, moisturizers, insect repellants, and oils as soon as possible. If needed, use a non-soap cleaner. Aquanil works well for me.
If you really can’t get a stain off, use a soft toothbrush. That usually does the trick for me.
Most devices come with a two-year warranty. If your Fitbit stops working, you can either get it fixed or replaced for free. Of course, that assumes that you haven’t abused it in any way. For instance, don’t go swimming with a device that isn’t waterproof. You’ll likely invalidate the warranty if you do.
Pros of Using Fitbit
- Tracks exercise and diet
- Affordable price
- Stylish look
- Battery has a long life between charges
Cons of Using Fitbit
- You need a recent smartphone to access all features
I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but Fitbit probably saved my life. At the very least, it gave me the tools I needed to lose weight and get in better shape. I feel better and happier now than I have in years. A lot of that has to do with my doctor recommending the first Fitbit when it came out.
If you’re the kind of person who is driven by data, I have no doubts that you will enjoy this product. How much you get out of it, however, depends on you. If you’re not serious about taking your health to a better place, then I guess you might as well save your money. As long as you are prepared to learn more about your current activities and how you can change, though, I think you can use this device to add many happy years to your life.
A lot of people are probably like I was a few years ago. They want to change, but they don’t know how. Fitbit helps you find a way.