Weekend Review

Utility Belt

This will be the first of our weekly reviews. We will review products, movies, shows, & experiences that I find interesting and relevant to dads, moms, kids, or families as a whole. We will start off with something that I find very useful for all of us who have had trouble with our weight since becoming parents.

The Fitbit Flex

http://www.amazon.com/Fitbit-Wireless-Activity-Sleep-Wristband/dp/B00BGO0Q9O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401471197&sr=8-1&keywords=fitbit

Fitbit Flex

My wife bought these for us a couple of months ago to help motivate us to lose some weight.  The Fitbit Flex is one of several activity trackers that Fitbit makes. It tracks steps, distance walked, calories burned, sleep, & weight. You can even enter your daily feasts that you no doubt need to keep up your strength.

Description

The Fitbit Flex comes with a little tracker which fits into one of two (small or large) included rubberized wristbands. It also includes a USB charging cable which you put the tracker into to charge, and also a Sync Dongle for your computer. All this for around $100.00. Set up is easy. You set up an account with their website, download the app onto your computer/tablet/smartphone and then after a quick charge you are good to go. You wear the wristband on your non-dominate hand so it doesn’t record more movement then it should. It also has 5 LED lights that show your progress throughout the day. Tap the Flex twice to show your progress in 20% increments. It vibrates when you reach your goal (which you set).

Worn out after 2 months

Worn out after 2 months

I like that it came with two wristbands.  Coming with two bands allowed my wife and I to get different colors without having to spring for more bands at $25.00 for a three pack. These bands get beat up pretty easily and look worn out after just a couple of months.

The software works fairly well.  The app for your computer is more robust than the app on your smartphone, which is kind of a downer because you will find yourself entering your meals more on your phone then on your computer. The meal tracking is basically useless on your smartphone.  There is no scanner function to scan items you eat, and with having to input the same foods you eat frequently over and over again. Luckily there is an easy fix for this. Download MyFitnessPal from your app store and it syncs easily with your Fitbit account making it easier to enter food and activity. I find that knowing where I am calorie-wise for the day is a real help as I love to eat. It lets me know where I am so I know if I should have a snack at the end of the night or that extra dessert my wife doesn’t finish. All the syncing is wireless so you don’t have to plug-in your Flex to see your progress toward your goals.

The sleep tracker is the function I love the most. I know I am a restless sleeper and the Flex shows me just how restless I am. When you are getting ready for bed, you go into the app, push “Begin Sleep Now” and then go to bed. When you wake up in the morning just press “I’m Awake” and it shows you how you slept. If you forget to do it before you go to bed you can enter the times manually after the fact and it calculates it for your. Simple. You are supposed to be able to put it into sleep mode by tapping the Flex numerous times, however, I have found that it does not work often. I find it easier to go into my app and put that I am going to bed.

You can also easily set multiple alarms. Again, it vibrates when the alarm goes off, no noise. I like it and it is a lot nicer way to wake up in the morning. Just tap it twice to turn it off.

Charging is as easy as taking the tracker out of the wristband placing it into the charging cable and then plugging it into your USB plug. It charges quickly (a few hours) and lasts about 5 days on a full charge. However, it does not give you a lot of warning before the battery is completely drained and you will often find yourself with a dead Flex while you are away from home.

The part I hated was weighing myself then having to enter it manually. Luckily Fitbit has a scale (Aria) which syncs with your account and makes it all easy (review on her in the future).

You can earn badges and connect with friends who also have a Fitbit to have a community and people to help challenge and cheer you on. It is fun for my wife and I do compare steps and see who has more for the day. It gives us that extra motivation to do our best and outpace the other.Flex in Action

Pros (+)

+ Small and lightweight
+ Stylish wristbands
+Never have to take off, even in the shower
+ Easy to set up and use
+ 5 Day charge
+ Quick charging
+ Multiple tracking options including steps, calories, sleep, food
+ Multiple Vibrating Alarms
+ Can add friends to stay motivated and challenged

Cons (-)

– Wristbands show wear very quickly
– Comes unsnapped somewhat easily if bumped
– Entering food is time-consuming and difficult
– Sleep function by tapping is spotty
– Not a lot of warning before your battery is dead

Verdict

I find the Fitbit Flex is a good value for the price and worth having in your arsenal. You put it on and forget it until you need to charge it. You forget that you are wearing it sometimes, which can be bad if the snap decides it isn’t going to hold. With the help of an additional app entering your meals is quick and easy. Go get one today as it is a nice tool to help you in your quest to be more active, healthier, and maybe lose a few pounds. So far, I am down over 8 lbs. so it is working for me.

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