Some of you have already noticed it and mentioned it to me – I’ve been wearing a gray-blue bracelet for the last weeks. It shows up in some of my recent pictures, like these ones in Singapore.
… and enjoying the view from the Top of Marina Bay Sands.
The ‘Slate’ coloured bracelet (Patrick has one too, but his is black) is a Fitness device called Fitbit Flex. It tracks steps (during the day) and sleep patterns (during the night). It is very simply designed, just one small black removable tracker (I don’t even know what to call it, it is smaller than a AAA battery) that slides into a bracelet made out of matte plastic.
There is one small dark plastic window that exposes the lights on the tracker piece. Once you tap it twice, it tells you how close you are to your step goal. One light tells you that you’re working on the first 20% while five lights show that you’ve achieved your goal (which you can set yourself or use the custom 10,000 steps a day). When you reach your goal, the band vibrates and the LEDs do a little happy dance to congratulate you.
That’s nice – but actually what fascinates me much more is that you can track and compare your results on a dashboard. You can see what was your best/worst day, how much you slept – and you can even include your calorie intake if you want to watch your weight. Not only can you do this for yourself only, but you can add friends on Fitbit. I’ve done this and now there is this whole competition going. Patrick tries to walk more than Nat, Jim boosts when he’s overtaken me in the ranking etc. – but that’s all healthy competition. It gets us (and our friends) out and about.
I also like the sleep tracking. Of course, it is not 100% accurate – but it shows me the nights I’ve been tossing and turning in bed (thanks for using me as your trampoline, Sam) and how much I’ve slept. If I’ve missed to start the sleep tracker I can always change this afterwards manually and the Fitbit will still calculate the minutes I’ve been sleeping, restless or awake.
What Patrick likes best are the technical aspects. Fitbit Flex has a Bluetooth 4.0 radio and NFC hiding in this tiny wonder, so he can just use my phone to check and compare stats. There is no need to physically connect the Flex.
It is a fun little gadget to us – of course, with a few downsides. The charging dongle is not great, I actually needed to tweak it with some paper and rubberband to hold the tracker in place when charging. Plus there are occasions when I don’t want to wear a Slate rubber band on my wrist. Is there any chance to wear it around your ankle or your pocket?