Friday, March 11, 2016

FitBit Charge HR Review: The friend that reminds you how lazy you are.

So I recently sold my moto 360 2nd gen in lieu of a Fitbit Charge HR after putting on about 20 lbs, and getting tired of the ATROCIOUS battery life on my Moto.

I wasn't too anxious to jump on the fitness tracker bandwagon to begin with, but I have to admit, Lesle and a couple of my friends have one, and have mentioned how cool they are, so I figured I'd give it a shot. They look nice enough, and the tout "up to 5 days of battery life" (more on that later). I wanted to see just how healthy (or unhealthy) I was living. Turns out...not so well.

The cool thing about the FitBit Charge HR (well more the fitbit interface) is that it will connect and sync with your MyFitnessPal app/account. So anything you log on either app or website will sync over to the other. I have found that the syncing is impressively accurate. Sometimes I log my water intake into FitBit, and sometimes I will put it in MFP, either way the other app syncs up and I can rest assured that the data will be accurate. The widget is super nice and minimalistic too.



Using My Fitness Pal has made it easier than ever to log your food. They added a barcode scanner, so It takes moments to log my breakfast, especially when I have just a kickstart and a power bar (my typical breakfast).

I love the heart rate monitor as well. It seems to be pretty accurate when measured against other HR Trackers. They say that the Charge is splash proof, but I have read online that a lot of people take showers, and a couple even swim with it. I would not recommend that. As much as I would like to be able to swim or shower with it, I just don't have the balls to do it.

With that being said, the other morning, I accidentally forgot to take it off during a shower. It seemed to fair well, but it's not something I would ever intentionally do.

There is a really great new feature of fit bit where if you long press the button, it will start a stopwatch. It's not just a stopwatch though. It logs it as "exercise" and pumps a little extra juice to the HR monitor to make it more accurate. If you have the app open during an exercise session, it will show you a real time HR along with calories burned, and steps along with bevy of other metrics about your workout.





Quite possibly my favorite feature is the sleep tracker. I never realized how crappy my sleep was until I got this thing. It shows me my total time slept, number of times I was restless/awake, total time of restlessness, and total time slept. It uses some time of weird voodoo to know when I'm asleep. I mean, I assume it's to do with movement, but I feel like when I'm watching a movie, I'm still, but IT KNOWS. Its kinda creepy in a good way.

Here are some of my terrible stats.




Now, About the battery life. 5 days is stretching it. If you turn off all day sync, and turn off notifications, I could see you maybe getting 5 days. However, who wants to get a real time fitness tracker and manually have to sync it. Realistically, plan on getting about 3 days of battery life. I have had the battery die on me in the middle of the night a couple of times and it's frustrating because it doesn't track my sleep when it's dead (obviously). You can see that it happened on the chart above on Monday and Tuesday. This is because I didn't charge it fully, and it died on me two nights in a row.

My biggest gripe about the fitbit is the bluetooth capabilities. While you don't HAVE to pair it with bluetooth for syncing (it can actually use data) It's going to be better to get it paired with your phone. That's very simple to do when you first get the device. However, if you do a factory reset on your phone, you can't repair the fitbit until you reboot the fitbit. This doesn't sound like a big deal, until you realize you need the proprietary charger to be plugged into the device before you can reboot it.

You have to plug it up and hold the button for 10-12 seconds until it essentially "factory resets" and allows you to repair with your phone. They need to (at the very least) have a pin hole reset button on the device. It's ludicrous to expect to have a charger with you wherever you go just in case you need to reboot .

Some users have complained that the band causes a rash, but I haven't experienced any issues at all with that. I would assume as long as you use common sense and keep it clean and dry when possible, the chance of irritation will diminish substantially.

One area of the fitbit that seems to go vastly unnoticed is that it has it's own mini Social network. You can add friends, and make challenges. You can track and compete against friends on the fitbit network and even send messages. There are plenty of threads dedicated to adding friends to your fitbit network. You can view the fitbit subreddit, fitbit.com, or myfitnesspal.com

There are lots of options when it comes to fitness trackers, and I am in no place to recommend any one tracker over another, but I did do my research, and this is the one I landed on. If it were water proof, I feel like this tracker would be the full package.

It is doing what it's suppose to. It's holding me accountable for my daily activities, and I have managed to drop 5 lbs in about 2 weeks, so I would say it's a good investment.

With that being said. The FitBit is:

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