Monday, August 5, 2013

Product Revew: Fitbit One

What: Fitbit One Activity Tracker

 How much: $99.95

Where: Best Buy or online at

Overview: A major upgrade to the Fitbit Ultra at the same price point.  The silent alarm and new dashboard are also much improved.  They've also fixed the bluetooth syncing for the Iphone 4S and 5.

Features: Directly tracks steps, flights of stairs, calories, sleep, and functions as a vibrating alarm.  You can also track much more data including blood pressure, blood glucose, workouts, diet and a lot of other variables on the dashboard at or on your iphone 4S or 5, or Ipad 3. 

Review: I was a big fan of the Fitbit Ultra when it fist came out so I was excited when the Fitbit One became available at the beginning of the year.  Not only is the new design sleeker, but the whole user experience has been improved with the Fitbit One.  For those of you not familiar with activity trackers, they are far more sophisticated than a pedometer.  While the device itself is really cool and worth the price, the greatest benefit of the Fitbit One is the dashboard located at, but more on that later.

The Fitbit One is very easy to set up and get started.  You simply download the Dashboard software from the website and plug the wireless dongle in to a USB port on your computer.  Syncing the One is as easy as being motionless within 15ft of the computer you have the dongle plugged in to.  The One also has an onboard battery so you need to remember to charge it every 7-10 days.  The Fitbit Ultra definitely had a longer battery life but it also had a more archaic display and the bluetooth syncing didn't work as well.

Another new feature on the Fitbit One is the device itself.  The Ultra came with a belt clip but could attach directly to your belt without a clip.  The Fitbit One must be used in the rubberized clip if you want to attach it to a belt or bra and is water resistant, but not really waterproof.  I dropped the One in a glass of water (On accident of course) and it worked perfectly fine, and I don't see sweat being an issue as it could be with the Utra.  The sleep function appears to be exactly the same as the Ultra, but the One sports a silent alarm that is so much better than waking up to a blaring radio or annoying buzzing sound.

As mentioned above, the dashboard is where the Fitbit One shines.  There are many features and extra data points you can put in through the dashboard.  I see many ways that you can use the One and dashboard to help with a variety of problems.  In particular, people with food sensitivities or allergies who are keeping a food journal can follow the effects certain foods have on their sleep, energy levels, blood pressure, blood glucose, subjective feelings, and even more.  Below is a screen grab of the Fitbit Dashboard.

Scrolling over and clicking on each variable allows you to see that variable in more depth.  There is so much information that you can use from the dashboard that I will devote a future blog post on how you can use some of this specific data to help improve your personal wellness program and make positive lifestyle changes. In addition to the data, you can also form groups and compete in challenges with one another.  We have a Synergy Wellness Paleo Challenge Group where we compete in different challenges to motivate one another.  Starting this fall we will begin an 8 week challenge that anybody is welcome to join provided they have a Fitbit device.

So what are the problems with the Fitbit One?  I have yet to find something glaringly wrong with the product and feel that it is worth the extra $40 to go with the One over the lower end model Zip.  Obviously the sleep function cannot determine whether you are in deep sleep or just being still, but I still think that data can be useful.  As is the problem with most of the Fitbit products, it takes a while to get used to taking it off of your clothing.  This can lead to problems with losing the device or throwing it in to the wash on accident.  I have had clients who have accidentally thrown their Fitbit in to the wash and customer service has been good about replacing them. 

The Bottom Line: I highly recommend the Fitbit One to anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle.  I also highly recommend that trainers and people running corporate wellness programs get their clients in on the action.  It not only provides a level of accountability that people can't slip out of, it also provides motivation through challenges and allows people to identify lifestyle factors than can work against achieving their goals.