4 Days with my Fitbit Charge HR

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I admit it; I have succumbed to the fitness tracker craze. I have joined the millions of people around the world who track everything (steps, heart rate, stairs, calories burned, sleep, etc.) in a hope of living a healthier life. So how do I feel about the Fitbit? Here is my review.

Initial Thoughts
Wearing it doesn’t bother me. I always wear a watch, always. When you are blind like me and can’t see the alarm clock, you have to wear one and make sure it has Indiglo so you can see the time when you wake up in the middle of the night. So this wasn’t a major transition. Some people have said it is too bulky but I don’t get that. The Fitbit isn’t very fashionable or feminine but how often do people judge you based on the watch you wear (unless you are wearing a $50,000 Rolex).

I find it a bit annoying that I have to push a button to see the time. But that is a minor annoyance. A major annoyance is the thing isn’t waterproof...say what?  How can they not waterproof this thing, it can’t be that hard? All my Timex and Garmin watches are waterproof. They say it is “sweat proof” and “splash proof.” What good does that do me? I’m afraid to wear it in the rain! And I hate having to take it off when I shower. But I will get over it.

Steps and Distance
As for counting steps it seems fairly accurate. I compared the my step counter on my smartphone to my Fitbit and they were really close. I think the Fitbit might be a little more sensitive and tracks less than the phone. I tested it during two runs this weekend while also using my Garmin watch which has GPS. On Friday I did 2.25 miles and my Fitbit said 2.1 miles. Saturday I did 4.25 miles and my Fitbit said 4.45. If you average the two runs it was off by less than 1%.  Overall that is acceptable.

Heart Rate Monitor (HRM)
I have read many reviews on the Fitbit before I purchased and the main criticism was the HRM is never right. I don’t agree. Maybe they wear it in the wrong position? I'm not sure. I periodically check my heart rate during resting times and I have been using a HRM for runs for about 3 months now. So I knew what to expect. My resting heart rate has always been in the mid-to-upper 40s. The Fitbit says my average resting heart rate is 47 bpm. That is pretty darn close to what I would expect. I have done tests with my phone's HRM and my Fitbit at the same time and they are generally within a couple beats of each other. I love being able to see my heart rate during the middle of the night. The Fitbit data shows your average heart rate in 5 minute increments. While sleeping, my heart rate will go down into the 30s. My heart must be healthy if it doesn’t have to work that hard! (I hope!)

I have taken it on two runs and both times it was right about where my Garmin HRM would have me (145-155). So I think for the most part the HRM on the Fitbit is accurate.

Sleep Tracker
I never thought I’d get any use out of the sleep tracker but I have to say it is kind of fun to look at. According Fitbit my sleep efficiency is in the upper 90%. It tells how many times you were restless and how many times you were awake...drinking too much water during the day if you know what I mean. Ha!  You can see what time you feel asleep, what time you woke up, how long you were in bed and how much actual sleep you got. I’m a creature of habit. I go to bed and wake up at roughly same time every day, even on weekends (although I slept in on Saturday as you see below).

Other Data
The Fitbit has data for just about everything. It tells you how many sets of stairs you have climbed, how many calories burned per minute and minutes in each of the active zones (Fat burn, Cardio or Peak). If you like numbers and data you will love the Fitbit!

Syncing and the Dashboard
If you set it up to sync with a smart phone it will update all day. It gives you warnings if it doesn’t think you will reach your daily goals. I have some issues with syncing but I think that is a problem with my phone’s Bluetooth. Eventually everything syncs up. Below is some of the dashboard information. It is very straightforward and easy to use and full of all sorts of cool information, After 4 days, I’m hooked on this thing. I wish I had it before we went to London…I’m sure I would have had a ton of steps during that trip! 
Main Dashboard
Sleep Tracker Detail

No comments:

Post a Comment