Fitbit Flex Reviewed for Performance and Quality
The Fitbit Flex hit the market back in 2013. It was the first wristband fitness tracker from Fitbit, taking all the features customers had loved in the Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip and putting them into a band that could be worn comfortably and conveniently on the wrist.
While Fitbit’s wristband fitness trackers seem like a given now, it’s pretty exciting to realize they became available to consumers just four years ago! In small but significant ways, they transformed the idea of wearable trackers. For one thing, people no longer had to be concerned that a little clip-on Zip would fall off a belt loop or waistband with the wearer being none the wiser. Another benefit was that you could wear the wristband regularly, allowing for sleep tracking throughout the night. Of course, all of this is old news now.
But the Fitbit Flex remains something of a historical item in the realm of fitness. And, because it’s an older model, you buy it at a much lower price. While the Fitbit Flex is hardly cutting edge technology, this comfortable and straightforward wristband tracker remains an excellent choice for any person who’s looking to become more aware of his overall health and fitness.
Keep reading our in-depth Fitbit Flex review to find out if it is worth the investment.
- Low cost
- Tracks steps, distance, and calories
- Monitors sleep
- Tracks active vs. stationary time
- Lacks basic features
- Can be difficult to fasten strap
While their products probably aren’t the best for serious athletes, let’s face it — the average person is not a serious athlete. Most people are merely striving to make health and fitness a more significant part of their daily lives.
The Fitbit Flex is here to help. It tracks your steps, records your distance, watches your calories.
It even lets you know how long you’ve been active and how long you’ve been sitting still. The Fitbit Flex also tracks your sleep, so you can learn how long you slept and at what times you slept best.
It also lets you know how many calories you burned, based on the personal data (i.e., height, age, and weight) you enter into the app when you first set up your Fitbit Flex, plus the activity you’ve accomplished in a given day.
The Fitbit Flex tracks your active (calorie-burning!) minutes versus your stationary time (all that time you're productive at other things, of course), so you can be aware of how much time you spend sitting around and how often you get up and move. Of course, you can’t be on the go all the time.
Especially at night, when what’s healthiest is to be lying still. Sleeping. The Fitbit Flex works for you even then, with its sleep-tracking capabilities. When you sync to the app, you’ll be able to see when you were sleeping soundly and when you were tossing and turning.
Now its most advanced features are basic when compared with other products. It is not, however, a jibe against it. The basic technology is accessible to a larger demographic than the newest and most advanced products. As mentioned in the introduction, this is a fitness tracker for the average person.
When you count a smaller number of steps for comparison, however, it fares better. While this uncertainty about the precise accuracy of the tracker is frustrating, many people won’t be bothered by a few steps added or subtracted here or there.
The Fitbit Flex is not designed for highly specific training, but for people looking to gain a better fundamental understanding of their overall personal fitness.
While Fitbit has substantially improved the connectivity of the Flex and continues to do so, it still isn’t able to all mobile devices, such as the Xperia Z2. It is a deterrent for any would-be purchasers who own incompatible devices. But there is a solution, even if not a particularly elegant one: the Flex comes with a USB dongle that can connect it to both PCs and Macs.
Syncing your Fitbit Flex to computer and phone is only one level of connectivity.
The Fitbit Flex also helps you connect with fellow fitness-minded friends and colleagues. When you log into your Fitbit Flex account, you will automatically see how others are doing in accomplishing their goals. Sometimes a little dose of healthy competition is all you need to speed up your pace and ramp up those steps!
In addition to viewing your progress, you can use the app to track your food intake. The app’s built-in food database is rather hit and miss, but you can connect to third-party apps such as MyFitnessPal to have access to a greater variety of food data. You can also connect to many other third-party apps, like Strava, MapMyRun, and RunKeeper.
It is no problem, though, because the Fitbit Flex is genuinely water-resistant. You can walk through the pouring rain, wash the dishes, and even hop in the shower without worrying that you will destroy your fitness tracker.
Although not particularly stylish in and of itself, it is slim enough that it’s really not too noticeable, or even overtly sporty, as a Garmin or Apple smartwatch would be.
Beneath this plastic is five tiny LED lights which communicate your stats. Rather than being attached to the rubber band itself, these LED lights are the topmost (and the only visible) part of the tracker’s “brain.”
This tracker is considerably smaller than the One and the Zip that came before it, in part because of the almost total lack of “watch” face.
There is an array of colors available for the Flex band, from neon orange to steel blue.
To fasten the band, you press the two nobs on the end of one strap into the holes on the other side. These holes are close together, giving you the ability to get the band just as tight or loose as you like it.
Unfortunately, the band can be challenging to clasp, especially on the first few tries. It requires an unusual amount of force to get the nobs into the holes. But, once on, it’s not going anywhere — and since it’s water-resistant and tracks both waking and sleep activity, you’ll have little reason to take it off.
Ease of Use
Unfortunately, getting the Flex into sleep mode at night isn’t quite so simple. For the Flex to start tracking your sleep, you have to tap the screen six times - at the right speed! Go too fast or too slow and it won’t register what task you’re asking of it.
Viewing your stats, however, is much more comfortable. Just tap the screen with your fingertip, and the LEDs will light up to show your progress on a scale of one to five.
Connect the power cord the to three metal contacts on the end of the tracker, opposite from the LED lights, then plug into your computer to begin charging.
Unfortunately, however, the Fitbit Flex does not have an altimeter, which tracks steps on stairs. The Fitbit One does have an altimeter and sells for the same price as the original Flex, but it is not a wristband.
Third-party sellers offer stylish band options, such as the leather wrap bracelet from Charming Charlie, and bling-filled handmade bands from sellers on Etsy.
Tracks stationary vs. active time
Comfortable, lightweight wristband
Overall, however, the Fitbit Flex remains a stable fitness tracker. With its comfortable band and slim design, it appeals to people of all ages. It counts steps, calculates distance, lets you know how many calories you’ve burned. It tracks stationary versus active time.
It’s even got your back through the night, as it monitors your sleep levels. So, although the Flex is not the newest and shiniest product on the market, it remains an excellent choice for anyone looking for a wristband step tracker that is easy to use, comfortable, convenient, reliable, and affordable.
If you are looking to pay more attention to your fitness, to inspire yourself to work harder and achieve your goals, fastening a Fitbit Flex around your wrist is a great way to start.