Tis the season for buying personal fitness devices, and I’ve been struggling to figure out which purchase to make.
I’ve done a pretty thorough search for reviews on the Fitbit One, the FuelBand, and the Up (second version). The differences are pretty plain, and the question at this point is really: which one appeals to me most, and which one am I going to get the most value out of?
The FuelBand’s LED screen is captivating. The ability to sync with bluetooth makes it insanely convenient. The utter simplicity of it is very tempting: set a goal in “Fuel” and try to reach it daily. Yet this is also it’s achilles heel — I would like something with sleep tracking. Nike is sponsoring an accelerator and opening an API for the FuelBand though, so this functionality may yet appear. The hardware is there, it’s the software that’s lacking.
The Up is gorgeous, elegant, and powerful. The accompanying iOS app seems complete and well designed. I love the simplicity of the one button interface and the embedded sun/moon LED indicators. The fact that you have to plug it in to the headphone jack on your phone to sync it is mildly annoying but probably not a dealbreaker. The fact that you have to plug it in to check your daily progress — because there is no display on the device — might be a deal breaker, because checking in throughout the day is something I’d likely want to do.
The Fitbit is OK looking, and is not a wristband. This is an advantage in that I might not want to wear a wristband all day every day. It also has an altimeter, which can show me how much I’ve gone up and down through the day. Apparently, though, that counts your commute’s ups and downs, which for me would be a rather large and obscuring figure.
Knowing myself, I’m not going to do the food diary. So that’s not a temptation from the Up or the Fitbit. The altimiter — I don’t care that much. Calories, again: don’t care. Steps are cool. “Fuel” is very cool as an abstract concept of exercise and energy. So I think the Fitbit is out.
The Jawbone and the FuelBand are both beautiful. Aside from some basic integrations, like with Path, going with Nike is in many ways a bet on the future. A bet that they (or third parties) will build software to track sleep, or food, or other things.
The downside of the Up is that is has no LED screen to check daily progress, and that you have to plug it in to sync the data. Plus I’ve got two family members who already own a FuelBand.
The downside of the FuelBand is that it doesn’t track sleep, or food, or offer much feedback beyond the charts of the data, at least for now.