OT: Activity trackers (Fitbit, etc.) | The Boneyard

OT: Activity trackers (Fitbit, etc.)

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8893

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So I'm thinking of buying into the latest fitness gimmick in an attempt to jump start more regular exercise habits again. I always have the best success when I'm tracking something, but when it takes too much effort to track, that motivation will break down for me.

Anyway, looking for input/advice from those who use them. Which one(s) do you have or have you tried? What do you like or not like about it?

Thanks in advance for any insights.
 
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Let me disclose, I work for Microsoft, but I own both the Fitbit Charge and Microsoft Band. The Microsoft Band is great for workouts heart monitoring and keeping up with social events. However, I like How the Fitbit feels in my wrist. But I wish it did more.

These are my personal opinions not in any way am I representing Microsoft in this post. :)
 
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Looking for a new one myself to replace my old (and recalled) Fitbit. Thinking of getting one with GPS, too. Thoughts?
 
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So I'm thinking of buying into the latest fitness gimmick in an attempt to jump start more regular exercise habits again. I always have the best success when I'm tracking something, but when it takes too much effort to track, that motivation will break down for me.

Anyway, looking for input/advice from those who use them. Which one(s) do you have or have you tried? What do you like or not like about it?

Thanks in advance for any insights.

I have the jawbone up 24. It is really nice because it tracks steps and sleep to your smartphone through the app. It also allows you to track your exercise and what you eat throughout the day. It fits really well around your wrist as well. Its a little bit cheaper than the Fit Bit. One thing i don't like about it is that you cannot see how many steps you've taken throughout the day without having to look at your phone.
 
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With the Microsoft Band it does sleep as well and you get call alerts, text alerts, facebook, twitter etc. If you have a Windows phone you can respond to text through you band via Cortana. But alerts work with all smart phones. And you can see all your data (footsteps, heart rate etc on the Band)
 
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I have had a Fitbit Flex (99.00) for a little over a year. I'd say that it depends what you're looking to track. For me?

  • I like tracking my steps and targeting 10,000 a day.
  • I am always in daily or weekly challenges with friends to keep me motivated.
  • It links up with myfitnesspal to sync my caloric intake and let me know if I'm "on pace" for my goals.
  • It's really light. Like a "Livestrong" bracelet. And I charge it once a week.
I don't use it for sleep monitoring or tracking flights of stairs. It doesn't have a GPS, I have a running and a biking app for that on my phone. The one pitfall is it doesn't do a great job of tracking movement on an eliptical or bike. If I do "3 miles" on an eliptical or go 40 minutes on there, it doesn't give me near the "steps" tracked that I think I actually do.

I would also say, for me? I thought at first I'd be really into tracking all this crazy stuff...but that sorta wore off in a month or so. I use it for very base level monitoring now and it's part of my every day routine.
 

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I have the small Fitbit Zip which is basically a smart pedometer that measures the steps taken, activity, etc. You can see the steps on the screen and it syncs with the Iphone and stats can be viewed on the web site. Its cheaper than the other wrist devices and works. I was thinking of also getting something that will track the hours slept, steps taken, but not sure if its worth it to see that. What I like about it is its price, small, has a display, and measures very active minutes which may be a better indicator than number of steps taken.
 

8893

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I think what I'd like to track is "activity," but I don't know exactly what that means. I know it means steps at a minimum, as jogging outdoors is my most frequent form of exercise. But I also will do some elliptical on occasion, some treadmill, biking when the weather permits, skiing (do any of them track skiing?) and things like lifting/resistance/strength training, chopping wood or going for a hike or even a brisk walk.

I'd basically like a monitor to give me some indication/policing of whether I am keeping up enough regular activity to prevent myself from slipping into stretches when I am too sedentary. I'm a yo-yo dieter and exerciser by nature, and I'd like to keep the swings from getting too extreme and find a better regular balance through a daily routine that keeps up an acceptable level of activity irrespective of what type of activity it is.

I am not as interested in tracking sleep or calories. For me, when I am living actively enough, the rest seems to take care of itself for the most part.
 

August_West

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Save yourself the time, headache, and money and just request a monthly printout from the NSA detailing your activities.

I get mine in a comma delimited sheet so I can filter all the categories they track. Just filter the " physical " column and it breaks it down nicely for you.
 

CTBasketball

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I sold my FitBit on eBay for 90 bucks...didn't know they got recalled.
 
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Also, for what it's worth? I know two people who's Fitbit have had issues. One stopped holding a charge, one just wouldn't sync up. Fitbit was good about sending replacements out for free. Both happened within the first 6-9 months. I can't speak to other trackers.
 
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I've been waiting for this Thread.
I have been reading reviews and looking at Youtube Vidios of trackers for a couple of Months. My mind is boogled.
My wife wanted to get me one for Christmas but but I was holding out for the Fitbit Charge HR or the Surge Smarwatch with GPS.
GPS is a must for serious runners due to accuracy of distance verses estimate based on your stride and steps taken
You can however calibrate so steps and Miles are pretty accurate good enough for non competetative types

My knees don't allow me to run but I try to walk 10,000 to 15,000 steps daily.
With 45 minutes on the eliptical every other day. I am retired so I have the time.
In addition to that I do circuit traing ( my community has a great gym)
I'm not sure if their is a devise without a chest strap that can give you credit for weights or circuit.
I having been using an Omron pedometer for over a year and I'm ready for the next step.
I personally discounted anything with that required a chest strap heart moniter ,as it seemed like a hassle and will go unused. Real serious lifters probably need to go that route
I also swim on my off days and waterproof is somewhat a codideration as I have fried a number of Omrons's
But at $20 it's not as big a deal as the more prcey bands
I looked at the Misfit Shine which is swim safe and a cool design but minimalist on features
The jawbone has no heartrate monitor.
N I wanted a HR moniter even though the optical wrist feature is less accurate.
Hopefully to capture some activity for my workout.
The Microsoft Band has GPS a does the Fitbit Surge
The surge is a bulkier
Neither claims water resistance ,which means you probably have to take it off to shower. Although you can find youtube Vidios that claim you can submerge them.
So if anyone can help me out I would appreciate it.
The Microsoft band has all kind of notifications
Where the new Fitbits show call only.
Two years ago I lost 55lbs and activity is the helped me to keep it off.
I went from a 40"to 34" pant size with a goal of 32
I'm 6'o tall 178 lbs an love where I am weight wise.
I also went from 1" to a s6" verticle.
My jumper is back. Only kidding
The amazing thing is I stopped golfing a couple of years ago ,I recently started playing again and my distance has actually gotten better than when I golfed daily.
I don't bike but bikers seem to write off any wrist type device. Opting for something they can attach to their shoe.
PS
I don't think the apple watch will be robust enough to use as an activity tracker.
 
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Do you care about accurate distance measurements?

Do you want notifications (calls/texts etc.) to show up on the band?

Do you want to get heart rate readings, either constant, on demand, or just when working out? How accurate do you want the HR reading to be?

Do you care what it looks like?

Do you do any "social" exercise, such as posting workouts on Strava/MapMyFitness/RunKeeper?

These will help you narrow down what you're looking for.

Keep in mind that the market is about to be flooded even further with analog trackers that look more like traditional watches, if that interests you at all. Also keep in mind that most of the step counts you see on these products are wild guesses. There is an enormous variance between each brand's step count algorithms, and none have proven to be truly accurate.
 

8893

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Do you care about accurate distance measurements?

Somewhat

Do you want notifications (calls/texts etc.) to show up on the band?

No

Do you want to get heart rate readings, either constant, on demand, or just when working out? How accurate do you want the HR reading to be?

No

Do you care what it looks like?

Yes

Do you do any "social" exercise, such as posting workouts on Strava/MapMyFitness/RunKeeper?

No

These will help you narrow down what you're looking for.

Keep in mind that the market is about to be flooded even further with analog trackers that look more like traditional watches, if that interests you at all. Also keep in mind that most of the step counts you see on these products are wild guesses. There is an enormous variance between each brand's step count algorithms, and none have proven to be truly accurate.

Thanks. I've inserted my answers above to the extent that it helps narrow any further advice.
 
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Do you care about accurate distance measurements?
Somewhat
Do you want notifications (calls/texts etc.) to show up on the band?
Calls only as I have enough deleting crap from my I-phone and I-pad
But I tend to miss calls when my phone is in my pocket.
Do you want to get heart rate readings, either constant, on demand, or just when working out? How accurate do you want the HR reading to be?
Yes , but not so accurate that I have to wear a chest Strap
Do you care what it looks like?
Yes
Do you do any "social" exercise, such as posting workouts on Strava/MapMyFitness/RunKeeper?
I want it to link to my Weight Watcher AP to capture activity points.
These will help you narrow down what you're looking for.

Keep in mind that the market is about to be flooded even further with analog trackers that look more like traditional watches, if that interests you at all. Also keep in mind that most of the step counts you see on these products are wild guesses. There is an enormous variance between each brand's step count algorithms, and none have proven to be truly accurate.
 
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Thanks. I've inserted my answers above to the extent that it helps narrow any further advice.


One last question -- Do you want a screen or will you just use a phone/computer app to compile the data?
 

8893

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One last question -- Do you want a screen or will you just use a phone/computer app to compile the data?
I'd like it to be visible from whatever I am wearing, presumably on my wrist? I've heard there are ones that give you an alert if you've been sitting too long, and I actually like that idea too. I still use a BlackBerry Bold that's probably around five years old and I'm guessing that most of them will not be compatible with it in any event.
 
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If you want it to sync with Weight Watchers the options are pretty limited right now as I understand it. I think just Fitbit and Jawbone.
 
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If you want it to sync with Weight Watchers the options are pretty limited right now as I understand it. I think just Fitbit and Jawbone.
Bummer, but not a show stopper.
Thanks for your input,
 
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I'd like it to be visible from whatever I am wearing, presumably on my wrist? I've heard there are ones that give you an alert if you've been sitting too long, and I actually like that idea too. I still use a BlackBerry Bold that's probably around five years old and I'm guessing that most of them will not be compatible with it in any event.

Your best bet might be one of the Garmin devices -- Vivofit or Vivosmart. It will have features you don't need, but they have the best distance algorithms and the fact that they operate on a "closed" system won't matter for you.
 
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Bummer, but not a show stopper.

If the cost isn't an issue, take a look at the Basis Peak. Word is they may have actually figured out how to do a somewhat accurate heart rate on the wrist.
 

Fishy

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My wife bought me the Vivosmart for Christmas.

I'm not sure I see the value in a step-counter for a habitual runner, but she bought it so I'm wearing it.

It's comfortable, the notifications are handy, etc. I like that the screen is invisible until a notification shows up.

I'm skeptical that any of these things will work with a five-year old Blackberry. Or a five-day old Blackberry.

On heart rate on the wrist...

It's not a fitness tracker, but if you hate chest straps, I found a wrist strap that works pretty well - the Mio Link.

The only annoying quirk is that its connection to your running watch can be a bit finicky - that can be solved by wearing it on the same wrist just above your running watch. I use a Garmin 910 which is pretty bulky, so adding something to that wrist makes me look like an escapee from some futuristic prison. But it's dead accurate compared to a Garmin chest strap and in my opinion, much more comfortable.
 
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It's not a fitness tracker, but if you hate chest straps, I found a wrist strap that works pretty well - the Mio Link.

The only annoying quirk is that its connection to your running watch can be a bit finicky - that can be solved by wearing it on the same wrist just above your running watch. I use a Garmin 910 which is pretty bulky, so adding something to that wrist makes me look like an escapee from some futuristic prison. But it's dead accurate compared to a Garmin chest strap and in my opinion, much more comfortable.

Interesting about your experience with the Mio. I know that dropouts are common and some people have suggested moving it up on the arm a bit. Adidas tried to build it into a watch but nobody else has tried yet. I do like that it has both ANT and Bluetooth. I hate that the industry seems to be moving to Bluetooth as the ANT platform is just better suited to fitness metrics.
 
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Another thing to think about, if money is a concern. Something like my Fitbit Flex? 99.00. I know people who've lost their tracking device from the clasp unhooking. Breaking due to crashing a bike or hitting it against something. One person wore theirs in the shower every day and was convinced that shorted it out eventually.

In other words, your first foray into this? Might be smart to try something on the cheaper end. Upgrade it in a year if you like it. You know...along with your ancient phone.
 
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