SIMPLY TECH: Fitbit Feedback
by Greg Gazin
Much more than a step tracker
Fitness trackers have come a long way since the pedometer – the original step counter. Not just for health enthusiasts, the latest Fitbit models also include practical applications to help you to enjoy your day. In addition, Fitbits are now downright stylish and affordable. And to top it all off, they’re app-enabled and can connect wirelessly to over 200 devices, like iOS, Android and Windows, as well as smartphones and tablets for even greater functionality.
A helping hand
The Fitbit Charge 2 has been a permanent fixture on my wrist since the beginning of the year. At first glance it looks like a sleek digital watch – which it is. But its simplicity stops there. If I push the side button or lightly tap on its OLED display, it brings up the time, the date and the number of steps that I’ve taken. Tap it again and I’ll see my heart rate, so that I can ensure that I’m not overdoing it. Tap it again, and I’ll see what distance I travelled throughout the day, how many calories I’ve burned and more. The side button also gives me access to a stopwatch, as well as a battery indicator, so that I’ll know when it’s time to recharge.
Two additional functions that might seem like redundant smartphone features, save you from having to fumble in your pocket or purse for your phone. It’s a definite plus to have an alarm alert, as well as message display capabilities on the Fitbit.
As a handy wake-up call in the morning, preset alarms can alert you to upcoming appointments and serve as a reminder to take medication. You can set up to three alarm times via the companion Fitbit app, and you’ll be notified by a gentle vibrating on your wrist.
Your Fitbit can also be configured to receive notifications, and will vibrate with calendar alerts and text messages. With an inconspicuous glance, you can check to see who’s calling. This is a convenient feature when out with friends, in a meeting, or in a place where it’s inappropriate to have your phone out.
Fitbit really shines when partnered with your smartphone or tablet. From the app’s dashboard, you can set your goals and see your stats. You can also track workout routines, and it will help you to navigate new adventures, guided in real-time through your smartphone’s GPS.
Even if you’re not in training, a little motivation can provide that much-needed nudge so that you do at least 250 steps every hour, and it rewards you when you do so. Fitbit apps offer tools for managing your weight and nutrition, and measures your hydration. And if you feel the need for a little mindfulness, it will guide you through a two-minute relaxation.
Fitbit never sleeps, but it can keep tabs on you when you do, as well as the quality of sleep that you’re getting.
The Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate and Fitness Wristband comes in a variety of colours and band styles, including leather and metal. It has a built-in battery and comes with a proprietary USB charger. It retails for less than $200, and is available through Best Buy, Staples, The Source, and Sport Check.
|Greg Gazin (a.k.a The Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg) is a syndicated tech columnist, blogger, podcaster (host and producer), and contributes to Canoe.com, Troy Media and Active Life.|