We've become quite fond of Fitbit's range of wireless activity trackers, which serve as a good motivational tool to become more active. The Fitbit Ultra, Zip and One devices have all utilised a similar form factor but the company has now decided to offer something different — the Fitbit Flex is an activity and sleep tracking wristband.
Traditional Fitbit devices have provided a convenient and small form factor which makes them easy to clip to your pants or belt. However, their size means they are also very easy to misplace or lose when you take them off, an issue that this author knows too well. We presume this is Fitbit's motivation for producing the Flex, a slim, rubber wristband which you'll most likely never remove.
The Fitbit Flex offers two significant advantages over the company's previous tracking products. Firstly, it's water resistant so you can wear it in the shower, for example, without any issues. Fitbit says the Flex isn't rated for metres yet, so it's been designed for everyday water situations rather than a lengthy swimming session.
Secondly, the Flex tracks your sleep. Because it's a wristband, it eliminates the need to use a seperate velcro sleeve to do so. Fitbit says the device will track the duration and quality of your sleep and will capture how many times you moved or woke up during the night. It also includes a silent wake alarm feature that conveniently vibrates to wake you at a desired time.
The Fitbit Flex is the first activity tracker the company has produced without a screen. Instead, the wristband has five built-in LEDs that light up gradually as you get closer to your daily goal, for example 10,000 steps in a day. The lights are lit in 20 per cent increments, so if you've completed 8,000 steps of your 10,000 goal then four LEDs will light up.
The lack of a display means the Fitbit Flex won't show information that its traditional activity tracking products do, such as distance, calories burnt and time. The Fitbit Flex also lacks an altitude sensor, so it can't track stairs or escalators climbed like the Fitbit One and Fitbit Ultra products can.
The Fitbit Flex will wirelessly sync data to selected Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod devices and selected Android phones with Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities using the free Fitbit app on iOS and Android. The Samsung Galaxy S III and the Samsung Galaxy Note II are the first two Android devices to be compatible with wireless sync, though Fitbit says more devices will follow. For users without a compatible phone, the Flex will come with a USB dongle to wirelessly sync with a computer.
The Fitbit Flex will be available in five colours including black, slate, teal, tangerine and navy. The tracker itself can be removed from the rubber wristband, so users will be able to purchase multiple coloured bands to mix and match if they wish.
The Fitbit Flex will be available in Australia from Harvey Norman and Apple Stores nationwide and at Fitbit.com from June 2013. It will sell for $119.95.