Having a healthy lifestyle can be difficult. Let’s face it, with work, family, and the occasional recreational activity taking up most of our time, finding time to fit in a little physical activity isn’t easy. And when you do have time, preparing for it takes up more time that you don’t have. Thankfully there are several apps and different types of trackers out there that can help you measure the activity you do get in a day and inspire you to get more. But which to try? We decided to go for one of the leaders in the industry, Fitbit, and tested their new product the Flex 2 for two weeks. Here’s what we think about it.
The Flex 2 was a little frustrating to set up at first. Inside the box there is no instruction manual other than a website link you should follow to help you set it up. It seemed easy enough to do, but after charging the unit, downloading the app on our iPhone 6, and following the onscreen instructions, the Bluetooth wouldn’t connect. We even had a second phone that couldn’t detect the device. After a little trial and error though, and checking online forums for help, we discovered that restarting the phone and running through the app setup a second time worked. After that things ran a lot more smoothly, and we started tracking our activities.
The Fitbit App is extremely easy to use. You can find out how many steps you take in a day, how many calories you’ve burned, how many kilometers you’ve walked, and it will even detect other motion activities you do. If you decide to, you can also enter in the food you eat to track the amount of calories you gain in a day. It’s rather cool that the Flex 2 will automatically detect the type of activity you are doing (which thanks to it being water poof includes swimming), but unfortunately in our case the Flex 2 for some reason listed some of our walking as cycling. If you decide to wear the Flex 2 to bed, it will even give you a report the next day on your sleeping pattern. Giving you information like total time sleeping, duration of time you were awake and number of times you were restless. While the tracking capabilities of the app are cool, setting your daily steps goal makes it that much cooler.
If you don’t have the time to set your own goal, the Fitbit app will help you by giving you preset goals to choose from. However, we found it more interesting to set our step goal ourselves. These daily goals are tracked, and when you accomplish them the Flex 2 will vibrate to let you know. You can also check how close you are to accomplishing your goal by double tapping the unit, and the number of lights that appear will give you an approximation of how close you are. And if you’ve spent too much time sitting still and not moving, the Flex 2 will even vibrate to remind you that you need to move around more to meet your goal.
The Flex 2 unit itself is tiny and fits inside a rubber bracelet that you wear on your wrist. If wearing a little rubber bracelet isn’t fashionable enough for you, or you aren’t a fan of the sometimes difficult to close clasp, you can always buy one of Fitbit’s more fashionable bracelets, bangles and pendants that the Flex 2 will fit inside. Some are even created by noted fashion designer Tory Burch. If you do decide to wear it around your neck though, you won’t be able to take advantage of another cool feature of the unit. It vibrates and lights up to tell you when you are receiving a phone call or a text message.
Over all the Fitbit Flex 2 is a good way to track your steps and other fitness activities you do on a daily basis. Like most wearable technology it’s not infallible, and will detect some activities incorrectly, but it doesn’t do that too often. Thanks to its smaller size, it’s the type of tracker you can put on and forget you are wearing, meaning it doesn’t require a lot of effort to use it every day. Fitbit claims the battery will last up to five days, but we found it was closer to four. Thankfully the charge only takes a couple of hours to get full once again, but you will need your computer nearby as it requires a USB port to charge from. As good as the Flex 2 is, you might want to look at one of the more expensive models of Fitbit if you are looking for more capabilities or even a watch. The Flex 2 is great for those looking for extra motivation for getting into shape, or wanting to try a fitness tracking device for the first time, but for those looking for something that will offer more, they’ll need an upgrade.