Sunday, May 30, 2010

With a Little Bit, With a Little Bit

I've had enough time with my Fitbit now to really properly review this handy little gadget.

Since I lost my last one to poor clipping on my waistband, I've been carrying it in my pocket throughout the day (when I have pockets). Surprisingly, it seems to pick up my steps just as accurately. I've done step counts in my head then verified against my Fitbit and they were spot on. Even in my pocket, since it's such a small, light device, I reach down several times a day to make sure it's still there.

Another positive is the silent encouragement and on-the-fly stats. There are several readouts on the small LED display, where you can view steps taken, miles accumulated and calories burned thus far (including just by breathing). One of the screens is a simple daisy. It grows and shrinks with movement and movement intensity. I love seeing how many leaves I can accumulate. Such a small thing, but I'll take any incentive I can get! I also have to wonder if the 11-leaf maximum is a Spinal Tap reference (another in the "plus" column).

I like their related support site, for the most part. This is where you manually log anything the Fitbit doesn't capture, as well as review the charts and graphs of what it does gather. It's easy to use and their food library grows as their user base does. Adding new food is also simple, and you have the option of just logging straight calories or add more in-depth nutritional info. You can save favorites for both food and activities, speeding up the process.

Keeping a sleep log has been very interesting. I like seeing my sleep patterns over time, as well as keeping an eye on nights where I seem to be particularly still or active. Having a long history of insomnia (which I tend to have more under control these days), it's nice to know. Also, in dealing with chronic pain, I get to see how that affects my slumber, as well.

My only real complaint about the site is in logging activities (other than walking/running, which are automatic). They do need to be entered manually, since it would be difficult for any one gadget to record multiple types of activity. That doesn't bother me in the least, but there isn't a Search function for activities (like there is for food). Their existing exercise list is limited, though slowly growing, and it can take some doing to guess under what category something like yoga would be listed (by the way, if you're looking on the site, it's with "stretching").

There are a few items on my "nice to have" list, though not deal breakers in the least. I love that I can keep everything in one place (foods, movement, weight), but would love to be able to export the data for other uses (such as perhaps sharing on my blog to avoid double duty).

So, for just the device itself, I give it an A+. Overall, though, when weighing the complete package, support site included, I give it an A-.


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