Review: Fitbit One

Fitbit's latest wireless activity tracker is an improvement, but it remains a little pricey.

Fitbit's latest wireless activity tracker is an improvement, but it remains a little pricey.

The Fitbit One is a much smaller device than its predecessor. Fitbit has done away with the built-in clip and instead provided a seperate, rubber cover that incorporates a clip. We found the new clip sturdier than the one used on the Fitbit Ultra and it didn't once fall off our clothing while we were wearing it.

The small size of the Fitbit One means its very easy to misplace or lose when you do take it off. We lost two Fitbit Ultra units in the past, so you'll need to get into the habit of remembering you're wearing the device. The Fitbit One is available in black and burgundy colours.

The Fitbit One's OLED screen is much brighter than its predecessor. The screen is almost identical in size but is far easier to read and text is crisper, especially when in direct sunlight. The One is again simple to operate and only has one button, which is used to cycle through the display. Pressing the button will display how many steps you've taken, how many sets of stairs you've climbed, how many kilometers you've walked, and how many calories you've burned.

The One also displays the current time and shows a "recent activity level" in the form of a flower — if the flower is short, you've been inactive recently. The more steps you take (and hence the more active you are) the longer the flower grows. The idea is to keep the flower tall by keeping active, though we rarely took much notice of it.

The Fitbit One comes with a charging cable, which plugs into a USB port on any computer. During testing, we found the One lasted for up to two weeks before requiring a recharge, so the battery is quite convenient.

There are now two ways to synchronise your Fitbit data with the One. An included (and tiny) wireless USB dongle plugs into a USB port on your computer and automatically syncronises your Fitbit data whenever the device is in a nearby range. Alternatively, users with an iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 3rd Gen, iPad 4th Gen, iPad mini or a 5th Gen iPod touch can synchronise their data wirelessly through Fitbit's iOS app.

Fitbit says the ability to sync with Android smartphones through the Android app is "coming soon", though the company has not specified when this will be available. We tested the Fitbit One with an iPhone 5 for a number of weeks and the ability to never have to plug the Fitbit into a computer sync is a fantastic feature. However, sometimes our One would sync in the background and other times we needed to open the app and hit sync for the results to be logged, so it isn't perfect.

Like previous Fitbit products, the One really comes into its own when its synchronised with the Fitbit.com Web site. Wireless syncronising to our computer worked without any issues during our testing and the device can be used with either a PC or a Mac.

Once you've registered for a free account the Fitbit.com service tracks your data, calculates your daily results and displays them on multiple graphs and tables. You'll need to enter a fair bit of manual information when you first set up the Fitbit: log your age, sex, height and weight and you're ready to go. Armed with your daily Fitbit data, the service allows you to set personal goals, for example how many steps you want to strive for each day, or how many calories you want to burn. You earn badges for achieving these goals and can set them using the iOS and Android apps, too.

The Fitbit service calculates and displays your daily activity breakdown, showing how long you've been sedentary, lightly active, fairly active or very active. Checking your results and setting new goals quickly becomes an addiction, helped along by a simple and straightforward user interface.

The Fitbit One also allows you to log your food intake and any physical activities you do, such as running or playing sport. Both the food log and the activity log are good ideas in theory but require a great deal of manual input to get the most out of. Despite a recent Australian launch, most of the foods in the Fitbit database are American brands. You can add your own food entries but it's not really worth the time or effort.

The Fitbit One can monitor your sleep using an included sleep wristband. It's a comfortable, velcro wrist strap: put it on, slip the Fitbit into a slot in the band and hold down the Fitbit's button until a stopwatch icon appears when you go to sleep. When you wake up in the morning simply hold down the button again to stop the sleep tracker.

The device claims to monitor your sleep, tracking any movement in the night and giving you a sleep efficiency score. Once you've logged your sleep data, the graph makes it easy to see exactly when you've woken up during the night. However, we found our sleep efficiency score was often hit and miss. It regularly showed our sleep efficiency score over 90 per cent, even when we had a restless night.

The best new addition to the Fitbit One is a silent wake alarm that vibrates to wake you at a desired time. It works as described and is extremely useful for those who don't wish to disturb their sleeping partner with a loud alarm. Annoyingly, you can only set an alarm through the Fitbit.com Web site by accessing the account settings page, though you can set repeat alarms for certain days of the week. We would have appreciated the ability to set alarms through the Fitbit iOS and Android apps, or even on the unit itself.

The Fitbit One is available through Harvey Norman, Dick Smith and Apple Stores, as well as through Fitbit.com for $119.95.

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