FitBit Review 2019: Count my Steps ("Which FitBit is Right for Me?")
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FitBit Review 2019 (Count my Steps: “Which FitBit is Right for Me?”)

The Fitbit has been around for many years now. Many consider it the premier source for Pedometers and smart watches to track your activity.

However, there are many different models of Fitbit, They have a huge range of wearable and pedometer watches that will help you keep track of your step count (and quite a bit more).

 Sometimes this can make finding just the right pedometer for your need a bit difficult. It can be a bit confusing if you are not used to the different makes and models 

…..That is why I wrote this Fitbit review.

I will cover all the current (2019) options available for the Fitbit, and give you some insight into why different models might work for you (or not). In this post I will cover:

  • Benefits of using a Fitbit activity tracker.
  • What you should look for when finding the “right” Fitbit to match your lifestyle.
  • Detailed comparisons of the five most popular Fitbit activity trackers.

I start off this post with a run down of the general benefits of getting a Fitbit activity tracker. Then I describe the methods to finding the “right” tracker for you. If you don’t want to read all of that you can jump right to the FITBIT REVIEWS HERE.

Features

Fitbit Ionic GPS Smart Watch

Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit Alta HR

Fitbit Ace

Fitbit Flex 2

Looks Like:

Price

$$$$

$$

$$

$$

$

Steps, Calories, Distances

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Floors

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Connected GPS

Yes

Cell connected GPS: YES
Native GPS: NO

Yes

Yes

No

Battery Life

4 days

7 days

7 days

5 days

5 days

Text & Call Notifications

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Movement Reminders

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Clock/Time

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Where to Buy

Benefits of Using a Fitbit

1. Tracking.

One of the things I emphasize on DevelopGoodHabits.com (DGH) is the importance of accountability and metrics while forming a new habit.  It’s been my experience that when you focus on a specific milestone every day, it becomes easier to permanently adopt a new routine.

With that in mind, I think that one of the most important features in a pedometer when the pedometer helps you develop the “step walking habit”. Most models of the Fitbit do this, by giving you an audible tone or a shake when you have been sitting too long.

This sort of habit “reminder” really helps to turn the tracker from a simple tracker into the perfect “walking habit buddy.”

2. Portability.

There are lots devices/apps that count your daily steps.  The problem?  Most are annoying to carry around. Either you’re tethered to a cell phone or you’re forced to wear a device that often looks unprofessional.  Neither option works from a “habit development” standpoint because you have to develop a whole new routine JUST to count your daily steps.

Fitbit has many styles and sizes that fit perfectly with any attire. From tiny pedometers that can be slotted into jewelry to a range of pedometer watches. See these top 5 of these options below

3. Accuracy

One of the chief complaints from the FitBit detractors is it often accidentally counts steps that don’t happen.  Some say it measures any sort of movement like driving or using public transportation.

While my personal experience is not a large pool experimenting. I have owned several Fitbits over the years and I’ve tested this “problem” on my own, by doing the following:

  • Recorded my steps before and after driving a car
  • Shook the device vigorously in my hand
  • Measured step counts during a train ride

What I found was simple—the FitBit doesn’t accidentally count steps. 

Sure, you’ll get a few by shaking the device up and down.  Perhaps a step or two difference getting in and out of a car. But, the designers have done a great job with their accelerometers and altimeters to determine what’s a “step” and what’s a simple bump in the road while driving a car.  As a result, you get a spookily accurate measurement of your daily step count.

4. Activity Charts (count my steps)

FitBit is supported by a number of apps and an extensive member dashboard.  Whenever you sync the device, it automatically updates your account with information like:

  • Steps
  • Distance
  • Floors
  • Calories burned

I feel these charts are important because they help strengthen the daily walking habit.  Instead of getting vague information about your step count, you get fully-detailed progress reports as you form the walking routine.

This is important because it’s easier to stick with a habit when you see progress being made. 

What the Fitbit membership site gives you is a central location that maintains a daily log, without requiring a lot of extra work.  Simple sync it every few days and FitBit automatically updates your account.

There is even an option to add a ton of extra data to the site, either manually or by importing data from other apps/devices. Doing this you can keep track of things like water and food consumed during the day to get a complete picture of what comes into your body and how you get rid of it (via exercise).

5. Gamification

Gamification is a new trend where businesses leverage the human desire for competition into the design of their software or applications.  When a product is “gamified,” it rewards the user for completing specific challenges and accomplishments.

After using this pedometer for a while, you’ll earn a variety of badges based on daily steps, floors climbed, lifetime distances and lifetime climbs.  Once you hit one of these milestones, you’ll get an email notification and earn a badge for your membership account.

Here is a graphic I made for many of the “Gamification” badges offered by fitbit:

I’ll admit that “gamification” seems like a silly idea. 

What normal, healthy adult would care about earning virtual badges?  Ummmm…. me.

Oddly enough, I found these rewards do help with the development of the walking habit.  Sure, they don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but they often provide another incentive to walk—even when you’re not up for it.  Sometimes knowing you’re about to “earn a badge” is enough motivation to get out the door and start walking.

6. Accountability

Most brands of Fitbit can be fully synced with your social media accounts.  This means you can compare the daily step counts to your family and friends.

This is a very important feature because having “public accountability” is one of the best ways to stick with a new habit.  (This is something I covered in my article about the Hawthorne Effect).

The FitBit membership dashboard provides a leader board that ranks your steps against other people in your social network.

For instance, look to the left to see how I currently compare to my contacts (for the sake of privacy, I blurred their names/faces.)

This feature is yet another way to get motivated to continue with the walking habit.  Knowing you’re close to passing a friend can become a wonderful incentive to do a little more walking each day.

Because… are you gonna let that guy “win”?

Even now (as I write this article) I’m looking at the above image and feel a need to walk 2,000 more steps today to pass the next guy on the leaderboard. (I never said I wasn’t competitive.)

7. Long Battery Life

We all know it’s frustrating to have devices that need constant charging (like the iPhone). 

This CAN also be a problem with some of the more “doodad” filled and GPS capable models of Fitbit. But there are some simpler versions that have a very long battery life, and it is something that keeps getting better.

But even the models that should be charged every day, like the Fitbit watches, charge very quickly. So you can set your Fitbit to charge before you shower in the morning and it will done before you are ready to go out for the day.

I find this feature to be especially refreshing. This pedometer is intended for constant use, so I’m glad it has a “charge it and go” type of design. Sadly, this is a feature you don’t often see with many lifestyle-based devices.

What to Consider When Choosing a Fitbit

1. What’s your goal?

Do you want to lose or maintain weight? What to build a walking/running habit? Are you looking for a fitness tracker or a multi-purpose smartwatch?

2. What’s your lifestyle?

What is your main form of exercise? Walking, running, swimming, etc.? Do you hike often?

3. What’s your budget?

The fancier the Fitbit, the higher the price tag. Many of the “simpler” Fitbit options miss a few bells and whistles, but are really just as effective.

4. Do you like to stay connected?

A Fitbit smartwatch may be a better option. These watches have amazing bells and whistles and can give you control for messages and music from your watch.

5. Is style important to you?

Fitbits come in different colors and designs, so you have options if you want something feminine or masculine. Many of the simpler versions of the fitbit can be placed into Fitbit accessories which look just like other jewelry and no one will ever even see your Fitbit/. 

Which Fitbit is Right for You?

1. BEST OVERALL FITBIT: The Fitbit Charge 3

It is tough to give a single Fitbit as the title “Best Fitbit”, since that decision that is highly subjective and personal. But there are a few reasons I think the Fitbit Charge 3 deserves that title.

It is the newest model, so it has as many feature packed into its smallish body as possible. It has a larger screen and a lighter design than its predecessor the Charge 2.

This Fitbit model has about everything you could ask for.

  • Goal based exercises.
  • Completely waterproof
  • Reminders to move
  • Notifications (and replies with android phones)
  • Guided breathing
  • Long Battery life: 7 days
  • Improved resolution screen (although still black and white)
  • Increased durability

The Charge 3 even has the ability to change watch straps to make this a cooler fashion accessory. (Check out this cool leather watch strap accessory.)

What puts this watch over the top are a combination of things where it ranks high. It is not the least expensive Fitbit, bit it is one of the less expensive options. It doesn’t have “the most” features, but it does have most of the features on other Fitbits and a few that they don’t have. It doesn’t have the “longest” battery life, but it is far longer battery life than most of the other options. Put all of this together it makes the Fitbit Charge 3 “the best” option, in my opinion.

Features

Fitbit

Price

Click here to see it on Amazon

Steps, Calories, Distances

YES

Floors

YES

Connected GPS

Cell connected GPS: YES
Native GPS: NO

Battery Life

7 days

Text & Call Notifications

YES

Movement Reminders

YES

Clock/Time

YES

Water Resistant?

YES. It is not only “waterproof” but swimproof

Guided Breathing Sessions

YES

2. MOST AFFORDABLE FITBIT: Fitbit Flex 2, Navy (US Version)

 (linked image)

The Flex 2 could easily win for another category: The best Fitbit if you do not want to wear a watch.

These days it seems that Fitbit options primarily come as watch options. But what are you to do if you already have a watch you wear? Or if you simply do not want to wear a watch.

The Flex 2 comes with a wrist wearing option. But it is small and unobtrusive with no watch face. This makes it easy to wear with a watch, without seeming foolish.

Perhaps more importantly, however, this is the perfect option if you want an activity tracker, but DO NOT want anything on your wrist. You can but some simple add-ons to wear the flex 2 in a variety of other ways.

There are pendants and fancy silver necklaces and perhaps my personal favorite, the magnetic clip-on.

I really do love my Flex 2 and the magnetic clip-on. I have been buying Fitbits since the very first one. For a long time, my favorite Fitbit was the “Fitbit ONE”. It was much larger than the Flex 2. It did not have all its features but came in as a large magnetic clip on. Even though I own a Fitbit watch, I don’t always want to wear it. Having the backup option to clip the Fitbit Flex 2 on my belt or shirt unobtrusively is pretty awesome.

For me drawback of the Flex 2 is that it does not count stairs since it has no altimeter.

Features

Fitbit

Price

Lowest priced Fitbit. Click here to see it on Amazon

Steps, Calories, Distances

YES

Floors

NO

Connected GPS

NO

Battery Life

5 days

Text & Call Notifications

Yes

Movement Reminders

YES

Clock/Time

NO

Water Resistant?

YES

3. BEST FITBIT SMART WATCH: Fitbit Ionic GPS Smart Watch

If you are looking for a fitness tracker that has it all, this is the one for you. The Fitbit Ionic offers reminders, notifications for texts, calls and calendar alerts, many cool watch face options. Heart rate, complete sleep tracking, steps, calories, floors swim and more. Full real time stat breakdown. It even has an option for personalized workouts straight from your watch.

It also has many features you can expect from any Smartwatch on the market. Store and play songs (300+). A colorful LED display with great resolution. Great support for tons of apps. From full integration with many workout apps to music services like Pandora.

The downside of this Fitbit Tracker is the cost. It is on the higher end of Fitbit options. But still less expensive than an Apple watch or many other Android watches.

Besides its focus on being a complete fitness tool, the Fitbit Ionic is way ahead of the other Smart Watch options in one very important way. Its battery life.

Most smart watches need to be charged every single day. Some not even making it 24 hours without the need of a recharge. But the Ionic is different. It lasts an average of four days between charges. This means that it is far more likely to be charged when you need it to track your activity. This makes the Fitbit Ionic the best fitness tracker watch available.

Features

Fitbit

Price

Click here to see it on Amazon

Steps, Calories, Distances

YES

Floors

YES

Connected GPS

YES

Battery Life

4 days

Text & Call Notifications

YES

Movement Reminders

YES

Clock/Time

YES

Water Resistant?

YES

Guided Breathing Sessions

YES

4. RUNNER UP FOR BEST FITBIT: Fitbit Alta HR

Most of the reasons I loved the Fitbit Charge 3 are true also true when it comes to the ALTA HR. It does a little bit of everything. It has a reasonable price. It has reminders to get you off your butt and exercise, notifications for call, text and calendar alerts. THe Ionic has full fitness activity tracking. Recording steps, floors, heart rate, calories distances and more.

Similar to the Flex 2, it has a face that is small and detachable from the watch body, making it something that 3rd party business make more stylish watch bands to house.

The only thing the Fitbit AltaHR lacks is swim proofing and built in GPS. But this “lack” is reflected in longer battery life and a lower cost than many of the GPS enabled options.

Features

Fitbit

Price

Click here to see it on Amazon

Steps, Calories, Distances

YES

Floors

YES

Connected GPS

YES

Battery Life

7 days

Text & Call Notifications

YES

Movement Reminders

YES

Clock/Time

YES

Water Resistant?

YES. But not water proof or swim ready.

Guided Breathing Sessions

YES

5. BEST FITBIT FOR KIDS: Fitbit Ace

Kids can now have their own personalized activity tracker, just like mom and dad. The slim design of this activity tracker is similar to that of the Fitbit Alta and Flex 2. In fact, it seems to use an Alta body and can be switched out with Alta 3 party accessories.

The watch is made for growing kids and its “one-size-fits-all design will fit a child for years as they grow.  The watchband measures 5.0-6.1 inches (125mm to 155 mm). This watch has a long 5-day battery life and fully syncs with IOs and android devices. It comes with a few cool color options. But if your kids want multiple color options you can easily buy more options for them like this 12 pack of colorful bands for the Ace/Alta.

Features

Fitbit

Price

Click here to see it on Amazon

Steps, Calories, Distances

YES

Floors

YES

Connected GPS

YES

Battery Life

5 days

Text & Call Notifications

YES

Movement Reminders

YES

Clock/Time

YES

Water Resistant?

Yes. But not water proof or swim ready.

Guided Breathing Sessions

YES

Fitbit Account

Children log into a sub account of their parents accounts for better supervision.

How to Buy (and Use) your BEST FitBit in Three Steps

Overall, I’m extremely impressed with the functionality of the FitBit Charge 3. It’s a device that’s

simple to use, but also offers a variety of features that motivates you to maintain the walking habit.

It’s not hard to buy (and use) this device. In fact, I encourage you to grab it and then connect/compete with members of the Develop Good Habits audience.

You can do this in three simple steps:

Go to Amazon get your best deal for the FitBit Charge 3. (Or wherever you want to buy it.)

Connect with me through the membership account of FitBit—my email is stevescottsite(at)gmail(dot)com.

Walk every day and see how you rank versus other DGH readers.

The trick to developing any habit is to stay accountable and reinforce it on a daily basis.  What the FitBit  gives you is a device that merges simple functionality with social networking. 

When you know people are following your habit change, you’ll be more inclined to follow through with this commitment. 

So if you’re looking to develop the walking habit, any of these best Fitbit choices are excellent options.

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