I have used my Fitbit since January 2014 after what I remember was a long time trying to decide if I really wanted one and if so which one. Thinking back it has served its purpose well and I will give it some credit for keeping me active over the past years.
Over the course of the timeline above, I used a handful of watches. Most I bought because I wanted GPS capabilities however I did own two that were only step counters. From the data above you are probably wondering why there is a big gap in 2014. Long story short after I decided on getting a Fitbit at the end of 2013, I went for the new Fitbit force since it could actually show the time as I thought it was silly to just have a tracker band on my wrist. Unfortunately for me, I had issues with that watch and had to return it. At that time they didn’t have a replacement as all of them were recalled so they just returned my money in Full.
Due to the fact, Fitbit was kind of a pioneer in the step tracking market, a lot of people jumped on board quickly. I don’t recall when they started their community to connect with people and have challenges but it has been for as long as I can remember. This is something they did well early on too as it encouraged people to do more in order to try to keep up with family or friends. I enjoyed looking at where people’s 7-day averages were and how well I did against them.
Hands down the one thing Fitbit has done (at least from my perspective) from day one is having great customer support. Put aside the question of quality as remember early on this was a new type of technology. I have purchased 5 different Fitbit devices for myself during the 5 year period.
- Fitbit Force (Step tracker with Time Display) – Recalled
- Fitbit Flex (Step Tracker ONLY) – Free replacement after it got water in it
- Fitbit Surge (GPS Watch) – Free replacement after the band broke as this version doesn’t have removable watch bands
- Fitbit Ionic (GPS Watch) – Free replacement after it just died and didn’t turn back on
- Fitbit Aria (Scale) – Still the original / never got a replacement
However, I have had 8 devices. The first one was a factory recall and I got my full purchase price back. The other 3 I purchased I had issues after a year or more and they replaced the device free of charge. When you spend more than $150 on newer technology and you are frugal it is a relief knowing that they stand behind the product.
This was never really an issue years ago but as my use of my Fitbit watch changed it became more apparent. After having my year of running 5K a day and wanting to look through the data and look back at things, I quickly realized that looking back at specific data in your Fitbit is near impossible. How can I find all of the “Runs” I completed in the previous year.
You can click on the activities tab but everything is an activity and there is no good way to sort by type of activity. In addition, I can’t even easily export the information to do anything else with it. The good thing is most of my runs are in Strava which makes it super simple to export and look back at specific types of Activities (e.g., Runs vs Bike Rides).
Unreliable GPS / Watch
This kind of goes with my gripe above with data, however, a GPS watch itself is only as good as when it is tracking. If I didn’t want to know where and how far I ran, then I would not have paid over $250 for my Fitbit Ionic and just bought a $30 Timex like I used to wear in High School.
However, since I did spend that money on a GPS watch that is what I want. Below are some great examples of when my Fitbit would just fail me in the middle of the run. I realized that the map makes it look like I stopped and just didn’t complete the loop back to my house. Just for reference though, I do not stop a half-mile from my house as I always make it all the way back to my starting point no matter how much further that makes me run.
As I look at the GPS fails above, it is kind of interesting that each one seems to die after a little over 1.5 miles. Not sure if that is a coincidence or not.
Will I miss anything?
I will miss the Community and the data I already have out there. I have tried to pull over as much data as I can into my new system but not all data is created equal even when importing. As I noted before since all of my runs were in Strava that was easier to get and import all of those into a new system.
As for the community, I will miss that as well since two of my kids have Fitbits and it was always fun being able to quickly see how I ranked over them. Even with 3.1 mile runs every day my kids still beat me in steps, unless they didn’t wear their watch. However, as for other family and friends, they too have started to drift away from Fitbit.
My guess is most people got Apple watches and didn’t want to wear both. Or if they wanted more of a Runners / Workout watch they went to Garmin or Suunto. I have been connecting with runners on Strava and it seems most drift to Garmin.
Question for you?
Do you track your steps or fitness activities using a watch? If so what kind do you have? If you have had a Fitbit ever what kind did you have and what are your thoughts on it?