fitbit charge

July 23, 2015

i’ve had a couple of ‘smart’ wearables. a pebble watch (good) and a sony smartband (might not be called that but it was pretty useless whatever it was called). recently spotted the fitbit charge for a good price (n.b at lot less than they’re advertising on their page). a simple looking activity tracker. i wasn’t expecting a great deal from it but have been pleasantly surprised. let’s start with the device itself.

fitbit_on_wristthe OLED screen stays dark when not in use to conserve battery but when you double-tap the screen it lights up and you can view the current time, number of steps taken, calories burnt and distance travelled (when i got to 10,000 steps it displayed some fireworks to celebrate the ‘achievement’). it feels good on and i’ve found that i forget i’m wearing it. a rubberised band houses the electronic gubbins and there’s a charge point on the reverse. one caveat…it isn’t waterproof. i think they say it’s splashproof. i won’t be risking wearing it in the shower. the strap has two buttony-type-things that snap into corresponding holes to adjust the width. i bought the large version and i’m using the 6th and 7th holes. it’s best to leave a pinky finger gap free. it comes with a ‘wireless’ dongle (read: messed about with bluetooth) so you can sync it with your PC but it’s MS and mac only so isn’t of much use to me (there is a way to get it working with linux but i haven’t tried it yet) so instead i went with the android app. this syncs the charge with your phone…assuming your phone supports bluetooth 4. there’s a slightly out of date list of devices to be found on their site. i have a z3 so am good to go. the app will sync with your charge constantly (well, at very regular intervals) if you want it to but i don’t want increased battery drain on my phone. i just enable bluetooth went i want to sync and this works well. many activities are tracked. here’s my progress after being up and about for 11 hours (mostly at work)

fitbit_android_1it seems to be reasonably accurate though i’ve heard of an extra 5% being added to your step count which would then effect distance and calories burnt.

after another few hours i’ve got to this point

fitbit_android_2not bad. the android app also syncs with the fitbit servers so you can view your progress (and retrospective history) on your dashboard. that looks a lot like this

fitbit_dashboardthe sleep monitoring, which i haven’t mentioned up until now, seems quite accurate too though how it will deal with my bouts of insomnia remains to be seen. so it’s early days for the fitbit and me but i’m enjoying it so far. interesting to see how different routes to my bus stop in the morning differ for example. might get me to take the stairs more than the lift. it apparently should last a week on a single charge. i would like it to be waterproof but maybe the more expensive models do that.

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posted in tech by col

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