I have wanted an activity tracker for years now, actually I really wanted an Apple Watch, there’s only one problem….I’m cheap. Well actually 2 problems, my other problem is that I am an excessive researcher. You know, the kind of person that researches an item to death. I read all the online reviews and Amazon reviews, then I can’t pull the trigger on anything because I’m afraid I’m going to be like one of 4, one star reviews out of 2334 reviews that had a problem. Yea, I’m one of those. We should have a support group. Maybe I should just shop online after a few drinks, I hear drunk shopping helps lower your inhibitions. But maybe I am in recovery because I FINALLY bought a Fitbit charge 2. I’ve had it for about 2 weeks now and here’s what I think are the good and bad points.
Now I’m not a techie who knows all about all the newest software and gadgets. And this is my first activity tracker so I don’t have anything to compare it to. I’m just a middle-aged mom with a desire to track my steps and an opinion.
What I like
I really like that this tracker has a heart rate monitor. This feature seems to raise the price on trackers, but its a feature I really wanted and now I’m glad that I have. I do some HIIT training and sometimes I would get really tired for a few days after a particularly strenuous workout, I chalked it up to deconditioned. Well, I tracked my heart rate with my Fitbit and turns out occasionally I exceed my max heart rate. Oooops, this really isn’t that good for you, and I could tell because my energy level would be lower for a few days after, so I think its pretty accurate.
I also like the app and the way it displays on my phone. It’s easy to read. Each item, like sleep, heart rate, workouts, has its own page if you click on the icon. Fitbit explains each screen and what it means. I like that you can set your own goals for steps, miles, floors, active minutes, and calories burned. You can even set a weight loss goal. The Fitbit syncs with your phone via Bluetooth so it has to be close to update the app.
It also sends you a week summary. I really like this because I can see all the hard work I’ve put in over the week.
I like the way it looks. You can buy different color bands. It comes with a rubber-like black band out of the box. I think I will invest in a leather band eventually, or ask for one for Christmas. I hear I’m hard to buy for. You can also change the clock face, there are several options.
And finally, It works. I does what its supposed to do. It counts my steps, it measures my heart, and monitors my sleep. Turns out I’m a pretty good sleeper but my husband says we didn’t need the Fitbit to tell us that. It keeps a charge for about 3 days, the site says 5 but I found my lasts about 3. I also like that I can log workouts.
What I don’t like
Alas nothing is perfect and there are a few things about the Fitbit Charge 2 I don’t like.
It doesn’t have a second-hand on the watch. There are quite a few clock faces you can choose from and none of them have a second hand. I work in health care and take pulses on a regular basis and a watch with a second hand is very helpful for this. Ok, I thought I’ll just use the stopwatch feature! But you can start the stopwatch and then the watch goes blank, you either have to turn your wrist or tap the screen to get the numbers back up, and well that’s a pain, and my other hand is busy palpating the pulse. So now I use the stop watch on my phone. This is a pain, but I think I would look silly with 2 watches on.
I also wish is was water proof. I would love to be able to wear it in the shower. So far I have been able to wash my hands with minimal splash on the Fitbit. It is water resistant so some drops of water like rain or sweat shouldn’t be an issue. I’m sure there is a $300 model out there that you can submerge, but again, I’m cheap.
It doesn’t appear to count my steps if I am walking very slow. I work in home health physical therapy and one thing I do with almost every patient is gait training. But my patients aren’t breaking any speed records. From what I can tell, the walking I do while working with my patients is not recorded on the Fitbit. It’s not that big of a deal for me, I get plenty of other walking in, but if you were thinking of getting an activity tracker for an elderly friend or relative who is not very agile to encourage them to get up and move, it may not be a good idea.
Overall I am very pleased with my purchase of the Fitbit Charge 2. It retails for $149.99 but I got my on sale at Kohls for $119.99. That was without 30% of coupon because Fitbit is in the fine print of brands not eligible for the Kohls coupons. Damn, I love a deal. None of the negative points are deal breakers for me and I’m sure I’ll be putting thousands of steps on my Fitbit.
Do you have an activity tracker that you love or hate? I’d love to hear your input.