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Monday, July 21, 2014

Fitbit Zip Review

It was an impulse buy, kinda.  I had thought about purchasing an activity monitor for several weeks when I finally decided to do a little research on them.  With my new found internet knowledge, I went over to Amazon and clicked the 'buy now' button on a Fitbit Zip.  Am I happy with it?  Overall, yes.  

I'm happy I only spent $49 on an activity monitor.  I like the fact that it's not a bracelet and I can clip it discreetly to an article of clothing.  I also found it interesting to see how many calories are burned by just living, breathing, and walking into the kitchen to get more coffee.  I also like the website monitoring and log that comes free with a Fitbit purchase.  The food database is quite extensive, which means just about everything you eat can be found in the database and therefore all you need to enter is how much of something you ate and the calories will appear automatically.

It's also nice that you can log activities you may do manually on the website because one of my biggest not-likes (dislike is too strong of a word) is that the Zip doesn't track cycling very well.  Before I purchased it, I read several reviews that said it would and that you just needed to clip it to your shoe.  The rotation of your foot on the pedal would register steps.  This is true, however, it's no way accurate, especially the miles traveled.  Because of this, I've been logging cycling manually.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find a way to remove the steps the Zip logs while I'm cycling and I'm ending up with the activity being logged twice.

I received my Zip Thursday and immediately started using it.  Sunday of the same week, the battery died.  The Zip uses a  3V coin battery  and they are quite cheap, about $3 for 5 of them.  When I researched why my Zip's battery would die within 4 days I found that I should have installed the firmware update.  No problem, but it would have been nice if I were forced to do that once I first registered the Zip and synced it.  As it is now, I can't update it because it's dead until I get a new battery, see picture above.

Wearing the Zip for the past 4 days got my mind to thinking of the possibilities of it.  How easy, it would seem, to make a really REALLY accurate activity monitor.  Sure, it would cost more than the $49 I spent on the Zip, but for some it would be worth it.  For instance, add a GPS to the monitor to accurately track miles.  Add a heart rate monitor to accurately track intensity.  Add a camera to allow you to photograph labels or bar codes of food items you ate then look up the exact item to get a real calorie count of the food.  And please, keep it small and discreet. Perhaps this is all overkill, but I'm just thinking, it seems like it could be so much better...

Overall, I am please with the Zip and I have ordered more batteries and I will do the firmware update and continue to use it.  The new update may even include a way to edit the steps the Zip logs so I'm not doubling up when I cycle.  It has been an eye opener to log the food I've eaten and I see some easy adjustments I could make to help with weight loss.  I'm glad I didn't spend $100+ for an activity monitor since I really didn't see that they were twice as good as my $49 Zip.  I imagine soon there will be monitors that include all the suggestions I made and more!  For one of those, I'd spend more.

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