Monday, July 1, 2013

Fitbit Zip

I've been trialing the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker. (If you follow that link you'll find that the color blue is currently marked down by $10.00.)

Two years ago I almost purchased a Fitbit Ultra until I found out that the batteries can last as little as a year and at that point you must purchase an entirely new unit including the base which you use to sync your numbers to your computer. Imagining all those fitbits and bases being sent to the landfill  sounded like a huge burden to the earth and I decided to pass.

Then Fitbit came out with the zip. It's basically an accelerometer pedometer on steroids. There is not base and it uses a watch battery that you can change yourself.

It's very tiny compared to the other pedometers on the market that boast similar features. When placed in the clip on case it arrives with it's only about 1" X  1.5" X 1/4". The included clip is quite secure. A battery is included and was quite easy to get properly situated thanks to the little tool they provide. I didn't break any prongs on the battery cover as had been reported when the zip was first released retail.

It retails for $59.00 though as noted above the blue color is - at this writing - on sale for about $10.00 less .  Unlike the more expensive Fitbit models it doesn't track stairs or sleep. I didn't think that doing without either of those two things would bother me. Going without the ability to track sleep still doesn't. I think it would be nice to know how many stairs I've done but it's still not a deal breaker.

I term it a pedometer on steroids for two reasons. First due to accuracy. It's amazingly accurate when tracking walking or running. You can program in your stride length, which would further increase that accuracy.

Second, and the reason I believe it's worth the extra $$ compared to other accelerometer Pedometers is the fact that you have access to their website for free. Yes, you can buy a full membership but honestly the basic free membership is as much and more than most people would ever need or want.
You can also sync the "Lose It" app and several other apps so that they all share the info you input. This can make tracking what you eat a snap!

Downloading the necessary software to windows 8 was simple. Getting the Fitbit to sync reliably and keeping the software function was initially a trial. Once the fitbit zip reset itself automatically that first midnight (love that it does this) the problems disappeared. Connecting it to the Lose it app and several android devices was seamless.

Apparently you can use Bluetooth technology to sync your Zip with certain compatible android and apple phones - not sure about tablets. None of my devices are compatible so I was unable to test that function.

The Zip will automatically sync when you get within 20 feet of the little "dongle" USB thingie that they give you for your computer or laptop. You can also manually sync it.

The only less than wonderful thing that I can see about the Zip is that it only tracks steps. T-Tappers need to know that if you do a T-Tapp workout it will only track the step-like movements that a workout contains. So hoedowns, jog rocks and those types of movements are accurately tracked. T-Tapp twist will get you a few "steps" but most movements simply fail to track as activity.

I can imagine that this could be disappointing when you've done a tough workout and gotten all of 300 steps for it. You can go into the program and manually put in your T-Tapp workouts and give them a calorie count. You can also connect the Zip to a heart rate monitor, which I haven't tried.

I'm not certain if the more expensive models would track all movement.

I've reached the end of my time so I'm going to post this as is. As I continue to use the Zip I'll add to this review should anything new pop up.

Additional note: I live in fear of losing this thing so I've been wearing it on my bra. It's still accurate. I may try wearing it on my hip during a T-Tapp workout to see what it tracks.
 

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