Monday, April 3, 2017

The Fitbit Flex 2 Review

Recently, I took up swimming. I don't know how to swim actually, so, I enrolled myself in a swim class. And, of course, as a tech guy, I want to know how I do when I am in the water.

So, I got the Fitbit Flex 2, the only Fitbit, so far, that you can take swimming.

The Flex 2 is essentially just a pill-shaped tracker. It can measure steps (of course), auto-track exercises like running and elliptical, measure sleep quality and, yes, auto-detect swimming! It can also prompt you to move if you've been stationary for a period of time.

The battery lasts for about 4 days, though at 3.5 days, the tracker is practically begging me to put it in its charger - which is proprietary, by the way… (You can't even swap out chargers between different Fitbit trackers...) The battery rating of 4 days is, for me, quite short for something that doesn't have a display.

You can find two bands inside the box, a large one and a small one, so you can use whatever size band that will fit your wrist. I wish Fitbit will include a different-sized band in all of their products, like what Apple does with the Apple Watch sports bands...

It has 5 LEDs and it can tell you when you have a call or a text message, though I couldn't remember what the blinking lights stand for... I can only remember the "Stand Reminder" and the light combination for how far away you are from your set goal. For example, my main goal is to get 14, 000 steps everyday, and if I double tap on the tracker, and if only one of the four white LEDs light up, it simply means I am only within 25% of my goal.

The Flex 2 also can auto-detect when you go to sleep just like the Charge 2. I thought the way Fitbit does it is by measuring both my movement *and* my lowered heart rate. However, the Flex 2 can also automatically measure when I go to sleep, when I wake up and the quality of my sleep even if it doesn't have a heart rate sensor. *That* is impressive!

However, I noticed that the Flex 2 cannot tell when I take a nap, whereas the Charge 2 easily can. Also, sometimes, when I am not wearing the Flex 2, it thinks that I am sleeping… So, I had to delete that inside the Fitbit app.

But, I got the Flex 2 to measure how I swim! First, you first have to tell the Flex 2, via the app, to auto-recognize swimming; this is not switched on by default. Also, you can tell the app what is the length of the swimming pool you are swimming in.

Then, when I went swimming and after I synced the Flex 2 to the Fitbit app on my iPhone, it automatically said that I swam!

I really couldn't figure out what the graph means but what is important was, it was able to tell that I covered the pool 23 times and I burned 158 calories in the process. (Goddamit, how much do I have to swim to burn off that candy-sprinkled donut?!?) However, as I am not (yet, I hope) a good swimmer, it took me more than an hour to cover that distance. Maybe that is the reason why my calories burned was only that amount. Maybe more experienced swimmers will get a better, more realistic swimming metric.

But on the whole, I am really happy about the Flex 2 and how it helps me to know how I do in my swimming. I still believe that the Charge 2 is still the best when it comes to fitness tracking, but until such time Fitbit releases a water-resistant Charge 2, I'll be using my Flex 2 in the water.

And, Fitbit, when you release that water resistant Charge 2, I will be the first in line!

The Fitbit Flex 2 is Highly Recommended.

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