I know, I am not the poster child for a health related gadgets but I think oddly that does make me a good person to review this. I have been using fitbit for roughly over a year and a half now but been a lot more conscious about the stats in the last few months.
When I was at University, I barely moved so using the fitbit was more like, hey I have a fitbit and I am pretending to care about my fitness levels. Then when I really started to use it, I found out something, I was developing an allergy towards it, I stopped wearing it though focussed more on moving for a while because the flex strap "ate" my skin. Stephen now has the flex with a different strap, he wasn't too fond of the pink. He seems pretty happy with it.
I got the Alta using a coupon and some saved money, they about double the price of the flex but boy do they have bells and whistles. While the flex had a few basic functions, pedometer and sleep counter and access to the fitbit app. The Alta doubles as a smart watch, it syncs with my phone and shows me basic emails, meetings, messages and my if someone is calling me. This is super useful when I am teaching because I try and keep my phone on silent so I don't land up whatsapping in class. Though some days my groups get very busy and my arm is constantly buzzing so I switch the continuous sync feature off then. That isn't fitbits' fault that is just bored and social geeks.
So what can it do for you fitness wise?
Well obviously it can't make you fit, it can't do the exercise for you but it can keep you accountable. Which if that sort of activity monitoring and tracking is what works for you then great. I like it because it shows me how I worked, where do I need to focus on and it has a setting that it reminds me to move if I haven't moved in a while. I know this sounds silly but sometimes when I am marking or blogging or playing games, I do tend to lose track of time. The gentle vibration and friendly message on my arm to remind me to move does do wonders.
Fitbit has bought Fitstar and when you do the exercises on Fitstar it immediately syncs in with your fitbit app on your phone. The app can also sync with your medical aid and if they offer it, you can receive rewards, hello coffee (this sounds like another post). This is great since you can do the fitstar exercises using an app on your iphone, or Ipad and I think pc. The alta can also recognise various exercises from running to spinning and a whole lot in between and adds that to how many calories did you burn and keeps track of that for you. I haven't tried their food counter but it syncs with myfitnesstracker which is the one almost everyone I know uses.
Things I love about the alta, it looks a lot sleeker and more like a funky accessory and less like a plastic strap that vaguely resembles a toy I used to wear around my arm. It has different strap options including leather ones so if this strap does get to my skin, I can switch that out. It doesn't feel heavy and clunky, it is lighter than most of my watches. It also has an alarm, so it wakes me in the mornings. The app now shows you when you should be heading to bed if you want a good nights rest according to your sleep goals and the time you plan on waking up in the morning.
One of the things fitbit does well is they integrate a social element into the mix. You can compete in social challenges with friends where you are seeing who was the busiest that week and who was the busiest a specific day. The other things is if you use the pc site, you can compete in your region for who was the busiest there, this is for all the super competitive people out there.
Things I love about the app, I can see my own stats. I can compete in challenges against friends and either win or force myself to do better than I would normally. It shows me everything and more than I wish to know while still being very user friendly.
Things I love about the flex, it is affordable, it can get you into the game so you can see if this will work for you. The app is the same, so your friends with super fancy fitbits see the same info you do. It is water resistant enough that you can shower with it or at least I did.