I had heard of Fitbit and I had never had the desire to wear one as I knew it wouldn't be as accurate and I thought having something on my wrist would drive me nuts. I had originally planned to upgrade to the BodyMedia Core 2, which was "supposed" to come out summer of 2013. However, they kept pushing the release date back and back...rumor has it...because of a company buy-out. Here we are in December and there is still no word of when it's coming out. I was excited about it because it was going to be waterproof. Not just splash proof like the fitbits are, but you could actually SWIM with it. That would be amazing! They were also going to have these fashion bands for them so that you looked a bit "cuter" wearing one. But mostly I was just excited for waterproof. So as time went by I started to get impatient. I wanted to upgrade to something...now. Enter the announcement for the Fitbit Force.
The Force is slightly bigger than the Flex (which a lot of my friends have), but that's because it has a display screen that actually shows your progress in numbers! The Flex uses dots to show how close you are to your main goal, but the Force can show the time, my steps, my calories, my active minutes, my distance walked, my flights climbed...AND it tracks my sleep for me. So basically, it tracks everything that my armband does and then a little bit more. I was pretty excited. Add onto all of that that I can wear it on my wrist and I was hooked. The problem, however, is that I knew before ever putting it on that it would not be as accurate as my armband.
The BodyMedia armband has sensors that actually press against your skin and make thousands of calculations a second regarding body temp, movement and a bajillion other things all scientific like. It's VERY accurate. 99% I think. The Force is worn around the wrist and is thus bounced around a bit and not held to the skin. There are no skin sensors. It is almost completely based off of your own body movements. This alone tells you it won't be nearly as accurate. The question was...how big would the difference be. Would it be worth it?
So for 5 days I wore both. I wore my armband AND my Force. I must admit I felt a bit silly and my arm felt rather decorated, but no one cared. Here's what I found.
Armband 300 calories higher and 100 steps higher
(Workout - Zumba)
Armband 100 calories higher and 1500 steps higher
(used arc trainer, doesn't count steps as accurately)
Armband 400 calories higher and 700 steps higher
(Workout - weightlifting, Zumba and bosu boot camp)
Armband 350 cals higher and 400 steps higher
(Workout - Zumba)
fitbit 100 cals higher, 200 steps higher
(resting day, walked slowly around house for an hour while making calls)
I found it really odd that the only day the Force won out on numbers was on my rest day. This showed me that my workouts are really not being tracked as accurately as I'd like. For things like weight lifting, yoga and pilates where there are not steps involved in the workout...I manually add them to my activities log so that things are as accurate as possible, but the Force still falls a bit behind.
I'm still able to link it to Myfitnesspal.com so it tracks my food and breaks down the nutritional content for me, which is great. I also like how it tracks my sleep. I have to view it on my app or my computer, but it tells me how many times I woke up and how many times I was restless. It seems a bit more accurate in that department than the armband..probably because it's further down my arm where it's moved more if I'm rolling around.
I also LOVE that it automatically syncs to my phone and my computer. The BodyMedia armband had to be plugged into my computer for me to see ANYTHING as far as progress goes and it also had to be charged every other day or so. The Force can hold a charge for a week. It's so nice to not have to hop on the computer to deal with it anymore. Most of what I need to see is right on my wrist. As I'm typing this I can push a button on my wrist and see that I've burned 1940 cals, taken 10,359 steps and already walked almost 5 miles just today! Having all of this so accessible definitely pushes me harder to take those extra steps or climb another flight or two of stairs.
All in all, I much prefer the Force. I have it in my head now that I'm basically burning about 300 more calories than it tells me I am, but other than that...the benefits far outweigh the inaccuracy. Having information right at your fingertips can make all the difference and I love it. I felt a bit of sadness taking off my armband (and giving it to Nathan!) but I'm excited to see how things go from here.
And to see if my arm gets its normal shape back ;-)
DISCLAIMER: All information in this post is purely my own honest personal opinion. I was not contacted by BodyMedia or Fitbit about this review.
UPDATE: (4/3/14) The Fitbit Force, from what I understand has been taken off the market due to a small % of people having skin irritation. I chose to keep mine, rather than return it. It's never irritated my skin (and I do NOT wear it in the shower or pool) and I still absolutely LOVE it. I'm just sorry other people can't buy it now! Hopefully it will be fixed and back on the market soon :)