The Potential of Fitness Bands (as of early 2015)

Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24

A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to write a product review on the Staples TechHub on the Fitbit Flex and the Jawbone UP24, comparing the two side-by-side.

They’re lovely products, and the sheer act of having a physically visible device on my wrist kept me thinking about my current activity levels and whether I was doing enough to get to my 10,000 daily steps goal.

However, unless you’re a runner, or meticulous about entering in the exact food items you’re eating (with the correct measurements,) it felt like pedometers with fancy apps. I would feel little buzzes or get notifications every time I hit a milestone or completed my goals, but I had very little incentive to do much more than let it passively measure my daily activity. The portions of the band and associated apps that were not automatically tracking my activity or consumption really felt like more of a chore than a supportive partner in the pursuit of better health.

One could argue that staying fit and healthy is hard work, which I agree with, so remaining diligent and keeping track of your food and exercises manually is part of the process. Personally, I just feel like I could track these things myself, without having to stay within the confines of the options available in someone else’s app.

Not having tried all of the offerings on the market, in terms of fitness bands, I’d make the argument that while the devices aren’t all-encompassing when it comes to tracking health and fitness, it’s at least a great start. You get an idea of your resting caloric burn, your level of activity throughout the day, and have the option to track your consumption and activities. I know the Fitbit Surge offers GPS and heart rate monitoring out of the box (with 7+ days of reported battery life!) and would be a great start on covering more ground in terms of fitness, if I were so inclined (and if I could afford it!)

At the end of the day, it excites me to see this space heating up with different devices offering different benefits as selling points, and I can only imagine how integrative and powerful these tiny little devices will become in the next five to ten years.

Do you currently use fitness bands or other wearables? If not, what would it take to get you to wear one?