Which Fitbit should you buy?
Remember when the word ‘wearable’ was new and scary? We only had a handful options for fitness trackers, and everyone was laughing at how ridiculous Google Glass users looked. It was a simpler, more innocent time, and it’s long gone.
These days you can barely leave your front door without being bombarded by step-counting socks or smart water bottles, and it can all be rather confusing.
Fitbit is a company that’s been around since the very beginning, and has solidified itself as the biggest name in fitness tracking. The trouble is, it now offers eight - yes, eight - different types of fitness-tracking wearable, and it’s hard to know where to start.
Fear not though, because we’ve reviewed them, studied them, and learnt their innermost secrets, to determine which one you should be strapping/clipping onto your body:
Fitbit Surge (US$250)
The Surge is the most expensive Fitbit currently available and it's US$0 dearer than its Blaze brother. Both offer the whole shebang - steps counted, heart rate, calories burned, music control, sports tracking and notifications - but the Surge also adds the benefit of in-built GPS, letting you leave your phone at home when you’re out pounding the pavement.You might prefer a less chunkier, blockier-looking form factor though.
Best for - regular runners who want to ditch their phones
Fitbit Blaze (US$200)
The Blaze takes all the tricks of the Surge, but drops the GPS tracking smarts. This won’t be a massive issue unless you regularly run or cycle and would rather leave your giant phablet behind. If you’re not fussed about taking your handset out with you though, then you can still track your route, piggybacking off your handset’s GPS. The Blaze is also the most watch-like of all of Fitbit’s offerings, serving up a colour screen and a variety of strap options. Its five-day battery life comfortably beats out its Apple and Android smartwatch rivals too.
Best for - people who want fitness tracking smarts in a watch form factor
Fitbit Charge HR (US$150)
Fitbit Charge HR
The Charge HR’s simple band-like form factor is more subtle than the both the Blaze and Surge, thanks to its small OLED screen. The small display does however mean you’ll be giving up text notifications and music controls, though caller ID is still supported. It’ll also automatically detect when you’ve started exercising, thanks to its ability to track your heart rate continuously.
Best for - tracking your heart rate on a more of a budget
Fitbit Charge (US$110)
The Charge is identical to the Charge HR but it drops the heart rate tracking. At £100, it’s in a bit of an odd spot, given that the £80 Fitbit Flex offers almost identical functionality. Unlike the Flex though, the Charge offers the ability to track how many floors you’ve climbed, along with displaying the time/caller ID.
Best for - people who want to track their activities and sleep, who aren’t fussed about their heart rate.
NB: The cheaper Flex is a better option, unless you really want something that doubles up as a watch. For a little more money, you can also get the Alta which offers a few more features
Fitbit Alta (US$130)
The Alta is a stylish tracker which can be customised with a variety of different metal and leather bands. While its price matches that of the Charge, it offers a little more functionality in the form of automatic exercise recognition and text notifications. Unlike the Charge though, it won’t measure how many floor you’ve climbed, but that’s pretty low on the list of priorities for most people, we’d imagine.
Best for - tracking your stats and basic notifications in lightweight, customisable style
Fitbit Flex (US$100)
The Flex is the cheapest in the Fitbit range to offer automatic sleep detection, and its battery can last up to seven days. It’s feature are more basic, with no heart rate tracking, clock or notification functionality, but for £80 it ticks off all the basics, and comes in more colour options than its peers.
Best for - basic fitness tracking wrapped up in a small, attractive package
Fitbit One (US$100)
The Fitbit One is essentially a Flex morphed into a clip-on form factor. Its screen lets it display the time and it can track your sleep, although you’ll have to manually set it to do so before you nod off. The basic steps and calories are all counted, but again, there are no fancy heart rate tracking or automatic exercise detection tricks here.
Best for - people who want to track basic activities while leaving their wrists bare
Fitbit Zip (US$60)
At US$60, the Zip is the cheapest in the entire Fitbit range, and offers basic tracking in the form of steps taken, distance travelled, and calories burned. Aside from displaying the time (but lacking the silent alarm functionality present on all of its brothers and sisters), that’s pretty much it. The benefit to all this simplicity, apart from the price, is its massive six month battery life.
Best for - fitness tracking on a budget, without having to worry about regular charging