Getting Fit, Bit by bit
Fitbit is no stranger to the smartwatch world. Before the Apple watch came to be, the brand already had a following across the globe for their style, functionality, and overall simple design.
To give you a little bit of a background, Fitbit was idealized by its founders, Eric and James in 2007, after realizing that sensors and wireless technology had advanced to a point where they could bring amazing experiences to fitness and health. This started the brand that proudly helps us monitor our fitness and keep track of our health with accuracy.
iOS developer Mr. Allan Macatingrao has had quite the experience with the Fitbit Charge HR, and was fortunately willing to share his experience with MyBicol.
So let’s start with the most obvious question: Why Fitbit?
No specific reason, really. I’ll give you a background why I decided to buy a watch (yes, this was only what I initially wanted). I went to Centro one afternoon and saw a slick-looking watch priced at P150. I decided to try it on just to see if it would look good on my wrist and a co-worker who was present said it suited me. I realized I wanted to purchase something similar, and as if by fate, I was further ‘coerced’ when we had a visitor over at work wearing a similar-looking watch (obviously more costly, though). I was told it was called a ‘Fitbit’ and that it had a ‘heart rate monitoring’ feature, which further grabbed my interest.
After a few hours of researching about its benefits, I was sold. According to my searches, the device could accurately measure one’s calorie burn count, compared to other fitness trackers/watches. It also had a simple design, a simple display, and it’s very straightforward with what it does.
When you received the package and saw the watch, was it what you expected in terms of size, weight, feel? How was it when you wore it for the first time?
The look was expected, but the feel was something otherwise. I thought it would be heavy and that the rubber would be a little on the hard side. When I first held it, the rubber was immediately the first thing I noticed; it was lightweight! As a first-time user of a watch like this (accompanied by its premium price tag), I felt like a kid discovering a new toy. It was definitely an exciting moment for me. I keep coming back to how gorgeous the rubber feels on my skin. There are times I forget I’m even wearing my Fitbit – it’s that comfy. I find myself regularly checking its interface to check the time, my heart rate, to see if it’s accurately tracking my steps – you know, like a kid who can’t take his hands off a newly purchased iPad.
Can you give us a rundown of its features? Have you been able to make use of all of them, or were there select ones that you found you used more often than others?
The Fitbit Charge HR has at least seven (7) features that makes it a very competitive fitness watch/tracker.
The clock face, which has four (4) display options: one that displays just the time, one that displays AM & PM with seconds, one that shows the hour, minutes, and seconds, and one that displays the hour, minute, and date (I use this one most).
The pedometer, which – based on reviews – is the most accurate step tracker on the market. This feature has its flaw, however, in that it sometimes detects ‘false steps’ or steps that weren’t actually made. An example would be me getting on a jeep to or from work and getting a reading of the steps it assumed I had taken.
The heart rate monitor, which accurately measures the amount of calories burned. I find this feature the most useful as I have little time to do a full workout. One thing I do a lot of is walking, and Fitbit tells me how long I should walk and what heart rate I should maintain to meet my target calorie burn count. This ensures you won’t be over-exercised and will feel energized after (and not burned-out). This for me is definitely the best part about this device. Regardless of your activity, it can accurately monitor how many calories have already been burned based solely on the heart rate feature.
Other fitness trackers base the calories burned from the number of steps you’ve taken, which isn’t really accurate. Say you’re walking up a steep hill, and took 10 steps to reach the top. They may register a somehow relaxed calorie burn data, but in reality, you may have burned more because your heart rate sped up while walking upward.
The calorie counter, which does exactly what it says it does. I rarely use this though, as it’s mainly just to see how much longer ’til you reach your goal. It comes with a calorie intake feature where you can log the food you eat, but I’m not one to do that. I just approximate the food I take in and adjust according to how I see it (I mean, if I’ve eaten some chocolate cake, that has to be more than just a hundred calories).
The kilometer counter is one of the bonus features of the device for me, and I’m not entirely sure how it works exactly. It might be based on the number of steps, measured in length, or something similar. There’s no GPS to measure the distance walked accurately, so that’s that.
The Stair feature, which tracks how many stairs you’ve walked on, probably depending on the height (I’m not sure about how this works either).
The device also has one feature which I had qualms at the beginning about, called silent alarm. What you do is to set an alarm and the Fitbit will vibrate at the set time (granting you keep it on your wrist even when you sleep). It has its benefits, like allowing you to wake up while sparing the other people around you with an otherwise blaring sound. I thought it was quite useful at first, but I don’t use it any longer. I want my body to wake up at a time naturally set by my ‘body clock’ and not be disrupted by an alarm.
Another feature called sleep tracking monitors specific movements that can tell if you’re awake or asleep. It’ll give you an overview if your sleeping pattern is okay and has a counter showing the hours you’ve slept minus the hours you were awake.
Finally, there’s also a feature that displays call notifications where you’ll get alerted once someone calls you on your phone (since the Fitbit is connected via bluetooth to your phone, it’ll notify you via vibrations). Unfortunately, you’ll still have to answer the call from your phone as there are no speakers on the device itself.
How has it changed your daily routine? Did it encourage you to be more aware of your health and fitness?
It really had an impact at first, ’cause I normally just wake up, take a bath, have breakfast, then go to work. After getting Fitbit and not wanting to waste its features, I’ve developed a different routine – at the time. The change in routine lasted only a few months, and now I’m back to my regular regimen. Recently, I’ve gone back to having 30-minute walks.
As for my awareness, I’ve always kept tabs on my health given my hypertension, but of course, Fitbit helped me become more aggressive in keeping that lifestyle.
Is there a feature you feel should be included that you hope the developers will incorporate in future versions?
Yes! The first weakness I saw was its pedometer feature. I was hoping it would have an option to disable the step tracking for long commutes so it won’t mess up my data.
Would you recommend it to your friends and/or coworkers?
By default, yes, for those who don’t have enough time to exercise. At least theyll find out how many minutes they need to work out to lose the weight. It is a cool device, great for techies who want a device that is simple and looks slick. •
Allan Macatingrao is an iOS App Developer in his 30’s, single, and wants to live far from the city in his custom-built container van-house with electricity and internet. Fascinated with alien life and loves to talk about random, interesting things. Fun to be with and loves to drink 2 bottles of beer (with a tendency to drink more if the company is right).
Featured Image from (link).