Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Anybody can review familiar products like the Kindle, beef, or gravity. But I like to review products you may not have heard about. I should mention that I am NOT receiving any compensation for this review, and I've paid full price for the product.

I first heard about FitBit in November of 2008. I ordered two of these units right off the bat, thinking I'd give them to myself and my wife for Christmas. In the order confirmation, the company said, "we cannot guarantee Christmas delivery".

Well, they did in fact miss Christmas, but I didn't care. I decided to just give it to my wife for Valentine’s day.

They missed that holiday as well.

They missed Mother's day, our anniversary, Pioneer Day. Halloween, and Speak Like a Pirate day.

But I still didn't mind; rather than deliver a bad product on time, the company has delivered a great product late.

What the FitBit does is track your steps. They use the same technology as the motions sensors in your Wiimote, for about a 97 percent accuracy.

This is all well and good, but you're saying, 'what is the big deal about tracking steps? Well, I'll tell you, because that is what you do in a review.

What makes this device worth it's $99 sales price is its syncing capabilities. Every time I get within 15 or so feet of my computer, my device logs my steps to the FitBit website. By buying this device, I have access to the website for life--no monthly fees.

I can go to FitBit.com from any computer and see how many steps I've taken, how many calories I've burned, how much time I've spent sedentary and active, and more. In addition to my data, I can invite other people to be my friend. Once they are my friend, I can see their steps taken.

Everybody knows the mathematical formula 2p+(n>1)=F. This formulat states that if you have 2 people, and more than one number, then you have a fight. Or in sissy terms, a competition. (This forumula is related to 2c+1d=r (two cars going to the same destination means a race)).

I can have little mini-competitions with my friends to see who is a healthy, productive member of society, and who is a lazy, good-for-nothing leech. Ok, the site uses nicer terminology that thave, but you get the picture. It's always fun to compete against random people on the internet, right?

The reason I love FitBit so much is because I'm a numbers guy. This device gives me loads of data to track. And just about any time you track data, it affects your behavior.

For example, I've set a goal of hitting 9,000 steps every day. If I'm sitting on the couch at 10:30 PM, and I notice I've only hit 8,500, I hop up and wander around the living room for a while. For me, because I see the data, it makes me want to manipulate the data. Sure, those 500 steps probably only takes care of half a bite of the deep-fried
twinkie I was eating, but the point is that it's 500 steps I wouldn't have taken. I've gone on more random pointless walks in the past week than I have all last month.

The FitBit is ridiculously easy to use. Once a week you have to put it in the docking station overnight to recharge it, but other than that there is no maintenance.

If you've been meaning to get into shape, and you like data, and you have a spare $99, you really should consider the FitBit.

And if you get one, invite me to become your friend. I'm looking for fresh meat. I'll see you on the leader boards.


L.T. Elliot said...

That's a fascinating bit of technology. It's amazing what they're doing these days and I love that it auto-synchs with your computer.

ali said...

Hahahaha! That was totally funny.


A really helpful and interesting review.


Elena said...

They missed Speak Like a Pirate Day? That's criminal. My favorite holiday. Arrrr!

Tom and Mel said...

wow! That sounds pretty cool! Did you have to pay $99 for each of you? And, $99 is the total cost (no set up fees or anything?). sounds like a pretty fun device! Although, that is about 1/4 of the cost of a vita mix and right now I'd really like a vita mix! Or a digital SLR....or both...let us know if the fitbits ever go on clearance! ;-)

Tom said...

First! Oh, wait, this blog post is 2 weeks old... Marion, you are seriously tempting me to buy this. But it's no fair if you walk 8 hours to gamenight. We have to draw the line somewhere. BTW, does it track other kinds of exercise? How about bike riding? Now that would sell me on it for sure.

Matthew Buckley said...

It does not track bike riding, at least not that I am aware of. You may be able to clip it to your shoe or something.

However, on the site you can go and input your activities (like bike riding), and it will track calories burned, etc.

The reason it doesn't track biking is because it's based on your movement. What I suspect is that the motion detectors in the device (similar to what are in a Wiimote) need to have some kind of rythmic up and down motion. So if you clip it to your waist, and then ride, it doesn't register as steps.

But after using this for a month, I love it even more. My wife and I will go out on walks, just so I can keep or increase my standings on the leaderboard.

I'm such a sucker for competition.

Jaime Theler said...

It sounds really cool, but I don't think I'll get one because I wouldn't want to give you a complex. ;)

P.S. I don't think Twinkies are deep fried; I think they aren't cooked at all. (Ewww!) I'll still eat them, though.

Matthew Buckley said...

They don't come deep fried, but they most certainly are deep fried at times. :)


Anonymous said...

I ordered two as well and have been waiting since Festivus. Success will eventually kill this beast.

Anonymous said...

If you want a Fitbit, I bought one from the Hammacher Schlemmer website and it came in less than a week. It took a lot of digging to find a place where they weren't on backorder!

rsgoldfeng said...

Every timeDiablo 3 Items I get within 15 or so feet of my computer,Guild wars 2 CD KEY
my device logs my steps to the FitBit website

Anonymous said...

The fitbit was a good way to track my progress but now I'm slowly moving towards running on a treadmill. What is the best treadmill device that can track my progress? I heard nike+ can do this but are there other ones out there?