In the competitive world of pedometers, the Flex 2 brought to you by Fitbit outshines the competition, making this the clear winner of our Editor's Choice Award. This pedometer isn't just a step-counter but truly a life tracker. The tiny device can be switched between an assortment of bands, bangles, and pendants, allowing for ultimate style and portability. While the device does lack onscreen tracking, linking it to a smartphone and computer lets you track a wealth of health and activity data. In addition to counting your running or walking steps, the waterproof Flex 2 can track swimming distance. It can also track cycling distance as well as the duration of intense activity. The Flex 2 can also monitor sleep, distance traveled, overall activity, weight gains and loses, calorie budgets, food and water intake, and even menstruation. The rechargeable battery lasts approximately four to five days, and it is easy to forget that you're wearing it. The only downsides of the Flex 2 are that the band can be difficult to break-in, the device takes a long time to charge, and the band can get sweaty if worn too tightly.A less expensive option is the 3D TriSport, which tracks steps, mileage and calories burned. This device doesn't track as much data as the Flex 2 or Bellabeat Leaf, but it doesn't require a smartphone and, at $24.99, the 3D TriSport gets the job done at an incredible value.
Fitbit Flex 2 Review
Cons: No screen read-out, must use smartphone or computer to manage data, fairly inaccurate.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Fitbit Flex 2 is an attractive, lightweight pedometer that manages a robust set of data. It provides extensive activity logs weekly, monthly, and annually. This device would appeal to many people — from those wanting to simply track steps and mileage with a minimalist design — to those wishing to record and monitor an abundance of data. This little device has something for everyone. The comprehensive nature of the health and fitness tracking, coupled with the Flex 2's reasonably accessible price-point, make it a natural product to recommend.
Depth of Data
The Flex 2 tracks an extensive array of data, aiming to monitor not only daily steps and mileage, but also fitness, diet, fertility and menstruation, water intake, and weight. In addition to tracking activity, food, sleep, and weight on a daily basis, the Flex 2 provides weekly, monthly, and annual data readouts. It is one of the most extensive data collectors we tested.
To count walking or running steps or swimming strokes, you wear the device on your wrist. To use the Flex 2 while cycling, be sure to wear it around your ankle so it can count your pedal rotations.
This data is accessible both on the smartphone app as well as the user's online Dashboard. By enabling a myriad of options for data tracking, the Flex 2 allows users to decide just how much data they want the device to record.
The smartphone app for the Flex 2 includes features for monitoring your daily activity, sending you daily & weekly progress updates to encourage users to meet their activity goals. The screenshots above show the home screen (on the left) and your daily or weekly motivational notifications (to the right).
The Flex 2 is an ideal pedometer for anyone with a smartphone who doesn't need a separate screen to monitor activity throughout the day. The Flex 2 buzzes when a user has reached their daily fitness goals and gives you the option to set up quiet alarms to remind you to move around on an hourly basis. These notifications are the only information that the device itself communicates without referencing a smartphone or computer. The lack of a screen may be a turn-off for those few people who don't have smartphones, as such the Flex 2 didn't earn a perfect score for data management. However, if you have a smartphone and no need for a screen on the device the smartphone app is very user-friendly and manages data with ease.
With the app, a person can easily monitor daily step, miles, calories, and minutes exercised. Additionally, users can track their sleep, exercise, whether they are moving every hour, and their menstruation and fertility. The only drawback to the phone app is that it is difficult to track long-term data. However, it is easy to analyze and manage long-term data on the online FitBit.com Dashboard.
The Flex 2 also provides fun challenges, exercise videos, and coaching, as well as the ability to link with friends and family for the encouragement to meet fitness goals.
We test step accuracy by counting our steps while using the devices in a series of tests. Then we take the average readout for each device and compare the two numbers. To test the accuracy in measuring distance, our reviewers head to the track and evaluate distance accuracy on a known distance. In a series of step-count tests and a track test, the Flex 2 proved to be the least accurate device we tested.
While the results of our accuracy test surprised our lead reviewer, this shouldn't deter you from selecting this impressive device. We think the other features — such as swim-proof/life-proofing, cycling & swim tracking, fitness coaching, lifestyle & health tracking, and period tracking — more than make-up for any issues with accuracy. Further, the device proved consistent in step and distance tracking when the same hike was done multiple times. As such, the device read-out will still adequately monitor your activity day-to-day, as the device adjusts to your rhythm.
Ease of Use
The Flex 2 proved fairly easy to use out of the box. Once the device was fully charged, it took only 20 minutes to set-up the device. Given that the Flex 2 required 2 hours to charge, it didn't earn the title of easiest pedometer to use. Once fully charged, the Flex 2 was ready to start counting steps with minimal user-supplied information: username, password, height, weight, sex, and goals. However, if the user is interested in tracking additional data — such as food and water intake, weight loss goals, menstruation, and fertility — this will require additional set-up time. Whether the user wants to input a lot of data regarding diet & menstruation history or just the basics to get moving - the corresponding app proved very user-friendly.
One of the best features of the Flex 2 is that the battery is rechargeable, between charges the battery can last as long as five days. In our test, the device typically needed a recharge every four days. It's set up to send an email to the user when the battery is getting low. This feature could prove helpful for some users and annoying for others.
Pedometers work best when they are effortless to remember and desirable to wear. The Flex 2 proved highly portable, wearable, and discrete. For these reasons, it gets top marks in portability.
The only downside to the portability of the Flex 2 is that the band is a bit difficult to snap into place the first few times, and it became quite sticky with sweat when snug. You can avoid the latter issue by wearing the band looser during aerobic activity. These minor issues aside, the Flex 2 was comfortable to wear and easy to forget. While the pedometer picked up dirt over time, the lilac band hid it quite well.
The Flex 2 is ideal for a person wanting to monitor many aspects of their activity, health, and well-being. It's overkill for anyone who only wants to track steps and miles walked in a day. This device would also be great for a triathlete wanting one device that can track running, swimming, and cycling. Both the device and the band are waterproof. The Flex 2 works best for people who prefer to monitor their activity using a smartphone or a computer and for those who prefer a stylish and minimalist design.
At $60 the Flex 2 is not the least expensive of the pedometers we reviewed. However, it is the most cost-effective given the extensive nature of its data capture functions. The robust nature of the data and the more accessible price point makes the Flex 2 an excellent value.
The Flex 2 is a swim-proof, attractive, easy to wear pedometer that monitors extensive health and activity data. At this price point, you are getting an exceptional value with a product that tracks multiple activities, provides online coaching and exercise videos, and links with family and friends for added encouragement to meet fitness goals. While the Flex 2 was one of the least accurate devices in our review - we still believe this pedometer proves a worthy recipient of the 2018 Editor's Choice Award.
— Mary Witlacil
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