Hands-on Gear Review

Fitbit Zip Wireless Review

Fitbit Zip
Top Pick Award
Price:  $60 List
Pros:  On device screen, small
Cons:  Replaceable battery, no stair climbing, no sleep tracking
Bottom line:  Basic, daily step counting, most affordable entry to FitBit’s excellent app and lifestyle management tools.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
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  • 5
% Accuracy:  95.2
Battery Life:  4 to 6 months
Tracks Distance in addition to steps?:  Yes
Manufacturer:   Fitbit

Our Verdict

Pairing excellent performance with a clean and intuitive management interface at a reasonable price point, Fitbit's Zip Wireless is a contender. The pedometer counts your steps, records the distances you travel, and tracks your sleep patterns. Then it stores it all on multiple platforms. The data management can also be socially networked to tap into the incredibly powerful effect of social accountability and competition. With just a click of the mouse or the opening of the smartphone app, the Fitbit's data is pulled out and correlated. Finally, the app for this device can serve to organize and document the user's diet, water intake, and for women, the app now features a menstruation-tracker. If you like the looks of it, we say go for it.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jediah Porter and Mary Witlacil

Last Updated:
Wednesday
June 13, 2018

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The Fitbit Zip Wireless is an elegant combination of tiny, accurate electronics and a well-thought-out data management interface.

Performance Comparison


Overall, the FitBit Zip scores better than any of the non-app-enabled devices but poorer than all the app-equipped products.

The simple screen on the Fitbit Zip wireless is clean and easy to read  even in full-sun.
The simple screen on the Fitbit Zip wireless is clean and easy to read, even in full-sun.

Data Management


All Fitbit devices include an excellent smartphone app and fitbit.com Dashboard for personal computer access. However, most folks will use the device with their smartphones. Once you establish a connection, you just need to open the appropriate program with the Zip Wireless nearby. (And since it should live in your pocket, this is easy to accomplish.) Data is pulled from the device and displayed in a clean and easy-to-interpret fashion.

Like all the devices in our test, the Zip Wireless counts your steps. Additionally, like most, it converts the step count into distance. All the data organized by the Zip Wireless is stored in the cloud and is accessible from both the phone app and the Fitbit website.

The term FitBit is becoming synonymous with activity tracking. In the case of the Zip Wireless  you get Fitbit's robust app experience at a relatively low price.
The term FitBit is becoming synonymous with activity tracking. In the case of the Zip Wireless, you get Fitbit's robust app experience at a relatively low price.

Depth of Data


The Fitbit Zip has a basic data platform. It tracks steps, distance, and the app can be configured to take your user-entered diet and mood information to correlate with your activity level.

Just as with all the products in our test, the step-counting function is both effective and clear, but is not incredibly accurate. (We talk about this more in the Accuracy section below.) On the Fitbit app that comes with the Zip Wireless the user can enter all his or her food and water consumption, as well as menstruation history for period and fertility tracking. Caloric and hydration data can then be cross-referenced with activity data and period tracking for the ladies.

The FitBit's hardware lives in the rounded device which in turn goes into the silicone clip holder.
The FitBit's hardware lives in the rounded device which in turn goes into the silicone clip holder.

Compared to other budget products, like the Top Pick-winning CSX Simple Walking 3D, the Fitbit Zip collects far more data. The Simple Walking 3D only calculates daily step count, while the Zip Wireless manages distance, sleep, and user-entered information through the smartphone app.

Accuracy


This simple device proved quite reliable. The Fitbit Zip, in our objective testing, scored just below the middle of the pack in accuracy. The step count and distance error averaged 4.8 percent off from actual. Absolute accuracy is easy to measure but not that important. All users will make moves that occasionally throw off the step count of even the most accurate sensor. Given that fitness trackers, for the most part, are used to compare and motivate an individual's activity from one day to the next - absolute accuracy won't be extremely vital for most users. In this context, a few percentage points of error isn't a big deal. It all comes out in the wash if the error is uniform over the long term. If the device is always missing two steps out of every hundred, for instance, the comparisons from one day to the next are still perfectly relevant.

Ease of Use


For an experienced computer and smartphone user, the Zip is easy to set up. In two rounds of testing by two different testers - setup took less than four minutes. However, initial setup requires installing the battery, which proved somewhat difficult. The device is small and made of slippery plastic. Our test team had a difficult time opening the battery hatch the very first time. Subsequent battery cover removals and installations have been much easier. Once set up, the on-device data is handy, and the app provides clear and succinct user guidance.
The "bit"  disassembled for battery change. The entire smooth green electronic part sits in turn into a rubberized clip carrier.
The "bit", disassembled for battery change. The entire smooth green electronic part sits in turn into a rubberized clip carrier.

Portability


The actual instrumentation of this tracker is contained in a tiny pod about the size of the end of your thumb. This pod, or bit, holds the accelerometer, battery, screen, and a Bluetooth transmitter. The bit is encased in a tight silicone and metal pocket clip that secures the electronics. We used the FitBit Zip clipped to a waistband, clipped inside a pocket, and loose in a pocket. In every configuration, it was small and unobtrusive. The screen the Zip Wireless makes it slightly larger than some of the other devices tested - but proved quite useful. Indeed, this device is the only app-enabled device with a screen in our testing repertoire.

Best Applications


We recommend the Fitbit Zip for anyone interested in tracking day-to-day activity and organizing that activity information, with the aid of both a screen and a smartphone app. The Fitbit Zip's user-friendly app collects and sorts info into handy bites.

Value


The Fitbit is among the less expensive products we tested, making it a good deal for a useful fitness tracker.

Conclusion


Every product we tested is functional and can be recommended, and the Fitbit Zip is no exception. This device is an impressive pedometer and activity tracker.

Jediah Porter and Mary Witlacil

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Most recent review: June 13, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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