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
  • 4
  • 5
Battery Life:  4-6 months
% Inaccuracy:  4.8
Tracks Distance in addition to steps?:  Yes
Manufacturer:   Fitbit

Our Verdict

The Fitbit Zip Wireless joins a competitive and almost uniformly excellent field of products. It tracks steps and distance, records the quality of the user's sleep, and presents and stores this information in a handy, multi-platform fashion. The data management can 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. In living a healthy lifestyle, diet and activity must go hand in hand.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jediah Porter

Last Updated:
Friday
November 11, 2016

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The Zip 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


Fitbit sets the user up with excellent smartphone app and personal computer interfaces. Most will use the device with their smartphone. Once the connection is established the user need only open the appropriate program with the Zip nearby. (And since it should live in your pocket, this is easy to accomplish.) Data is pulled from the Fitbit and displayed in a clean and easy-to-interpret fashion.

Like all the devices in our test, the Fitbit counts your steps. Additionally, like most, it converts the step count into distance. All the data organized by the Fitbit, direct and derived, is stored in the cloud and is accessible from the both phone app and 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 for correlation against your activity.

Just as with all the products in our test, the Zip's step counting function is effective and clear with the limitations outlined below under accuracy. Only the Jawbone UP Move app exceeds the Fitbit app for organizing user-entered data. On the app that comes with the Fitbit Zip the user can enter all his or her food and water consumption. The info is then cross referenced and calorie totals and patterns are deduced.

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.

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

Accuracy


We had no problems with the reliability of this product. The simple instrumentation seems to remain functional. The Fitbit Zip Wireless, 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 actually that important. All users will make moves occasionally that throw off the step count of even the most accurate sensor. And, for the most part, fitness trackers are used to compare and motivate an individual's activity from one day to the next. In this context, a few percentage points of error isn't a big deal, and completely 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 Fitbit is easy to set up. Our lead tester and one subsequent tester both performed the full setup routine for the Zip. In both cases setup took less than four minutes. Initial setup requires installing the battery, which is 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 held 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 held in a tight silicone and metal pocket clip that secures the electronics. We used the FitBit clipped to a waistband, clipped inside a pocket, and just loose in a pocket. In every configuration it was small and unobtrusive. The screen the FitBit makes it larger, but more useful.

Fitbit Flex in use. The wrist band is low profile and inconspicuous. Additionally  Fitbit sells accessory bands in a variety of colors.
Fitbit Flex in use. The wrist band is low profile and inconspicuous. Additionally, Fitbit sells accessory bands in a variety of colors.

Best Applications


We recommend the Fitbit Zip for anyone interested in tracking day-to-day activity and organizing that activity information. The Fitbit's user-friendly app collects and sorts info into handy bites.

Value


Tthe Fitbit is among the less expensive in our test, 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. The Zip is an impressive pedometer.
Jediah Porter

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Most recent review: November 11, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 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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