Review – Fitbit Ultra

My day can be pretty active at times and after the end of one of those days it’s always nice to see what you’ve done physically (mentally is an all together different issue).  If you’ve ever used a pedometer to measure your daily activity I’m sure you’ve wished it could do more than count your steps.

Enter the FitBit.  This little piece of technology can do some pretty amazing things. Now in its 2nd generation (FitBit Ultra) the unit has worked out the quirks of the 1st generation unit and added some cool new features.  I’ve been following this product since I first heard about it 4 years ago (before it was completed and on the market)

The FitBit Ultra is a tiny, lightweight (0.4 oz), device that you wear on your body during the day to measure activity and at night to measure the lack of activity (sleep).  It’s so light you can easily forget you have it with you.

The FitBit Ultra measures the following activities:

  • Steps taken
  • Distance traveled
  • Calories burned (based on activity, height, weight)
  • Floors climbed (1 floor for every 10′ in elevation change while walking)
  • Overall progress towards the activity goals you have established online

One of the many cool features of the FitBit is that it will auto-sync with the web-based dashboard when you are in the same room as the receiver (which is plugged into a computer).  I have my receiver plugged into the home theater PC since I’m usually in that room once a day.  The receiver also functions as a charging stand, something you will need to do every 5-7 days.

Once your data is uploaded the website compiles all of the information into an easy to understand dashboard.  This dashboard shows historical data as well as averages and goals you have set up (loose 5 pounds, walk 10,000 steps a day, climb 10 flights of stairs a day, etc.).  The dashboard is also where you can enter in the food you’ve eaten to do some calorie calculations (calories consumed vs. burned).  There is a premium, subscription based, dashboard that has additional features like a trainer, more detailed analysis of your activities and food intake.

One FitBit feature that I specifically wanted to try was the sleep analyzer function.  I’ve always assumed I was getting a good nights sleep but never knew how to tell.  By clipping the FitBit on your shirt sleeve (or using the included wrist band) the device measures how many times you “wake up” during the night.

Last night I woke up (moved) 5 times during my 7-hour slumber and that worked out to an efficiency rating of 99%.  I guess I slept good last night!  I just bought the unit last weekend and I’m still getting used to everything I can do with it.

If you’re into mobile apps (and who isn’t these days?) you can access your dashboard with an iPhone, Blackberry, and Android device.

For $99 the FitBit Ultra is an interesting toy that I’m going to plan on using for the foreseeable future to measure my activity level.  Having something like this is a huge motivator and has already convinced me to take the stairs vs. the elevator today (and in the days to come).

Here’s the promotional video that does a great job explaining how the FitBit can “fit” into your lifestyle.