When it comes to wireless fitness trackers, Fitbit is a pioneer. Back in 2008 when it released its first product, there were very few players in the health wearables arena, so Fitbit had the chance to witness the evolution of fitness trackers and release new products to remain a contender. Earlier this year, we reviewed the Fitbit Flex, which we thought to be a worthy, but flawed attempt at a wrist-worn fitness tracker. But does Fitbit’s newest fitness bracelet, the Fitbit Force, atone for the shortcomings of its older sibling?
An obvious lesson that the designers of the Force must have learned is that, in an age of cell phones, an electronic gadget worn around your wrist should still be able to reliably tell time, which is something that the Flex lacked. Gone is the uninteresting row of five LED’s, replaced by a slightly thicker, but far more useful OLED screen. Gone is the french-fry sized, easily lost but absolutely essential sensor unit that must be removed to charge the band. We’re pleased to see that a physical button has returned to the left side of the Force to cycle through your statistics and activate the sleep tracking functions. The debut of the Force has also marked a return of an altimeter, which will be useful for keeping track of those times when you choose to take the stairs back up to the office. You’ll also be pleased to know that the battery life has improved significantly. At the time of this review, we’re going on 10 full days of juice and counting! We still aren’t fans of the clasp on the band, however. It’s the same style found on the Flex, which we find difficult and annoying to put on.
One upcoming feature that we’re curious about is call notifications. This addition, which will come by way of a future firmware update, will allow the Force to display caller ID information when you receive a call on your smartphone. Depending on how well Fitbit is able to implement this, it could give the popular Pebble smartwatch a run for its money.
So, at $130, should you buy a Fitbit Force? If this is your first foray into the “Quantified Self” movement, you should definitely consider the Force. It’s simple to use, syncs effortlessly with your phone or computer, and has the best battery life of any rechargeable fitness tracker we’ve tried, and we tried most that have come to market. However, the Force doesn’t really offer any new technology. It’s still simply just another fitness tracker that counts your steps and monitors when you move during sleep, so current owners of fitness wearables may wait this one out and see where the next evolution leads.
Product page: Fitbit Force…
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