fitbit force

The Fitbit Force was unveiled not more than a few weeks ago.  And last week it finally showed up at my door.  I’ve been using for the last week and some.  Here are my thoughts/impressions so far.

To add additional context to my experience, I’ve used a few different Fitbits over the last year and a half.  I’ve had the Fitbit Flex, the Fitbit One and even the watch battery powered Fitbit, otherwise known as the cheaper Fitbit.   

1. Ultra Bright Screen

It’s not often I’m astounded by a wrist worn pedometer’s screen.  But out of the box and during the initial power on I couldn’t help but notice how damn good the tiny LED screen looked.  And despite the glossy finish, and its relatively small size, it’s easy to read, even in direct sunlight and without my glasses on.

2. Fast menu cycle

For some this might be a moot issue, but if you’ve owned any other pedometers, then you know this can be a bit frustrating when you just wanna read a specific stat/screen.  In my case this is more often than not the time and as I’ve experienced when using Nike’s Fuelband, the wait, albeit less than a second, can be a bit agonizing.  Fortunately, the Fitbit Force’s menus are speedy and load ultra quick.  Even after the Fitbit Force has been “asleep” for a few hours, a push of the button instantly wakes the display.

3. Clasp system isn’t easy

Much like the Flex, the Force’s clasp system is a point of consternation.  Unlike the Fuelband, which easily unclasps thanks to a button that releases its grasp, the Force uses a male, female system that depends on friction to stay locked in place.  The Force is more difficult to clasp into place than the Flex, but with that caveat comes greater security.  And as with any of these, once you’ve acclimated to the locking system, it’s easy enough to adhere.

4. Proprietary Charger

This might be the biggest caveat to the Fitbit Force.  Unlike competitors, which use some version of USB, the Force requires a proprietary charger to juice up the battery.  And worse, the new one is different than the last two, so there is no legacy charging system in place, which is oh-so counter to any sort of green movement.  At least the Force’s charger is magnetic, which means you can just pull it from the charger without much fiddling around.

5. Alarm Actually Wakes

The Fitbit One had a vibrate to wake feature.  First off, it was too weak, at least based on what I remember.  Moreover, you had to insert it into a wrist band that was dedicated to sleeping.  Too arduous of an experience.  The Fitbit Force is wrist worn and its vibrator is strong enough to wake me from sleep.

6. Stop Watch

Thanks to the addition of a screen (something that wasn’t in the Flex), the Fitbit Force’s screen can double as a stopwatch.  Just hold the button down and it will begin to tick away.  Moreover, activating the stop watch also activates the Force’s activity tracker, which logs your activity and makes a specific note that is reflected in the smartphone app.  However, in my little experience this doesn’t seem to be working properly.  More to come.

7. Price

At $130 the Fitbit Force is quickly closing in on the price of Nike’s Fuelband.  And arguably, the Fuelband is more robust (in some ways), well at least the SE.  However, the Fuelband SE doesn’t measure sleep or floors climbed.

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."