fitbit zipJoanna wrote an article a while back on wearables, and it got me thinking about buying a Fitbit. I’ve had it for about a month and a half now, and I’m quite fond of it.

I opted for the Fitbit Zip, the one that doesn’t have a wrist band. Since I wasn’t sure how consistent I’d be at using it, I went for the least expensive option. Also, I didn’t care about sleep tracking.

The Zip is easy to set up. Download the app to your phone, pop in the battery and pair them. I leave Bluetooth on all the time on my phone, and they find each other easily. You can set the Zip to sync periodically or only when you tell it to. I’ve tried both ways. Syncing constantly does drain my phone battery noticeably. Leaving Bluetooth on and syncing on demand drains lots less.

Unlike the pedometers I’ve used in the past, the Zip is forgiving about where you put it. Pedometers only worked clipped to my belt. The Zip works fine in a pocket or clipped to my shirt or belt. Also unlike pedometers, it doesn’t pick up many “junk” steps. Driving around would get me anywhere from a couple hundred to a thousand steps in a day. The Fitbit, however, doesn’t register steps while driving. It does, however, register when I’m on the exercise bike, so I have to remember to take it out of my pocket.

It’s durable. Over the weekend, I forgot to take it out of my pocket, and it went through the washer. It was in its case, and fortunately, it survived the experience. Incidentally, a wash cycle was about 500 steps. 🙂 I wouldn’t want to make a habit of it, but once didn’t seem to be a problem.

Does it work as an exercise motivator? Definitely. I find myself finding excuses to get in “just a few more steps.” I can’t achieve 10,000 every day, but, unless the weather is miserable for several days in a row, I usually average 10K for the week. There have been days when, without the Fitbit, I would have skipped exercise, so it’s doing its job of getting me out when I’m feeling lazy.

The app has extras like food tracking, which I don’t use. I have another app for that. I only use the Fitbit app to track steps. If you’re into gamification, there are badges you can earn. I’m getting close to the 250 miles badge.

I like it, and I think it’s worth having. I made the right decision to get the Zip. I don’t like wearing anything on my wrist, and I think those versions would have annoyed me.

There’s been one more impact of the Fitbit. Because I’m walking more, I’ve gotten back into listening to audiobooks. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed them.

What about you? Do you have a Fitbit or other health wearable? What do you think of it?


  1. I’ve been getting a lot of what you get on the fitbit by running accupedo on my android phone, which is consistently in my pocket. I haven’t figured out how to set it up to automatically turn on when I reboot the phone, but I don’t do that so often.

    The step count seems reasonably accurate, and it doesn’t drain the battery much.

    • @Laura, I thought about using my phone, but I don’t like to have it constantly in my pocket or on my belt. The Fitbit is smaller, which works better for me. But I certainly see the appeal of just using the phone.

  2. I have used a pedometer for a few years now. Mine just stays in my pocket all the time so I never really worry about losing it. One advantage for guys, everything we have has pockets 😉

    I started at wanting 750 miles a year and now I my goals have been pushed to over 2,000 miles a year (just over 13,000 steps a day on average) because of the effect you noticed. I can do a few more steps, etc.

    Walking when ever I am talking on the phone, I pace while I read on the Kindle, etc.

    For our new Hands on Tech at the Library I have added pedometers to the list because even if someone has heard the term it is surprising how many people have never held one, used one, etc.

    All the wearable devices coming out over the next year or so will start a new wave of using tech just like smart phones did 6 years ago.

  3. I have the Fitbit flex that I wear on my wrist. I didn’t want to risk losing it. It is leading me to be more active and drink more water and less coffee. I’ve had 3 pedometers with no success, so I’m really happy with the Fitbit.

  4. I’ve have the Fitbit Flex for about a month now and so far I love it! I’m constantly finding excuses in the office to walk a bit and now find myself walking farther from the office in order to get my lunch. I also really like the sleep tracking feature. I haven’t been sleeping well for the past few months and now I can see that I’m pretty restless while I’m sleeping rather than getting the deep sleep I need. I guess the next step is finding out what I do now that I have that knowledge!

  5. I’ve been using a Fitbit for about 6 months, it’s much easier than my old pedometer. I wear it clipped to the front of my bra. I have the app synced to Lose It! where I track all my food and exercise.

    One thing that’s a bit quirky is how it tracks floors. Any change in elevation counts as a floor so my daily 3.5 mile walk gets about 18 floors. Once you get used to it, it’s a good way to gauge how strenuous your walk is.

    I’ve done 846 miles so far.

    I do track my sleep and have been trying to get at least 7 hours a night. I don’t always make it. but it’s also good for me to see how restless I am and how many times I wake up, I don’t do well with that. A big part of diet and general health is getting enough sleep.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail