Fitbit are somewhat of a legendary company in the line of wearable activity trackers. Founded in 2007, they, momentarily, became the Hoover of the wearable industry. One might say they have a Fitbit, when in fact they were wearing something made by an entirely different company.
So, how has Fitbit fared as the industry around them evolved? Have they kept up their legendary status? Read on to find out.
If you visit the products page of the Fitbit website, you might be somewhat overwhelmed. With over 10 wrist based models of activity tracker, which one is the best for you?
Lets start by categorising the models as follows: those that have on board GPS, and those which do not have onboard GPS, and rely on your phone data for this service.
Non GPS Enabled Devices
While these devices allow you to pair the activity tracker’s data with your phone’s GPS data, the activity tracker itself does not have GPS inbuilt. Therefore, if you were to leave your phone in the car whilst you head out for your run on the beach or in the park, the distance would not be calculated using GPS.
These devices rely on the data which you input when you buy the device to tell you how far you have run instead. The device multiplies the number of steps you take during the run/walk by the distance that you set your stride length to be, and this gives a less accurate idea of your distance travelled.
Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Charge 3 do not have an inbuilt GPS. The Charge range has been around for as long as the Fitbit brand itself. The price of these devices fluctuates heavily as there are regularly limited editions and deals available. At the moment, the charge 3 is priced at around €110 euro/£98/$120. Keep reading below to see the newest version in the Charge range.
Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Inspire HR do not have an inbuilt GPS. These are the sleekest of the Fitbit range. They are not designed for athletes, rather they are designed for the average person who wants to learn more about their daily activity levels. For that, they’re great! The Fitbit Inspire will set you back roughly £70/€80/$85. You can expect to pay roughly £90/€100/$110 for the Fitbit Inspire HR.
Fitbit Versa, Fitbit Versa 2 and Fitbit Versa Limited Edition do not have an inbuilt GPS. The Versa 2 carries a price tag of £199/€222/$243. For a device with no onboard GPS, that’s a heavy price to pay. A similarly priced Garmin Forerunner 45, for example, would have many of the same features plus an onboard GPS for a similar price.
GPS Enabled Devices
GPS enabled Fitbit devices are the most accurate distance trackers that Fitbit produce. They tend to be more expensive, but if you plan on making every step count, you might deem GPS to be very much necessary!
The Fitbit Charge 4 is the first band in the Fitbit line to have an inbuilt GPS. This is a majorly welcomed addition to the ever popular Charge watch. It looks neat and it comes with an acceptable price tag of just £133/€149/$163.
This watch is somewhat more clunky than the previous Fitbit models, but with on screen workout instructions and live GPS tracking, a larger screen is all important. However, it is on the more expensive side of the line when it comes to Fitbit devices, at £249/€279/$305.
It’s the original GPS running device. When only the most serious of athletes had such watches, this was the one they all had. Released in 2014, it is somewhat more retro, considering its black and white non-lcd screen, when compared with the competition almost a decade later. Priced accordingly, the Surge will set you back £200/€223/$244.
An Overall Review
In the world of wearable fitness trackers, Fitbit have certainly made their mark. Have they overstayed their welcome?
Considering the fact that they are regularly updating their flagship models, as well as releasing entirely new products for entirely different audiences each year, I don’t think it would be fair to say that they have overstayed their welcome.
“So, which Fitbit products do you recommend RunWay?”
This recommendation comes with a major caveat.
The Fitbit Charge 4 is by far the most well rounded activity tracker for the budding runner, considering its slim build and its all-day tracking features. The inbuilt GPS is a long awaited addition, that makes a huge difference for runners and walker alike.
But remember that caveat I mentioned?
Firstly, this is not a device for serious runners who need data regarding cadence, VO2 Max or any other specialised information.
Secondly, having spent years with a Fitbit product on my wrist, I have had my fair share of dealings with Fitbit customer service. The devices simply do not last as long as they should.
I know that you’ll say “but RunWay, my best friend has never had an issue with hers!” and I’ll say “but Runner, I have had issues with a Fitbit device, my best friend has had issues with a Fitbit device and my own mother, Mrs. Runway, has had issues with a Fitbit device.”
Fitbit were great in all instances, and when necessary, replaced parts in a timely fashion. But it was still annoying.
So, there you have it. Are Fitbit devices still worth it? It’s a yes from me,