Consumers who want to track their overall wellness and fitness levels should consider the Fitbit One. In addition to its superb accuracy in tracking steps and distance, this tiny gadget logs calories burned and analyzes overall wellness by measuring sleep patterns.
Lots of features in a small package. When it hit the market a few years ago, the Fitbit One became an overnight sensation. Although it's more expensive than the average pedometer, it provides a plethora of features. In addition to the standard steps and distance, it also measures calories burned, monitors your sleep and even syncs to your mobile phone.
The Fitbit is substantially smaller than a traditional pedometer, which many reviewers appreciate. "I usually just put it in the small pocket in my jeans and forget about it until I need to check it or clip it onto something else," says one. Most users say tracking is accurate with the exception of driving on bumpy roads.
Wireless syncing. Like many higher-tech fitness monitors, the Fitbit One has a website to which users can upload their pedometer records to better track progress. It syncs wirelessly to a Bluetooth dongle, which must be plugged into a computer. This upload service is free, but premium services cost extra. Users say the premium prices are relatively fair, but unnecessary. They add that the device can be a difficult to set up at first, but it's worth the hassle. "I don't even touch the tracker; I just sync the device and view my stats from my phone (or computer)," says one Amazon.com owner.
Great customer service. Perhaps the biggest drawback to the Fitbit One is its lifespan; some owners say that although it performed superbly at first, it stopped working after a few months. While such negative reviews are rare, those who experience problems say Fitbit customer service is exceptionally helpful and accommodating. However, the manufacturer can be contacted only via email claims.
Several Amazon.com users also report issues with the Bluetooth upload process, and find the dongle cumbersome and annoying. If you experience a syncing issue, a few owners suggest checking the battery.
By far the most detailed review of the Fitbit comes from PCMag.com, where software analyst Duffy praises its excellent performance in "collecting and aggregating" fitness information. She says this general tracker isn't as powerful as competing step-tracking-only pedometers, but it performs well overall.
Review: Fitbit Ultra, Jill Duffy, May 9, 2012
Amazon.com provides an overwhelming amount of user feedback for the Fitbit One. In one listing alone it receives more than 3,325 customer reviews and an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Users praise the Fitbit for accurate tracking, but say it can be difficult to set up and figure out.
Review: Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of August 2013
3. American Council on Exercise
The American Council on Exercise evaluates a wide range of fitness products. Reviews are detailed and provide excellent insight into the positives and negatives of each. The Fitbit receives a perfect rating although editors find inputting food information to be difficult and time-consuming.
Review: Fitness Product Reviews: Fitbit, Editors of American Council on Exercise, Jan. 27, 2010
4. Whole Living
Editors of Whole Living magazine discuss their favorite health gadgets on Martha Stewart's TV show, and they name the Fitbit best for tracking activity. It appears to have been editor tested, but the review is fairly brief and it's unclear whether the pedometer was compared to other products.
Review: Our Top Health Gadgets -- And Why You May Want One (As Seen on Martha), Terri Trespicio, March 24, 2011
Bumgardner, About.com's walking guide, writes a detailed review of the Fitbit and includes it in her roundup of the 10 best pedometers. She calls it "the activity tracker that most of us have been waiting for."
Review: Fitbit and Fitbit Ultra Pedometer Wellness Monitor, Wendy Bumgardner, May 16, 2013
6. Women's Health magazine
In this recent roundup, Brennan selects five pedometers that track sleep patterns and calories burned in addition to steps taken. The Fitbit One is praised for its small size and accuracy, but discussion of each model is relatively brief and there are no details on how each is tested.
Review: Pick Out the Perfect Pedometer, Faye Brennan, March 11, 2013
Usigan discusses the top fitness gadgets to help people stay motivated, and the Fitbit is one of two pedometers included. However, product descriptions are brief and it's unclear how each device is tested.
Review: Top Gadgets to Track Your Progress, Ysolt Usigan, Oct. 30, 2012