Fitbit was one of the early pioneers in the fitness tracker gold rush. Still, a waterproof activity tracking band is something really new. Fitbit Flex 2, indeed, is the fitness tracker that not only lets you wear it in the shower, but also in the pool.
The Flex 2 delivers precisely a rounded set of capabilities. It’s not only waterproof, but it can also track the number of lengths you can swum, and that’s in addition to all the usual fitness tracking metrics. It will track your steps and sleep, your walks, runs, bike rides, gym sessions and more.
Plus, as with most fitness trackers, the FitBit Flex 2 will estimate calories burned based on your age, height and sex; it will provide an educated guess at the distance you’ve walked or run; and it will also help you track the food you eat and your water intake.
The great thing about the Flex 2, though, is that thanks to Fitbit’s SmartTrack tech, it keeps tabs on everything on this list completely automatically. The only catch is that you have to have been indulging in that activity for at least 15 minutes before the Flex 2 will log it as such. It’s possible to change this to recognise shorter bursts of activity, but ten minutes is your minimum.
Design and comfort
The design of the FitBit Flex 2 is similar to the previous version, but it’s more practical. The tracker itself is a tiny plastic lozenge, adorned with five status LEDs used to indicate charge status and notifications. It has a vibrating motor inside to remind you to get up and move about, wake you up silently in the morning and notify you of incoming text messages and phone calls. You can even get it to buzz when a WhatsApp message arrives, although this is instead of rather than in addition to SMS alerts.
The basic Fitbit Flex 2 comes with a plastic wrist strap in a variety of different colours, and it’s comfortable to wear. It feels far more robust than the old Fitbit Flex, and the clasp engages firmly and securely. It won’t fall of by accident.
Fitbit is also marketing the tracker at the fashion-conscious user with a range of shiny bangles and pendants available to accessorise it with.
App and performance
The Fitbit Flex 2’s app is efficient and accessible. Available for both iOS and Android smartphones, the app is where everything happens; the dashboard where all the data the tracker produces is consumed and its settings changed.
The Fitbit Flex 2 syncs wirelessly with your phone, and once all the data is transferred it’s displayed in a vertically scrolling list. You tap an entry to view that statistic in more detail, and the app provides weekly, monthly and yearly totals in the form of bald numbers and graphs. You can even view your activity broken down by hour.
The Challenges section of the app nowfeatures an Adventures section. This is designed to incentivise you to hit your step targets by taking you on virtual hikes at beauty spots around the world, revealing photographs of your virtual walk along the way, plus interesting nuggets of information.
The other big new feature – swim tracking – is tracked in much the same way as running or walking or any other activity. Swims are listed on your dashboard as activities, and although the software can’t distinguish between different strokes or tell you your stroke rate, it counts lengths accurately.
Battery life is good. A single charge is enough to get you through almost a week’s worth of tracking, keeping charging sessions to a minimum.
Altogether, the Fitbit Flex 2 works well, it’s waterproof, and it will track everything you need it too, including swimming, for a reasonable price. The only things missing are heart-rate monitoring and a barometric pressure sensor, which would allow it to count how many flights of steps you’ve climbed.
For those starting out on the road to a healthier lifestyle, the Fitbit Flex 2 is perfect. The app is easy to use and presents a useful, digestible amount of data. It isn’t much more expensive than its rivals, and once you’ve set it up you don’t have to touch it again except to charge it.