As with almost anything we try to do in life the third part is always the hardest. I have really struggled this week to keep the gym going in any meaningful way. I am still not losing any weight and although I feel healthier and look better (according to others not myself) I can’t escape this nagging feeling that I’m just not doing it right. Be that as it may, I am still giving it 100% and going at least 3 times a week and I can definitely feel the benefits. On to the technology side of things then. This week I have been mainly using the Fitbit Zip as my measurement device of choice.
It is an interesting little doodad with lots to recommend it. The first thing to point out with it however is the android app. When it was announced that Nike were not going to support android Fitbit tweeted saying how they did support it, however, this is only partially true. They do have an android app which I will get to in a minute, but the devices themselves only actually work with 2 phones. The galaxy s3 and the note 2 can be connected to the Fitbit products because “Samsung worked” with them to get it to work. This seems the wrong way round to me, Fitbit should be making their product to work with phones not the other way round.
Glenn Comment: I think it is a bit harsh to blame Fitibit for the android issues, if it was that simple then Nike certainly would have done it. Without getting technical I think there is something driver or kernel related that Google have not made available which made it very hard to do anything, this is why Samsung offered their assistance (and hopefully others will too!) to get it to work.
I own a Fitbit one myself, and whilst it is disappointing that I cannot sync on my N4 I have not found it an issue to remember to sync to a pc (in-fact I have Pushover set to push notifications to my phone if I forget to sync after a given period of time).
I am still hopeful they will extend sync functionality to other phones in the future (as long as the manufacturers give them the help they require).
So on to the actual review of the FitBit Zip. It’s tiny, that’s the first thing you notice when you get it out of the box. The second thing I noticed was that my review unit is hot pink… not the most masculine colour in the world, but I struggled through. The hardware is really 2 separate pieces, the actual zip itself, a very small Tamagotchi like thing, and the rubberised case that attaches it to your person. Being so small is actually a bonus as it doesn’t interfere in any way with you when you are working out and you barely notice it in your day to day life. The clip is strong and can be worn inside your clothes as the Zip is sweat proof. The Zip comes with a little dongle to attach to your laptop so whenever you are within 15 metres of it the Zip updates your info so it is available for you on the app or online. The little 8 bit screen is perfect for what it does, no fancy gimmicks just “this is your calorie burn, these are your steps, this is the distance you have walked oh and here is a smiley face” simple and efficient.
For more information all you need do is look at the app, which we will do now.
As you can see by the app gallery the information that is available is quite extensive. On just the first screen you are given 5 different metrics, 2 are manual input and 3 are from the Zip. This is actually one of the better apps I have seen just for keeping track of calories and steps. If you want more you will still have to look at an Endomodo or Runkeeper style app. One of my favourite things on this app is the food tracker. It uses a large database of branded food to help you work out the calories you eat in a day. Currently it doesn’t have a UK database which is disappointing but you can find most branded foods if you try (Walkers crisps are called Lays chips everywhere else) one cool feature is you can tell it how many pounds a week you would like to use and it will keep a running track of how much food you can eat a day. It even has a water tracker to make sure you are well hydrated. As you can tell I am a lot more impressed with the app than with Zip itself. I like the Zip don’t get me wrong but without that instant connection to my nexus 4 it just isn’t the tour de force it could be. I am looking forward to the Fitbit Flex however. Given how good Fibits software is and how much I like the fuel band, a combination of the two should be amazing.
That’s it for another week guys,
Go Hard or Go Home