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Thursday February 7, 2013 10:40 am
Fitbit Zip review
Wearing a device to track your steps is nothing new, but the Fitbit Zip looks to be the budget solution that brings users into the connected fitness data world. The verdict is still out as far as if wearing fitness gadgets will make you more fit, but it's hard to argue that it doesn't at least make you more aware. The Zip is the least expensive way to start tracking and syncing your steps, calories burned, distance, and other stats, linking easily to your smartphone to give you a pretty look at all the data. The question is, does the Fitbit Zip do enough to take attention away from the more feature-rich Fitbit One, Nike FuelBand, and other competing devices? Join us for our full Fitbit Zip review as we find the answer.
When you open up the Fitbit Zip, you find that it's a small, inconsequential device. Not fancy at all, it's not much bigger than the the small CR 2025 battery that powers it. The devices sports a tiny monochromatic display on the front that's just big enough to display simple information like steps taken, time, distance walked, and calories burned. There's also a smiley face that will get progressively happier throughout the day the more active you are. The Zip itself has to way of being worn, but you can easily drop it in your pocket and be on your way. If you'd rather clip it to a belt, bra, or pants, it does come with a silicone clip enclosure that you can put it in.
USING THE FITBIT ZIP
The way we used the Zip was by putting it into the silicone clip and wearing it on the hip on a belt. Once you're wearing it, you kind of forget about it. It sits at your hip measuring your movement, which for us, isn't much since I sit at a desk all day covering tech news and reviewing gadgets. The Zip connects to your iPhone or Android device over Bluetooth, syncing with the Fitbit app to give you a good look at how well you are doing with moving around and being active. In fact, it was easier for us to check the Fitbit app for our progress than it was for to check the Fitbit itself, since the belt clip is pretty tight (we like that, since we've lost a bunch of the older Fitbit models in the past.)
The default goal for the Fitbit Zip is 10,000 steps per day. Probably pretty simple for most people to achieve, but again, when you work at a desk all day like we do, it's surprisingly challenging. When it's on your mind, you'll probably start taking the steps, or walking small distances rather than driving. Heck, I even noticed myself parking on the far end of parking lots just so I can get some extra steps in. If you go for a run, the Zip will recognize that you are being "very active" and will track accordingly.
The device also includes a dongle in the package that plugs in to a USB port that allows you to sync from a Mac or PC. When you log in to your Fitbit account, you can see all of the data sent over from the Zip, as well as data from other Fitbit devices like the Fitbit One and Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi scale, if you happen to have any of those as well.
The more we used it, the more we thought that the Zip was more of a gateway drug to the greater Fitbit ecosystem. It's easy to get addicted to the data you produce and to start competing with yourself, as well as friends you've connected with on the service.
Lastly, battery life is great. It isn't a rechargeable device, but that's okay since the battery lasts 4-6 months. This means you don't have to change it more than once or twice a year. Not bad at all. I can't tell you how many times I've found that the Nike+ FuelBand on my wrist was dead.
We think the Fitbit Zip is is a well-designed, accurate pedometer that is a good introduction into the Fitbit ecosystem. It's certainly not as feature-rich as the more expensive Fitbit One, Nike+ FuelBand, and JawBone Up devices, but at it's price, it doesn't have to be. What you do get is tremendous battery life, Bluetooth syncing, and an easy way to track your steps taken and calories burned right on your waist, as well as on your smartphone and tablet. It's simple and effective, and a nice step forward in being more health conscious.
You can pick up the Fitbit Zip for $55.31 on Amazon, 8% less than the full $59.99 MSRP.
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