This particular product from Fitbit appealed to me because I am back to wearing a normal watch and wanted something that was as small and unobtrusive as possible. With sleep monitoring, step tracking and call and text notifications, it does offer the minimum of what I want in a tracker, but this is theoretically just enough to replace the functions I used the most in Apple’s offering.
At £69.99 (£62 from Amazon), it is not too expensive given the features it offers and there are a number of accessories available that allow you to wear it in a variety of ways. From pendants to sleek metal wristbands, this is the first tracker from a big brand I have seen that can be hidden in what could loosely be described as jewellery.
I am wearing it as it should be on my right wrist and to be honest I don’t notice it most of the time, but as ever I am not convinced by the clasp which really does not feel secure in any way. Yes, it has two connectors which should help, but I can’t shake the feeling that a slightly hard pull on it will see it pop from my wrist, which it has done twice already.
The notifications are decent enough and cover call and texts, including iMessages, well with only a slight delay. It would, however, be nice if this could be enhanced to cover all notifications. I say that without considering the fact that I would still need to refer to my iPhone to see the content so maybe it isn’t the best of ideas. Maybe when a tracker has no screen it needs to stick to the basics and just alert me to a new call or text and be a halfway house solution.
The tracking is fairly accurate and does what was expected of a fitness tracker 2 years ago, but without a heart rate monitor I am struggling to see this as anything more than mere information. Steps are an indicator of how much you move and the active hours is useful, but surely the effort you are putting in should be measured. This is not a criticism as such because it does not measure the heart, but I am pondering the usefulness of such products in 2017.
Sleep tracking is more useful because this is an area that is much more important than many realise and I do like being able to see how much I have slept and woken up during the night from time to time. It is a very difficult thing to improve, but without the numbers available to you it would become impossible.
The app is as I remember it. Clean, simple to use and somewhat lacking in personality. Just like almost everything else about standalone fitness trackers, this is an area that Apple has nailed and all others that I have seen feel bereft of that connection that the Apple Watch Activity monitoring offers. Yes, the majority is the same, but this is a classic example of Apple taking something that is already there and doing things with it that no-one else had ever considered. Using the Fitbit app feels like stepping back in time.
Battery life is supposed to be rated at 5 days and it may be that I have a faulty product, but within 6 hours of full charge it drops to ‘medium’ which is presumably not what is supposed to happen. I will keep an eye on this and am guessing that I will get a few day’s of charge regardless.
Overall the flex 2 is a decent product that does what it says it should, but I can’t help feeling that it feels outdated in the most crucial area which is fitness. I am not expecting it to behave like a smart watch because it has no screen, but for a fitness focussed product I would expect a more robust and precise experience. It is a budget product of course so I am likely aiming too high which leaves only one question. Is it even worth investing in low-end fitness trackers anymore?