Wena Pro by Sony

Turn your favourite watch into a smart watch, all of the latest smart features are incorporated into the smart wena strap, giving you the perfect balance of style and convenience. Leave your bulky wallet behind thank to the contactless payment system built into the wristband. Get notifications on smartphone calls, apps and texts, all with an optional vibration mode. Monitoring your health has never been easier. Just wear your Wena wrist pro and check steps walked, calories burned, track sleep and more from a dedicated application.

Wena wrist Pro combines the beauty of analogue timepieces with the convenience of technology. Add your favourite watch face to the wena pro to create a personalised smartwatch that’s literally like no other or choose a face from the extensive wena lineup. The wena wrist pro smart strap is compatible with 18mm, 20mm and 22mm watch faces so you can truly make it your own… More here.

A good idea and I’m pleased to see a real company like Sony trying this approach. My main concern would be the quality of the fitness tracking, but time will tell.

Which was the fittest country in 2018?

When it comes to stepping, Hong Kong took first place. Leading the charge in the nearly 24 trillion steps users took in 2018, Hong Kong steppers fit in 10,493 daily steps on average over 365 days. Spain came in second with 10,002 average steps. Ireland, Sweden, and Germany rounded out the top five countries who stepped it up in 2018 with 9,726, 9,609, and 9,601 average steps respectively.

Some interesting numbers here.

Take fitness away from the Apple Watch and it becomes annoying

I have managed to hurt my Achilles tendon which means I cannot run and so my fitness regime has taken a serious knock over the past two weeks. A bit of weight training does not feel like fitness to me and it is not easy to measure in a meaningful way.

So, I have had to keep my movement down and this means aiming for below 3,000 steps per day rather than the 15,000 I had been doing up until the injury. This has made my interactions with the Apple Watch much more reactive because there is no need to start workouts from the watch and I am not checking the stats during the day.

This means that the Apple Watch is currently for telling the time and receiving notifications, and boy is that irritating when there are a lot.

It’s only annoying because that is all it is doing. It feels like it is an inconvenience that I don’t need to deal with which is strange because it does that when I am mainly using it for fitness as well.

I suspect the problem is that when I am using the Apple Watch for tracking outdoor walks, runs, weights, sleep, notifications, the time, weather, calories etc etc it feels like the interruptions are a price worth paying and I tend to look at them in a more favourable way.

Take away the fitness and the entire product starts to unravel. It has only just dawned on me how much fitness and health are a part of the Apple Watch and when those are taken away there is not too much of a product left. It’s a real surprise.

The Fitbit Charge 2 has never been beaten

The above review popped up in my Flipboard, presumably by accident because it was from 2016. However, it got me to thinking about where Fitbit is heading and more specifically about the devices that came after which I have tried over extended periods of time.

My conclusion is that the Fitbit Charge 2 was the best device when it was released and that sadly for Fitbit, it is still the best device the company has released to date.

Fitbit Ionic- it is fairly accurate and does a good job of tracking your overall fitness, but it is a carbuncle of a device and is far too big for most women to wear. It is remarkably ugly and does not suit the tastes of the majority.

Fitbit Versa- highly inaccurate and gave me at least 10-20% more steps that I had actually done. Add to this the crazy situation where floors are counted when sitting down or driving and it starts to annoy.

Fitbit Charge 3- ditto all of the problems with the Versa and the situation is made worse by Fitbit refusing to acknowledge that their newer devices have this tracking problem, particularly in regards to floors climbed.

Throw in more than occasional software glitches with the online Fitbit service and the obvious choice is to look elsewhere. Fitbit helped me a great deal while I used the companies products, but alas the reason I wear an Apple Watch now is not because it is better, it is because Fitbit got worse.

Now this is how you do support

I emailed the developer of Step It Up to ask a couple of questions regarding how it works on the Apple Watch Series 4. It is the first app I have found that feels as if it could replace the Fitbit system for me and at an extremely competitive price. Anyway, I waited a couple of days and received the following which is personal, information and enthusiastic. How often do you see that?

Hi Shaun,

I’m sorry for my late response to your email you sent over the weekend, I’m a graduate student studying clinical psychology and still getting adjusted to the new semester.

Thank you for the kind words regarding Step It Up, I’m glad to hear that you like it. I’ve heard from a number of users that Step It Up really helped them transition from the Fitbit to the Apple Watch. Step It Up does have support for most of the complications supported by the old Apple Watches, I’m putting the finishing touches on the complications for the Series 4. Please keep an eye out for an update around the end of this week or over the weekend. If you use any of the other faces besides the infograph faces you’ll see Step It Up in the complication menu.

In regards to the kg – pounds bug, I am aware of a bug causing them to switch from time to time. I just implemented a new way where the kg/pounds would be set automatically for the user based on their region, but it seems to be causing a lot of issues for users who use kilograms.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Best wishes,
Casey

The app is available here and trust me, it is well worth a download and a subsequent purchase.

Confessions of a FitBit addict

One of the great philosophical questions of our time is this: if a person goes for a run and there is no Fitbit on their wrist to record it, did it really happen? I have been struggling with said conundrum all week, having been forced to go for a lonely jog without my fitness tracker, which had run out of battery.

Good article, if you can read it all by subscribing. It is a conundrum and a habit that is easy to fall into. Once you fall into the notion, however, that actually doing things and eating less works the Fitbit merely becomes a tracker to articulate your progress.

Fitbit Versa after a few weeks: multiple problems remain

I posted the below on the Fitbit community yesterday in this thread

OK, I wore my Versa on my left wrist (synced to my iPhone as non-dominant wrist) and a Charge 2 on my right wrist (synced to my wife’s iPhone as dominant wrist)

22 floors on Versa / 8 on Charge 2
12.356 steps on Versa / 11,866 on Charge 2

I then swapped wrists the next day-

16 floors on Versa / 5 on Charge 2
9,328 steps on Versa / 9,112 on Charge 2

I then used my wife’s Versa instead of mine to see what would happen-

14 floors on Versa / 5 on Charge 2

So, my wife’s Versa is broken and needs returning and presumably so is mine?

Or maybe my Charge 2 is faulty. Although when I wake up and drive to work it will show 0 floors whereas the Versa can show quite a few at times when I have been driving or walked on flat surfaces.

I believe that the Versa is ‘broken’ at floor tracking and with steps at times as well. When I have the time I will post all of the results with screenshots to prove what is happening, but some of the excuses being made don’t make for a tracker that is accurate.

The obvious answer is that Fitbit needs to fix the Versa, and possibly the Ionic as well because that also over-counted floors for me.

Too many people are seeing inaccurate floor counting with the Versa and it seems to be over counting steps as well.

Add to this the quite dreadful setup for moving music to the device and the archaic way it handles watch faces (only one face stored on the watch at a time and various problems keeping registration intact) you start to believe that the company rushed the release of the product.

For all of the positive parts which include a great design, decent battery life and an overall good feeling there are areas where the company cannot compete with Apple.

It leaves me stuck using a product that does most of what I need in terms of fitness and of course it works perfectly with the Fitbit app, but having used an Apple Watch I feel that it could be improved somewhat.

Then again, that would be like expecting Microsoft, Samsung and the rest to match Apple in terms of hardware and software integration. It just won’t happen.

And sadly it looks as though Apple taking fitness seriously on the Apple Watch won’t happen either.

Fitbit’s possible way forward

Fitbit believes that by sending data from its smart watches directly to electronic medical records, doctors will gain a more comprehensive view of the patient’s status, leading to more personalized care. Fitbit and Google also want to help manage chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension… More at Cult of Mac.

I am kind of torn as to the best way forward for Fitbit. On the one hand the Apple Watch appears to be dominating the smart watch market while the Fitbit hardware is seen as budget by many, but the Versa may be a much bigger hit than expected.

On the other hand, the Apple Watch is closed very much to iOS and the market for smart watches from the likes of Fossil and even higher-end watch brands is having an impact on traditional watch sales.

Should Fitbit be offering its smart watch software and tracking technology to the likes of Casio, TAG, Fossil and the rest to make their products MUCH more useful? It could be cutting their own nose off, but at some point it may be the only choice.

Fitbit Versa: two days in (vs Apple Watch)

I have been using the Versa for two days now and feel that this is enough time to start to understand the good points, the bad and the meh…

Overall I am very impressed with the Versa as a fitness tracker, which should obviously be expected considering that this is what Fitbit does. It is in no way of the same build quality as an Apple Watch, but the gap is not that small when it comes to comparing it with the non stainless steel models. The lightness causes an immediate negative impact in terms of how the build is perceived, but it is actually an advantage. With the standard strap it is simply not noticeable when worn. Also, there is nothing obviously wrong with the Versa in terms of fit and finish because it is well made and does what it needs to without trying to be something else.

This is my overriding impression of the Versa in these early stages. It is a fitness watch that will help you to understand what you do each day without the need to pretend to be luxurious or some kind of status symbol. The Apple Watch, on the other hand feels completely different. To me, the Apple Watch is for those who go to the gym to be seen at the gym or to tell the people at work that they went to the gym last night. The Fitbit Versa is for those who go to the gym to get fit, quietly.

That is obviously a huge tongue in cheek generalisation and smart watches are meant to be about more than fitness, but the fact is that they are about fitness and notifications, and telling the time. Nothing else at this time. Find me a third party app that works well enough on a smart watch to make it worth installing and I will still challenge it because (logically) I have found no apps that work on a watch better than on a phone or that benefit the user because they are on the wrist. With this in mind, the fact that the apps on the Versa are poor means little to me because I am unlikely to use them. Just as I used no third party apps on the Apple Watch.

As a fitness tracker the Versa is brilliant whereas the Apple Watch is not. Filling rings takes me back to the thoughts of gym people because it feels like dabbling with getting slightly more active than before. It feels as though Apple doesn’t quite get the true idea of fitness and instead looks at it as a lifestyle thing to do at the end of a busy day in the office. Don’t get me wrong, filling rings is nice and all that, but to me doesn’t offer a sense of improvement or the detail needed to truly understand how and why you can improve. Some of you may disagree completely, but I know of four people who owned the Apple Watch and who now use Fitbit’s because of the superior tracking. I can only go on my experience and those of people I know.

The battery life is an obvious advantage on the Versa which again offers a sense of ‘tool’ rather than ‘style’ and from a practical sense the Versa ticks all of the boxes. The Ionic almost did, but the Marmite design is a killer for too many people, and it’s also too big for most women.

It would be nice to be able to store more than one watch face on the watch and to not have to use the phone to change them, but I am hoping that I will find one I stick with so that will not be a problem. Seriously, I must have tried more than 30 faces so far and am kind of enjoying messing around with them. The whole clock face thing really is the majority of the customisation available on the Versa, unless you want to play around with the apps and games, but the less is more feeling is to me another advantage because you end up just using it and not thinking about it too much. In a grown up tech world, products that benefit you without the need to fiddle are what most people want.

The Versa is not exciting and it is not complex. It is not jewellery and it offers no statement about the person wearing it. It just works (a phrase Apple would do well to remember).

Fitbit Versa: a second opinion

Really am enjoying my Versa. It replaces my Charge 2 as well.

I like the size, the weight and I got the charcoal band, which I also prefer over the silicone one on my Charge 2. I don’t understand the criticism of the pin mechanism for the band. Seems to me that going to the standard watch pin system means that more bands are available for choice.

I am having to get used to finding things. I preferred the Charge 2 display which displayed the date, time, number of steps towards my hourly 250 step goal and my heart rate.

Right now, I can’t find a watch face with the hourly steps displayed. I have to scroll down to my Today screen and then scroll down to get my hourly steps. Too many steps (pardon the pun) to get to the info.

I also find a bit of lag in walking the steps and having the Versa catch up in displaying the count.

Apps are a bit of a hit and miss. Some don’t work. Others are quite good. Very sparse app store.

I do notice that the display brightness on mine tends to, well, swell for lack of a better word. It gets brighter and dimmer rhythmically, as if it were breathing.

Also, my first sleep analysis was a bit interesting. Setting up my watch in the afternoon, it added the rest of the afternoon to my previous night’s sleep. I know I have a sedentary job, but that might be a bit ridiculous.

And as to my full night’s sleep last night, it did a nice job of classifying my different levels of sleep, but it didn’t register any time. So I have a nice graph with a total of 0 minutes asleep. Never felt so rested for not getting any sleep.

The journey continues… Arnold

Some good thoughts by Arnold which I mostly agree with. The ‘0 minutes’ problem is a new software glitch on the Fitbit end affecting many users, no matter what device they own so is not a Versa problem as such. The strap system does work as it should- it is a little fiddly, but I find that I can use a variety of 22mm standard straps at very little cost which is a nice bonus.

The number of watch faces is almost too much and I kind of see where Arnold is coming from, but I don’t look at the 250 step goal which proves we all have different preferences.  I will add more in the next few days.