Fitbit’s Flex 2 helps you achieve fitness milestones
When Fitbit contacted me and asked if I wanted to do a sponsored review of their Flex 2, I said, “Why not?” Then I said, “By the way, are you okay with the fact that I’m still recovering from my foot injury and thus won’t be able to try out the gadget doing my usual workouts? Also, I try to keep my reviews as truthful as possible. Will you guys be okay with an honest review?” They agreed, so I decided to give it a go.
By the way, I’m not really into wearable tech. In fact, the Flex 2 is my first fitness gadget ever. I just thought that reviewing it would benefit my readers and allow me to understand the pros and cons of using such accessories.
Note: This is a sponsored review. That said, my views about Fitbit’s Flex 2 are entirely my own.
Flex 2: the blurb
Flex 2 is one of Fitbit’s fitness wristbands. It doesn’t tell the time, though it does look like a slim wristwatch at first glance. The pamphlet that came with the package describes it as such: “Meet Fitbit Flex 2 – an ultra-slim, swim-proof fitness wristband with a removable tracker that fits into bands, bangles or pendants, so you can track all-day activity, exercise, and sleep in a style that’s all your own.”
Here are its features:
- All-day activity tracking – tracks steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, and hourly activity
- Swim-proof – you can swim or surf in it
- Interchangeable accessories – you can use it with bangles especially designed for the tracker
- Auto-sleep tracking – tracks how long and how well you slept
- Auto-exercise recognition – recognizes select exercises like runs and bike rides
- Reminders to move – hourly reminders to get off your rear end
- Smartphone notifications – get call and text notifications
- LED display – allows you to check your progress when you tap the display
- Long battery life – battery life up to 5 days
- Wireless syncing – wirelessly syncs stats
- Inspire + compete – via stat sharing plus fitness challenges with friends
Wearable tech newbie that I am, I had to ask their local PR person some questions ‘coz I was at a loss as to how to use it at first:
Can the app and tracker still track my activities if I turn off my phone’s WiFi? Yes. It’ll sync the latest stats when you turn on your bluetooth.
Can I adjust the length of time before an activity is recorded to at least 5 minutes? You can adjust it to at least 10 minutes.
I’m worried I might break the tracker. I hope it’s not too fragile. – With relative care, it holds up well.
How to use the Flex 2
To begin using your Flex 2, install the Fitbit app to your phone, tablet, and/or desktop. Pair your particular tracker afterwards with any or all of your gadgets, and you’re basically set. My only issue especially during the first day was memorizing what the heck the vibrations and colors meant. The tracker would vibrate and I’d be like, “What??” I thus had to write down what each indicator light meant. (After the second day, I realized that I could just get by with the vibrations and notifications.) For the record, here are what each of the lights mean:
1 solid white light – 25% of goal met
vibration plus flashing lights – goal met
flashing green light plus four white lights – goal surpassed
1 light – 25% of battery charged
flashing green light plus five white lights – fully charged
Vibration plus yellow light plus 3 white lights for 30 seconds – silent alarm, a.k.a. get your lovely *rse up
Reminders to move
Two vibrations plus 1 magenta light plus 2 white lights – reminder to move
Flashing red light plus goal progress lights – 1 day remaining battery life; time to charge your tracker
If you like reading manuals, here’s the official Flex 2 manual, although if you wish to keep things simple, then just rely on your notifications and vibrations. Trust me on this, haha!
Tips on how to achieve your daily step goal
Expect a reminder to move 10 minutes before the end of each active hour. (You can adjust the number of active hours you want counted in a day.) Commit to get up each and every time your tracker reminds you to move.
If the hourly vibration still isn’t enough of a reminder for you to move, use it in conjunction with apps that combat eye fatigue like Awareness or EVO. Let Fitbit remind you every 10 minutes before the hour, then configure either of those apps to remind you a few minutes after that.
A few observations
You don’t need the full 10 minutes to clock in the requisite number of 250 steps per hour. You can already walk 400+ steps in 5 minutes. I checked and double-checked. 😉
If you have a desk job, getting the American Heart Association-recommended 10,000 steps per day will be a stretch. If you commute to work and/or live in some continent like Europe where people walk a lot, though, then good for you. You’ll be able to hit those 10,000 steps, no problem. A friend who recently spent a holiday in London, for instance, was hitting 100,000+ steps after just a few days. I, on the other hand, have to stick to a 5,000-day step goal partly because of my injury and also partly because it’s super tough to be ideally fit when you work in front of your PC. 😐 #realtalk
Foot injury-friendly exercises
So how does someone recovering from a foot injury such as myself work out? Well, I do foot-injury friendly exercises 3-5 times a week. Feel free to browse my personal curated playlist after reading this post. Disclaimer: If you do have a health or medical concern, then please talk to your doctor first before embarking on any exercise program. My case may be different from yours. When in doubt, please do consult a healthcare professional you trust.
That said, check out a couple of my go-to workout moves nowadays:
Take note that your feet should be a few inches off the ground when doing chair sprints.
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What I don’t like about the Flex 2, a.k.a. possible issues with it
The first morning after I set my sleep alarm, my Flex 2 vibrated an hour before my alarm time! Ugh. I really don’t know what caused it to alarm too soon. It was just that one incident, though.
On the fifth day, it suddenly stopped syncing just as I knew I was about to hit my 4,000-step mark! I immediately checked the Troubleshooting section of the site and saw an article that said “syncing difficulty is usually caused by a missing requirement.” I saw this particular requirement in the list that might have caused the problem:
- If you use more than one Bluetooth phone, tablet, or computer to sync, the other one isn’t nearby (or has Bluetooth disabled).
At the time I was trying to sync my stats, my phone and my laptop where a meter away from each other. It was also at that day I realized that Fitbit needed to check my location too for it to sync my stats.
On another occasion, I was about to hit my daily step goal when the tracker stopped syncing. After refreshing multiple times, I gave up and turned in for the night. The following morning, I saw that a firmware update was available. Maybe that caused the non-syncing?
There was also a time last week when my stats reflected that I didn’t hit my target step goal when in fact I already had exceeded it! It bummed me out so much I had to go to their Help forum to have it sorted out. Apparently, it has nothing to do with your Wi-Fi connection and everything to do with your bluetooth connectivity.
In fairness, these may not be Fitbit’s fault at all. I’m just saying you might encounter issues like these.
Flex 2 caveats and drawbacks
You need to input your food and water intake regularly. Might be a pain for some people who don’t like assiduously tracking their food and water intake.
You need to remember to dry the tracker and the band each and every time you sweat and after swimming. Might be a problem if you sweat a lot or if you live in a place with humid weather (ehem!).
It’s compatible with over 150 Android phones, but check this link first to see if your device is one of those in the list. Even if it isn’t compatible with your phone, however, you can still buy the tracker and just sync your stats with your laptop.
Colorblind people might have a problem with the indicator lights.
Wearing it constantly takes some getting used to. If you usually wear a wristwatch, then you might want to invest in a Fitbit bangle so it won’t look like you’re wearing two wristwatches.
The weekly sleep summary will add all your sleeping hours and just get the average of them. It won’t factor in the quality of your sleep, i.e., the times you were restless and awake versus the times you were sleepin’ like a newborn babe. Hence, if your daily sleep goal is 7 hours and you stay in bed for 14 hours, Fitbit will congratulate you for achieving your goal even if in fact you were actually awake every other hour. It would be cool if later versions of the gadget would eventually offer a summary of the quality of your sleep too.
What I super love about Fitbit’s Flex 2
In a nutshell,
- the Reminders to Move feature!!
- the Sleep Recognition feature with its quality of sleep chart!!
The Reminders to Move feature makes me super happy because the benefits are actually multipronged:
It reminds you to step away from your desk and move.
It reminds you to drink water.
It reminds you to empty your bladder.
It reminds you to rest your eyes.
Think about it..
The hourly vibrations are also reminders to keep your eyes, kidneys, and heart healthy. Soooo useful!! I love it.
Flex 2 comments and recommendations
I wish the indicator lights were a bit larger. Missing the indicator lights is easy especially if your eyes are glued on your laptop or if you’re preoccupied with something else. I usually just rely on the vibrations plus the charts in the app.
Wouldn’t it be cool if it had a feature that tracked one’s blood sugar or blood pressure too? Like a Flex 2 for Diabetics and another Flex 2 for Hypertensives.
Buy it for these features
Reminders to move – See: above.
Auto sleep tracking – Like I mentioned above, review your daily sleep summary and not your weekly one because Flex 2 only averages the latter. This data is gold nevertheless because sleep affects one’s mood, memory, skin, and overall health. Wanna be well? Improving your sleep hygiene will get you there.
Bonus cool feature
Swim-proof – Ideal if your sport is swimming or if you do mermaid fitness or water yoga. I unfortunately don’t swim laps as much as I want to, but this is a cool addition.
Pricing and availability
The SRP of the Flex 2 is Php 4899. It comes with two classic bands in black, lavender, magenta, or navy, plus a charger. It’s available starting this month at major retailers including Digital Walker, Beyond the Box, select Toby’s stores, iBOOK, iCENTER, Mobile1, Globe, Gadgets in Style, Hivemind, Lazada, Zalora, Timeline, The Inbox Store, iLiberty, and Runnr stores. Not in the Philippines? No sweat. It can also be bought from anywhere at the online Fitbit store.
Do you use a fitness wristband? How helpful has it been in your wellness journey? Do share your experience with wearable tech in the comments section below.
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored review. That said, all the opinions written here are entirely my own.
Disclaimer: Please talk to your doctor if you have a medical concern.
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