Larry Magid: Fitbit offers ‘fashion forward’ fitness tracker

For the past several months, I’ve been wearing a Fitbit Sense smartwatch/fitness band ($228 at Amazon) to track my exercise routines, pulse, breathing rate, skin temperature, oxygen saturation while sleeping and “stress level,” It also tracks resting hearth rate and heart

Larry Magid (Gary Reyes / Mercury News)

rate variability (HRV).  That last metric shows the variation in time between heart beats, and according to Fitbit, “a higher HRV is linked with better health.” Like the Apple Watch, Sense can also be used to check for an irregular heartbeat via its EKG (electrocardiogram) function.

The Sense has a 1.6-inch square color screen, which is big enough even for my aging eyes to see at a glance. I think it’s a good size even for people (like me) with relatively small wrists, but some people prefer smaller bands, and of course many people are looking for more affordable fitness bands.

Fitbit Luxe

Enter the Luxe, Fitbit’s newest fitness band that measures 1.4 inches long by .7 inches wide and is .4 inches thick sells for about $149. Fitbit bills the Luxe as a “new fashion-forward health and wellness tracker,” but fashion is in the eye of the beholder. Its diminutive size makes it less intrusive looking than larger trackers and smartwatches, but it’s still an electronic device and not a piece of fine jewelry, which is true for nearly all electronic products. The sample sent to me comes with a generic black band, but for about the same price, you can get it in “lunar white” and orchid (pink) or you can pay $50 more for a gold stainless steel Parker Link Bracelet from the jewelry brand gorjana, There are other bands available that can dress it up even more.

Although it’s billed as a fitness tracker and not a “smartwatch” like my Sense and Fitbit’s Versa 3 and Versa 2, it has some of the features you get in a smartwatch including call, text & smartphone notifications, silent alarms and a timer and stopwatch. As a fitness device, it tracks your heart rate 24/7, displays pace and distance during walks, jogs, hikes and bike rides if it’s paired with your smartphone (it doesn’t have its own GPS) and tracks and reports your footsteps and calories burned. It also, through the Fitbit smartphone app, displays a “Stress Management Score that tracks physical signs of stress with a score from 1 to 100. I have this feature on my Sense and don’t pay a lot of attention to it because it doesn’t seem to corollate well with my own sense of my stress levels. If you wear it to bed, it gives you a sleep score and tracks your sleep stages (light, deep and REM sleep).

Not that we’re competing, but my wife, Patti, who is wearing the new Luxe, got a score of 80 last night while I beat her with an 81 from my Fitbit Sense. I slept for 7 hours and 41 minutes while she only logged 7:10, although she did get more deep and REM sleep …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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