FITBUG AIR & FITBUG GO REVIEWS
Fitbug released the Fitbug Air in early 2013, revealing what is basically the wireless version of the FitBug Go. It was only a few months afterwards that they announced the Fitbug Orb. Should you bother considering the Air or Go in light of Fitbug's newest release of the Orb? Read on to find out.
The Fitbug Air and Go are both basically the same smart pedometer. The only major difference is that the Air, as its name implies, is wirelessly enabled, allowing your data to transfer to your online dashboard without requiring you to connect a USB cable.
Both the Fitbug Air and the Go track your steps, distance travelled, minutes of daily activity, and estimate your calories burned. They also track something Fitbug calls "aerobic steps," which are steps taken after taking an initial 10 minutes of continuous stepping. Online (or on the app), you can set fitness goals, view activity and progress over time, and manually log workouts like cycling and yoga that the devices can't accurately track. You can also log foods you've eaten, and the app will calculate the resulting calories you've consumed, providing an analysis of calories in versus out for the day that dieters find useful.
However, the app is not comprehensive: some information and some functions are only available via the website. And to use the website, you need to pay for a monthly subscription. On the positive side, neither activity tracker requires any re-charging. They are each powered by a common watch battery that only needs replacing about every 4 to 6 months.
Despite the basic feel of the activity tracker and its digital-watch style LCD display, the on-screen display is a nice touch. From my experience using the Jawbone UP and the FitBit One, and from reading others' experiences, many people prefer to have an on-screen display so that they can monitor realtime progress while exercising or simply throughout the day. I personally feel lost as to progress toward my fitness goals when I go out and about with my display-free Jawbone UP. My FitBit One's display gives enough info that I can decide whether to take the long way home, or take a shortcut. And seeing that I'm near a goal when I'm jogging lifts my spirits and helps encourage me. Without a display, my goal is harder to keep in the forefront of my mind, and my exercise just feels like a normal and somewhat aimless jog.
Unfortunately, customers' Amazon reviews of the Fitbug Air and Go are not uniformly positive. Several customers complain about the poor customer service or the poor return policy, their frustrations with the non-watersafe devices, and syncing glitches. Read those reviews here and here.
Furthermore, critics claim that the devices feel too much like old-fashioned pedometers, balk at the subscription, and claim that the mobile app is limited compared to other smart pedometers like the Jawbone UP, the FitBit One and the Striiv Play.
I, too, balk at subscription-based health trackers like the Fitbug products and the BodyMedia FIT products. You want to make yourself healthier -- so why make yourself pay a monthly fee to do that? It's hard enough to get out the door and go for a jog, so why make it expensive, too? A lifetime commitment that requires you to pay a monthly fee is not a smart or lasting lifetime commitment, in my opinion. On the other hand, some people pay a monthly gym fee for their whole life. I just get outside and find other ways to build free exercise into my day. Everyone's different, but think carefully about how paying a monthly fee to continue a healthy new lifestyle might impact your ability or enthusiasm to follow that lifestyle. Rather than a recurring fee, I'd suggest making a purchase decision once and then focusing on incorporate lasting healthy habits.
However, if you don't mind paying a subscription fee and don't want to have one more thing to recharge on a regular basis, then the Orb joins the other Fitbug products in the small category of fitness activity trackers that use watch batteries. But before you buy on the matter of not having to re-charge another device, first consider the other battery-powered trackers out there: Fitbit Zip, Misfit Shine, iHealth Fitness Tracker, GeoPalz Unity and Power Key, or the LifeTrak C200 or C300, and the Garmin Forerunner 910XT. They do most of the same things that the Fitbug products do, but they don't require a subscription fee.
LET'S BREAK IT DOWN
Features & Added Benefits
The Fitbug Air and Fitbug Go track steps, aerobic steps (steps taken after taking an initial 10 minutes of continuous steps), distance traveled, minutes of active time per day, and estimated calories burned. You can set fitness goals and log foods to learn the number of calories you consume, and can view your data over time.
Hardware & Wearing
The plastic, splash-proof LCD-screened fitness trackers come in black, purple, and pink (for the Go) and dark purple, green&silver, and pink (for the Air). Three button on the face of the activity tracker let you toggle the display and control its other functions. It can be worn on a belt clip, in the pocket or on a lanyard.
Battery Life & Charging
Fitbug fitness trackers contains a common watch battery that can last for up to 6 months before needing to be replaced.
The Fitbug Go syncs manually to your computer via a USB cable. The Fitbut Air syncs wirelessly to your computer via a small receiver device that you plug in to your computer, or via select bluetooth-enabled iOS devices. Data can be viewed via the app or the web interface, though the app offers limited data and feature access while the web interface offers the complete range of data and features. You must have a subscription to access your data online.
The website can be viewed on Mac or PC for both the Go and the Air. For the Air, you can also sync via a compatible iOS device that is Bluetooth 4.0 enabled. Check the company website for the latest list of compatible devices, as they plan to expand compatibility.