A Waterproof Fitbit Flex 2 Makes a Splash
Brand Spanking New
The recently released Flex 2 from Fitbit may share a name with a popular LG smartphone, but don’t let the similarity confuse you: this is a brand new activity tracker from the company whose name has basically become the default name for the entire activity tracker industry. People point to their friends’ wrists and ask, “What kind of Fitbit is that?” and not “What kind of tri-axis accelerometer based fitness tracker is that?” So for that reason alone, the Fitbit Flex 2 is kind of a big deal.
But even without its impressive pedigree, the Fitbit Flex 2 is a worthwhile device. First, what it’s not: it’s not a hardcore fitness watch. It’s not a device that’s going to coach you toward triathlon greatness or guide you through an intense cardio boxing workout. As for what it is, the Fitbit Flex 2 can handle the tracking basics, but it handles them well, and it looks pretty good to boot. It’s an ideal tracker for anyone who just wants to move more and perhaps needs a little motivation to do so. Let’s take a closer look.
Fitbit Flex 2 price when reviewed: $79.95
Fitbit Flex 2 Tracks It All
With the Fitbit Flex 2, you get a top notch daily fitness tracker. It logs steps, counts calories, estimates distance, and records active minutes. It’s accuracy is good, especially when you wear the device on your non-dominant hand, and you can recalibrate your Fitbit Flex 2 in the Fitbit app if you happen to notice any discrepancies between the Flex 2’s steps and the steps counted in, say, Apple Health, Google Fit, or another tracker.
The Fitbit Flex 2 can automatically go from activity mode to sleep tracking mode. Within the app, you’ll see your time asleep, time awake, total time asleep, and how restless you are throughout the night.
This feature, along with the daily activity tracking, is pretty standard for devices of this calibre and at this price point. However, the Flex 2 does offer some distinctive advantages over a lot of those trackers.
First of all, the Flex 2 is waterproof to 100 metres. Yes, you read that right! This is the first truly waterproof Fitbit, and that’s huge.
Not only can you leave it on when you take a shower, but you can actually swim in it. And, not only can you swim in it, but it can actually track your stroke type and count your laps.
No, it’s doesn’t offer as much data about your swim as a device like the Garmin Swim, but swim tracking is a tremendous improvement for Fitbit.
What’s more, the Flex 2 has automatic activity recognition. Whether you’re
- taking an aerobics class,
- shooting hoops,
- playing tennis, or whatever,
the Flex 2 can keep track of all of your fitness data related to it.
So yes, it’s a fitness tracker, but it’s also much more.
A Clean Well-Lighted Interface
Again, the Flex 2 isn’t an advanced tracker or fitness watch, and in keeping with its purpose, there’s no actual display. However, there is still an interface that provides some degree of communication, and it’s in the form of five LEDs plus vibration.
These all work together to show you your progress toward your daily goal and let you know when calls and texts are coming in.
Plus, the vibration is also a move reminder, buzzing when you’ve been sitting for too long. The Flex 2 actually encourages you to get at least 250 steps in every hour in an effort to ditch your sedentary tendencies.
The Flex 2 itself is super small: 11mm wide and about 2.5cm long.
It comes with a small and a large silicone wristband in your choice of black, navy, lavender, or magenta, and it easily and securely slips in and out of the band. When worn this way, it fits with what we’ve come to understand as the generic fitness tracker aesthetic, which is stuff, rubberised, and sporty.
However, Fitbit clearly wanted to appeal to professional and fashion conscious women who are interested in daily tracking but dislike the ordinary look of the ubiquitous silicone bands.
The company has created several metal accessories — bangles and pendants — that can house the Flex 2, allowing women to wear the device as they wish, have it coordinate with their overall look, and never miss a step.
Unfortunately, there’s no heavy stainless steel wristband option, and the bangles and pendants definitely look more feminine than masculine. So, men who purchase the Flex 2 will probably want to stick with the default silicone band
Powered for Action
The five day battery life on the Flex 2 is adequate, though as many early users and reviewers have noted, other comparable devices go much longer.
On the upside, it is nice that you don’t have to plug it in every night (unlike, say, an Apple Watch). And, like other Fitbit devices, the Flex 2 has a proprietary charger, this time in the form of a little charging clip, so if you lose it or leave it at home, you may have to contend with a lifeless Flex 2.
The device will send you an email notification when the battery is running low, though, so as long as you have your charger on you, you’ll know exactly when to plug it in.
And of course, it connects with the practically legendary Fitbit app, which puts all of your data in easy to read charts and graphs. It also has an extensive social component, so you can motivate and compete with all of your Fitbit wearing friends (you probably have more than you think), plus an in-depth food log to track calories in versus calories out.
Pros and Cons
Again, the big check mark in the Flex 2’s plus column is the fact that it’s waterproof. The lack of water resistance on Fitbit devices has been a significant complaint, especially as similar waterproof trackers have come on the market in recent years. It’s also great that the Flex 2 can track swimming; again, it was an area in which Fitbit had been sorely lacking.
Still, there are some serious omissions:
- There’s no heart rate monitoring and no GPS — it’s really a basic tracker with not a lot of bells and whistles.
- Additionally, the lack of actual display can get frustrating at times; with only five LEDs and one vibration, it’s hard to know if the signal from your wrist means you have a new text or it’s time to get up and move.
- Finally, while the battery life isn’t awful, it should probably be better than a maximum of five days.
What Others Are Saying abot the Flex 2
The early reviews from respected tech writers are coming out, and they’re quite positive. Here are a few to check out.
The well established review site gave the Flex 2 three and a half stars, or a 7.9 out of ten. Reviewer Dan Graziano lauded the fact that you can finally swim with a Fitbit, but lamented the lack of heart rate monitoring (which is on an increasingly high number of trackers) and the lackluster battery life.
The four star “Excellent” rating for the Flex 2 by PCMag was thanks to its accuracy, its design, and its waterproof rating. However, the device’s lack of a true display, plus the fact that users can’t manually track their activities, were noted as drawbacks.
The three and half stars (err…mice) that the Flex 2 received from MacWorld seems to be consistent with reviews from other outlets. It’s a Fitbit — the quality is good, it’s super comfortable, and at long last, it’s waterproof. Still, it’s “too barebones” for folks who prefer more serious tracking, and the reviewer pointed out that the Flex 2 needed lots of little calibrations before it tracked accurately
Fitbit Flex 2 – Order It Now, Get It Soon
The new Fitbit Flex 2 retails for £79.99. For that price, you get the device plus the standard silicone band — or two, actually: one small, one large. It’s currently on back order, though, so if you order today, you’ll have your device in three or four weeks.
The Flex 2 accessory bangles or pendants are either £69.99 for the silver versions or £79.99 for the gold or ever popular rose gold versions. And, it should be noted that these accessories do not include the tracker itself — those costs are in addition to the £79.99 price tag for the device in its standard package.
Have you tried out the new Flex 2? Are you thinking of getting one? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think.
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