Ask LH: Which Fitness Tracking Wristband Should I Get?

Ask LH: Which Fitness Tracking Wristband Should I Get?

Hi Lifehacker, I’m thinking of buying an activity tracking wristband and was very keen on the FitBit Force until the voluntary recall. Fitbit have said that the device will be re-released but there is no estimate of how long that will take and then there’s the delay for Australian release. So now I’m conflicted whether to wait for the Force, buy the Flex or go with something else. Any suggestions? Thanks, Force Not With Me

Dear FNWM,

According to Gizmodo editor Luke Hopewell, you should wait for the relaunch of the FitBit Force. Luke has personally tested most of the major fitness trackers on the market and rates the Force above the rest; particularly in terms of battery life, charging convenience and product reliability. It also provides you with more data on the go than the majority of fitness wristbands.

Otherwise, your best bet is probably the Jawbone Up which is smaller than the FitBit Force and arguably more stylish. In addition, it attempts to cater to casual users rather than die-hard fitness enthusiasts and benefits from a nicer looking app. However, there are a few significant caveats that lessen the Jawbone Up’s appeal.

“The Jawbone Up has a great app, a great design and it’s very comfortable, but it’s still the least reliable device I have ever used,” explains Luke. “I am on my second Up band after the first one died, but I know people who are on their sixth Jawbone Up after the previous five have failed.

“The Fitbit’s app may not be as pretty as the Jawbone Up’s app, but if that’s the sacrifice I have to make to have something I’m not returning to the Apple Store once a month, it’s worth it. Whenever anyone asks which fitness tracker they should buy, I’ll recommend Fitbit.” (You can check out Luke’s full review of the FitBit Force over at Gizmodo.)

The bad news is that you’re going to have to wait for the FitBit Force to return to the market. Fortunately, the recall issue appears to be related to the material used in the strap rather than a major hardware or software bug, which means it shouldn’t take Fitbit too long to iron out the problem.

As always, we’re also keen to hear what readers think: if you have a separate recommendation, let FNWM know in the comments section below.


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  • I’ve been happy with my Misfit Shine using the wristband. I’ve had it for 6 months and only had to change the cheap watch battery once, and that was using the included spare one! The app isn’t bad, but the social elements are bit half-baked.

  • Don’t get the JawBone UP, I got one last December and the battery has already degraded to only lasting 2 days of charge instead of the 10 it is supposed to last. As soon as I find that receipt its going back to the store.

    • Two in two months before switching to fitbit. The first up had numerous issues until I eventually gave up when the alarm vibration and sleep tracking finally went. The second one wouldn’t charge straight out of the box. I find fitbit a little out of sync with my actual steps but I have been told I may actually walk more than I’m expecting to. It does however, count steps when I am rocking my son to sleep in the rocking chair.

  • I have a fitbit force (ordered from the US) about 3 weeks ago and haven’t noticed anything wrong with my skin, so I’m not returning it 🙂 and after having read everything I could on the internet and found out that the fitbit force is indeed the best one for the moment (at least until the hypothetical iwatch that will nearly ressucitate you, call the ambulance and give you a cardiac massage according to the “leaks”) 🙂

  • I got one of the Fitbit Flex’s for Christmas and apart from the wristband separating (Which Fitbit swapped without any questions) I’ve been really happy with it. I normally get about 6 days of battery life and multiple reminders when the battery is low but overall its a great device. Plus they have released the different bands here so you can move on from the black one supplied.

  • I’ve had my Jawbone Up since mid last year, zero issues with the battery. Only thing I don’t like is the embossing on the inside, because it makes it harder to clean.

  • I wish I could find a Fitbit Force. Crags list and EBay do not have them. I wonder how long we have to wait for a replacement to come out now. I hope it won’t be to long.

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