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Fitbit Flex review: Gone but not forgotten

Alan Martin Riyad Emeran
18 Jun 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
45
inc VAT

The Fitbit Flex has been discontinued, but still does the job on the cheap

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Specifications

Pedometer: Yes, Heart-rate monitor: No, Display: Five white LEDs, Battery life: 5 days

The Fitbit Flex was a runaway success for the company that has become synonymous with step counting, but all good things must come to an end. The Fitbit Flex is no longer sold by the company, though you can still pick it up on the cheap on Ebay or similar, for as little as £20.

And to be clear, at that price it still does the job: it tracks steps, sleep (in a limited kind of way - there's no heart-rate tracking for the more in-depth analytics that newer versions offer), and it still connects to the wonderful Fitbit app. 

But of course, there are modern alternatives which maintain the Fitbit Flex's style and focus while adding a couple of nice extras. The main one, of course, is the Fitbit Flex 2, which adds swim tracking to the mix. If the community features aren't the main draw, you could pay £20 for a Xiaomi Mi Band 3, which packs an OLED screen and a heart-rate sensor, too. You can read all about the Fitbit Flex's current rivals on our best fitness trackers page.

For now though, here's Riyad's original review from 2014.

Fitbit Flex review: Design, build quality and features

Although the Flex is worn on your wrist, the device itself can be removed from the strap. This means that you can colour coordinate your Flex to match your outfit, and there’s a veritable rainbow of strap colours available. 

Fitbit Flex colours

There’s no display on the Flex – just five white LEDs. Each LED represents 20% of your daily goal, so you can get at least a rough estimate of how you’re doing by glancing at your wrist. The Flex will log every step you take throughout the day, and will try to differentiate between a gentle stroll and a power walk, attributing ‘active minutes’ where applicable. While this is a nice touch, it still won’t really discern when you’re running as opposed to walking.

Fitbit Flex out of band

By counting your steps the Flex will estimate the distance you’ve travelled during the day, along with the calories you’ve burned. As with any fitness tracker, those figures should be taken with a pinch of salt, but it’s still useful data to compare over time. Also see: Fitbit Flex 2 review.

Fitbit Flex review: Connectivity

The Flex will sync wirelessly with your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0, but Fitbit also supplies a wireless USB dongle in the box, Plug the dongle into your computer and the Flex will also wirelessly sync whenever it’s close to your PC or Mac, making it easy to check your progress on the Fitbit web portal. 

Fitbit Flex what's in the box

 

Fitbit Flex review: Fitbit App

Note: In early 2017, Fitbit announced it plans to launch its own wearables app store. This might not be applicable to the Flex, but it shows that the company is thinking about improving and fine-tuning its app support.

The Fitbit app is beautifully designed and easy to use. As well as checking your progress as far as activity goes, you can also log your food intake. There’s a food database built into the app, but it’s a bit hit and miss. However, you can link the Fitbit app with MyFitnessPal, allowing you to pull in your food diary automatically. You can pair the Fitbit app with a multitude of other fitness apps and platforms too, such as Strava, Runkeeper, MapMyRun, etc.

The Fitbit web portal is probably the best out there, which makes sense given that you can wirelessly sync with your computer thanks to that dongle. The web portal is made up of dynamic tiles, which means that you can arrange the page to best suit you, with the most important data being the first thing you’ll see.

Fitbit also encourages a bit of healthy competition. If you have friends and colleagues using a Fitbit, you’ll automatically see a leader board highlighting how your efforts compare to theirs. If you’ve been a bit lazy, seeing that you’re lagging behind your friends may be all the incentive you need to get more active. 

Fitbit Flex worn

Fitbit Flex review: Conclusion

The Fitbit Flex is still a great entry-level fitness tracker, with a strong supporting app and first-rate web portal. The bundled wireless dongle also makes syncing your data a breeze via your computer as well as your phone.

The Flex is comfortable to wear, has a decent (five day) battery life, can be colour coordinated, and tracks all your daily activity and nightly sleep. While there are far better-featured devices available now, at only £45 (price when reviewed) the Flex makes a strong case for itself for first-time buyers.

Hardware
Wearing modesWrist
PedometerYes
Heart-rate monitorNo
GPSNo
DisplayFive white LEDs
WaterproofYes (water resistant)
Smartphone connection
OS supportAndroid 4.3+, iPhone 4S+, iPad Mini+, iPad 3+
WirelessBluetooth 4.0
Battery
Battery size
Battery life5 days
Buying information
Price including VAT£80
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Supplierwww.fitbit.com/uk
Detailswww.fitbit.com/uk
Part code5041511

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