Fitbit One Wireless Activity Tracker – User Review | GadFit

November 24, 2013

The Fitbit One is an improved version over the Fitbit Ultra and is one of many fitness trackers from Fitbit. I managed to get my hands on two; One for me and One for the missus, pun intended.

I’ve seen my fair share of pedometers, from Yamax to Omron. But this is different. Not your run of the mill black numeric digits on a display panel. But crisp, bright numeric digits illuminating from a  dark base. The Fitbit One slots into a silicon metal belt clip that holds onto clothing firmly. Some form of installation required on my part though I found it strange why the additional dongle is required when my laptop is Bluetooth capable.


Fitbit One in the silicon belt clip.


Your activity level is only as accurate as your fitness gadget. The Fitbit One i had was worn on the hip and put through three simple tests i devised.  I would walk, run or jog on the treadmill for 5 minutes at each speed; assuming most people i know of would engage in either of these actions throughout a day. Actual steps were recorded with a pace counter.  And the results.

fitbit one counted steps

The Fitbit One unit i had performed frighteningly accurate. It’s a keeper.


The display lights up with the press of a button on the front and goes off after a while.  Bright numbers and words, can be a bit dim in the sun. The Fitbit One is lightweight and feels premium. 

Bluetooth dongle, Fitbit One device, Silicon holder, Wrist sleeve, Charging cable.

Bluetooth dongle, Fitbit One device, Silicon holder, Wrist sleeve, Charging cable.

Fitbit One in the proprietary charing cable. Don't lose this!

Fitbit One in the proprietary charing cable. Don’t lose this!


The Fitbit app is available on both Apple Apps store and Google Play Store. Syncing is through Bluetooth 4.0 on select iOS and Android devices. Everyone else have to rely on the Bluetooth dongle attached to a PC or Mac to sync the day’s data. This also means you can use the Fitbit fitness trackers without a smartphone!

The web interface is very informative. Check it out:

Beta version web dashboard. You're able to customize the tiles you wish to be displayed.

Beta version web dashboard. You’re able to customize the tiles you wish to be displayed.

Standard version web dashboard. WYSIWYG. No customisation.

Standard version web dashboard. WYSIWYG. No customisation.

The mobile app is most likely the place where the user is going to get all the tracked stats from.fitbit-one-dashboard

The Fitbit mobile app interface is identical across the various platforms.The app screen can be customised to display stats which the user is interested only. For starters, the available stats to be displayed include steps, calories, distance, active minutes, water consumed, food log and weight.

steps and distance history

7 days history view of Steps and Distance. 

active minutes and calories burnt history

7 days history view of Active minutes and Calories burned. 

Features like in-app MapMyRun, 7 days history at a glance and  Challenges are available on both select Android and iOS devices.


The challenges option was added on October 2014 and provides a new feature that allows the user to individually challenge members on their friend’s list.

mapmyrun feature

A 38 minutes walk with the MapMyRun feature activated. Map and distance is correctly captured. This feature is only available on iOS and select Android devices only.

The addition of MapMyRun app with Fitbit devices and app allows users to track their runs and routes via the smart phone’s GPS, thus giving dated Fitbit devices GPS capability.


Names and pictures of friends have been smudged out.


The key feature and probably what makes the Fitbit platform so easy to use is, in my opinion, the addition of friends and their progress. You can also text, cheer or taunt your friends to encourage them to move a little more.


The list of stats the Fitbit One claims to track  is pretty comprehensive. I did a calculation, each stat listed cost you less than $1.40 per month to track for the first year. Free thereafter. that’s based on the web-listed price of $99.95.

  1. Steps
  2. Number of  floors climbed
  3. Distance covered
  4. Calories burned (Calculated based on your registered gender, height and weight)
  5. Active indicator (Flower icon that grows or shrinks depending on how active you’ve been)
  6. Sleep tracking

The sleep function allows you to track your sleep. I found it novel but the data made little sense to me over time. On days I slept well, the data implied that I was restless multiple times. And those days I felt like crap I was minimally restless and scored high on “Sleep Efficiency”.

I trust it’d take more than a hundred dollars tracker to discern my sleeping pattern.  I did welcome the silent alarm; keeps the missus asleep.

It also became troublesome after the excitement wore off to slip the Fitbit One into the arm band and switch it to sleep mode (3 seconds long press) before falling sleep. Not to mention the hassle of  placing it into the silicon clip the following morning. I’m assuming the consumer feedback culminated in the production of Fitbit Flex and Fitbit Force.  Now if only it had the idle alarm function the Jawbone UP had.

Sleep tracking outcome. Red line means i'm awake. Blue means i'm asleep. Contrary to the scores, i did not feel 96% sleep efficient and i found the fact that i woke up 14 times disturbing...zzzz

Sleep tracking outcome. Red line means i’m awake. Blue means i’m asleep. Contrary to the scores, i did not feel 96% sleep efficient and i found the fact that i woke up 14 times disturbing…zzzz

Fitbit One in the wrist sleeve, bed mode. This is too much of a hassle for me every night. I'll have to pass

Fitbit One in the wrist sleeve, bed mode. This is too much of a hassle for me every night. I’ll have to pass

Friends with the Fitbit app (need not own any Fitbit device) can motivate you and be part of your tipping point party en route to a healthier you. The website also looks great and contains a lot of information if you’re the sort who love to dissect and discover.  But I found myself using the website less and the app more.

Food search results. iOS on the left and Android on the right.

Food search results. iOS on the left and Android on the right.

The food log is pretty comprehensive. You can easily search for the food items you’ve consumed. but unlike the Jawbone UP app where you can scan bar code or take a photo, the Fitbit app limits your food entries to searching within the database or custom adding your food which can get a bit tedious.


The Fitbit One claims to go about 5-7 days on a single charge. Unfortunately the charging cable is proprietary so don’t lose it.

Health indicators not tracked by the Fitbit One like weight, food intake, amount of water consumed, blood glucose and  blood pressure readings can also be added manually on the website. Activities can also be logged. The activity recorder function  allows you to track specific durations of activity for closer examination. Oh did I mention Fitbit also links with other popular apps like MyFitnessPals, Endomondo and so on.

You get a weekly report sent to your registered email account. The total step count, day with highest step count, averages and more. Once in a while when you hit certain milestones, you receive recognition badges. Hitting your first 10k steps, 15k, 20k, 25k and so on. Those came fast initially but it gets harder to hit 35k steps or even 30 flights of stairs a day. The Fitbit One also does a nifty message display whenever your pick it up. Don’t let me ruin the surprise for you. Vamos!

If you’re willing to fork out more, there’s a premium account that supposedly gives you more detailed information about your stats and how you fare within the Fitbit community. Subscribing to the premium account also allows you to export your data in XLS or CSV format for your personal archiving.

You can also create groups on the website. Groups allow you to  tally your group’s total steps, distance, activity time and create chat rooms. It even allows you to see the rankings in each category rather than just based on steps. This deserves a second look.



  • Accurate for walking, jogging and running (more than 95% accuracy on test unit)
  • Decent battery life (Claim to last 7 days on a single charge)
  • Useful friend functions (Messages, cheers, taunts, rankings)
  • Splash and sweat proof
  • Syncs wirelessly via bluetooth 4.0 on select iOS, Android and Windows smartphones
  • Silent alarm
  • Weekly report and recognition badges


  • Troublesome to use as sleep tracker.
  • Proprietary charger cable.
  • Can’t download my data without premium subscription.

Some reviewers have labeled the Fitbit One as nothing more than an overpriced pedometer. Personally at a one times cost of $99.95 per unit, the accuracy, the weekly summary, monthly and yearly records, the wireless syncing, encouragements from friends and the sheer items being tracked.  It’s pretty worth it. If I should get sick of it, I’ll just pass it on.

Listed price: $99.95

Colours: Black, Burgundy.

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