It’s time to say goodbye to Fitbit

When I first got my Fitbit One, I wasn’t sure how it would it would fit into my life. I was more interested in the sleep tracking, but in the five years since that original purchase (and one replacement unit later) it because a regular, daily part of my carry. Silent alarms and steps and stairs tracking were great, but I’ve taken to re-evaluating things, and it’s time for me to say so long to this formerly trusty piece of tech.

Over the intervening years, I got used to being able to use the Fitbit One as a way to quantify how active my day was (or wasn’t). Then a funny thing happened – I was looking for something more detailed in tracking my heart rate as I exercised. While I’ve tested several, I’ve gotten used to what the Polar watches offer and one model or another has been accompanying me to the gym.

Which isn’t to say my Fitbit One wasn’t along for the ride – it was. And later in the day, I’d load the workout details from the Polar dashboard over into the Fitbit one, just to have once concise space to have it all logged and recorded (and, for a while when I was using LoseIt, that was the spot that made sense). That arrangement went along, though clunky, and I was content using it.

Then something happened. The iOS version of the Fitbit app updated (about 3 weeks ago as of this writing) and iOS 13.3 was released. When those two things collided, my phone could no longer “see” my Fitbit One. I tried a variety of things, and even worked with their excellent support folks on Twitter (@FitbitSupport if you’re wondering). Long and short of it, after exhausting the script, they owned up to it being a known issue. Followups have revealed that there is no timeline to get it fixed.

This meant I had a a device that, while it could track activity, couldn’t send that data anywhere. I also couldn’t change anything on the device itself (say, times of alarms) which made it one dumb device. Reading through reviews (and other posts), it seems like there’s a wider issue with Fitbit devices after this last update, mostly older ones but some newer ones. The cynic in me says it was done on purpose to forcibly obsolete older devices, but that’s just one theory.

Whether or not it was done in that manner, this hiatus allowed me to step back from my routine and assess how I used the Fitbit One. The “killer app” portion of it, for me, was the silent alarms. Well, you know what? My Polar Vantage M can do silent alarms – and you can snooze them. How about activity tracking? Well, again, the Polar can do that (with on-wrist HR monitoring during the workouts), so again the feature is covered. What about all-day tracking?

You see, as a “watch guy” I really don’t want to wear two watches, which is another major reason the Fitbit One appealed to me – it was a device I could slip into a pocket while wearing a regular watch. But, again, the hiatus set me to thinking. And you know what? I know whether or not something was an active day, or I was more of a slug. In other words, I don’t need a device quantifying my actions throughout the day. That’s not a dig against anyone who is looking to that number for motivation – if it gets you moving, I support you in that! For me, though, I don’t need that quantification.

So, that means that, over the last week, I let my Fitbit One just drain itself down until it shut itself off. The Polar Vantage M will be the one waking me up in the morning, and tracking my sleep overnight. Will I miss having that all-day number? It’ll be odd not having it at first, but I think I’ll do just fine (let’s re-assess if Polar comes out with something equivalent to the One). And who knows, this may be the perfect time to duck out, with Google buying Fitbit. Things could be better, or those with older devices could just be left in the dust. For me, I’m thankful for the service my Fitbit One provided, but it’s time to roll with purpose-specific devices when I’m active, and just live life the rest of the day.

Patrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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One thought on “It’s time to say goodbye to Fitbit

  1. As a watch guy like yourself I don’t understand why these fitness trackers can’t develop some good ankle offerings or some alternative to wrist devices. Since my own fitbit one stopped working I switched to a Garmin Vivosmart4 which is the thinnest device I could find. It now sits on my right wrist, while I wear a proper watch on the left.

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