Let the battle of the affordable fitness trackers commence!
When I decided to start tracking my steps a little over a year ago, I went with my instincts on what tracker to pick: #1, I am cheap. #2, I knew I didn’t want to wear a wristband tracker (sorry, not cute enough to go with my work-wear!). So I went with the Fitbit Zip. I didn’t really care about flights of steps I walked, and I figured the sleep tracking aspect of a higher level one would be kinda BS, since it was just going off my inactivity level. I had my Fitbit for quite a while, but around Christmas this year, I decided I would like to try something new. The same guiding principles applied: I am cheap, and I didn’t want a wristband. A friend had turned me on to the Misfit line of products – letting me know that they had ones that were okay in the pool! That sounded great to me. I got the Misfit Flash (the lowest of their line, remember, I’m cheap) for my birthday in January and have been trying it out ever since.
Here is my rundown of their comparison. These comments are my own opinion – not sponsored in any way!
- Tracking activity other than walking/running
Instead of having to take out my phone and log into the app, Misfit lets me press the actual tracker to start “Tracking” my run. You can go in and toggle what the activity actually was later – I have mine set to default to running, since that’s mostly what I do – but you can change it to various sports.
Fitbit just counted my steps, whereas Misfit seems to “know” if my activity is vigorous or not. I like that I can just look down at the Fitbit and see my actual total steps. With Misfit, you have to sync to see step totals, though you can gauge your progress to some extent by pressing.
Biking and swimming were my main issues with Fitbit, and 90% of why I decided that I wanted to try something new. With Fitbit, no matter where I put it, it gave me almost no “Steps” for a bike ride. The Misfit seems to do better here. If I put it on my shoe, I can get a significant amount of steps for biking, and when swimming I can put it on the wristband and it will record some information (though small amounts).
Actual step-counting wise, they were both in the same wheelhouse: both got me at about 6,500 steps for a 3ish mile run. Misfit doesn’t necessarily use just steps as a gauge of meeting your goal – more “activity” level, whereas Fitbit is straight up STEPS. I’m not sure whose side I am on with that one.
The Misfit does sleep tracking, which I take with a grain of salt. The Fitbit Zip does not. Honestly, I could take this or leave it. It is interesting, but it definitely has thought I was “asleep” while sitting in my desk chair, doing schoolwork.
Winner: Misfit Flash
The Fitbit Zip comes in many colors, and the actual piece that attaches to your clothing is “sticky” plastic, so it rarely felt like it was going to fall off of my pocket or waist. I did have an issue with the tip of the back piece coming off, but it wasn’t a huge issue. I never worried that my Fitbit would be lost. The actual Fitbit piece never seemed like it would fall out of its plastic holder.
The Misfit Flash, on the other hand, is flawed in this area. The actual plastic piece that you wear seems cheap. It is slippery and I am constantly checking to make sure it hasn’t gone MIA. I even tied a little plastic hair tie around the end of it for grip, though it doesn’t help much. I definitely see a chance of it ending up on a bathroom floor or lost somewhere without my knowing it. This is disappointing! In addition, the Misfit itself stays in the plastic holder just by pressure. My gosh, it seems like it is going to fall out!! I do like that it comes with the wristband option, though, in case I wanted to switch it up. I also like that if it had a better wristband, Misfit could potentially look like jewelry because of its unique design, as opposed to a clunky plastic fit tracker.
Weirdly enough, I used to get what seemed like little light burn marks from the screen on the Fitbit if I faced it in toward my body (to show less on the outside of my clothes). It was strange, and it didn’t deter me from wearing it inward at times, but I am happy it doesn’t happen with the Misfit, since the display is very different.
Winner: Fitbit Zip
As I mentioned in the above section, I feel like the Misfit is going to fall out of its case at any moment, and the case feels cheap. I have only had it a month, but I worry it will end up lost soon! I have also had a problem where it won’t sync up right away once or twice, but they have always resolved within an hour or two, thus far. I can’t speak to how long the battery lasts yet, since it is still fairly new. However, it does look like it will be plenty easy to change.
Within a year, my first Fitbit stopped syncing properly, no matter how full the battery was. It would normally start having sync issues when the battery was dying. However, this time, it just stopped syncing altogether. Customer service was great and sent me a new one, but it was a pain.
Every time I had to change the battery on the Fitbit it was a battle if I could not find the little tool they send you (tiny little piece of plastic – so easy to lose!!). It looks like a butter knife or screw driver will open up the back of the Fitbit just fine – then it absolutely tears up and strips the plastic on it. Disaster. And to boot, the battery definitely did not last 6 months – 2.5 to 3, tops.
Winner: Misfit Flash, mostly because I do NOT want to wrestle with the battery on the Fitbit again!
Fitbit wins on App design. I liked their comparison of my whole week, and just enjoy their lay out of charts and options better. It is colorful and easy to use. In the realm of social connections, I felt more connected on my Fitbit, but that may have also been because I had more friends on that network. However, you could do things like “Challenge” one another, and it gives you cute badges for hitting certain step totals.
Misfit gives similar information, steps, miles, etc – and has goals but it is a little more “serious” looking. I’m all about the colorful stuff! In addition, it was weirdly rewarding to get badges on Fitbit. As a personal preference, I don’t like having to toggle back to the app and my device to log things. I don’t log weight or food – mostly I just want to know how many steps I took. For this, I found the Misfit to do a better job of seeming to “sense” my activity level.
Winner: Fitbit Zip
The Final Verdict?
After a sometime with the Misfit Flash, I love the way I can track activities OTHER than running/walking without much extra effort, which I felt was less useful with the Fitbit Zip. However, I wish it was as “wearable” as my Fitbit Zip was, and that the app was as much fun. They both have their upsides, but are both somewhat flawed. Remember, I did purchase the lowest level product from each brand, so I imagine they only get better as they go up. My perfect fitness tracker would be something not wrist based, but that was easy to use and could go into the pool AND was easy to wear in a pocket or bra without any worries. Neither of these are there just yet!
Have you found the one true perfect fitness tracker that you love? Tell me about it, stud!