APP OF THE DAY: Fitbit Activity Tracker review (Android)
If you're looking to get fit then you're almost spoilt for choice when it comes to sports apps. There are big names from big plays as well as smaller independent apps that do just one job very well.
But we're fans of ecosystems and today's App of the Day comes from such a system, looking to help you take care of yourself.
Fitbit Activity Tracker
- Google Play
The name Fitbit might be familiar to you. We've reviewed the Fitbit Ultra and Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale in the past, and he we're looking at the app from the same company.
It links into your Fitbit.com account which, like Nike+, sits behind the various products in the cloud and links everything together. Unlike Nike+ however, Fitbit isn't pitched at runners, it's pitched at those who want to be more active and probably shift a bit of weight.
The Fitbit Activity Tracker is a window to this world, so if you have the Ultra, the Aria or the Zip, then the Activity Tracker will be the app to let you view your stats with having to head to the website all the time.
The name then, is rather confusing, because this app doesn't actually monitor physical activity itself. It won't log your run or act as a pedometer or anything else, as those tasks are handled by separate devices, like the Fitbit Zip (pictured above).
What it will do, however, is feed you statistics. The app will update itself with your account, so any data being logged there - from your Aria scales or Zip pedometer, for example - can then be viewed within the app.
The main display gives you details such as steps taken or calories burnt on a clear scale, with your target also shown, so you can check progress at a glance, or easily show compadres how active you've been that day.
The information you can log through the app, however, is much more convenient for gathering on the go, and that's food and water consumption.
The idea is that you can tell Fitbit what you're eating so you have a better indication of where your excess calories are coming from. Like all such systems, it's something of a labour of love, as you'll have to put time and energy into mastering the system if you plan to use it every day.
As you log your consumption you'll be able to see how many calories you have left to eat, with the aim of reaching your weight loss goal.
The downside is that the database is based around US products, so if you happen to be elsewhere in the world it might not tally up exactly as you expect. You can create custom foods, so if you're a creature of habit it's easy to plug in details of the cereal you have for breakfast for example.
The logging of water intake is also interesting, because it's something a lot of us are guilty of overlooking. Here you can simply add the water you drink to make sure you hit your target.
When all the information is piling into your Fitbit account, the app can then serve up this data to you. You can skip back through the days, or rotate the phone to view graphs of steps taken or calories burnt. You'll also get notifications on your phone, so if you're near a target, or smash it, your phone will tell you.
If you're not interested in the diet and food side of things you can simply ignore it and that really is the most cumbersome part of the Fitbit ecosystem. What we really like is that you can fire it up and view your stats from previous days, collating data from your other Fitbit devices.