Walking with the pram and the Fitbit Charge2: Review
Written by: Anita
I decided that I'd like to get onboard with the Fitbit craze last December, when all the catalogues started arriving in the letterbox, and it seemed like Fitbit's were in all of them! I did a little research and heard that they didn't count your steps when you were at the supermarket pushing a trolley, not a big problem for most people, but as a mum almost all of the walking I do is while pushing a pram so it was a big problem for me.
I read Amazon reviews, asked on Snapchat (globalbabynz), and asked my real-life friends, and answers ranged from 'Fitbit's don't work when you're pushing the stroller, I wear mine on my left hand and push the stroller one handed with my right', to 'nope, my Fitbit doesn't work when I walk with the push-chair, or when I hold my handbag on my left elbow and walk without swinging that arm'. What a pain! My husband, always the better gadget researcher that I am, found somewhere, someone said that the Fitbit Charge2 does work when you walk with the stroller, so that's the model I ended up getting.
Side note: He bought me the size XL for Christmas, which made me laugh and reminded me of the engagement ring he proposed with- it wasn't just too big for my ring finger or middle finger, it fitted my thumb! LOL! I am just an average-sized person and most average sized people should fit the regular sized Fitbit. Right now I'm wearing mine on the 4th smallest hole, and there are 10 holes, plenty of room for people with slightly larger wrists!
I'm pleased to report that the Fitbit Charge 2 does walk when you're pushing your pram/ push-chair/ stroller, or shopping trolley for that matter. It also works when you're carrying your handbag in the crook of your elbow, or carrying a child on your hip.
Because this is in no way a paid review, I can say exactly what I do and don't like about the Fitbit Charge 2, so here goes.
Things I Like
Accuracy counting steps
A couple of years ago my friend told me that she walked in on her mother-in-law sitting in her armchair, repeatedly swinging her arm up into the air. 'What are you doing?' my friend asked, 'finishing my 10,000 steps for the day' was the MIL's reply. LOL! I cried with laughter when I heard the story! Because the MIL had connected with her friends through the Fitbit app, and could see how many steps each they'd all done that day, my friend's MIL had become quite competitive. You can't cheat the Fitbit Charge 2 that way, it doesn't work by counting the number of swings that your arm makes, rather it uses a 3-axis accelerometer to understand your motions- OK those are big words, you can read more about it on Fitbit's website.
Guys, it tracks your sleep! You just need to wear the Fitbit while you sleep, then in the morning you refresh the Fitbit app on your phone, and it'll tell you all about how you slept last night. I find this part amazing, there are nights where I thought that it took me hours to get to sleep, then I look at the app and in reality it only took ten minutes. Other nights I'll think that I've slept really well, and when I check the app it'll tell me that I was quite restless, and sometimes the opposite, right now we're on holiday and we spent a night at a place with no air conditioning- in the morning my husband and I were both complaining about the worst sleep ever, and that we couldn't sleep because it was too hot, but when I checked the app I saw that I'd had over eight hours, and hardly woke up at all! The Fitbit calculates the net time that you spend asleep, so if you went to sleep at 10pm and woke up at 6am (8 hours) but you spent 40 minutes awake or restless, you'd get a net score of 7 hrs 20 minutes. Since reading Arianna Huffington's book Thrive I'm kinda obsessed with sleep. I think it'd be so interesting to wear the Fitbit Charge 2 if you had a newborn baby and were getting up lots in the night- but maybe I'm a sicko like that- I'd love to hear if anyone has done it!
Texts and calls
This has been life changing for me, because the Fitbit Charge 2 syncs to your phone, your watch lights up and gives you a little buzz when you get a text or a phone call. I usually have my phone on silent if I'm working in the shop, and at home I sometimes leave it in another room, so I was constantly missing calls. Life changing.
The buzz when you get 10,000 steps
When you reach your step goal for the day (mine is 10,000) it lights up, buzzes, and fireworks go off on the screen. I love it!! For me it's the best buzz and I always try to do my steps just to get the praise from my Fitbit! If you're not motivated so much by praise like I am, you might be motivated by competition, then you could connect with friends through the app (do it using their email addresses) and motivate yourself by trying to be the winner each day.
Things I don't like
It ain't pretty
It's not the prettiest watch around by a long shot, and I do miss the Marc Jacobs watch that I used to wear. I don't like that the Fitbit looks so much like a Fitbit, it's quite sporty looking and doesn't go with all my outfits, I don't think it's ideal with the outfit I'm wearing below.
Reminders to move
You must be able to switch this off somehow, but it buzzes, lights up, and gives me a 'reminder to move' if I haven't moved around in a while, which is particularly annoying if I'm in a meeting, on a flight, or just binge-watching Netflix.
It doesn't always light up
The watch face is black, when you lift your wrist towards your face it is supposed to light up, so that you can read the time or see how many steps you've achieved. I found that this feature worked quite well at the start, but a few months later it doesn't work and I need to press the button on the side to make it light up- a bit of a pain if you're pushing the pram or riding a bike, because you need two hands.
Charging is a pain
The Fitbit isn't like a regular watch, where you replace the battery every year or two, I need to charge mine every 4-5 days. You charge it using a USB which you plug into your computer, but that doesn't really work for me because I never sit down at a computer, and I want to be wearing my Fitbit every waking minute so that every step can be counted. It would be totally fine if you worked in an office because you could plug it in when you got to your computer in the morning, and it would be fully charged by the time you got up from your desk at morning tea time. You can't plug the USB into your iPhone plug then put it straight into the wall either (something about voltage according to my husband) so I use a travel adapter that also has a spot for a USB, it must convert the voltage or something, because it works.
You can't wear it in the shower
From what I can tell anyway, I've tried to search online but without much success. I like to shower twice a day (VERY quickly due to the water shortage) and as I said, I love to wear the Fitbit while I sleep, so I need to remember twice a day to take it off and put it back on. Of course you can't wear dress watches in the shower either, but you don't wear them to sleep so you only need to remember to put your watch back on before you leave the house in the morning and you can still stay sane. I find myself pining for my unaccounted steps on the days that I forget to wear my Fitbit.
I love my Fitbit Charge 2, yes there are a few negatives, but I think they're outweighed by the positives. For me it's worth wearing it just for the buzzing function when I receive a text or call. As a person who is quite into numbers and data, and is clearly motivated by praise, even if the praise is from a machine and not a real live human, it suits me perfectly. I wonder if I do many extra steps because I'm motivated by the Fitbit, maybe an extra 1 or 2 thousand each day? Hardly enough to improve my fitness or lead to weight loss, but probably better than nothing :-)
** This blog post isn't sponsored and these are my own thoughts and opinions.