What Is the Fitbit?

Mandi Rogier

A Fitbit is a small wireless device that can be used to track one’s activity throughout the day and night. When worn during the day, this device will monitor the steps taken and distance walked. The Fitbit can be worn at night to track an individual’s sleep habits.

A person's sleeping habits can be tracked using Fitbit.
A person's sleeping habits can be tracked using Fitbit.

Each Fitbit comes with a wireless base station, wristband, and belt holster. The device itself has a distinct clip shape and can neatly slide onto thin garments or bra straps. The device can even be kept in a pocket during the day. For accurate sleep readings, it should be worn with the wristband that comes with it.

Fitbit can measure how many steps were taken as well as distance for daily activities.
Fitbit can measure how many steps were taken as well as distance for daily activities.

This Fitbit tracks daily activities in a manner similar to that of a pedometer. A Fitbit differs from a pedometer because it can track nighttime activity. This product will monitor movement, the number of times the wearer wakes up, and the hours of sleep that he gets.

The daily readings gathered by the Fitbit are uploaded to the product’s website any time the device passes by the wireless base station. It does not need to be removed, hooked up, or otherwise synced for the information to be gathered. This device can store up to seven days of detailed information or 30 days of summarized information if the wearer is away from his wireless station for an extended period of time.

This device is powered by a battery, included with purchase. The battery will usually last about 10 days. After 10 days, the Fitbit must be recharged fully for the device to continue to work.

The manufacturer recommends Fitbit users take advantage of the extensive tools available on the product website. While the device logs walking and sleeping, it can be inaccurate when more strenuous activities are performed. Users can input their own activities into the online database for a more accurate profile. The website also provides a database of 50,000 foods that can be used to track the foods eaten each day.

The comprehensive profile created from both the wireless readings and the information provided by the individual can be used in a variety of ways. The Fitbit will provide a daily activity level score that gives a good indication of how sedentary an individual is. This can be used as motivation to get more exercise. A record of calories burned will let the user see how much progress he is making over time. The sleep information can help pinpoint problems with tiredness.

Used over an extended period of time, this product can provide a detailed accounting of one’s daily lifestyle.

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Discussion Comments


@Logicfest -- Some of that might start to change if smart watches ever catch on. Conceivably, there is an item that won't use much power and can monitor someone full time.

Then again, you've got to believe that the folks at Fitbit will have an app or something that will work with smart watches if those become popular enough. Those Fitbits generate a good amount of revenue and shareholders will want to preserve that somehow.

If cash can't be made through hardware, looking at software is the next logical step.


@Melonlity -- There are a lot of reasons why someone would want a Fitbit. First and foremost, they do collect more data than a phone app does or can because they are dedicated machines whereas smartphones are not. That Fitbit can monitor users 24 hours a day, but smartphones cannot because they are used for other things.

Also, the Fitbit can run for a very long time without having to be recharged in spite of the fact that it collects data constantly. You are lucky to go a full day without having to charge a smartphone and that is only if the things is idle most of the time.


Aren't there plenty of smartphone apps that do essentially the same things as a Fitbit? It seems there are and that more are on the way because health tracking is a growing field in terms of the next generation of apps.

That being the case, why would anyone need a Fitbit?

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