Fitbit Ultra: Track your move

4/19/2012 9:38:27 AM

Description: Fitbit Ultra

Fitbit Ultra is a smart device using accelerometer to track your move. It acts as a step measure machine to measure how many steps you have moved every day, a stair count machine to show how many stairs you have climbed, and – almost unique among gymnastic products – it tracks sleep based on move. It stitches to your clothes, and once you uploaded data by using sole wireless dongle, it tracks everything via your account on Fitbit website. It also allows you to track calorie and nutrients (carbohydrate, fat, protein, and so on) of food.

It is a wonderful idea to encourage physical exercise. We like the diagrams showing how much time we have spent on everyday route, and sleep diagram is especially useful if you are often insomniac or try to assure you take rest sufficiently. Step measure machine and stair count machine work in a rather similar way by using 3D accelerometer and height measure tool to detect the way you are moving. However, this move-based way of tracking means Fitbit Ultra cannot detect most physical exercises such as bicycle riding and physical training. Swimming is not a choice since Ultra is not water-resistant. You can manually record these activities that cannot be tracked by using web interface and inputting consumed calorie amount or allowing website to calculate it.

Such these activities manually recorded exclude everyday targets that Fitbit encourages you to get, which may disappoint. It is not important that you have ridden bicycle 50 km and spent one hour at weightlifting room – website will show that you are under standard on that day if you have walked less than 10 thoudsand steps.

Fitbit Ultra also calculates how many calories you burn during a day. We appreciate this feature since it brings direct and rather real evaluation on how many calories that your body is consuming.

What a pity! This is where Fitbit’s biggest shortcoming becomes clear. Since Fitbit Ultra has just only been launched in the UK, foods in its database are not related to this country. You can add nutitional information manually, but this soon becomes tiring when you have to do this with all things you eat. It is also inferior to competitive websites such as MyFitnessPal, which contains many exact data of the UK’s food. Product’s box and website promise integration with other services. It supports devices to track Nike+, Foursquare app, and Endomondo GPS for mobile phones, and Garmin hardware. Other integration app has been developed, including the app allowing Ultra to work with MyFitnessPal. We just hope that when this app is launched, it will provide access to database friendlier to the English than MyFitnessPal’s.

We like Fitbit Ultra’s hardware, but website’s feature to track calories became nearly useless due to the absence of UK’s products on database. If you want to improve your physical strength, you had better use step measure machine or cheap heart rate monitor such as Polar’s FT7, and a free service tracking practice and calories.


Verdict. Fitbit Ultra is an interesting activity tracker, but this website aiming at the American limits its usefulness very much.

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