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September 17th 2012 11:37 am

Are the new Fitbit models worth the upgrade?

About a year after they gave us the Fitbit Ultra, Fitbit has upped the ante once again by introducing not one, but two new Fitbit models: the Fitbit One and the Fitbit Zip. Based on the name it looks as if the One will be the new flagship model, superseding the Ultra, with the same standard set of features - step counting, altimeter, sleep tracking - but adding a vibrating alarm to wake you up, and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. On the other hand, the Zip appears to be a budget model, offering just step and sleep tracking, no stairs or vibration, for the low, low price of $60. It's safe to say this isn't an upgrade, though it does make a nice entry point for those who haven't picked up a Fitbit yet, offering the basic features from the original Fitbit (the Fitbit Classic) at a much lower price point. Its size and design might also make it harder to lose.

The Bluetooth connectivity on the One seems like a no-brainer. You won't have to bring a base station on trips to sync up anymore, just your phone. But as for the vibration, is that an appealing enough feature? I was surprised last year by how many people wanted stairs tracking (though to be fair, the Ultra is also more accurate in step-counting than the Classic). Do you like vibrating alarms? Is it a feature you want on your fitness tracker? Did you buy a Jawbone Up for this reason (and were you disappointed by its overall performance)?

Personally, the vibration won't do me much good, it seems - this morning I woke up to discover my Fitbit had fallen out of the wristband, so a wake-up vibration would have been rather ineffectual.

Check out how all the Fitbit models stack up to each other: gdgt.com­/compare­/fitness­/77510­+77515­+70333­+21661/

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I'm kind of curious about this myself. I love my Ultra and as far as I can tell the One seems like a solid upgrade, although it seems like it might come at the cost of battery life: they claim 5-7 days on the One whereas I seem to remember they claimed closer to 2 weeks with the Ultra (although in my experience with the Ultra it's more like 7-9 days). [Note: I just checked their specs for the Ultra and it also says 5-7 days, but I'm a little suspicious that they might have changed that...]

Anyways, the vibrating alarm is nice but not worth upgrading for me. Bluetooth is an awesome feature but since I have a base station at my desk at work and at home I rarely have an issue with getting synced up. I just wish they would improve the sleep tracking feature--it's really not useful as it is now and it only needs a software improvement. I'll definitely look in to upgrading if/when my Ultra wears out but for now it still works just fine.

EDIT: I'm also a little skeptical of the Zip. I understand wanting to have a budget model available, but (1) Bluetooth 4 is only available on a handful of devices so far so only people who are buying the latest phones are going to be able to take advantage of that for now, and (2) people generally hate replacing button-cell batteries in their devices; in fact I'd wager that when a button-cell battery dies there's probably a lot of people who never replace it or just throw the device away rather than figuring out where to buy a replacement.
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I preordered the Fitbit One mainly because of the Bluetooth feature. I work about 10 hours each day and it would be really nice for me to know how many steps I've taken during day and how many more calories I can eat (yes, I count calories...sometimes). I've tried to get my base station to work with my work computer but I think my work's network blocks it leaving the One as a no brainer for me.

The vibrating alarm sounds interesting and I'd like to see how that works as well. If it works well enough then I may be able to just ditch my alarm clock! :D
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Seems like a bit of a downgrade to me. Battery life, no built-in clip, LCD's decreased chance of surviving a drop in water, no more dock station.

The vibrating alarm is the only good feature of this new one.

The Zip is just dumb. Basically just intended to be a cheaper and junkier version that you gift to someone for Christmas. As soon as the watch battery dies in the Zip 4 months after Christmas they'll put it in a drawer and probably never use it again.
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According to the comparison, both the Zip and One are water resistant up to 1 meter. Current Fitbits are not even sweat proof.
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I have a Fitbit Classic and I actually went tubing this past week with it clipped to my bathing suit (not on purpose, I just forgot to take it off). It still works just fine.
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I know you posted this 5 months ago. I have the Fitbit Ultra and was browsing for something to track boxing and closest thing i found that i think would do it is the Polar FT7, which i dont have. Was seeing if Fitbit came out with a newer product that did track this. I then found out, that the Fitbit Ultra is discontinued and the Fitbit One replaced it. I will probably still keep my Ultra. I was never worried about water resistance. I would wear mine to work. I work outside and I always put it in a ziplock baggie, then put it in my pocket.
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Just the ability to not have to worry about it in the rain with the new One is worth the upgrade to me. I will switch from the Ultra to the One as soon as it is available.
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While I really want the Bluetooth functionality, I don't think I'll be replacing my Ultra right away. But I WILL be watching out for deals on a One!
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I bought my FitBit Ultra just 23 days ago, and they do have a "30 day exchange" offer, but I bought it from Amazon (in Canada). I'm perfectly happy with it, don't need water proofing, or the vibrating alarm, so I think I'll pass on the FitBit One. I also don't like the looks of that new clip, looks pretty easy to snap.
I don't mind the docking station either, at least I always know where my FitBit is when I'm ready to leave the house!
Anyway, here's the link if it helps anyone else:

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If I sell the Ultra (eBay or Amazon seem like the best places), and put that money toward the One, I can justify the price.
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I have to wonder if they have somehow made the Fitbit One more accurate, specifically in regard to the stair count. I don't know why that is important to me, but for some reason it is, and the Fitbit Ultra only seems to count whole flights of stairs, not partials in any way (ie going up 4 steps twice does not register, but going up 8 steps once does).

I like that they have finally put a more prevalent communications technology in the Fitbit One that shouldn't require an always plugged in dock, but at this point I have enough docks that sync frequency is not a problem (work and home -- from my classic and ultra).

Ultimately, unless there is some new tracking feature (vibrating alarm might not even work for me as I wear on my waist at night) or I get a new computer/phone with BT4 I don't see this as a worthwhile upgrade.

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According to what I have read, you need to climb at least 10 feet for it to register. This explains your experience as described.
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