basic fitness tracker - fitbit or ???

i've been using fitbits since 2014. i loved my first two, a fitbit one (wish they still made that!) and a zip, but the four after that have all had issues; btw, those 4 were 2 altas and 2 inspires, one of which worked fine for 20 months and since has had major issues like going through multiple hour periods where it doesn't count steps, erasing all my daily steps or having issues with the app it never had before so i constantly have to disconnect and re-pair it.

i don't need skin temperature, blood pressure or ox, and i don't need to control music, my texts or anything else. heart rate monitoring would be okay if accurate, although i prefer to wear my tracker at my waist, as wearing on my non-dominant arm led to a lot of fake steps.

what i DO want:

accurate step counts (as accurate as a tracker can be, reasonably)
a good, non-glitchy app showing active minutes, steps, etc
as far under $200 as i can get and still get what i want
pairs easily and preferably stays paired


what i'd like but not deal breakers if they don't:

recognizing stairs / altitude
ability to easily log which exercise i'm doing
ability to recognize exercise biking automatically

what think ye? should i just grab a fitbit inspire 2 or luxe or is there something better i could use with a decent app?

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Replies

  • RockingWithLJ
    RockingWithLJ Posts: 243 Member
    I like my vivoactive 3. My cousin has the vivoactive 4 and loves it. Fitbit never worked for me and I end up returning it after trying it twice. The second time I tried it was with a different version years later and I still experience the same issues
  • zebasschick
    zebasschick Posts: 452 Member
    I like my vivoactive 3. My cousin has the vivoactive 4 and loves it. Fitbit never worked for me and I end up returning it after trying it twice. The second time I tried it was with a different version years later and I still experience the same issues

    how's the app? works well, shows good data?
  • RockingWithLJ
    RockingWithLJ Posts: 243 Member
    edited April 2
    I have no complaints. The biggest reason why I wanted this tracker was to track my sleeping habits. At the time I was working overnight shifts and I wanted to make sure I was getting adequate sleep when I could. Now that I'm back to a regular morning to afternoo schedule it's nice to know the quality of sleep I'm receiving is comparable to what I got before but in a bigger bulk (i took naps before). There are times where I don't find my heart rate is calculated correctly. For example today I was doing leg training, sweat dripping down my face heart pounding and my watch said that I was at 48 beats a minute which is my resting and that I only burned 7 calories in 30 minutes. But after I recalibrated it and cleaned it it worked fine
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 4,238 Member
    Another vote for Garmin from me.

    I can't compare to Fitbit, since I never had that. But I love the app, tons of data. Syncs well with MFP. Wrist heart rate isn't always accurate, but I think that's just the nature of these types of sensors, not related to Garmin. I pair my watch with an external HR chest band when I exercise.
    I have the Vivoactive 4, which isn't really a basic model. But they have cheaper models too.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,378 Member
    So far Garmin has not added any premium services to see all the data a device is able to calculate. And Fitbit is part of Google? I'd not trust them with my data. I'm really happy with my Garmin even though they regularly release firmware that messes up the watch. My way of dealing with it is: see if there's a not totally new but complaint free firmware, update, then switch auto-update off. I might look every now and then what new firmware offers, and usually wait about a month to see if it's working, then update. Garmin has some annoyance: they don't include an altimeter sensor in their cheaper devices, so if you want to see how many stairs you climbed or what elevation you hiked it's not there. The vivoactive 4/4s still has one, and it's a nice little thing.
  • John772016
    John772016 Posts: 94 Member
    You bought 6 Fitbits since 2014? That kinda makes them sound like disposable trackers.

    I had 1 Samsung watch that turned itself into a brick after a software load after I owned it for 2 years. They offered to repair it for almost as much as I paid originally. I said no.

    I replaced it with a Garmin. I bought one with a lot of features but they have several different models for every user depending on what you need/want.
    I had issues with my Garmin this year, still worked, just made noise, they replaced it for free even though out of warranty.

    When I buy a new watch it would be another Garmin.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,378 Member
    Oh my gosh, yes: 6 trackers in what... 8 years? If you bought them new they probably fell under warrantee and could have been replaced. Either you're very unlucky or you have the evil electronics eye! I think I wore my fitbit 2 for 3 years. It was fine for what it was, but at a certain time I wanted more data.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,217 Member
    i've been using fitbits since 2014. i loved my first two, a fitbit one (wish they still made that!) and a zip, but the four after that have all had issues; btw, those 4 were 2 altas and 2 inspires, one of which worked fine for 20 months and since has had major issues like going through multiple hour periods where it doesn't count steps, erasing all my daily steps or having issues with the app it never had before so i constantly have to disconnect and re-pair it.

    i don't need skin temperature, blood pressure or ox, and i don't need to control music, my texts or anything else. heart rate monitoring would be okay if accurate, although i prefer to wear my tracker at my waist, as wearing on my non-dominant arm led to a lot of fake steps.

    what i DO want:

    accurate step counts (as accurate as a tracker can be, reasonably)
    a good, non-glitchy app showing active minutes, steps, etc
    as far under $200 as i can get and still get what i want
    pairs easily and preferably stays paired


    what i'd like but not deal breakers if they don't:

    recognizing stairs / altitude
    ability to easily log which exercise i'm doing
    ability to recognize exercise biking automatically


    what think ye? should i just grab a fitbit inspire 2 or luxe or is there something better i could use with a decent app?

    I don't think you're going to get the bolded things with a really low-end device. Altitude takes some kind of altimeter, and stairs might, too. (I think mine does outdoor stair guesses with GPS and indoor with some other mechanism, because results differ dramatically indoors vs. out, but I'm guessing.)

    Logging exercise - if you're talking calorie estimating - isn't going to work well without heart rate. Yes, heart rate (by itself) is a poor way to estimate a lot of exercise types, but it's often the best of a bad set of alternatives. Unless your exercise bike communicates with the watch (Ant+, bluetooth, whatever), how would it estimate? If it does communicate, power metering (watts) could give a good basis for calorie estimating, though.

    IME, autorecognition of exercise is very, very iffy, unless there's automatic connection. My Garmin (Vivoactive 3) will in theory auto-recognize some exercises, but it's laughable when it comes to accuracy. I've now turned that feature off because it was That Annoying. It would see exercise when I couldn't figure out why it thought I was exercising at all, and would misrecognize. (The funniest was when it decided I was swimming . . . when I was bailing rainwater out of a rowing barge with a bucket. Um, no.) In theory, it counts reps for strength training, auto-recognizes which strength exercise is being done, but the results are unpredictable and incorrect. I can correct it on the watch face during the workouts, but it's too fiddly for me. I do suspect it's using METS estimating for strength workouts, when I tell it I'm lifting, which would be good.

    I like that the watch holds workout data (so I don't have to take my phone out on the water), but will connect via my phone (bluetooth) when in range again, upload the data to the cloud, so it's safe from watch/phone accidents. The phone app (Garmin Connect) has some basic reporting features, the web version of Connect has lots more reporting and analysis options than the phone app, and there are 3rd party apps that can integrate for various purposes (I haven't explored that, but know they exist).

    For me, the sleep tracking is absurd, and I've seen others say the same. I have very non-average sleep patterns (disorders, really), and it will think I'm in REM when I'm awake but in bed reading or texting, say I'm awake sometimes when sleeping outside normal sleeping hours, and all kinds of nonsense. My reading of the research suggests most devices are pretty bad at this, but perhaps would not be so obviously so for a person who's more normal sleep-wise. I had the opportunity to have an in-hospital sleep study, full monitoring via electrodes all over my body to watch brain waves, HR, plus measurements for ox sat, breathing monitored through tricked-out special CPAP, all that stuff. The sleep tech looked at my sleep report in Garmin Connect in the morning, and we both laughed and laughed.

    I like the Garmin a lot, though, on balance. FWIW, it's all-day calorie estimates are way off, for me, but so is pretty much any other estimator - more about me being non-average, than the estimates being "wrong" in some general sense.
  • zebasschick
    zebasschick Posts: 452 Member
    thanks, ann, for the thoughtful reply.

    the fitbit one i got in 2014 tracked stairs or hills with an altimeter, but all the ones i know of that do now track a bunch of stuff that doesn't interest me like blood pressure, skin temperature and stuff like that. the one was a very popular model, but it punched above it's price point - it worked better than any of the others i've owned, and by today's standards, was a very good value, too. now they just want you to spend more, and those higher end models are not offering features i care about even slightly,

    as far sleep tracking, i can't see how that would work. how can a tracker that just tracks movement know if i'm reading in bed, watching TV, listening to an audiobook or sleeping? btw, i have no set sleeping schedule - i may be awake at 4 am or asleep by 7 pm. it varies from day to day.

    i'll have to consider the Vivoactive 3 - it sure gets a lot of love here, and there's gotta be a reason.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,925 Member
    John772016 wrote: »
    You bought 6 Fitbits since 2014? That kinda makes them sound like disposable trackers.

    I had 1 Samsung watch that turned itself into a brick after a software load after I owned it for 2 years. They offered to repair it for almost as much as I paid originally. I said no.

    I replaced it with a Garmin. I bought one with a lot of features but they have several different models for every user depending on what you need/want.
    I had issues with my Garmin this year, still worked, just made noise, they replaced it for free even though out of warranty.

    When I buy a new watch it would be another Garmin.

    Mine died recently. Out of warranty for years. Free replacement. 🙂

    I'll also eventually replace it with another Garmin.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,925 Member
    I like my vivoactive 3. My cousin has the vivoactive 4 and loves it. Fitbit never worked for me and I end up returning it after trying it twice. The second time I tried it was with a different version years later and I still experience the same issues

    how's the app? works well, shows good data?

    The website works better than the app for some things, but they're both pretty useful. Since you mentioned cycling, there's really nothing else like Garmin for on the bike.
  • Cheesy567
    Cheesy567 Posts: 1,186 Member
    edited April 3
    No real advice, other than to offer a (((hug))) from another One user. Mine is still ticking away since 2015. I bought a back-up on EBay a couple years ago, and have realized that I should probably start charging it and letting it run its battery out, just to let the battery run it’s course and what not so the battery doesn’t fail.

    There are YouTube videos on how to change the battery for a One.

    I’m with you. I wish they’d still make it or another simple version like it.
  • sosewscrpy
    sosewscrpy Posts: 1 Member
    I was looking at fit bit clones in Amazon. They sure are comparable.
  • punkahontas71
    punkahontas71 Posts: 72 Member
    Love my Garmin vivoactive 4 and garmin connect. I like the training programs, gps, easy to use and can change watch faces through the app to gear it towards what you will use the watch most for.
  • HoneyBadger302
    HoneyBadger302 Posts: 1,725 Member
    edited April 13
    I've only had it a few days (so can't speak to longevity) but thus far am liking the FitBit Inspire 2. I've tried a cheaper step tracker in the past, which didn't last long and was a bit glitchy. I don't need/want a smart watch or a ton of features, but wanted something that would be fairly accurate and get me what I needed.

    So far, pretty happy with what it is picking up and it is targeting right around what my guesstimates were for the activities I've got enough history with to estimate.

    My new job triggered my purchase since there are days/weeks when it has a LOT more activity than my jobs have had the past ~6-7 years, and I didn't want to lose ground or give up on my current losses, but also know I need to fuel everything I'm doing, so making sure I'm eating enough is also important. Seemed like a step tracker would be my best best.

    Thus far I've had it do a pretty good job of tracking my barn chores and motorcycle rides, along with regular walking steps, and it seems pretty on target for my calorie estimates based on my historical knowledge for my activities.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 10,846 Member
    I've gone Fitbit zip charge / charge 2 / charge 3 (gave to friend, still going) / charge 4

    I've looked at other lines but the charge line seems to hit the price feature point for me.

    Garmin line up gave me a headache and by the time I got everything I wanted I was paying more than for the charge. Plus (pre fitbit) I found the forums a bit snooty and heavy handed (not that I approve of the fitbit ones, don't get me wrong).

    Would I consider a Garmin in the future? Probably. But the Fitbit does do the trick for me. And I don't think I've ever bought it without a $50 discount off list price
  • emmamcgarity
    emmamcgarity Posts: 1,577 Member
    I have the Fitbit Charge 4 for the built in GPS. It does track my stairs pretty accurately. I upgraded to it from the Inspire. I stick with Fitbit for social reasons (family). Otherwise I’d look at one of the Garmin running watches since they have some running stats I don’t get from Fitbit.
  • zebasschick
    zebasschick Posts: 452 Member
    i ended up giving in to a sale and getting an inspire 2. the heart rate monitor was, to my surprise, pretty accurate when tested against a chest strap and pulse oximeter, but i found the straps on my write (i got a fabric one to try as well as the included band) itch uncomfortably. i found wearing it my sock during workouts with the pulse reader pointed in toward my ankle reads the pulse there, too.
    go figure.

    it's definitely more accurate than my inspire.
    sosewscrpy wrote: »
    I was looking at fit bit clones in Amazon. They sure are comparable.

    since the main thing about the fitbit that i like is the dashboard, i haven't found them to be comparable. my son has used a couple, and he's happy with them, but i didn't care for the apps. one was $35 on amazon, $10 (!) on ebay, and he wore that one for over two years before the band broke - and they had stopped making that band. still, 2 years for $10 isn't bad.
  • emmamcgarity
    emmamcgarity Posts: 1,577 Member
    I have sensitive skin and sometimes have trouble with the contact point on my Fitbit causing irritation. I use a fabric bandaid on my wrist under the Fitbit when it gets irritated. Surprisingly it has not interfered with fitbit collecting my heart rate data.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,925 Member
    Honestly, just the fact that Fitbit is now owned by Google would be enough to put me off from one, if my experiences as a Fitbit owner hadn't already done that.