Gear Review

Gear Review: Fitbit One

My employer provided Fitbit Ones to every employee that is participating in the wellness program for our health insurance.  I’ve looked at this and similar products before, but resisted buying one because I didn’t see the use for the cost.  But hey, when you get something for free, why not use it, right?!

The basics:

If you want to turn fitness into a lifestyle, the One™ is for you. For starters, it never rests. During the day, it tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. Come nightfall, it measures your sleep quality, helps you learn how to sleep better, and wakes you in the morning. The One™ motivates you to reach your goals by bringing greater fitness into your life – seamlessly, socially, 24 hours a day.

Powered by Fitbit’s leading-edge accelerometer and altimeter, the One™ accurately captures all-day activity that old-school pedometers can’t handle. It bases calculations like calories burned on your personal profile – reflecting your stats, not any average Joe’s.


Cost: $99.95

What you get in the box: the One device, clip holder, wristband, USB dongle, booklets, charging cord

All the bits you get with the Fitbit One (Photo:



  • Steps taken
  • Stairs climbed
  • Calories burned
  • Hours slept
  • Distance traveled
  • Quality of sleep

My thoughts:

  • Ease of use:  The Fitbit One is pretty darn easy to use!  The clip just slides onto wherever you put it – I usually clip it on my waistband when I wear pants, and on my sports bra when I’m on the bike.  There’s only one button which adds to the ease of use.  It synced with my iPhone 5s easily with the Fitbit app, and it’ll give me an alert when the battery is low.  The One charges pretty quickly, maybe 30 minutes, if that.  My battery has lasted over two weeks at time, to boot!
  • Sleep Mode: This is probably the most intriguing feature for me.  It’s really interesting how restless I can be when sleeping, and how that correlates with how I slept.  Sometimes I feel the more restless I am (without actually being awake), the better I sleep, whereas the nights where I look like I’m dead for 8 hours I wake up more groggy!  But anyways, it’s quite easy, you just slip the One into the wristband and press and hold the only button it has and it goes into sleep mode.
    • The wristband is a big let down.  Within a week the velcro-type closure wasn’t grippy anymore and it falls off my wrist quite easily in my sleep, which leads to me finding it stuck to my pajama pants or blankets.  This is the biggest flaw I have found with the Fitbit One.
  • Steps: This is a tricky one.  I literally have no idea how accurate it really is (as I’m not going to literally count my steps!).  A coworker wears both the One and another brand’s step counter that is a wrist model, and she showed me how they varied by 5000 steps at that particular moment of the day.  I could assume that a wrist style one would count more steps due to arm movement, but I’m not sure.  So maybe the number isn’t totally true, but it does at least show activity and the amount of it!
    • So while on a bike… well, it counts “steps,” but in no correlation to actual pedal strokes.  I have no idea what it’s counting.  I can ride 40 miles, and the One will register 14 miles.
  • Stairs: I have found this to be pretty accurate, though sometimes I’ve had an elevator ride register as stairs.
    • On the bike… haha, oh this makes me look like a rockstar!  During one cyclocross race that had a lot of punchy climbing the One said I climbed 351 flights of stairs!
  • I use the Fitbit app quite a lot on my phone.  I use it to track my food intake, and you can scan quite a few mainstream brands labels in, and also has some restaurant data.  I also enter my weight into Fitbit for tracking (though I also do it on Training Peaks… I’m all about redundancy!).  I don’t have enough USB ports on my laptop in between my ANT+ for TrainerRoad and Garmin code, etc, so I don’t use the dongle, and instead sync the One through Bluetooth to my iPhone.


Is it worth it?  It’s an interesting device.  Would I have spent nearly $100 for it?  No.  The app is available regardless of owning a Fitbit device, and can actually use the accelerators inside your phone to count steps if you so desire (and constantly carry your phone), so the food log would still have been available to me.  Nonetheless, I still wear it nearly every night when I sleep, and every day.  Every once in awhile I forget to clip it on when I change into bike clothes, but otherwise I have been pretty faithful.  I think this is one of those things that you have to weigh the cost and how much you want it and will use it.  I can see it being a great motivator for getting people active and moving.  The majority of my physical activity is related to cycling, so it has limitations in that department.  I own fitness GPS units, so if I really needed accurate measurement of miles ran/walked/hiked, I would use that device, but for people without that option this could be a great solution.


Disclaimer: I received this product as part of my employer’s wellness program for our health insurance at no cost.  However, all comments and opinions are my own and I was in no way compensated for the review.

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