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Fitbit One Review

The Fitbit One.
Top Pick Award
Price:   $100 List
Pros:  Accurate step count, simple, easy to use
Cons:  Limited features, not the most stylish
Bottom line:  The best tracker for those that don't want to wear it on their wrist
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Fitbit

Our Verdict

The Fitbit One is a simple, minimalistic fitness tracker that gets the job done. While this model wasn't one of the top scoring models, its great performance earned it our Top Pick for Clip-On award. This model has all the benefits of the large Fitbit community and app, all while being discreet enough to slip in your pocket. It has a good battery life, and even comes with an additional wristband to allow you to track your sleep.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
David Wise and Austin Palmer

Last Updated:
Wednesday
January 11, 2017

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This model performed exceptionally well in our test, earning the highest score out of any of the clip-on models that we tested, and holding its own with some of the much more expensive and full-featured models. The Fitbit One is one of the easiest models to use, has great ergonomics, and ranked highly when it came to positively impacting your fitness.

Performance Comparison


The One earned the Top Pick for Clip-On award.
The One earned the Top Pick for Clip-On award.

Fitness Impact


The most important and highest weighted of our metrics, fitness impact is the quintessential aspect for this category of products. The Fitbit One did well in this category, earning a 7 out of 10. To rate this tracker, we looked at how each tracker did at calculating stairs climbed, counting steps, tracking cycling and a high-intensity, cardio workout, and whether or not there were any other physical activities that were able to be tracked. We also looked at the community that was present for each device, and how you were able to compare and compete with your friends.

One of the most commonly used features on these products is the step counter, as many people strive for the goal of 10,000 steps a day. This model is fantastic at this, and was the most accurate out of all the trackers in our tests. The One is typically worn clipped to a waistband or pocket, thus making it practically impossible to trigger false steps by movement other than walking. This model was also dead on in our step and distance tests, where we compared it to a manual count and measurement over multiple trials, averaging only 0.1% off.

The clip-on Fitbit One had the most accurate step count in our tests.
The clip-on Fitbit One had the most accurate step count in our tests.

This model also has an extensive online community, as do all Fitbit products. You can receive a weekly email of your stats for the week, including things like total steps, calories burned, and stairs climbed, just to name a few. You also have the option of embarking on Fitbit calls and Adventure, where you can digitally walk along a path and virtually visit different locations, learning along the way.

A competitive challenge with the Fitbit app to help you get up and get active.
Taking a virtual "Adventure" to Vernal Falls with the Fitbit app.
 

For the more competitive users, you can compete with your friends, cheering them on, or even taunting them, as well as seeing their top badges. This model also lets you connect with your Facebook to locate your friends.

This model really only tracks running, walking or hiking, with any other activity requiring you to manually enter the data yourself on the website. This model does calculate stairs climbed, and did alright measuring it in our test.

Health Impact


The next most important metric in our test is health impact. While this is very closely tied with the previous metric, health impact comprises non-fitness related aspects, such as heart rate, dieting, motivation, and sleep tracking.

The Fitbit One didn't do quite as well in this category, dropping down to about 5 out 10. This model lacks any sort of heart rate monitoring, immediately dropping it behind the frontrunners in this metric. This model does do well at aiding you in improving your diet, doing an excellent job of estimating your resting Metabolic rate (rMr) Calories burned throughout the day. This tracker was spot on with our predicted rMr for our tester using a generic formula.

This model is also capable of tracking sleep, using the included wristband to hold the tracker on your wrist while sleeping. This model was about average when it came to tracking sleep, approximately matching up with our tester's recollection of amount of restlessness and number of times woken up. Sleep tracking is not automatic, but initiated with a button press.

This model also has a vibrating alarm to wake you up gently, but lacks any sort of alarm to remind you to get up and move if you have been inactive for too long. This model also lacks any sort of extended features, save for flower icon that will fill in for a quick visual indicator of your progress towards your current goal.

The flower graphic on the One represents progress towards your daily goal.
The flower graphic on the One represents progress towards your daily goal.

Ease of Use


The Fitbit One excelled in this category, tying for the highest score with an 8 out of 10. This model had an excellent battery life, lasting for 10-14 days between charges. This One takes about 1-2 hours to completely re-charge, and uses a proprietary charger.

The One must be removed from its clip or wristband to charge via USB.
The One must be removed from its clip or wristband to charge via USB.

This model syncs data to your mobile device exceptionally fast, taking between 2-10 seconds in our tests. The companion app, common across all Fitbit models is simple and easy to use an intuitive layout and menu design.

The basic fitness stats captured by the tracker and displayed on the app.
The basic fitness stats captured by the tracker and displayed on the app.

The Fitbit One has a simplistic, 1-button interface used to cycle through the various menus with each press, or to initiate sleep tracking by holding it. The One isn't waterproof, but is sweat, rain, and splash proof.

Ergonomics


As a clip-on fitness tracker, the Fitbit One is extremely small and minimalistic, causing it to excel in our ergonomics scoring. This tracker tied for the highest score in this category, earning an 8 out of 10. This model is small and light enough that you virtually forget you are wearing it when clipped into your pocket or waistband.

It's almost easy to forget you are wearing the One when it is clipped into a pocket.
It's almost easy to forget you are wearing the One when it is clipped into a pocket.

This model is about as stereotypical as you can get when it comes to design, consisting of a small, plastic rectangle that basically looks like a USB thumb drive.

Display


The final metric that we looked at for these products was the quality of display. The Fitbit One did a little above average, earning a 6 out of 10. This model doesn't display that much information on its smaller screen, and definitely wouldn't be considered high definition, but it easily conveys the basic information to you.

The clip-on Fitbit One had the most accurate step count in our tests.
The clip-on Fitbit One had the most accurate step count in our tests.

This model is a little hard to read in bright sunlight, but works fine in lower light conditions. We particularly liked that this model is exceptionally responsive to the button being pressed, differing from other models that can be extremely frustrating to wake up. There are no smart notifications for call or text on the One, but gives fun, personalized motivation throughout the day to give you some positive encouragement on your road to improving your fitness.

Value


This model is an alright value, while it is the least expensive of all the award winners, it is substantially more expensive than other clip-on models. The One did score substantially better than the other clip-on models, making it clear that you need to pay to have the best. However, if you are just looking for a basic model that tracks your steps and stairs, enables you to set goals and challenge your friends, and performs well, then this is a great model for you.

Conclusion


Earning our Top Pick for Clip-On award, the Fitbit One is a great fitness tracker for the more casual user. Someone who uses a more intense and rigorous training regime, or someone who does a variety of activities besides walking and running may find this tracker lacking some features. This tracker is great for the person who want to track their sleep, count their stairs climbed, work towards their personal step goal, and maybe challenge a few friends along the way to break up the monotony and add some friendly competition, and will more than satisfy their needs.
David Wise and Austin Palmer

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