Tag Archives: smart band

What I’ve Learned From Owning A SmartBand

Smartwatches, smart bands & other attachable connected trinkets are all the rage now – you can buy them for your dog, attach cameras to your baby’s crib & switch your lights on from the comfort of your office, ready for when you get home.  They’re enabling us to do things that a few years ago, simply would have been impossible!

I’m the first to admit that when smart watches first appeared I considered them to be a gimmick that wouldn’t last.  I’ll happily eat my words as I have a smart watch & would actually be lost without it now.

It started with wondering how much of a decent night’s sleep I was getting – I was always tired, regardless of the time I went to bed, so I started looking into sleep monitors & whathaveyou, finally settling on the SW10 from Sony – It’d monitor my sleep, as well as notify me about calls, alarms, as well as my steps for the day & other events via the app Sony created for it.  It was small & unassuming & only needed to be taken off whilst charging.  I had it a few months before I lost it, I hunted high & low for it & genuinely pined for it; I’d check my sleep as soon as I woke up to check my restless periods & deep sleep to try & notice trends, so as soon as it was gone I was in the dark once more about my sleep.

SW10 has a multitude of colour options

The quest for a new smart band began!

By now, the fitness market had become saturated with smart bands; each promising to be the best for your needs.  By the time I’d lost the Sony, I was cycling & using Strava to track them, which is great (I still use it from time to time to track segment speed increases) I wanted more though, not just tracking my cycling.  Being in the job I am in, connected tech advances is the area I find most exciting.  So, I did my research & decided that a small company, who’d started through crowdfunding on IndieGoGo would be my next choice & I opted for the Misfit Flash, I blogged about it back in February, however as good as it was, I couldn’t get to grips with the point system & still used Strava to track my cycling alongside activating the cycle option on the wearable.

The Flash also has an array of colour options

In April this year, I turned 33.  My gift was the Fitbit Surge, It promised an update to add accurate cycling to it; which was released a few weeks after I got it.  If it was waterproof, I’d never take it off; except for charging it.  (it is water resistant to a degree, but the packaging states to not submerge it in water) I know Fitbit’s have suffered a little due to the “Fitbit Rash” however, I’ve only suffered a light rash once; readjusting the strap soon fixed it.  It is the Flagship device from Fitbit & although a little chunky to wear, you do become used to its size relatively quickly, however using the GPS on it as much as I do will dramatically reduce your battery life from 7 days to about 3.  Even President Obama has one!

Surge colour variations

Anyway, the point was what I’ve learned.  Now that I’ve owned a few different variations & have been tracking my food & am a lot more active than before, these are my main findings:

  1. Despite me thinking that I was pretty active before I joined the gym. I wasn’t.  (Walking everywhere, although is a good start cannot be classed as being active, imo)
  2. I do not walk about as much as I thought – I get weekly reports from Fitbit on how many steps I did & which days were most active.  If I average them out it’s about 7,000 a day which is below the suggested 10,000 steps
  3. 8 hours of sleep is too much for me.  I’m tired & irritable if I oversleep, the recommended 8 hours a night is too much.  I’m a higher functioning human being if I get 5-6 hours an evening
  4. I’m not really restless in my sleep, I generally fall asleep & that is me until morning – if my sleep reports are accurate anyway
  5. I was severely undereating for years – This part in particular will probably get its own blog post as I find food fascinating & am studying nutrition
  6. Stress causes my heart rate to increase on average 10bpm, I normally have a relatively low RHR of 54bmp, however any kind of internal worry that I’m not correctly dealing with displays with an elevated HR
  7. Owning a smartband has made me try harder, push faster & generally want to be better in myself.  It’s almost like a mini competition with yourself to do a little better than you did yesterday.  I also love how I can look back a year ago on Strava & see how much faster I am now 🙂
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A Month With The FitBit Surge

So, it’s been a month since I just got my Fitbit Surge & have wanted to write a review about it for a while.  However, felt like I needed to use it for sometime first.

Initial Impressions:

When it first arrived, it was apparent that this is the Flagship Device for Fitbit, the attention to detail in the packaging outweighs the packaging on other devices, including other Fitbit devices. It has a small button to depress to push the watch from its housing & the overall feel of the box just exudes quality.

I was eager to try it, installed the app on my phone & pulled the watch out of its cradle, & fastened it to my wrist. It’s big. It feels big, like I was surprised at how big it felt compared with my previous smartband.  You DO get used to the size & I have dinky wrists, so anything on them usually feels pretty big!

It feels secure when it’s on due to the watch style strap; which was a must for me after I lost a previous band due to a flimsy closure.

App Layout:

I use my Fitbit Surge with a HTC M9, which works by pairing through BLE 4.0 (bluetooth low energy) there is an option in the menus to change it to support legacy bluetooth 2.0 – which I’ve never seen on a smartband before. It also comes with a USB dongle to pair on your PC – The device can store information so you don’t need to sync it every day.

I’ve added some screengrabs from my phone, the first one is the dashboard; which gives a rundown of your day, tapping on each one will give you more information, either for the day, a week, a month and so on. It makes for very easy tracking of your progress.

Recently, my Fitbit updated to include GPS tracking of cycling, before this update I used “spinning” as a way to track my cycling. You can choose additional activities to track, ranging from circuit training to golf to martial arts, as well as running, weigh training etc.

You can also pair it with other apps, such as Endomondo, IFTTT, & My fitness Pal. I’ve yet to try it with the apps as have only recently discovered IFTTT & use MFP on it’s own.

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There is also a dashboard on the web, after downloading the software to pair via the dongle if you’re not wanting to use a phone – this will be an amazing resource for you.  There’s also the option to chat to your friends & see their step progress on the app & the web dashboard.

General Use:

Overall, the Fitbit Surge is a handy device – you can even control your music from the iOS version! A feature I’d love to see in the Android one; I can dream!

I have alarms set on my Fitbit, which helps wake me sometimes – only if I’m partially awake does it help. It alerts me to texts & calls – which is great if my phone is on a low volume/out of reach.

Another great feature is the heart rate tracker – perfect for not wearing a chest strap. It calculates when you’re in cardio & fat burn zones as well based on your height & weight it knows when is optimum times for you.  I quickly learned most of my training is in the fat burn zone over anything else. I’ve also seen my heart rate drop over the month as my fitness levels have increased; something that I was quite surprised with; I now have an average BPM of 52.

Personal Feelings:

I love my Surge. Once I got used to the bulk, it now feels odd if I don’t have it on. I don’t get the 7 days battery life from it, but I do have it using the GPS function twice a day, 5 days a week – which is going to cut the life between charges.

I did recently suffer the skin irritation reported by a few users, however since being aware of this I’ve moved my watch a little further down my wrist & the slight rash I had is gone.  I wear it watch face down as my cycling gloves were hitting the pause button on the screen & I hadn’t noticed which meant I lost valuable tracking time for a few days.

The fact it doubles as a watch is a massive plus for me as it means I no longer have to wear two devices on my wrist.

It’d be nice if the apps could pair with more, as I used to use Strava to track my cycling – which is an awesome app, as it tracks parts of your route & tells you when you got a faster time in sections. A feature that I loved.

I wonder if I can get IFTTT can do it for me?


Me & My Misfit Flash

When smart watches first became a thing I said they’d probably be a gimmick & I didn’t really see the point.  Well, I’ll eat my hat (as long as it’s made of chocolate or carrot cake!) because smart wearables are my All-Time favourite thing & have been since my curiosity and epic bargain hunting managed to snag a highly discounted Sony Smartband.  It knew when I was walking, running, procrastinating and would wake me up close to my alarm time – it was incredible!  This was before I became a fitness “junkie” & it worked, it’s very much a life keeping wearable, as it’ll track more or less anything & will even show you what photos you’d taken that day & how much time you spend on YouTube.  I lost it.  I hunted high & low for it & genuinely pined for my little wearable.

I needed to replace it, but with what? I didn’t want another one as feared the closing mechanism was it’s downfall.  I needed a decent closure on it, so I spent a few months researching & finally decided the Misfit Flash was the one for me.  Why??  Well, the website spoke VOLUMES to me.  By the time I found this wearable I was cycling to & from work, and having a way to track my progress without having to remember to open an app or buying an expensive cadence sensor was perfect.

It’s also waterproof & doesn’t need charging!

I struggled to pair it with my phone initially, however after an email or two to the support desk they’d managed to help me out & me and my flash have been inseparable ever since.  No really.  I NEVER take it off.  Well, only to move it from my wrist to my ankle when I’m cycling.  I also learned more recently it will pair with My Fitness Pal – I was briefly monitoring my calorie intake (remember I mentioned catabolic paranoid a post of two ago?) so having that pair up was good, as MFP automatically deducted calories from my exercise to show how much I needed to eat.  Awesome.

However, I could give Misfit some pointers on how to improve their wearable.  I miss my alarm function, the wake option on other wearables is a nice feature, as it wakes you when you’re in a light sleep so you’re not thrust awake by your high pitched NEEER-NEEER alarm.  Also, the more expensive version of this, the Shine has more accessories, different straps and some beautiful necklaces that I’d love.  All the Flash has is socks & a tee-shirt.  Yeaaaah.  I don’t need those.  I want a necklace, damnit 😛  There are some accessories for them, made by Garmin, but they’re only available in the US and as much as I love them, the shipping & possible duty on it would make them more expensive than the wearable itself.

An example image of the app on Android

I’m quite excited about the future of my wearable however, as Misfit are looking to turn it into a connected remote of sorts, meaning you’ll be able to turn your lights off, or your thermostat (as long as your lights / thermostat are compatible) and open Spotify and other apps just by tapping the “face” of your Flash. It’s gonna be an awesome update, even if I only ever use the function to turn Spotify off and on…..teamed with my wireless headphones I won’t have to touch my phone!

**I have not been asked by Misfit to create this review, nor have I by apps mentioned within

***All opinions are my own & are not affiliated with Misfit or its devices