Rashes and Recalls: Fitbit Force Bites The Dust (Plus Brief Fitbit One Review)

Fitbit Force
By Crabby McSlacker

Remember my Fitbit Force Review back in January?  I was pretty darn happy with it, except for the crappy fastener that wouldn't fasten.  I didn't much concern myself with reports of skin problems, because I personally didn't have one. Fitbit uses the same sort of materials everyone else does, so I figured it wasn't a big deal.

In fact, I'd become neurotically dependent on the information the Fitbit delivered.  It really is motivating to track step counts and miles for the day, and aim for a nice big number. Especially if you are, like me, a recreational snacker who sucks at portion control.

(Note: I'm not trying to encourage my arguably eating-disordered approach to weight management--but be assured, I am too lazy to be one of those folks like the woman at my gym who gets on MY elliptical and stays there all morning long. But for my own weight maintenance, I do favor a "more is better" approach to daily activity in addition to HIIT and strength training etc.)

But anyway, since a number of people were starting to complain of rashes, Fitbit did the responsible thing and stepped up and offered a Force Recall with a Full Refund for anyone who bought one.

And so with comically coincidental timing, I came down with a rash mere hours after Fitbit announced the recall.  Suggestible much?  Sheesh!

But they don't seem to have a Next Generation Force out there yet to replace it with. And it belatedly occurred to me that a full refund for the amount I paid for my review sample would amount to exactly $0.00. 

So I was faced with the dilemma: what do next?  Do I replace my Force and if so, with what?

Step 1:  Denial

Figuring that a dermatological reaction that instantaneous had to be psychosomatic, I continued to wear the thing for a few more weeks and hoped my mind would tell my wrist to cut out the crap and heal up since there was no newer shinier replacement it was gonna get by acting out.

But the rash didn't go away.  I switched wrists, because I'm not a total moron, but I realized the happy days when the Force was With Me were probably numbered.

Step 2:  Whine and Wheedle!

Anyone who actually purchased the Force could skip this step, but I emailed the kind Fitbit Rep who'd given me the original Force, and she offered me my choice of replacement models.

Step: Choose a Replacement:

This is the tough part, because the Force was the high end fitbit and it's in my nature to want Newest and Shiniest! 

But I came across a helpful PC Advisor post offering Fitbit model comparison info, and am stealing their chart (which they probably cribbed from Fitbit to begin with) because the official Fitbit site has removed all reference to the Force.  And yeah, pounds and not dollars, but whatever:

Note: because I already did a big ol' review before, this chart is sort of a stand-in for all the technical info that I'm too bored to repeat.

So I decided against the Flex, because it seemed a step backwards.  For example, I noticed the Flex does not display the time!  If I'm gonna be wearing a fitness doohickey that takes up valuable wrist-acreage, then it better at least tell me what the hell time of day it is.

Plus it looked like the Flex wristband was similar enough in design to the Force that it might share the same annoying tendency to come unclasped every few minutes.

The Fitbit One, however, had all the features I cared about, and is cheaper than the Force was if you're buying it yourself.

Fitbit One Review

And as it turns out, I'm happier with the One than I was with the Force!

The thingy is really small:

It also comes with a clip, which is probably smart to use to keep it from falling out if you have loose pockets or spend much time upside down, but the clip bulks it up a bit:

Personally, I like it better all sleek and naked.  (Wait... I mean the One all sleek and naked, not me! Otherwise storage issues might indeed become problematic).

I prefer being able to slip something in my pocket to having to wear something on my wrist.

Not only is it more comfortable, but it's nice to take a break from broadcasting my crazypants fitness tracking propensities to the entire world 24/7.  Though of course the Force did provide bonding opportunities with other crazypants wristband tracker people when I'd run into them.

One small downside I've noticed? The display light is not as bright as the force and can be a bit harder to read outside on a sunny day. But I can still read it and I'm not known for my x-ray vision. Also, I think the battery needs recharging a bit more often, maybe every five days? I've lost the info but it's somewhere in that range.

But otherwise, the tragic Force Recall had a happy ending, at least for one greedy fitness blogger who loved, lost, and then learned to love again!

Any other crazy activity tracker people out there?  If you're not, are you tempted to join the madness or are you steering well away?

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