Goodbye Spark, Hello FitBit
Thursday, January 15, 2015
After using the SparkPeople tracker for a bit longer than a year, I decided to stop using it and deactivate my account. This came after decisions by SparkPeople and me diverged. My laptop running Windows operating system kept crashing every 5 minutes or so, making it impossible to do anything serious. I was still able to upload data from my Spark, but I didn’t know how long this would be feasible. I purchased a Chromebook which, I found out, is not compatible with the Spark software and probably never will be. SparkPeople is reportedly coming out with a new Spark that will sync with an iPhone (and probably other iOS devices), but apparently there is nothing in the foreseeable future for Android-operated devices. After my iPhone was stolen in early November, I found I was eligible for an upgrade and I chose a Samsung phone, which operates on Android. Since the Spark was no longer compatible with anything else I currently use, I opted to shop around for another tracking device.
I bought a FitBit Flex about a week and a half ago. I can wear it on my wrist, which I like (I always worried about my Spark falling off, because it hangs onto an item of clothing with just a clip), and I purchased extra bands in assorted colors, so I can color coordinate if I wish.
My Flex syncs to my current phone, and I can also see my stats on my Chromebook. I linked my FitBit account with my SparkPeople account, so my data uploads to SparkPeople, also. That is one of the reasons I chose a FitBit over some other good brands of trackers.
My Flex tracks steps, miles, calories burned, very active minutes, and sleep (when I remember to put it into sleep mode). As with SparkPeople, I can set daily goals, and my Flex will vibrate when I reach the goal I have chosen to be the main goal.
One thing I really like about the Flex is there is no battery to change. It comes with a charger that plugs into a USB port, either on a computer or into one of the adapters out there that plug into a regular wall outlet. It takes about three hours to charge, so I have to plan charging for when I am not particularly active so I don’t get cheated out of accumulating data. Evenings or overnight is good for me. The charge is supposed to last for about 5 days, and I got 7 days off the first full charge, so I am pleased so far.
When I first got the Spark, I used it side by side with a pedometer. The Spark consistently recorded fewer steps than the pedometer, and this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the pedometer might be picking up other movements sometimes. My Flex, on the other hand, records more steps than the pedometer. In fact, even though it is worn on my the wrist of my non-dominant hand, records steps when I am sitting. It recorded about 200 steps during a two-hour meeting the other day. To compensate, I increased my step goal for the day to ensure that some of my steps recorded are actually steps.
So far, I am happy with the Flex. I was also happy with the Spark, but things happened to make it not usable for me. To anyone wishing to get a tracking device, I would suggest deciding what is important for you to track. Also decide if it’s important to you to see the data right on the device or whether it’s acceptable to view it on a phone or computer; and some devices offer both options. And make sure you have the appropriate operating system for the device you purchase if you do decide on one that syncs. A few devices will sync with SparkPeople, so check in with the current compatibility before making your final decision.