By Jaik Smith
I’m a fan of technology. I love the latest and greatest. My bout with Fitbit lasted less than two months last year. I’ve never really been a fan of carrying one in my pocket and I had almost purchased the Fitbit Flex moments before it was recalled. Last year, I took the plunge on a Fitbit Surge and loved the data. It was a big improvement from my Pebble. Sadly, I developed a skin irritation around my wrist during those two months with the Surge and I couldn’t find anything to peg it on aside from the tracker. After sending it back for a refund, I used my Pebble for the rest of the year and also got an irritation. It turns out I just wasn’t cleaning the band enough. This year, I decided it was time to get back with activity trackers.
I knew Fitbit would release something at the Consumer Electronics Show. They did last year and in order to keep up with the other technology, they needed to stay on top. They announced the Fitbit Blaze and I was interested. I didn’t know much about it. Honestly, I didn’t do any more research on it. Just the little bit of information that I had learned was enough. I knew from my past experience that returning the Fitbit for a refund would be no hassle if it came down to it. I pre-ordered it from REI and waited.
I chose to purchase through REI because participants in their members program receive 10% back on almost all purchases at the end of the year, bringing the price down to $179. I never like to spend full price on things, so I used a gift card service to purchase two gift cards to REI with a 7% savings bringing my total cost of the Fitbit to $165.07.
We liked the Blaze's sleek design. For a more personalized looks, you can purchase a variety of different metal, rubber, or even leather bands.
When I received the Fitbit on the 7th, I did what I normally do with new gadgets. I opened it, put it on and tried to learn without a manual. It was simple. I went the first two days without even going through the guide to learn more. No charging, no learning, no trouble. I didn’t even know there was a music control on it until the 9th.
The head unit pops out of the band for charging and syncing.
The fitbit app is easy to read and hasn’t changed much over the last year that I’ve used it. It still has my data from last year, and I’ve been comparing the data from the past week to that.
From the main screen you’ve got the option to adjust the Blaze settings, see steps, current/resting heart rate, distance walked, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes*, recent activities, weight goals, sleep tracking, calorie intake, calories remaining in a diet, water consumed. Calorie intake and water consumed have to be manually updated. So does your weight unless you have a smart scale(like the Fitbit Aria).
*Active minutes are based off of three zones: fat burn, cardio, and peak. Those are calculated based on your age, gender, weight, height, stride and pace.
In the app under the Blaze settings, you have the option to remove and add in other exercises. I removed and reorganized a few so that I could customize it better to suit me.
Over the past week of use, I’ve tracked about as much as I can without manually updating. I track my commute, my sleep, and steps. The step tracking is seamless. You literally don’t do anything but walk. Same with the sleep tracking. All you do is sleep. When you select an activity like cycling, that’s when it gets all of the data. I had heard that there was a feature for automatic activity tracking, where it knows when you’re active and monitors that information. To see how it worked, I didn’t start the cycling feature and went on a bike ride. It did track the “active minutes” toward my daily goal, however it didn’t know that it was cycling. I guess that needs to be turned on manually, but also they could always update it in the future. One day last week while doing some database stuff and looking over spreadsheets, my Fitbit decided that I was sleeping for about two hours. It showed that I was sleeping at my desk (I wasn’t).
According to Fitbit, the Blaze can go 5 days on a charge. Based on our experience, this is 3-5 times longer than an Apple Watch.
Visit https://www.fitbit.com/blaze to learn more.
About the author
Chainlink member Jaik Smith earned serious street cred in 2015 by riding coast to coast in an effort to raise money for cancer research. Now living in Portland, he continues to use his (well-worn) Specialized AWOL for daily transportation.