Battle of the Bands

Are you looking forward to the show?  Do you want to rock?  Yeah?  Well… then you’ve come to the wrong place.

Battle of the Bands is not going to be about music… it is going to be about wearable fitness devices.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago (say… 2010) I bought a device called a Fitbit Ultra.  It was a wonderful little device, even though it seemed to break quite a lot.  No problem, the Fitbit team replaced them for me every time.  And then one day they told me that it was no longer available… and I upgraded to a Fitbit One.  Just like the Ultra it was a great device… and frankly it did not break nearly as much. 

Of course, technology moves forward, and then about eighteen months ago Fitbit announced their new device line… and I was really looking forward to – no, I was chomping at the bit! – for the new Fitbit Surge.  Man, did it look incredible!  I was so excited about it, I was willing to wait the six months until it was released… and I was willing to pay the ridiculous price ($299 Canadian), and I was even willing to stop wearing the fashionable wristwatch in lieu of this device. 

It was ugly.  It was big, it was bulky, it was black and square.  Done were the nice little subtle devices I was used to – anyone who saw me would see this watch and they would ask about it.  Okay, here it is.  I was even willing to put up with it being ugly.

I was not willing to put up with the fact that it broke… a lot; it was inaccurate, and often it just stopped working for no good reason.

Nearly a year into the experiment I decided to call it quits.  On the last Saturday in February I went in to the Microsoft Store (for something else) and decided to trade it in.

Bands

I have heard a lot of good reviews about the Fitbit Charge, but I have also heard great things about the Microsoft Band 2.  I was speaking with Andrew (one of the great clerks at the Microsoft Store in Square One, Mississauga) who is a former Fitbitter, and now wears a Band.  He gave me his opinions of both, the pros and the cons.  Then I thought for a few minutes.

  • I like telling my readers about great technology;
  • I have just started a new workout regimen, trying to get back into shape; and
  • I’m still a geek!

I decided to buy both… I picked up one Microsoft Band and one Fitbit Charge.  For the next month I am going to wear both of them and compare, and in the end I will return one of the devices and declare the other the winner.

There’s a bias though… I have used Fitbit for five years… not only the device, but the on-line communities, the apps, and even the Aria scale.  Everything works together, and if I decide to go with the Band I am going to lose all of that… although I can still use the scale and type my number into Microsoft Health, it will not all be the same system.

I have always said that IT should not be about religion, it should be about the best tool for the job.  For that reason I am going to keep an open mind.  Andrew assures me that all of the original Day 1 and Version 1 issues that came with the original Band and even the Band 2 are history, so I am going to try it out. 

At the same time I have to remember that I decided to pick a lower-end Fitbit… the Fitbit Charge HR would have been a slightly better comparison, but really the only difference between the two is that the HR also measures my heart rate.  If the Charge wins out over the Band then I might consider switching it out for the higher-end device, but the $119.99 price tag of the Charge was a lot more appealing than the $179.99 price tag of the Charge HR.  We shouldn’t forget that the Band out-prices both devices, at a serious $249.99.  Whichever device I select it will still be a huge cost saving over the seriously over-priced Fitbit Surge, currently selling for $329.99 (As the Canadian Dollar drops, the prices of these devices rise).

It will be an interesting month… but over this time I will be writing about both of them, and letting you know how they compare.  Yes, I expect I will look a little silly wearing both of them, but never mind… That’s the length I am willing to go for you, my beloved user!

Stay tuned…

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