Let’s put the biggest draw of this fitness tracker out there first and foremost—at a price of $50, Fitbug Orb’s almost too good a chance to pass up on—at least on the surface. The fitness tracker is an all-around device that lets its users track their sleep; count the steps they’ve taken; and measure the calories consumed in a meal and burned by way of exercise. It also syncs data with compatible smartphones through a Bluetooth connection. Yep, looks good on paper. But let’s breakdown this Fitbug Orb review and see why this device gets a less than enthusiastic response from me.
Fitbug: Hardware and Wearing
For the bargain price, it’s a decent bundle you get. The nondescript minimalist style is appealing. At first glance, you won’t guess what it’s for if you aren’t in the know. It looks like an average marble getting flattened, but abandoned halfway. Data-streaming functions can be controlled by a tiny button on the device and there’s also a small, elliptical indicator light. There’s a purple (or white) ornamental stripe in the middle that is, well, ornamental.
The Fitbug Orb presents wearing options in many ways. There is a sleep band and a belt clip with metal teeth that keeps the device secure however active I was being. Yes, I tested it while running and jumping around and even changing clothes a few times.
Fitbug: Clip it Anywhere
In addition, there’s the traditional wristband which comes in three colors, by the way—hot pink, matte black and clean white. They threw in a lanyard too, for when you want to string it on your wrist or something. While running, I have no intention of doing that but maybe when just walking about and for some reason, I wanted the thing clutched to my hand? Of course, there’s simply sticking it in a pocket as I always have one anyway.
My biggest gripe would probably be the lack of a real screen. What’s more, they have a big banner in their website advertising the device as Display-free, as if that won’t have many potential buyers running for the hills. Or maybe it’s just me.
It all comes down to preference but I’ve been spoiled by being able to track my progress with just glancing at a watch and without having to intentionally open my phone. I have had to do it with this device multiple times and I must say, it wasn’t pleasant. Even just doing 6 miles an hour wasn’t easy with how obsessed I was with tracking my numbers.
Fitbug: Sleep and Activity tracking
The Fitbug Orb is designed to be used all day and night. It counts the number of steps you’ve taken and convert these to burned calories. It does a fair job of differentiating paces, whether I was making my way leisurely or pushing along a bit faster. But running, not really. We’ll have to use another device for that one.
I’ve made multiple comparisons with various other devices like Fitbit Zip and I’ve positioned the Orb in a variety of ways. I found that on the subject of accuracy on the steps counted, the device does not do a very good job in this respect as compared to other bigger names. The measurement is pretty consistent, though, so you’ll still get a fairly good comparison, regardless.
There’s a fancy feature called counting aerobic steps which are the steps one makes after walking for a continuous ten minutes. As mentioned earlier, it also allows users to log food intake and calculate calories consumed and burned.Fitbug also cites a threshold of a hundred steps a minute that is said to be optimal if you wish to experience full walking health benefits.
Users can measure sleep too, the Fitbug Orb claims to track not only the length of your sleep but the quality too. You’ll have to push the one and only button three times in a row to activate sleep mode. Its oval indicator light will blink green 5 times to signal that it’s active. As I’m usually one of those people who wait until they get too sleepy before going to bed, chances are I’ll be forgetting that feature before long. Three pushes and waiting for those five—five!—flashes would be too much of a chore. But that’s just me. Upon rising in the sunshine, tap the single button once and after your first 50 steps, the Orb will automatically disengage from sleep mode. This prevents the accidental click while sleeping.
Compared to other devices like Fitbit One, Jawbone UP24, Basis and Striiv Play with sleep tracking capabilities, the Orb is somewhat lacking as its tracking can only be defined as basic in comparison to devices with detailed graphs of light versus deep sleep. Yep, it does break down the number of time you wake up during the night but there isn’t any differentiation of restless stages in contrast with deep slumber. Not like others devices out there!
Fitbug: Battery & Charging
The lack of charging is sweet. No need to be alarmed, here’s the reason for it. Fitbug Orb isn’t a rechargeable unit because of its built-in battery that is estimated to last for about six months, according to Fitbug’s estimate. Let’s be safe and say, 4 months, maybe. Still, a really long time and thus, a good draw.
Fitbug: Set up and Data Syncing
It wasn’t the easiest setting things up but as I’ve said before, I’m spoiled. It wasn’t a painful experience, really. There were just some stuff I never had to do with other devices before, like inputting a subscription code from the Orb’s packaging and computing my stride length manually. Negligible for some, yes, but not for me. Well, now that I think of it, the stride length has its purpose in greater accuracy but it can be bothersome, all the same.
Upon registration, the device takes you through an assessment of current lifestyle and state of health through a course of questions. Keep your answers honest and it’ll have its use as a decent benchmark on a fitness program.
After registering, you can download the app to pair with the Orb. There’s an option to turn the automatic sync on and off using the Orb’s tiny button. I can set it up to sync my data automatically or by pressing the button once. It helps save even more battery if one opts for manual syncing.
Also read this: How To Calculate Resting Heart Rate?
I wasn’t able to connect the Orb to a PC or Mac without the Fitbug Bluetooth dongle that isn’t bundled with the Fitbug Orb. Users would have to drop an additional $14.99 for that. If you need to sync directly to your computer, then the Orb’s price wouldn’t be so affordable anymore as other devices already have it bundled—devices that are only 10 or so bucks more.
Sync is also somewhat limited. It’s fine with low-end phones like iPhones 4S and up but only a few Samsung models running on Android 4.2 and above are supported. What a letdown with my Nexus 6P.
Like the device, the app itself is minimalistic. It’s also in monochrome with tabs for activity, settings, sleep, history, goals and the like. It’s somewhat limited too. Surprisingly, you’ll have to visit the website to log your food intake and exercise regime activities (Fitbug).
This is strange because even though my daily activities and calories burned and consumed are displayed on the app, I’ll want to log directly from a phone too, because hello? It’s the one thing that’s always with me. It’s frustrating and a bit confusing because it’s a major function that’s glaringly missing.
Let’s just say that I recommend this fitness tracker only if you’re looking to spend 50 bucks and not a dollar more. If you aren’t willing in any way to shell out that extra 10 bucks for something ‘better’ like, say, a Fitbit Zip, Fitbit One, Jawbone UP for instance—which offers a less frustrating UI, a real screen wherein you can track your progress in real time without having to use your phone and most of the above of what the Fitbug Orb can do—then yeah, go buy yourself an Orb. No one can beat that price after all, as of yet.
That said, it isn’t all that bad. It’s durable, easy on the pocket—which is always a plus—it’s versatile and can be worn in a variety of ways. They’ve also done away with the mandatory subscription and it doesn’t require charging time.
Get Fitbug now: Fitbug Orb Bluetooth Activity Tracker – $19.99