Fitbit Flex vs. Nike Fuel Band: What's The Best Fitness Tracker?

By Dmitry Sheynin , May 06, 2013 01:42 PM EDT

The Fitbit Flex has started shipping out and so the fitness wristband wars can now begin in earnest. The new wristband from Fitbit adds to the company's already diverse portfolio of fitness products.

"We are incredibly excited to launch the Fitbit Flex," says James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit. "Fitbit has worked hard to develop the most seamless, versatile, and accurate activity trackers and with the addition of Flex, we truly have a product line that fits any lifestyle. Utilizing the latest technology — including Bluetooth 4.0 for mobile devices — Fitbit has developed a wristband tracker that offers the elements our fans love in a brand new form factor."

The Fitbit Flex will be going up against the Jawbone Up and the Nike Fuel Band, which we reviewed last week. In this side-by-side comparison, we'll be looking at the Fitbit Flex and the Nike Fuel Band.

Fitbit Flex vs. Nike Fuel Band: Design

The Fitbit Flex is a small tracking device that fits inside a colored wristband. The tracker can be removed and placed into one of five wristbands that come in black, slate, tangerine, teal and navy. The Fitbit Flex is definitely designed with the fashion crowd in mind. You can purchase a pack of wristbands featuring all the colors for an additional $30.

The Fitbit Flex's most obvious point of differentiation from the Nike Fuel Band is the lack of a display. While the Fuel Band's display has several practical functions, there's also definitely an aesthetic component to it. When it lights up, it's pretty.

The Fitbit Flex has five LED lights that indicate how close you are to achieving your goal. While this is more than sufficient, it's still nice to have a fitness wristband that can double as a watch, and the Nike Fuel Band does so in great style.

The Nike Fuel Band snaps securely into place and clicks when the bracelet is locked. While the Fitbit Flex is more secure than the Jawbone Up, which tends to fall off and lose the cap guarding its USB connector, it does not feel as solid as the Nike Fuel Band.

Fitbit Flex vs. Nike Fuel Band: Function

As a fan of the Nike Fuel Band, this reporter grudgingly agrees with Wired's assessment of the Fitbit Flex's functionality: it makes the Fuel Band look like a child's play thing. The Fitbit Flex tracks sleep, which the Fuel Band simply doesn't do, and you can even set it to vibrate when you want it to wake you up.

In addition, the Fitbit Flex interfaces with the Fitbit scale, if you own one, to keep track of your weight and body fat percentage. Fitbit Flex also interfaces with a number of third-party apps, including MapMyRun, Endomondo and Lose It. 

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