The Good The Fitbit Force makes it easy to track steps, sleep, and calories. Its wrist strap design is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and also functions as a watch.The Force syncs wirelessly over Bluetooth, and Fitbit’s solution provides plenty of ways to sift through fitness data.
The Bad Closing the Fitbit Force’s strap shut is a challenge. Direct syncing is only available with newer iPhones, the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, and Note 2 handsets.
The Bottom Line The Fitbit Force leaps to the top of the fitness tracker heap, with a bright screen, comfortable fit, and a bevy of slick features.
A fitness tracker tour de force
Editors' note, February 21, 2014: Fitbit has halted the sale of this product after a small number of consumers experienced skin irritation while wearing it. (Our review sample created no problem for CNET editors during our testing period). Those users can return the product for a full refund. We'll update this review once Fitbit provides more details on the product's future.
When the Fitbit Flex was released last May, it volleyed for dominance with the Nike FuelBand and Jawbone Up in the emerging category of bracelet-style wearable fitness trackers. Less than six months later, though, the Flex is already old hat. The $130 Fitbit Force takes the same basic bracelet design and adds a real miniature OLED screen -- instead of a cryptic series of notification lights -- so you can see bright, legible readouts of your physical activity. In addition to toggling through all of that data -- your daily steps, how well you sleep, how many calories you consume -- you also get the time, making the Force a credible smartwatch (or, at least, a smart enough watch.)
No, the Fitbit Force can't log your heart rate like the Withings Pulse or automatically log your sleep like the Basis Band, and its call notification feature wasn't active during our initial testing. But the winning combination of its comfortable and water-resistant wristband design, the bright and legible OLED display, and Fitbit's easy-to-use iOS and Android companion apps make the Fitbit Force the best fitness tracker to date. You just might want to wait to see what Nike has on track for October 15 before adding the Force to your shopping cart, however.
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