I’ve been on the “quantified self” fitness train ever since I first saw the super sexy ads for the Nike+ Fuelband. They basically showed people cartwheeling around dark alleys while being insanely cool and fit, and I was like that could be me!
In the many years since then, I’ve done the Nike band and the Fitbit Flex. A couple hundred bucks later, I had abandoned both. Why? Several reasons:
-After a few months, I had internalized the rhythms they taught me about my life. I slept 7 hours and 15 minutes a night. They LOVED it when I went shopping. Did I need the band to tell me what I already knew?
-The battery died all the time. I was sick of charging them.
-They were filthy and broken. And if we’re going to be honest, ugly.
-They had both broken and been replaced by the brand (for free). Their breakability made me feel like they weren’t actually as “water resistant” as they said.
I was ready to give up on the whole category. Then, I saw the Withings Activité Pop. Several things about it seemed to quell my anxieties from former bands.
-It was a watch, and a good-looking one at that. It didn’t look so much like a useless piece of plastic on my wrist.
-It was water resistant enough to track swimming. None of the other bands boasted about their ability to go in the pool, or even in the sink while doing dishes. I wanted points for those activities, dammit!
-It had a cute little dial that subtly showed your steps during the day.
-The Best Feature: It used a watch battery that only needed to be replaced about every eight months. I could hang with that.
The price was about the same as most other fitness bands: $150. If it had heart rate monitoring capabilities I would have been sold for life.
I ordered the black one and also tossed the link to it to my brother-in-law, who purchased one for himself and one for my sister. It’s been about 1.5 years, and we all still wear ours. That is unusual, and I think it’s a compliment to the functionality of the Withings watch.
The brand did replace my watch (no questions asked) at one point, when it suffered from water damage, but I can’t say that didn’t happen with every other fitness band I’ve had. Other than that minor hiccup, it’s mostly been smooth sailing.
Here are some things I love about this fitness tracker.
-It lets you start a competition with other people who have it. See Scotty whooping my butt this week. My sister and her husband are creeping in close as well.
Overall I find its app pretty awesome, if not that different from that of its competitors. To do calorie logging, it tossed me over to MyFitnessPal, which I had never used before. (I’ll just say now that it is far superior than any other, so good judgment on Withings’ part.)
It also coordinates with the Withings Body Composition Wi-Fi Scale. When you first buy this thing, you’re going to be like, why the hell did I spend my money on a glorified scale that saves me two minutes of entering my own weight into an app? But shush that inner critic. I’ve found the data it has collected for me to be quite marvelous over the past 3 or 4 years. (And I have lost almost 15 lbs. since buying it, so it is fun to see that chart have a serious downward spike.) Then think of it this way: If spending a little money helps you ward off diabetes and other health problems, is it really that irrational? (This is also how I justify $13 deconstructed sushi salads, so seriously don’t listen to me when it comes to money. I work in advertising …)
I set my step goal to 11,000 steps a day, because most bands recommend 10,000 and I want to do just slightly better than average without trying to be G.I. Jane. The week when my watch was being replaced by the brand, I did gain some weight. That 11k step goal is seriously motivating. My dog enjoys the benefits of it too. (I would say a dog is equally motivating when it comes to getting off your couch and walking. But that’s another post.)
The days I’ve hit the rare “double goal day” mark have been super exhausting, but I think people in big cities do this regularly. That’s why they can eat all that Instagrammable food.
I’m seriously impressed that this watch has been my loyal friend for so long. The one thing I did to change it was replace the band with a better (but still cheap) band. I bought a magnetic milanese loop band for $18 on Amazon and the watch is more comfortable now, and just looks better.
Overall, I find myself buying into the Withings brand proposition. Their products have stood the test of time, and their website storytelling is kickass. (I even show it to clients as an example sometimes.)
I haven’t tried every fitness band out there, so I’m not saying this one is THE BEST. But it’s the best one I’ve tried, and that’s high praise. I do plan to buy an Apple Watch when they release the second edition, but that is taking forever. I’m very intrigued by its heart rate monitoring technology. I’m less intrigued by its inflated price. Until they seduce me with their own sexy ad, I’m very happy to stick with my Withings Activité Pop. I would recommend one to anyone looking for a reliable device that is waterproof, has a great battery and will be seriously motivating.