When Fitbit was first released, it was touted as the new great piece of technology that would help users lose weight and feel good about themselves. The goal of the Fitbit is to track a user’s steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and sleep time and quality, according to its own website. There are also other, less known functions available, such as controlling music, monitoring a user’s heart rate beyond their workout, GPS tracking, receiving call and text notifications, tracking time using the activity mode, sharing information with other activity or weight loss apps, setting alarms, and reminding users of its need to charge.
Then in 2014, the creators of Fitbit announced three new wristbands: the Charge, Charge HR, and Surge. The Charge was the Fitbit meant to replace a previously recalled Fitbit, the Fitbit Force. The Charge was barely a step up from the original Fitbit, only adding Caller ID and Watch and Display to its list of features. It is not waterproof, but is water-resistant to splashes and sweat. It also had a new non-reactive band in an attempt to prevent the rashes caused by the Fitbit Force. However, users reported many flaws of this Fitbit.
It was reported the edges of the Charge were likely to get caught on items such as coats, instead of having a round edge and simply letting clothing items slide over it. Another flaw was the clasp. Fitbit mentioned that the clasp was supposed to be an improvement from previous clasps and easier to put on. However, users reported that though the clasp worked better at first, it became looser over time and not able to detect heart rate, steps, etc., as easily. Sadly, even though the Charge was supposed to not cause a rash to break out as the Force caused, some users still reported rashes caused from wearing the Charge.
These flaws make the Fitbit Charge not very competitive to the new and incredibly popular game Pokémon Go. The Fitbit was originally designed to motivate users to walk 10,000 steps, count their calories, and slowly increase steps to increase weight loss. Pokémon Go is not a game intended for weight loss and fitness, but it has many advantages over the Fitbit Charge. The first is that the game does not cause rashes, and however long one can hold a phone, one can play the game. The second advantage is that it encourages users to get outside and explore their world. The Charge may motivate users to walk and complete their ‘required’ steps, but Pokémon Go encourages outdoor exploration.
The third advantage of Pokémon Go follows closely with the second in that the Pokémon Go game encourages user interaction. Though Fitbit users may talk to each other about aspects of the technology or how many steps they have increased to, how much weight they have lost, or even share this information on social media, the nostalgia and comrade-like atmosphere of Pokémon Go will pair people who have never met before and allow them to connect in a way exercising alone never will. Though there are really only these three advantages of Pokémon Go compared to Fitbit Charge, they are arguably more important than losing weight. Pokémon Go is a fun, inclusive, adventurous game that unites people of all backgrounds, races, and ages. This may make it healthier and more advantageous than any piece of technology meant for losing weight.