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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Apple Watch vs FitBit Charge HR: A Real Life Fit Mom Review {Which Should I Buy? Which is better?}

Ever since I started working out with my Polar heart rate monitor about 10 years ago, it's kinda become an addiction for me at the gym - or when running outside, etc...    BUT, who likes wearing the stupid heart rate monitor chest strap?  It's probably the most accurate heart rate monitor method I've found thus far, but it's annoying... and REALLY annoying when you've got a baby already crowding the space between your chest and pelvis.

Anyway, over the years I've tried a lot of things .. the soft Polar strap, the original plastic one, and even other methods / contraptions like Body Media, etc...

One thing that has evolved with heart rate and movement detection is when and how much info we want collected.   Meaning - it's not just for exercising anymore.  We want to see our resting daily heart rate averages, calorie burn, etc... and we don't just want to know how many steps we've taken, but how many floors we've scaled, miles we walked, and WHERE we walked, etc... ALL DAY.

But why stop there ...

With the introduction of the Apple Watch - we can now do things we never thought possible - from our wrist.   {REAL TALK ALERT} I'm NOT a techy by ANY stretch, so this is not a complete and in-depth technical review of the FitBit OR the Apple Watch.  BUT, as a busy, fit mom, I think my experience with each can help someone looking to choose between the two - or possibly upgrade from the FitBit to the Apple Watch, like I did a couple months ago!


Pros -  
~Price, under $200.
~ I loved wearing it overnight to see my sleep patterns AND as a silent wakeup alarm, which I think my husband really appreciated.  
~I really liked having the simple and eye-pleasing app on my iPhone that would show me my daily, weekly, monthly progress and resting HR, plus interact with FitPal - but I haven't been entering calories, etc.. since I've been pregnant, so thus far, I've not missed this feature.
~Caller ID is a HUGE upgrade over the previous FitBit models... though it didn't work consistently ... which isn't really a knock on the HR, it just has to be pretty close to your phone to work.
~Battery lasts several days without having to be re-charged.

Cons -
~Accuracy.  I reallllyy have some questions about the heart rate accuracy on this.  I'd look down midway through a workout and the HR readout would be 0 .... like, often.  Annoying when I was working my ass off.  The steps and such I think were pretty good, but the HR and calorie estimate I didn't fully trust.
~The little screen was a bit hard to see in bright sun.
~Lack of features and GPS - although FitBit does have an option with GPS and I really didn't miss features until I got the iWatch.  
~This is a pro AND con, but the company sent me 2 free replacements within about 15 months time because the face cracked on my first one and my second one basically just died.  The customer service cannot be beat.  They didn't beat me up over dates and receipts, etc... and I didn't even have to return the broken ones.  MAJOR thumbs up on customer service!
~Not waterproof - though I wore it in my pool accidentally for a few seconds a couple times without a problem.
~Difficult to learn how to put on yourself.

Best -  Silent alarm that you can use as a morning alarm, among other uses throughout the day as reminders!

Worst - Accuracy ... not collecting my hard work and peaking HRs during workouts is super annoying.

Final Take -  Simple and easy if you want a watch that keeps up with your busy lifestyle, tracks steps, has a long battery life, and you mostly want it for tracking workouts.  I'd still recommend this to someone looking for a cost effective way to get several good features.


Pros -
~Custom color and size combos
~Many different uses besides just tracking workouts ... my faves include having the current outdoor temperature, ability to set a quick timer, time, date, and notification alert on the home screen with a quick glance.  Need a jacket this morning?  Temp is right there.  Remember to turn off TV after 30 minutes of screen time for the kiddos?  Easy.  What the hell day is it?  All right there on your home screen just by looking at your wrist. LOVE.
~Of course loving not having to flip through my entire bag to find my phone when it's ringing when I'm out at a store, I can silence it from my watch ... also see and respond to text messages without finding my phone.  It's like the phone-watch equivalent of keyless-go in my car! Thumbs up!  When we're out on a date night, or I'm out with friends, I don't feel the need to have my phone sitting out on the table to make sure the sitter or daddy is calling with issues ...
~HR accuracy ... so I bought this to replace my FitBit HR so the heart rate tracker was super important to me.  Why do I think this is more accurate?  When I'm doing an Orange Theory class (which a chest strap and HR up on the big monitor) my Apple Watch has the same HR within 1 or 2 BBM.  I trust the HR strap, therefore I think this watch is fairly accurate during workouts.
~The look of the watch is a bit more refined and nice ... I even wore it to the Kentucky Derby in a nice dress and hat because I can't stand to go without it!!

Cons -
~Price .. it's about twice the price of the FitBit HR... AND as with anything Apple, there's always going to be a better version (probably) within a year of when you purchase ... so like with the iPhone, you gotta keep up with the technology!
~Still not waterproof - and I haven't dare tested how 'water-resistant' it is.
~Battery life --- grrrr --- every night guys.  Every night.  i've gotten used to it now and have a cool nightstand charger that I love, but say goodbye to the silent alarms and sleep pattern analysis.
~Doesn't check HR constantly like the FitBit does.
~Glass screen ... hasn't been a problem yet, we'll see.

Best -  Accuracy on HR when working out and all the fun extras - like the weather, texts, etc....

Worst -  Having to charge it every night

Final Take - LOVE!  I've had it about 2 months now and I'm sold.  Just like with every other Apple device,  I can't live without it and I'll be getting the next version they come out with when that finally happens.  I think this is a great device for busy moms ... it kinda does it all!  I can't think of a feature I wish it had, but I do miss sleeping in it and getting the silent 'vibe' alarms to wake up.


For me, it's the Apple Watch.  Honestly, it's kinda comparing apples to oranges (no pun intended) but I'm sure there are some people out there looking to choose or upgrade and hopefully this will help!

Happy Mother's Day! :)

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