By Conner Carey on Tue, 12/13/2016
For Christmas last year, I decided to splurge on myself by buying the Apple Watch. This was long before we even knew when an Apple Watch series 2 would make its debut, and I wasn’t willing to wait. I got it and quickly fell in love with all (well, most) of its features. Sure, apps loaded far too slowly, but I rarely used it for third-party apps. Having directions on my wrist when driving, skipping songs in two taps from the watch, and easily tracking activity throughout my day were the features I used and loved the most. But I got really tired of constantly being in touch. Honestly, I don’t need half the functions the Apple Watch has and I always feel slightly weird wearing one in public, “Walking Apple nerd, coming through.” So this Christmas, I decided to simplify. With a desire to improve my fitness in the coming year, I looked for a wearable that focused more on health tracking and less on everything else. I set a budget of a hundred dollars and required the wearable also be waterproof. Hello, Fitbit Flex 2 ($99.95). Here’s my five reasons I’m replacing my Apple Watch with a Fitbit Flex 2 this year.
5. Battery Life
This one is a doozy for the Apple Watch. At best, the Apple Watch battery will last all day. However, owners who use their Apple Watch far more frequently than I did, complain of the battery becoming too low for use by midafternoon. Either way you look at it, the Apple Watch (at least the original; I can’t personally speak for the series 2) needs to be charged every night. We’re pretty used to charging our iPhones every night, and it’s not hard to charge your Apple Watch every night, but it’s just another thing to plug in. And who needs that.
The Fitbit Flex 2 lasts five days, and it really does last five days. That means I can charge it on Sunday night and get through the entire week of work without needing to charge it at all. I’m pretty darn lazy on the weekends, so tracking my activity isn’t as important then. For me, it becomes a once-a-week charge. Pretty nice.
4. All-in-One App
The Apple Watch relies on both the Watch and Activity app. We use the Watch app for settings, layout, and multiple other things. We use the Activity app to get a better picture of our daily activity, share it with friends, and look at workouts. If you want to track your food intake, water intake, or sleep activity, you’ll need yet another app for that—whether an Apple app or third-party app.
The Fitbit app for the Flex 2, however, contains it all in one simple app, including the Flex 2’s settings. I can open the app and quickly add food, water, exercise, check my steps, look at calories burned, log my weight, and see my sleep patterns. I can turn notifications for messages and calls on or off, change my activity and nutrition goals, and set a silent (vibrational) alarm all from this one app. I said I was simplifying, and it feels so good.
3. Too Connected
Listen ya’ll, I’m a writer. I like peace, quiet, and long extended uninterrupted hours by myself. Although I removed all the unnecessary apps from my Apple Watch and turned off any notifications within the settings that I didn’t want, it still dinged too often. And turning all of those features off felt like I wasn’t using the watch to its fullest capabilities...well, cause I wasn’t. This point combined with the next point (my small sensitive wrists), ultimately led to me to taking the watch off as soon as I got off work, which meant most of the time I was actually moving around, exercising, and going about my life, it wasn’t tracking. For me, personally, my text messages, emails, and Facebook feed can wait. I don’t need to be that connected.
2. My Small Sensitive Wrists
I am not the woman you’ll see with a dozen bracelets scattered elegantly along my wrists. The less jewlery I have on, the more comfortable I am, which is why the Apple Watch became a source of constant attention and irritation throughout my day. If I started to sweat at all, I found myself tugging on it and wiping the moisture away every few minutes. I’d get weird phantom pains in my wrist when wearing it that had no explanation at all except to say my extreme dislike of confined wrists manifested itself in weird ways. I also have pretty small wrists, so it felt particularly large even though I own the smaller watch. As I mentioned above, this meant I took it off as soon as I got home from work. The Fitbit Flex 2, on the other hand, is thin enough and light enough that I easily forget it’s on my wrist. Since I can ignore it, I go about my life while it tracks everything throughout my day.
1. Personal Use
Whether you get the Fitbit Flex 2 or spring for the Apple Watch depends largely on how you’re going to use it. If, unlike me, you want to be able to read a text on your wrist and reply to it immediately, you may prefer the Apple Watch. But if you want to simply know one has come in and be able to reply to it at your leisure, you’ll probably choose the Fitbit Flex 2. It all depends on what is most important to you in a wearable. If a wearable that’s easily forgotten on your wrist, that a does a great job of tracking your activity throughout the day, lasts a full work week, and keeps it all organized in a single app are priorities for you, take a good look at the Fitbit Flex 2. Not to mention the much-easier-to-handle price tag of $99.95. It’s also waterproof, which is my bonus reason I’m making the switch.
Bonus Reason: Waterproof
Even if I sold my original Apple Watch, I would end up spending more on the Apple Watch series 2 than on the Fitbit Flex 2. And my original Apple Watch is certainly not waterproof. I could take my chances; I’ve known plenty of people to successfully shower with their Apple Watch on the regular. But aside from the fact that I would never want to do that, I want my wearable to be waterproof for swimming in lakes, oceans, pools, and waterparks. I didn’t want to take any chances with an item that could have bought new tires for my small vehicle, but with a hundred dollar tracker that's swim-proof and "water resistant up to 50 meters", I’m excited to take my chances in all kinds of water at different depths.
I will say this for the Apple Watch—it’s likely more accurate than the Fitbit Flex 2, simply because it has a heart rate monitor. Apple Watch is an incredible little piece of technology that looks and feels a lot cooler to use than it actually is (in my opinion). However, there are plenty of people who love to use their Apple Watch everyday (like half of the people in our office), but for me, staying less connected, charging my wearable once a week, and forgetting it’s on my wrist are more important.
Choosing a wearable is a personal decision; I recommend making a list of priorities you need and want in a wearable. The Apple Watch is certainly an impressive device, but it’s just not for me. The Fitbit Flex 2, however, is exactly what I need. It motivates me to step up my game while making it easy to keep all the components of my health organized in an easy-to-use app. I love the simplicity, yet it does everything I want a wearable to do. It’s also in a far more comfortable price range, making it a great gift for yourself or someone else.