Fitbit Luxe REVIEW – Less is more
The latest Fitbit bucks the ugly trend with a slinky look that will appeal to those with design sense, writes PAT PILCHER.
Like most people, my wife really likes the idea of a fitness tracker. The trouble is that most fitness trackers seem to be designed for men. That is, men with big wrists. Making matters worse, most fitness trackers seem to have the style of a location tracker worn on the ankles of a crim on home detention.
Fitbit reckons they might have this wee issue sorted with their latest tracker, the Fitbit Luxe. It offers all the Fitbit basics such as heart rate monitoring, step counting, sleep tracking and exercise modes. This comes in a design that’s sufficiently slinky that my wife will wear it.
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So, what’s the big deal on the design front with the Luxe? For a start, it’s smaller and thinner than previous Fitbits. This means that it’s a lot comfier to sleep with (which is handy given its sleep tracking capabilities), and it sits better on smaller wrists. It comes in three different colourways too. I was excited by the soft gold with a white band which gives it a premium look. The platinum body and a pink band combo also looks good. Sadly, the review unit I was sent was the black-on-black design. While it might appeal to Darth Vader wannabes, it doesn’t really look Luxe-like compared to the other two.
Many fitness trackers sport a Tupperware look. Not the Luxe, though. Its stainless steel body feels built to last. Out of the box, its bands are crafted out of silicon with a metal buckle. This is seemingly at odds with the branding but does lend an attractive look. That said, many people suffer from skin irritation issues with silicon straps. I’d have thought that leather or even alloy band would have been a better option. In the box, however, you do get both small and large bands that will fit wrists 5.5 to 7.1-inches and 7.1 to 8.7-inches.
One area where Fitbit’s Luxe earns its moniker is with its stainless-steel case and AMOLED colour display. While its display is on the small side (0.76-inches diagonally from corner to corner) it’s bright and vivid, sporting a 206 by 124 resolution. For use in daylight conditions, it worked fine.
There are a few drawbacks given its petite form factor. It doesn’t come with the altimeter, GPS, and mobile payment support that you’d get with Fitbit’s Charge 4, and its smaller form factor also means a smaller battery. That translates into around half the battery life of the Inspire 2. All told, the Luxe offers similar functionality to Fitbit’s Inspire 2, with everything tucked away in a significantly smaller design.
From a useability perspective, the big news is that there are no physical buttons, which translates into navigation via swipes and screen taps. It doesn’t have an always-on display, meaning the screen turns off after a few seconds of inactivity. To wake the Luxe up, lifting your wrist usually does the job. Failing that, a double tap on its screen works too. To navigate back from any screen, swipe from left to right. Swiping up lets you view the date and your battery status plus Active Zone Minutes, calories, heart rate and a host of other fitness stats. Swiping downwards gives you access to settings.
Under its hood, Fitbit has managed to cram lots of sensors and other clever bits into the Luxe’s tiny interior. You get an accelerometer, an optical heart rate monitor and sensors for blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring. Topping things off, the Luxe is water-resistant to about 50 metres.
If you’re looking for a fitness tracker that didn’t hit every branch of the ugly tree on the way to the ground, the Luxe is a good option. Its slim, compact design, vivid display and features prove that good things come in tiny packages.