Bear in mind Jawbone? One in every of my first wearables was the UP2, a modern bangle-like fitness tracker that offered primary sleep monitoring. I fell in love with its slim, unassuming type issue. A screenless well being monitor that I may put on alongside my analog watch? It was the dream! However when the flailing firm folded and killed off its app, I upgraded to a Fitbit Flex 2. I wore it till the rubberized coating bubbled and boiled. Ultimately, I tossed the torn-up gadget, however I by no means forgot about it.

Issues have modified drastically since then. The wearable panorama has transitioned to bigger shows, and screenless health trackers are not as common as they as soon as have been. Regardless of these developments, I’m wondering how nice a screenless tracker with trendy {hardware} could possibly be. A Fitbit Flex 3, if you’ll. It could be a case of irrational nostalgia, however I dearly need Google and Fitbit to grant me my want.

However, in case you give the idea some thought, it may additionally be the impressed play Fitbit must hold its model related versus the rise of the Pixel Watch.

Would you like a contemporary screenless tracker like a Fitbit Flex 3?

14 votes

Outdated is new once more

jawbone up2 screenless fitness tracker 1

Andy Walker / Android Authority

Within the early 2010s, bangle-like health trackers dominated the wearables market. Fitbit kicked off mass enchantment with the unique Flex in 2013. Jawbone, Misfit, and even Sony all as soon as produced a tool on this class, however the Fitbit Flex 2 was arguably probably the most profitable of the lot. Launched in 2017, the water resistant wearable lastly made swim monitoring an accessible actuality. It additionally provided sleep and exercise monitoring and automated exercise monitoring (even the Pixel Watch doesn’t have this characteristic but).

Regardless of my appreciation of this gadget, there was lots to dislike. It lacked the refinement we’ve come to count on from trendy wearables. Apps weren’t informative or user-friendly, whereas battery life and construct high quality left lots to be desired. Because the demand for options grew, Fitbit killed off the Flex to make approach for the Encourage and Cost collection (the Inspire 3 and Charge 5 being the latest). Giant, punchy shows at the moment are mainstays on health trackers from all main corporations.

Although its new gadgets resemble smartwatches, Fitbit is as soon as once more a health tracker firm. It ought to embrace that

With the launch of the Pixel Watch this yr, Google confirmed its future lies with large-screen Wear OS-powered smartwatches. The Pixel Watch is now the premier Fitbit, relegating the feature-stripped Sense 2 and Versa 4 into the glorified health tracker league. Although these gadgets resemble smartwatches, Fitbit is as soon as once more a health tracker firm.

Extra studying: Google and Fitbit are denying us the super-watch we all want

The cons aren’t cons in any respect

For Fitbit, this can be a likelihood to revive its roots and focus its efforts on a style it helped popularize. The Fitbit Flex 2 was nice due to its simplicity, and the obvious cons of this idea are not obtrusive points.

A health tracker with no display isn’t hamstrung by what it lacks. Its perceived weak spot is a energy. Screens breed distraction. I take advantage of a Fitbit Sense 2 and obsessively test my well being stats as they tick over, however I do recognize its array of sensors. These sensors assist push me in the direction of my targets, not the show.

A health tracker’s worth lies in long-term stat monitoring, not obsessing over momentarily displayed data

Early gadgets relied on screens to showcase this data, however apps at the moment are absolutely able to play this function. They’ve improved in leaps and bounds for the reason that Flex 2 days. The Fitbit app was once a laggy mess, with fixed syncing points and an absence of study and steering. It’s now a mature expertise that enhances the health tracker’s talents. Solely counting on apps permits corporations to current health and well being info higher, making tiny enhancements and important positive factors extra rewarding and comprehensible with context. General, this makes for a deeper appreciation of your wellness journey.

There are many different execs, too. From improved packaging know-how that will enable even higher {hardware} in a compact, screenless bangle to decrease manufacturing prices as a result of lack of a display and essential elements, screenless trackers have their place within the trendy world. With out the necessity to drive a power-hungry AMOLED display, battery life may see a sizeable bump too. An unassuming, easy gadget may enchantment to a broader market, from picky fashionistas to technophobes.

A niche available in the market

screenless fitness trackers 1

Andy Walker / Android Authority

In fact, it can take lots to persuade customers that screenless health trackers have a spot available in the market. Some corporations may argue that health trackers of their present type are profitable as they’re. Why change up the system? The Xiaomi Mi Band collection provides all the things you may need in a compact, reasonably priced health tracker. It’s remarkably versatile and supplies nice worth for cash with its sub-$50 worth. Nevertheless, Xiaomi’s trackers have their very own checklist of issues, probably the most obtrusive of which is the complicated app state of affairs.

The actual worth of a display-free health tracker is its compact, unassuming type issue

However equating the screenless health tracker idea with present gadgets misses the purpose completely. The actual worth of a display-free health tracker is its compact, unassuming type issue. A tool that sits in your wrist comfortably and out of the best way, quietly retains tabs in your well being, goes ages with out recharging, and sends insightful knowledge again to a robust app is a significant expertise that only a few different corporations supply. Whoop is spearheading the class, however at an exorbitant month-to-month subscription payment.

With Google clarifying and cementing its place within the wearables world, Fitbit should do the identical. A screenless health tracker would give its model one thing comparatively distinctive available in the market. Google would additionally acquire a tool in an underexplored area of interest with an improve path to its personal smartwatch collection.

In fact, any firm may realistically play on this phase. I’d welcome a discreet screenless Garmin tracker in a heartbeat. However a Fitbit Flex 3 is the gadget I crave.

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