Fitbit are probably the most recognizable brand name in the wearable fitness tracker game and have produced models to meet most needs. However, it seems strange that they have never produced a genuine Fitbit for swimming. Until now. The Fitbit Flex 2 is the successor to the hugely successful Flex, with the added bonus of it being waterproof so that you can swim or shower whilst wearing it.
As the Flex 2’s tracking module is 30 percent smaller than their other products, the Flex 2 sits small and thin on the wrist. This is a nice change of pace for people that want to wear their fitness tracker for comfort and purpose rather than as a fashion statement.
However, that extra size was shaved off by removing the display from the device, helping give the Fitbit Flex 2 an extra dimension; waterproofing. Aesthetically, the out of the box design is functional. Luckily, the modular approach allows you to camouflage your fitness tracker in a design that is slightly more appealing, like a bangle.
You will need to spend the extra money to find a band design for the tracker you like and there are plenty of options available including pedants, necklaces and different colors of band via third party sellers or Amazon. Without a screen, you’d never guess it was a fitness tracker at a glance. However, one of the best innovations to the design of the new Flex 2 is the clasp.
In Fitbits, the clasp has always been where the product lost some points because it never felt like the bracelet would stay in place. However, because this is a model for swimmers, they either had to change their clasp style or release a bad product because water rushing under a loose bracelet on the wrist would greatly affect the accuracy of a number of the tracking features while in the water. This time around, they added a clasp that keeps things tight to the wrist. Once it is on, good luck trying to yank it off. It is this innovation that we hope makes it to the bands of other Fitbit models because it is snug, yet comfortable. However, the clasp can make it a bit of a challenge if you want to get it off quickly.
Features of the Fitbit Flex 2
The biggest advance in the Fitbit Flex 2 is full waterproofing and swim tracking capabilities. It is approved for depths up to 50 meters, which includes saltwater use. This also means that even non-swimmers don’t have to worry about hopping in the shower and ruining their expensive fitness tracker.
Whilst there are other swim-tracking fitness trackers available that give you a lot more focused metrics specific to the pool, the Fitbit Flex 2 still does a decent job of measuring your swim. It can give you an overview of how many calories you burned swimming, how long you swam for, distance, pace, and stroke monitoring for freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly swimming. All great stats to monitor if you like to keep track of if your swimming is improving.
On the downside, the SmartTrack feature of the Flex 2 has issues tracking your strokes if like me you are not a strong swimmer. As the tracker requires continuous motion to track effectively you will still get accurate calories burned, time, and distance, but the strokes count maybe a little bit out.
While the new swim functionality is the major selling point of the Fitbit Flex 2, unless you are a mermaid (or merman), you will be using the Flex 2 for more than just tracking your swimming. The lack of a display means you can’t visually see your numbers or even tell the time on the Flex 2. Instead it goes back to the original Fitbit design by showing your progress in a series of LED lights. Each light that is lit up represents a portion of whatever your daily step goal is. A neat simple and effective way of showing your progress.
To communicate to you, the Flex 2 use its lights and a series of vibrations that seem like they would be easily differentiated, but aren’t. However, the fact that it only vibrates when you achieve a goal or receive a phone call or text isn’t really an issue as it is easier to tell the difference by looking at the color of the LEDs.
It’s easier to remember that blue stands for calls or text rather than trying to feel out how long the vibration was.
The LED display model limits the amount of information you can see, but you can easily open the great tracking app on your phone to get more specific numbers and plan the rest of your day accordingly. One of the more awesome new features that come with the app that was included in the release of the Flex 2 as well as the Charge 2 is something called Adventures.
Adventures are basically challenges that can motivate you to go further and do better. For example, if you want to hike a particular trail in your nearby National Park, the app finds out how many steps it takes to walk that. So if the trail takes 15,000 steps and you walked 15,000 steps that day, it feels like you walked that trail just going about your day. You can even challenge multi-day trails like Hadrian’s Wall or the Appalachian Trail for long-term challenges. It is a pretty fun motivational tool if nothing else.
Aside from its new motivational tool, the app comes with all the standard features that you would expect. It tracks your calories, steps, distance, and sleep tracking like other models and provides you a wide array of metrics so you can view and compare your data over the days, weeks, and months however you would like and adjust your goals accordingly.
Finally, let’s discuss the battery. You would think that the lack of a screen and the use of only connect GPS would extend the battery life, but it seems this isn’t the case with only a five-day battery life. If you are used to wearing screened models, this is pretty much the standard. However, with the lack of what are referred to as “power drain” features, that much battery life is a lot less than you would expect.