Those of you who are currently using the Fitbit Force need to be aware of a voluntary recall on it. Fitbit chose to recall the product after learning that some people are having allergic reactions to it. More specifically, some people are experiencing allergic contact dermatitis after using Fitbit Force.
Only 1.7% have reported any type allergic reaction. Even so, Fitbit has issued an apology to anyone who has been affected. As a person who has severe allergies (including some that result in allergic contact dermatitis) I applaud Fitbit’s willingness to empathize with people who had an allergic reaction to one of their products.
I do not currently use any of Fitbit’s products. If, later on, I decide I want a wearable activity tracker, I will consider Fitbit over other companies who sell similar devices. Personally, it feels like the products from Fitbit could be more “allergy-friendly” than the products from competitors.
How did the allergic reactions occur? Fitbit hired independent medical experts to investigate. It appears that the allergic contact dermatitis that some people are experiencing is a reaction to either the nickel present in the surgical grade stainless steel that is used in the Fitbit Force. Or, it could be a reaction to the materials used in the strap or the adhesives used to put the product together.
So, Fitbit offered an apology and did a voluntary recall of Fitbit Force. They also took things two steps further. Not only have they stopped selling Fitbit Force, but they also are offering a refund directly to customers for the full retail price of their Fitbit Force. I think Fitbit made excellent decisions after learning that some customers were experiencing skin irritation from Fitbit Force.
I received my Fitbit Force on Saturday, although I wasn’t able to pick it up at the apartment rental office until Monday. I have now been using it for two days now and overall I love it.
In the package is the Fitbit Force, a charging cable and the wireless syncing dongle. The only directions you get is to go to the Fitbit setup site. It is there that you down load the software to link the Fitbit Force to your computer and finish the set up. The one thing I did appreciate was the fact that the Fitbit Force was charged up enough when I received it so that I could use immediately after the setup. After two full days of usage I am currently charging it. With a full charge it is supposed to last 7–10 days. It actually finished charging in about an hour.
If you are unfamiliar with the Fitbit family of products, they are basically pedometers on steroids. They measure the number of steps you have taken, how far you have walked or run and how many stairs you have climbed (except the Fitbit Flex). You can also use them to measure your sleep profile. The Fitbit Force is similar to the Fitbit Flex in that unlike Fitbit’s previous products you wear it on your wrist instead of clipping it to your clothing. However, unlike the Fitbit Flex the Force has a screen so you can see everything right on the device. I have used it both at night and during the daytime and the OLED screen can easily be seen in both bright sunshine and in the dark. There is one small button on the side that you use to toggle through the various screens and to start or stop the stop watch if you are timing your walk or run. It can also be used as a watch, although you do have to hit the button for the screen to become visible. If you want to use it to track your sleeping habits you simply tap on the button twice just before you fall asleep to start the timer. Then in the morning tap it twice again to stop it. The Fitbit Force can tell when you have been awake at night or restless and when you have been asleep. It is also water-resistant, I wore it while bathing and washing dishes without any problem. However I wouldn’t recommend wearing it swimming or snorkeling.
Now the bad news, the Fitbit Force is ugly. The band is made of a rubber like material and at this point comes in only two colors, black and a dull metallic blue. It is ugly but it appears to be durable. It is slightly wider then the Fitbit Flex for the screen. Everything is in one piece, so if you have a problem with the wrist strap or the screen you have no choice but to send the whole device back. It is also a pain in the neck to put on if you are doing it by yourself. You have to put little nibs into their corresponding holes and then press them together. Try to do that with one hand it is not easy.
I previously had the Fitbit Ultra which basically does the same thing as the Fitbit Force, except tell time. I liked it also; however I kept forgetting to clip it to my clothing, I would lose it or it would accidentally get put through the washer. I don’t have that problem with the Fitbit Force, it just stays on my wrist. However it is about two times as much in price. Whether it is worth twice as much is something you will have to decide. Some people have tried to compare it to a smart watch, it is not a smart watch, so if you are looking for a smart watch this is not the gadget for you. However if you are looking for something that measures your steps and the distance you have walked and then syncs back to your computer or smart phone then the Fitbit Force maybe just what you are looking for. I am happy with the decision I made and I would recommend the Fitbit Force.