Fitness trackers not only track your activity, but they are designed to motivate you to be more active. They usually offer ways to form customizable schedules and healthier habits. The awareness of a device tracking your every move inspires you to get up and move when you become too idle.
Fitbit has been a company dedicated to promoting fitness through several gadgets. From trackers to smartwatches, Fitbit has been in the game for a long time. There are more fitness trackers on the market than can possibly be counted. New technology comes out every year. Some are simple, while others offer more features than anyone could ever want. The Fitbit Zip has been around for a while and is still a go-to fitness tracker for athletes and non-athletes alike.
The Fitbit Zip is an inexpensive fitness tracker released in 2012, yet it still is one of Fitbit’s best-selling trackers. It’s ideal for those who desire basic, simple functionality or those who want something small and discreet. In a nutshell, it tracks your steps, calories and distance. To see each of them, you simply touch the small LCD screen. The Zip has a clip to hook onto your pocket, belt, bra or wherever seems best.
Like all of Fitbit’s gadgets, the Zip is able to connect to the Fitbit app for your smartphone. This allows you to see more in-depth information and analysis, including tracking your goals and comparing your status with friends and family. The biggest benefit is manual input. If you are going on a run or cycling to work, you can manually put in the activity on your phone, and your Zip will know to pay special attention to your activity. However, this can be seen as a downside to those wanting better automatic activity detection.
Don’t worry about having to charge your Zip; it runs on a watch battery that lasts up to six months. It definitely isn’t the best-looking tracker, but it gets the job done. It comes in white, black, green, pink and blue. It’s protected by a silicone skin that’s easy to put on.
When you first turn the tracker on, a smiley-face emoticon looks back at you, meaning all is well and ready to go. To sync to your phone, install and open the Fitbit app. Find and click the Fitbit Zip, and it will begin searching for it via Bluetooth, so make sure it is close by. You can also connect it to your computer to sync that way if you desire.
Syncing can take a while if you’re uploading several days’ worth of data. If you sync daily, it isn’t that big of a deal. Usually, it takes less than 30 seconds. However, syncing more than that can take several minutes, with some wearers claiming it can take over seven minutes.
After it is synced, simply clip the Zip somewhere and start your day. Fitbit recommends clipping it either on your waistband or bra, or placing it in your pocket. It encourages you with a smiley face when you reach your goals and expresses its disappointment when you don’t by displaying an emoticon that sticks its tongue out at you. The downside to a non-wearable tracker like the Zip is that it is incredibly easy to forget. There have been several wearers who have admitted to accidentally putting it into the washing machine after forgetting it was in their pocket. Others have left the house multiple times without it, forgetting to put it on before they leave.
The performance of the Zip is pretty accurate and trustworthy when worn properly. Results are consistent when compared with similar trackers. There are no trackers that give you exact results; that isn’t what they are for. Trackers and step counters give approximations to help you reach goals. If you want to hit 8,000 steps a day, you aren’t necessarily looking for exact counts because you want to get past that number, not hit it exactly. Nevertheless, you do want the approximations to be fairly close, and the Fitbit Zip does a good job of getting you close.
When it comes to tracking sports activities, the Zip isn’t the best. When running or cycling, it often highly underestimates distance and steps. Even when you manually tell it to track a specific activity, like running, via your smartphone, the results are still very inaccurate. The calorie counter is, of course, going to be off because it only uses very basic calculations and doesn’t take your weight, height, age, eating habits, exercise habits and heart rate into account. None of this is surprising, however, because it is not meant to be a full-on fitness tracker. It was designed to track how many steps you walk, how far you’ve walked and a rough estimate of calories burned. Because of its simplicity, the Fitbit Zip does not track sleep or stairs climbed. It’s more of a pedometer than a fitness tracker.
Looking at the app, it’s surprisingly detailed. Fitbit loves charts, so get ready to see lots of them. As mentioned, to track workouts, start and finish time must be entered manually in the app. When logging on, you see your calories, steps and distance. You can shift left and right to see different days. You can also look at your weekly and monthly averages. It tells you the percentage of your goal that has been completed at that moment. It offers fun little awards in the form of badges when you complete a goal, surpass one of your records or have a longevity breakthrough.
The app also has other things like meals, sleep analytics, heart rate, blood pressure and more that can be entered manually since the Zip does not track those things. The meal input, however, could be better. It isn’t international friendly, so many non-American foods and metrics are unavailable. Therefore, the food search database is limited.
The Fitbit app offers limited customization to the Fitbit Zip. You can change display settings or disable certain tracking metrics if you do not desire them. It’s also the place to update firmware for your Zip as it becomes available.
One of the things that has always pleased Fitbit fans is its compatibility with third-party apps. There are dozens of other fitness apps that can be synced to the Zip. Fitbit offers this feature for almost all of their gadgets. The company doesn’t force you to use one particular app, showing that fitness is all that matters.
When compared to similar trackers, the Zip holds its ground for the most part. While its athletic tracking can be inconsistent, its overall daily tracking approximations are close enough to trust. Other trackers with a similar price tag, however, offer sleep tracking. Nevertheless, the Fitbit Zip is excellent for basic, wrist-free fitness tracking, and the Fitbit app is detailed and easy to use.
The Zip features a very easy-to-use screen and no buttons. Changing between activities happens with just a tap of the screen. With each tap, you can scroll through steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, current activity level (smiley face or mocking emoticon with tongue sticking out), and a clock. It’s lightweight and about an inch in size, so it can discreetly be placed on your clothing. It’s comfortable enough to be worn all day. It connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone and has a long-lasting battery. It is compatible with several other third-party apps as well, which is a big plus for many. It works best with iOS. Its Android compatibility is fairly new and only works with the latest Android operating systems.
The Zip can be bought directly from the Fitbit website for $59.95. If you’re an avid Amazon Prime buyer, you’ll be paying a little more. It’s currently listed for $78.99. If you want to save a few bucks, you can check eBay. There are usually some good ones for roughly $40.
- Tracks steps, distance and calories burned
- Syncs automatically to your computer or select bluetooth 4.0 smartphones or tablets
- Set goals, view progress and earn badges; Battery type: 3 volt coin battery
How It Compares
The Fitbit Zip isn’t the only tracker on the market, so it’s important to compare it to similar products. To keep comparisons as fair as possible, the Zip will only be compared to other non-wearable, clip-on trackers. Various aspects are considered to see how the Zip compares to the Spire Stone, the high-end option; and the Garmin vívofit 2 Belt Clip and Fitbug Orb, which are the inexpensive options.
Garmin vívofit 2 Belt Clip
The Spire Stone is the most expensive because it offers more features and focuses on both mind and body. The vívofit and Fitbug are similar in price, with the Zip costing about $40 more.
Ease of Use
Garmin vívofit 2 Belt Clip
The Zip comes out on top with usability. It’s incredibly straightforward and user friendly. The Spire Stone is a little more complicated and only compatible with a certain app on iOS. The vívofit is a close second, with its constant changes and updates holding it back from first place. The Fitbug Orb app takes some getting used to, but once you take a few minutes to run through it, it is easy to understand.
Garmin vívofit 2 Belt Clip
The vívofit comes ready to clip on. The Stone is very quick to assemble; simply place the clip on the Stone, and the Fitbug is similar. The Zip is still very easy to assemble as well, but there are three to four different pieces you have to put together.
Garmin vívofit 2 Belt Clip
The Spire Stone is incredibly durable and is built of high-quality materials. It’s the only one on the list that is washing machine proof. Wearers have complained, however, that it is uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. The vívofit is cheap, and its build shows it. Though the Fitbug Orb is cheap, it has a very sturdy build. The Zip has proved to be of great quality and very durable compared to others.
Garmin vívofit 2 Belt Clip
The Fitbit Zip offers a 40-day free return warranty and a one-year limited warranty. The Spire Stone is close behind with a 30-day return policy and one-year limited warranty. Garmin offers a 14-day return policy and a one-year limited warranty for the vívofit. The Fitbug only offers a one- week return policy along with its one-year limited warranty.
- Stress Control: Spire's patented respiration sensor measures your breathing patterns all-day to help you keep control...
- When You Need It: If your breathing becomes tense or erratic, a gentle notification gives you actions you can take to...
- Calm Down: Unlock the calming power of your own breath with visual exercises and guided meditations
- Vivofit 2 Belt Clip Accessory
- Design that delivers high availability, scalability, and for maximum flexibility and price/performance
- Manufactured In China
- The Fitbug Orb tracks your steps, distance walked, calories burned and sleep and Compatible with iPhone 4s/5/5s/5c,iPod...
- Send your steps and sleep data wirelessly to a compatible smartphone or tablet, or via an optional dongle(sold...
- The Fitbug Orb comes with your personal digital coach, which motivates you to move more, sleep better and eat well
Overall, the Fitbit Zip is a great little tracker for basic analysis. It would also work well for entry-level fitness trackers getting their feet wet. It is simple to use and inexpensive. The app allows for more in-depth analysis of your fitness results and customizable goals. It terms of fitness motivation, it doesn’t have a lot going for it. However, the build quality is very sturdy and lasts a long time. It may be a 2012 tracker, but its ease of use, simplicity, battery life, affordability and app compatibility make it a great pick even still.