Fitbit vs. BodyBugg review


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I love gadgets.  Having used both the Fitbit and the BodyBugg for about 6 months apiece,  here’s a quick comparison.

1.  Wearability.   Fitbit is tiny and clips on just about anywhere.  It’s so unobtrusive, you forget it’s there.  BodyBugg is a large armband, with an optional display watch that looks like something a 12 year old boy would wear to help decode secret spy messages.  Its armband is velcro, and tears apart, and they’ll send you a new one whenever yours tears apart.

2. Accuracy.  BodyBugg has a similar motion detector to the FitBit but also measures 3 other readings which may lend some additional accuracy.   Neither can sense action that doesn’t activate their sensors, so they’re both going to be somewhat inaccurate.  Perhaps they’re about 90% accurate, from their press.  Update:  In my personal testing, BodyBugg’s readings match up slightly better with those of a traditional calories burned calculator web site.

3.  Usefulness.  Both depend on measuring your caloric deficit so they have to have you type your food consumption into a web site accurately.  BodyBugg has a really corny Java application that’s touchy to work with.  Fitbit wins hands down in the food logging area.

4. Interruption of your day.  Fitbit wirelessly syncs when you walk past its USB connected sensor.  BodyBugg has to be physically taken off and plugged in, unless you buy a $50 wireless connector.  But BodyBugg makes up for this a bit in that different models work with an iPhone/Android or plastic watch-type display to give you an idea of what’s being recorded.  Though it does not match what the web site gives you, precisely.  Update:  Fitbit now has an iPhone app.

5. Cost.  Bodybugg costs twice what FitBit does.  They’re working with Jillian Michaels on a less expensive version, per her podcast.  Update:  apparently this Jillian project is for a competing device, not the BodyBugg.  BodyBugg has been as is, where is, take it or leave it for approximately 2 years other than their SP version which uses your iPhone/Android as the display unit instead of using the wrist display.

6.  Sleep monitoring.  FitBit gives you a somewhat useful indicator of how many hour’s sleep you’re getting.  There is a BodyBugg variant from another provider that does provide similar numbers.

7.  Other.  FitBit is very small and tends to get lost, if you tend to lose things.  But you can totally hide your use of it from prying eyes, unlike the BodyBugg that has that armband.  FitBit counts steps better.  BodyBugg has a way cool as-of-right-now trip odometer you can use to judge how many calories you’ve burned in your bout of exercise.

8.  Interoperability.  Since we initially wrote this article, FitBit has done an amazing job of providing an open interface for other products/web sites to communicate with.  From the Withings wifi bathroom scales, to the really terrific RunKeeper app, FitBit now inter-operates with a wide range of other sites and devicies.   BodyBugg does not.

Overall:  I’ll go with the FitBit.  It’s not as accurate but it’s priced much more affordably,  it interrupts your day much less, it has almost no requirement for jacking around with your PC trying to get it to work, and it has a better food logging system.

Speaking of which.  If you’re going to lose weight, and not going to count calories, neither one of these devices is going to do its intended caloric deficit monitoring.  Save your money for something else.  Only buy one of these if you’re planning to log intake calories with it.

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