Fitbit vs Bodybugg SP? Which one is a better personal fitness tracker? I was previously in the market for a fitness tracker so I did a ton of research to try to find the right one for me. In the end, I found that these two (Fitbit and Bodybugg SP) are the best of breed when it comes to fitness trackers. I’m sure you’ve come to the same conclusion too if you are in the market for a fitness tracker. In this post, I’d like to share my research findings so hopefully I can help you figure out which one is the right one for you.
Quick Side-by-Side Comparison
Tiny clip that can clip onto your clothes.
The device is a bit bigger than the fitbit and must be worn on an arm band.
|Accuracy||Only accurate if you perform activities that don't compromise the motion sensor.||Only accurate if you perform activities that don't compromise the motion sensor. More accurate than the fitbit at determining calorie expenditure due to the 4 sensors.|
|Synchronization||Automatically syncs wirelessly with the fitbit base.||User must manually trigger sync through the bodybugg application, which sync through USB or wireless (optional wireless transceiver accessory - $50).|
|On device display||Simple display that shows today's data: steps taken, activity level, calories burned, and miles walked.||None. You can sync to your android phone or iPhone via bluetooth to view live data or you can purchase an optional wrist display accessory which shows stats similar to the Fitbit.|
|Battery life||2 weeks till depletion on full day and night wear||2 weeks till depletion on day wear only (since it doesn't track sleep)|
|Web management interface subscription price||Free. Optional premium upgrade available for $49.99 per year.||Free for 6 months. Subscription renewals cost:|
|Web management food tracker||Dead simple and super fast to log food (especially when logging common foods). Food database is pretty complete and also supports custom foods.||Has receipes, menus, and planning help. Dead simple to log food. Food database is pretty complete and also supports custom foods.|
|Waterproofness||Water repellant (cannot be submerged in water)||Water repellant (cannot be submerged in water)|
|Price||$99.95||$199.00 + accessories cost + recurring subscription cost|
My Impressions of Fitbit
What I like about it:
Easy to get started.
The Fitbit came halfway charged and it took me less than 5 minutes to pair the device with the web management interface.
Can be worn almost anywhere.
The Fitbit’s is a clip that lets you clip it to almost anything you’re wearing. Also, it’s so small that it’s non-obtrusive and pretty much invisible if worn under your clothes. This makes it so that I feel comfortable to wear it all day everyday.
No need to think to sync.
The charger base wirelessly and automatically syncs the data on your Fitbit to the cloud. All I had to do to sync is to be near the charger base and off my data goes!
Tracks sleep activity.
The Fitbit can be worn at night to track how much sleep you get each night. It lets you know how long it takes for you to fall asleep and how often you awaken during the night.
Has a built-in display on the clip.
The device is so simple, yet so useful. There’s button on the Fitbit that will cycle display for: steps taken, distance travelled, and calories burned. It’s nice to see how well you’ve been doing without having to sync and log into the web management interface.
The web management interface is extremely slick and free!
The online interface plots your daily activity level in a beautiful graph and also keeps historical data. You can also use it to log additional activities, food intake, heart rate, weight, blood pressure, and blood glucose level. I particularly love the ability to log food intake. In my opinion, this is by far the best interface for quickly logging daily food intake. You can even create common meals (e.g. I eat oatmeal and an orange every morning) and quickly log those. You can also share your stats with friends who also has a Fitibit. All this for free!
Fitbit online also offers a premium subscription for $49.99 per year to be able to see detailed statistics, see historical data graphs, and export your data. You can get a glimpse of the online interface starting at 0:32 in the following video:
What I’m not too fond of:
I question the accuracy of the sensor.
The Fitbit sensor uses motion to detect how much your body moves at a particular intensity. I have a gut feeling that it doesn’t have enough data to figure out exactly how many calories I am burning each day. People with different body compositions burn calories at a different rate (people with more muscle burn calories faster). With that in mind, I can only use the Fitbit as a relative gauge instead of an exact one.
The device is tiny yet it is not fully waterproof.
I wasn’t planning on swimming with the Fitbit, but there is a bigger issue due to lack of waterproofness. The Fitbit is so small and unobtrusive that you WILL forget that it’s clipped onto your clothes. It’s really hard to remember to take off the Fitbit when you take off my clothes to throw into the hamper [and eventually the washing machine]. Once it goes through the washing machine, it’s most certainly game over for the Fitbit. I suggest that you get yourself a necklace and wear the Fitbit on the necklace under your clothes to help avoid this problem.
Compromising the motion sensor screws with your data.
When I’m driving or riding in a car, I am constantly shaking. This makes the sensor think that I’m doing something active so it logs that I’m taking steps. Also if I’m working out on a stationary bike, the intensity level doesn’t register well because I’m barely moving. I wish that there’s a way to set the motion sensor sensitivity level on the device itself.
My Impressions of Bodybugg SP
What I like about it:
Sensor, sensor, sensor, sensor!
The Bodybugg SP device has 4 different sensors that monitors your motion, skin temperature, skin perspiration, and air temperature. From skin/air temperature, the sensor can get a good estimate of what your body’s composition is (muscle is warmer than fat). Also, Skin perspiration can be used as a gauge to determine intensity level (fixing the stationary bike or car problem).
Syncs to Android or iPhone.
You can pair your Bodybugg SP will your Android or iPhone to view live data and also log food intake without having to be on a computer. Since you’ll always have your phone around, it’s convenient to just quickly pull up your phone to log food intake whenever you consume anything. Definitely more convenient than making sure you remember to log your intake the next time you’re in front of a computer.
Web management interface provides recipes.
I know it may sound silly, but this is actually useful. You can cook food following recipes from the web management software and then add that food to your food journal and it will log correct nutrition data into your food journal. Also, in the Fitbit interface, if I ate salad, I’d have to log: romaine lettuce, tomatoes, shredded mozzarella cheese, tangerines, etc. In the Bodybugg interace, I just have to break down the dish once, save it as a custom recipe, and then reuse the recipe in the future whenever I want to log the same salad again.
You can get a glimpse of the online interface starting at 1:59 in the following video:
What I’m not too fond of:
Too expensive and the web management interface costs $$$.
Come on, are you serious Bodybugg? Not only does the device itself cost twice as much as a Fitbit, there’s a monthly subscription fee to use the web management interface. Bodybugg’s 6 months subscription costs just as much as Fitbit’s premium 12 months subscription. Somebody at Bodybugg needs to do some market research.
The form factor is not comfortable to wear all day everyday.
I would feel awkward wearing a bodybugg to work everyday. Even if I wear it under my clothes, it’ll look like I tumor on my arm. This leaves it only useful for wearing when I’m actually doing rigorous activities.
Syncing is a pain.
Bodybugg SP syncs over USB, over an optional wireless transponder that is available for purchase separately, or an Android phone/iPhone. I’ve read reviews that the Bodybugg SP app sometimes stops syncing. Which makes reliable syncing possible only through USB, or through coughing up more money to buy the wireless transponder.
No on-device display.
It’s true that the Bodybugg SP can sync to smartphones to display things, but what if I don’t have a smartphone with me? Also, it’s kind of a hassle to pull out my phone to see how well I’m doing. Having two devices to solve one common use case is a bad idea.
Time to Choose
When deciding between two products, I like to make my decisions based on what features I value more and which things I hate more. Personally, the convenience of the Fitbit paired with the Bodybugg’s mandatory online subscription made Fitbit the clear winner in my book. This is not to say that the Bodybugg SP isn’t a good product. It’s just that the Fitbit fits me better. For those who prefer to get accurate measurements, is planning on wearing the tracker only during exercising, and don’t mind paying for the subscription fee, then go for the Bodybugg SP.
Lastly, if you’ve tried either one of these devices and have some personal experiences with them, please help the community by sharing what you like and not like about these devices in comments section below!