Tech Gadgets Review: iFit Active

Review: iFit Active

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The iFit Active is designed to be a complete activity tracker, which measures your caloric intake and output along with steps, distance and sleep. Used in conjunction the free iFit Track app on either an iOS or Android device you can also log your caloric intake as well as get messages, reminders and alerts to help you keep up your motivation to achieve your daily goals.

For those with iFit enabled machines or access to gyms that feature them; you can also aggravate that workout data into the iFit Track app. This capability can be found in brands such as NordicTrack (£79), Pro-Form, and Reebok.

Unboxing

The iFit Active activity tracker arrives in a white cardboard box with a clear plastic cover revealing the tracker pod, band and clip found within the package. On the back is a list of features along with iOS and Android compatibility logos.

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Inside the package we find that iFit Active tracker pod, an adjustable wristband, an accessory clip, a USB charging cable, quick start guide and the user manual.

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The tracker pod is the brains of the system. This small black unit is composed of matte black plastic with a glossy black screen and measures 4.5 cm in width and 2cm in height.

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On the top and bottom of this unit are the ‘B1’ and ‘B2” buttons. Flipping the tracker pod over reveals two charging contacts and a small groove for attaching to the charging cable.

The iFit Active supports Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology and is compatible with iPhone 4S and up, iPod Touch fifth-generation and newer or Android 4.3 and higher devices.

Two included accessories make wearing the iFit Active simple and convenient – the adjustable wristband and accessory clip. Both of these are composed of black rubbery material. If black is not your choice of colour, iFit offers a selection of red, white and blue wristbands and clips on their website as an additional purchase.

The charging cable has a standard USB connector at one end and two contact points at the opposite end with a strap.

Testing and Usage

To start using the iFit Active you’ll first need to make sure the tracker pod is charged. This is accomplished by attaching the tracker pod to the charger cable. Unlike other fitness trackers the iFit Active model does not have a micro USB connection for charging. Instead it has two contacts on the back that align on the charger. Once connected there is a strap to secure the tracker pod in position while it charges.

You can either plug it into a USB port on your computer or directly into a USB enabled wall adapter or car charger. It takes about 4 to 8 hours to completely charge the iFit Active.

Once this is accomplished you will need to pair the iFit Active tracker to your iOS or Android device. Download the free iFit Track app to your mobile device. Next make sure your Bluetooth is enabled on your iOS or Android device and then open the iFit Track app that will guide the setup process.

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To pair the tracker pod press both the B1 and B2 buttons simultaneously for a few seconds until the words Sync On appear on the screen. Within a minute the unit will display whether pairing has been successful or not.

The average battery expectancy is 5 to 7 days between charges. During my week of using it I have not needed to charge it after 7 days of straight use. Pressing the top button on the iFit Active twice from a blank screen will check the remaining battery capacity. At 10% and 5% the tracker pod will vibrate for 5 seconds to notify the user that the battery needs charging.

Using the iFit Active is similar to most other fitness trackers. You can wear the device on the wrist similar to a Nike Fuel Band, as a clip device such as the FitBit One or loose in one’s pants like the Withing’s Pulse. The iFit Active is lightweight and small thus keeping it out of the way during workouts or during everyday wear.

The wristband was my personal favourite to use, however it is also the hardest to put on and remove. The plastic locking clip is the main issue with putting on and taking off the band. It has a fastening lock that can be difficult to slide on and off, especially when using one hand.

To use the clip simply insert one end of the tracker pod into the opening on the underside of the clip and then press the other end of the iFit Active in place while pulling the rubber over the front of the device. Once again reversing these actions will remove the tracker pod from the clerk.

Of course if you prefer you can use the device by slipping it into your pocket. Just be careful not to lose it or let it fallout.

To operate the tracker pod you’ll use the top B1 and B2 buttons. Pressing the B1 button once from the blank screen will display the time and date while pressing it a second time or within 10 seconds will show the battery level display.

Using the B2 button cycles through Net Calories, Calories In, Calories Out, Steps, or Distance results. Calories can be entered using the B1 button followed by a combination B1 and B2 buttons. Calories can be added at 50-calorie increments.

Pressing the B1 button then holding the B2 buttons for 2 1/2 seconds activates the Sleep or Workout timers; the B1 button cycles between selecting Sleep or Workout. Pressing the B2 button from either one of these options will either start the workout or bedtime sequence.

The screen has a glossy coat which helps to make the display easy to read. The only time I had an issue viewing the display was in direct sunlight.

In terms of appearance it is very inconspicuous when worn on the belt and the black wristband makes it look no different than similar wrist worn activity trackers. The tracker pod seems to seamlessly merge with the band giving it a sleek appearance.

The job of the tracker pod is to gather the data, but once it is accumulated you will need the iOS or Android app to help visualize, quantify and store this data.

The iFit Track app works with the user created profile and allows the viewing of information captured by the iFit Active. From the app you can set various goals and alarms. The app has various visualizations to measure the data parameters and can also import info from other iFit enable exercise machines that the user signs into.

I am not a calorie counter as the food listing on the app is mostly American food no UK listing that I could see thus I did not really take advantage of this capability to track that info.

Overall the app provides useful information but could benefit from some more features such as graphing this more detailed data.

In regards to tracking steps and distance, I found that the iFit Active would under count my steps despite entering the proper demographics when I signed up for my account.

Conclusion

The iFit Active is an activity tracker designed for those who are especially interested in counting calories. It has a caloric input feature that I have not encountered in the other fitness devices that I have used in the past.

Overall the iFit Active is a worthy entry into the wearable fitness market. Like other products, hopefully iFit will add more features in the future with firmware updates and app improvements. If you have access to iFit compatible equipment then the ability to aggregate data using the free app may be especially enticing to the user.

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Chris Hare
A True Tech Geek at Heart, I Started my life of being a Tech Geek at the age of 5 with the BBC Micro. Went on through most of Nintendo stuff and now a Xbox and PlayStation fan. I also leaked the information about the leaked Hotmail passwords story from October 2009 that went World Wide. I Started writing tech articles at the beginning of 2011, most of my articles are about Android phones and Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and other gaming news. When Chris has free time its with the family.

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