Review: The Fitbug Air is a not-so-smart smart pedometer

There are regular pedometers, and there are smart pedometers. Fitbug’s Air smart pedometer fits somewhere in between the two categories. This “smart” pedometer looks and feels like a regular pedometer—complete with a monochromatic screen and watch battery—but it has a secret weapon that regular pedometers don’t have: Bluetooth 4.0.

The Air, which costs between $30 and $60, connects to your mobile device (well, your Bluetooth 4.0-enabled iOS mobile device) to deliver graphs and charts based on your step-data. The related Fitbug app, in turn, connects to Fitbug’s website for even more functionality such as nutrition and activity tracking.

Fitness level:

The Fitbug Air is, at its core, just a pedometer. This means it’s a great tool for anyone who wants to track their steps accurately, whether they’re an elderly mall walker or a seasoned athlete. That said, the Air doesn’t really offer advanced tracking (such as heart rate), so fitter users may find this device has limited use for real training.

Best activities:

Walking and running are the best activities for the Fitbug Air.

Design and features:

The Fitbug Air is an oval-shaped device about the size of a TicTac container. It comes in three color schemes (hot pink, lime green and gray, and plum purple), and has a small monochrome screen and three circular buttons. The top button is the setup button, the middle button lets you cycle through different screens (step count, aerobic step count, calories burned, etc.), and the bottom button is a memory button which lets you see your last 14 days worth of activity. The buttons also have secondary functions, which we’ll get to later.

The Air is powered by a watch battery, which will get you approximately six months of life before it needs to be replaced. Though this initially seems inconvenient, it’s actually quite nice—unlike the Striiv smart pedometer, for example, the Air doesn’t have to be recharged every few days. The Air comes with a thin wristband and a sturdy removable belt clip. The belt clip is convenient for using the Air while working out, but it’s difficult to remove and adds bulk to the otherwise slim device.

Getting started with the Air is a bit of a process, though Fitbug does an admirable job of walking you through the steps. My main issue with the setup process is that you're required to setup the device by entering in a straightforward series of settings, such as stride length, weight, and time, then you need to setup an account on Fitbug’s website, and then setup the app on your mobile device—which is a lot of set up for such a simple device.

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