The Fitbit Force, the fourth wireless activity and sleep wristband in the Fitbit lineup, debuted on Thursday with an extra something special never before been seen on its predecessors and competitors: an OLED display.
The Force, which is available via Fitbit.com for $129.95 and will hit shelves at stores like Best Buy and Target in the coming weeks, is part watch and part fitness tracker, displaying everything from the time to fitness stats directly on screen.
The user controls when they want to view this information by touching a button on the left side of the display. The data appears for a few seconds before disappearing.
This is the first and only wristband tracker that will take advantage of the new Apple iOS 7 notification center. When the device is synced with the app, it can highlight the name of the person calling your iPhone, making it easy to keep track of calls while on a run (you won’t need to pull out your smartphone). The feature isn’t ready for launch, but Fitbit said it’s rolling out soon.
Upon first impression, the Force is noticeably larger and clunkier than the previous model (Fitbit Flex), with a wider band and a thicker hub under the screen for the battery. Unlike the Flex, the battery doesn’t snap out, which means you can’t switch up the device with different color wristband alternatives anymore. Securing the wristband isn’t simple, either; the rubber snaps take a bit of pressure to rest properly in place.
Colors are limited to only black and blue for the Force, and it lacks the sleekness of its competitor the Jawbone Up. We’re hoping the next version is a bit more fashion-forward, but because there’s so much to love about the Force, it’s easy to forgive its appearance for now.
Not only does the Force keep track of typical data found in Fitbit devices (from a step count to sleeping habits), but it also is the first wristband tracker on the market with an altimeter, which monitors how many stairs you climb on a hike or just throughout the day.
The Force also includes a new feature that keeps track of active minutes. According to the Centers Disease Control and Prevention (DCD), you should be active for 150 minutes each week — equal to a brisk 3 mph walk. The Force uses this benchmark to monitor how close you come to reaching this goal.
In line with other Fitbit trackers, it also syncs with Bluetooth 4.0, so you don’t have to plug it into your computer to send all data to the corresponding Fitbit dashboard. The aesthetic of the dashboard was also refreshed, with a modern look and simplified navigation.
The Force is increasing its social factor with a feature that lets you create leaderboards with friends (on both Android and iOS apps), so you can cheer them on in real time or send messages through the app to talk smack. The move is part of a greater effort from the company to make fitness fun. A spokesperson told Mashable it hopes to include interactive games and badges for users in the future.
The company also recently announced a limited-time pink Breast Cancer Fitbit at Apple Stores and on Fitbit.com. For the month of October, $10 will go to the American Cancer Society for each Force sold; the pink version will be available until Dec 31. This is the first time the company has partnered with a retailer.
Are you impressed with the Fitbit Force’s new features and OLED display? Let us know in the comments below.