Fitbit Flex 2 Review: Fitbit’s First Waterproof Fitness Tracker


Fitbit Flex 2 is a waterproof fitness tracker designed with comfort. See what other features this fitness tracker offer.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Fitbit Flex 2

I’ve been waiting for the Fitbit Flex 2 to hit the market for some time now.

It’s the popular company’s very first swim-friendly fitness tracker, a product that’s been long overdue.

The Flex 2 enters the scene at the same time as several other top-quality swim-friendly fitness trackers. How does it stick up to the competition?

Very well, in fact. Not only does it boast an excellent waterproof rating and the ability to track swimming data, it’s also extremely comfortable to wear and a very good value for the money.

You’ll notice right away that the Flex 2 looks a little different than most fitness trackers. It doesn’t have a screen. Due to its screen-free design, you must pair it with your smartphone or another device to view tracked fitness/swimming data.

With that said, the Flex 2 is really designed for fitness purposes only. Unlike some other fitness trackers, it has few if any smartwatch features.

It’s hard to dispute that there’s a better option for swimmers than the Flex 2. It’s screen-less design, accuracy tracking swimming, and waterproofing in both fresh and salt water attest to this.

If you don’t find yourself in the pool on a regular basis, you’re probably better off researching my other smartwatch and fitness tracker reviews for a different model.

Presenting the Product

The Fitbit Flex 2 does what it’s designed to do and does it well.

It’s a simple fitness tracker, both in design and features, without many bells and whistles. Yet it’s exactly this simplicity that I like so much about it.

Unlike many fitness trackers currently on the market, the Flex 2 is designed for fitness tracking and fitness tracking only. It doesn’t come with a boatload of additional features and tools like many other fitness trackers (including those from Fitbit).

What does this mean for you? It means that if you want a fitness tracker with a built-in screen, you should look elsewhere. It means that if you want a fitness tracker that has smartwatch features, you should look elsewhere.

Yet it also means if you want a barebones dedicated fitness tracker that’s designed for swimming, you should take a closer look at the Flex 2.

Add in the fact that the Flex 2 is only $100 and it’s even easier to see why it’s been such a popular Fitbit release.

Fitbit Flex 2 Pros

  • Affordable, great value for money
  • Simple design
  • Comfortable, barely notice it’s there
  • Waterproof (in both fresh and saltwater)
  • Accurate fitness tracking for all activities

Fitbit Flex 2 Cons

  • Notification alerts are confusing
  • No display screen
  • Very basic

Features & Benefits

Design/Display

One look at the Fitbit Flex 2 is all that it takes to know that this is a very simple, minimalist fitness tracker.

It’s so slim and low profile that you barely feel it on your wrist. Since I normally use larger fitness trackers and smartwatches, this actually was hard to get used to at first.

After a few days, however, I started to appreciate just how nonintrusive the Flex 2 is. It’s slim design also makes it a great choice for those that don’t want a showy, in-your-face fitness tracker.

Also extremely noticeable is the Flex 2’s lack of a display screen. Pair the screenless design with the slim stylings and you have a pretty well camouflaged fitness tracker.

The band on the Flex 2 is flexible and comfortable. Unfortunately, the clasp is a little difficult to use. It’s very secure (unlike some Fitbit models of old) yet you’re not able to take it off in a hurry (at least I wasn’t!)

One of the coolest aspects of the Flex 2, in my opinion, is the number of design options available. The fitness tracker itself comes in the classic form, but you can switch out the original bands with a number of bangles, pendants, and special bands.

I just tested the Flex 2 as is, but I’d like to try out the bangle version. It completely covers the device in an all-metal finish. It’s a great way to further camouflage your Fitbit as a piece of fine jewelry.

Performance

There’s not a whole lot to say specifically about the performance of the Fitbit Flex 2 since it’s such an incredibly simple device.

What I can tell you is that it proved very accurate for fitness tracking. It tracks steps, calories burned, active minutes, hourly activity, and sleep with accuracy.

Unfortunately, the Flex 2 doesn’t include a built-in GPS. This means that for the utmost in accuracy, especially distance when running, it must be paired with a smartphone.

The Flex 2 is just as accurate for swimming tracking as it is for normal fitness tracking.

What stuck out to me in terms of performance is its waterproof design. I was a little nervous to take it swimming at first. But my worries were unfounded.

The Flex 2 performs extremely well in water. It’s waterproof in both fresh and saltwater environments, so don’t be afraid to take it into the ocean.

Key Features

Fitness/activity tracking with the Fitbit Flex 2 is basic yet accurate.

As I mentioned above, it accurately tracks steps, calories burned, active minutes, hourly activity, sleep, and more.

The device utilizes SmartTrack to automatically detect activity. Not only does it know when you’re moving, it can also differentiate between walking, running, biking, elliptical workouts, aerobic workouts, and sports.

A downside to the Flex 2 is that you can’t view activity data on the actual device. Because it doesn’t have a screen, you must look at all the recorded data on the Fitbit app on your smartphone or another device.

Fitbit tries to counteract this disadvantage somewhat by including different colored lights on the Flex 2.

For instance, you can preset a fitness goal such as number of steps in a day. One white light equates 25% of the goal, two white lights equate to 50%, three lights to 75%, and four lights that you’ve completed the goal.

The lights on the Flex 2 will flash, and the device itself vibrates, once you’ve reached your daily fitness goal.

In addition to its activity/fitness tracking features, the Flex 2 also tracks your sleep. Of course, like all sleep trackers, these stats shouldn’t be relied upon if you have a sleep disorder.

Sure, the activating and sleep tracking features on the Flex 2 are nice, but the real reason to buy this particular device is its swimming tracking capabilities.

The device is waterproof up to 50 meters. As stated above, this includes saltwater. Better yet, the Flex 2 can detect different types of swimming. It can tell the difference between freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly.

Unfortunately, the swimming-related metrics aren’t very advanced. The device can only tell you calories burned, amount of time swimming, distance swam, and average pace.

Another slight negative is that you must be continually swimming for the Flex 2 to track your swimming activity. This is no issue for strong swimmers. For those that only swim occasionally, however, it will result in spotty metrics.

Aside from tracking fitness and swimming, the Fitbit Flex 2 also has a very basic notification system in place. Remember the lights that track your daily goals? They also tell you when someone is contacting you on your smartphone.

A series of lights and vibrations let you know when you get a call or text. Different patterns (you can’t personalize them) help you know the difference between these notifications and alerts for goals and reminders to move.

Going along with the simple notifications and lack of a screen is that fact that the Flex 2 doesn’t have music capabilities.

Though that’s not a feature you usually expect on a fitness tracker, I’ve become a little spoiled by fitness smartwatches like the Polar M600 that do allow you to sync music to Bluetooth headphones.

According to the American Council on Exercise, music boosts exercise performance. It just makes life easier not to have to carry your smartphone for music while exercising.

Battery Life

I was actually surprised by the lackluster quality of the Fitbit Flex 2’s battery.

Though it lasts for about a week on a single charge, this isn’t very impressive when you consider it doesn’t even have a screen.

Most other Fitbit fitness trackers I’ve tested that do have screens last roughly the same length on a single charge, the Fitbit Blaze for example.

Social Proof

Most online users share the opinion that the Fitbit Flex 2 is an excellent device for what it’s designed to do.

One user said, “Good basic activity/sleep tracker – sleek design, great price point. 4.5 stars.”

Another user said, “Great all-around device.”

Alternatives

Misfit Speedo Shine 2

The Misfit Speedo Shine 2 is a lot like the Fitbit Flex 2. Both fitness trackers are simple, screenless, and waterproof, but the Speedo Shine 2 has arguably better swim tracking features.

Misfit Speedo Shine 2 vs Fitbit Flex 2

  • Comparable Prices
  • Both are waterproof
  • Both are screenless
  • Speedo Shine 2 has more swim tracking features
  • Flex 2 has better companion app

Perhaps the only reason to go with the Speedo Shine 2 in favor of the Flex 2 is if you’re a hardcore swimmer.

Fitbit Charge 2

Though it still has a minimalist design, the waterproof Charge 2 does feature a large, vibrant screen.

Fitbit Charge 2 vs Fitbit Flex 2

  • Charge 2 $50 more expensive
  • Both are waterproof
  • Both sleek, minimal designs
  • Charge 2 has a large screen
  • Charge 2 has better notifications

In my opinion, the Charge 2 is a much better deal for the money. Having a screen makes a fitness tracker that much more effective.

At the same time, I can see why some would choose the Flex 2, especially because it’s cheaper. It’s also a better choice if you prefer a device without a screen.

Apple Watch S2

The Apple Watch S2 is a far cry from the Fitbit Flex 2. Both in terms of design/features and price. What the two devices do have in common, however, is their ability to withstand water and track swimming.

Apple Watch S2 vs Fitbit Flex 2

  • Apple Watch much more expensive (by about $200)
  • Apple Watch much more complex (has screen)
  • Apple Watch much more accurate (built-in GPS)
  • Both are waterproof
  • Apple Watch has lackluster battery life

Those that are interested in the Flex 2 will probably pass on the Apple Watch. It’s much more expensive and has a complex design.

Yet it’s a great option for those that want a fitness tracker for swimming that also doubles as a smartwatch. Check out my Apple Watch 2 review for more details.