Review : FitBit Sense …
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The following is a review of the FitBit Sense. Bought because, as someone with ME and someone who always has PEM, after reading about aerobic and anaerobic threshold, I decided that I would try and stay within my own threshold in order to avoid PEM every single day. I had previously owned the Fitbit Versa (original) and then the Versa (2), so the Sense was pretty familiar to me. And after a little bit of research I realised that I can do a lot more with the Fitbit Sense in terms of aerobic threshold. Therefore, I went ahead and bought the FitBit Sense, through QVC, using their easy pay option, and with QVC you get 30 days to try it out and if you don’t like it you can return it for a full refund, excluding postage, with no obligation to explain why. However, this one is my favourite so far and I will be keeping it. much better made.
What is FitBit Sense …
FitBit Sense is the advanced health smartwatch that helps you tune in to your body with tools for stress management, heart health, SpO2, skin temperature & more. Includes a 6-month free Premium trial for new Premium users. (taken from FitBit UK)
Main Features … (taken from product website, can be skipped ↴)
The FitBit Sense is classed as a health watch and offers lots of health features. FitBit claim it’s their most advanced health smartwatch, with innovative new sensors, like the world’s first electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor to help manage stress, along with advanced heart rate tracking technology, new ECG app and an on-wrist skin temperature sensor, all powered by 6+ days’ battery life. Plus it comes with a free 6-month Premium trial for even more insight into your stress, new mindfulness content, and a new Health Metrics Dashboard to help you track key trends in your health and wellbeing, like heart rate variability (HRV), breathing rate, and oxygen saturation (SpO2).
State-of-the-Art Stress Management Experience
Stress is a global issue, with one in three of people experiencing a lot of worry or stress, as well as psychological and physiological symptoms caused by stress.⁷ And, over time, if unmanaged, the physical strain from chronic stress can have negative health impacts including an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Sense is the first smartwatch to feature an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor to help you manage your stress and is paired with a new, multifaceted in-app stress management experience that aims to educate, assess, and manage your stress over time. The comprehensive experience includes an EDA Scan app and guided mindfulness sessions, a daily Stress Management Score, and new mindfulness content. Reflections keep track of your emotional well-being by reporting on your mood, from Very Calm to Very Stressed, to help build awareness of how you are feeling over time.
EDA Scan App on-wrist. After starting a session on the EDA Scan app on Sense, stay still and cover the watch with your palm to detect your body’s response to stress, measured by small electrical changes in the sweat level of your skin. Measuring your EDA responses can help you understand your body’s response to stressors and help you manage your stress. You can do a quick EDA Scan session on device to see your responses, or pair it with guided mindfulness sessions in the Fitbit app to see how your body responds during meditation or relaxation. At the end of your session, you will see an EDA response graph on-device and in the mobile app to gauge your progress over time and reflect on how you feel emotionally.
Reflections on your stress. You’ll get prompted to log your mood after mindfulness sessions and once during the day (you’ll need to opt-in for the daily reminder). This new feature will help you build an awareness of your emotional states, as well as give you an understanding of when you feel your best. You always have the option to reflect on your stress within the new Stress Management Tile, a new tile exclusive to Fitbit Sense, built to help users learn to manage their stress.
Stress Management Score. In the stress management tile, you’ll find your Stress Management Score, which helps you understand if your body is showing signs of stress on a daily basis. Your score ranges from 1 to 100—a higher number means you’re showing fewer physical signs of stress. It’s calculated based on three metrics: responsiveness (how much strain your body is under), exertion balance (impact of your activity), and sleep patterns (how well you’ve been sleeping).
New Mindfulness tile in-app. Available to all users,the new Mindfulness Tile will focus on giving you the tools to build a mindfulness practice by recommending guided breathing, meditation, and yoga sessions. Plus, it’ll track your Mindful Minutes—or amount of time spent on mindfulness sessions—and celebrate your Mindful Minute streaks. And with Premium, you’ll get 100+ guided meditations and audio tracks to calm your mind day or night, including four additional sessions designed specifically with your EDA Scan app.
New Heart Health Features
Heart rhythm assessment with the Fitbit ECG app. The compatible ECG app on Fitbit Sense assesses a user’s heart rhythm for signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib)—a heart rhythm irregularity that affects more than 33.5 million people globally. Simply hold your fingers on the corners of the stainless steel ring around the watch while being still for 30 seconds to receive a reading that can be downloaded to share with your doctor (available in the assessments and report section of your profile).
High and low heart rate notifications. Fitbit’s new PurePulse 2.0 technology, with an all-new multi-path heart rate sensor and updated algorithm, powers another critical heart health feature—personalized, on-device high and low heart rate notifications. With 24/7 continuous heart rate tracking, Fitbit Sense can detect and send a notification if your heart rate is outside of your thresholds. While many factors can affect your heart rate, like stress or temperature, a high or low heart rate may be an indication of a heart condition that requires medical attention, such as bradycardia (heart rate that is too slow) and tachycardia (heart rate that is too fast).
Tune Into Your Body with New Health Metrics
On-wrist skin temperature sensor. Sense is our first device with an on-wrist skin temperature sensor to help you discover when there are variations from your baseline. Understanding your skin temperature variations may help you identify changes to your body, such as the potential onset of a fever or ovulation.
If you want to see how your skin temperature varied throughout the night, your Premium membership unlocks minute-by-minute skin temperature analysis.
Oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring. Our bodies distribute oxygenated blood to every part of our body—and SpO2 is the level of oxygen in your blood. With the SpO2 clock face, your Fitbit Sense will track your average SpO2 levels while you’re sleeping. With a Premium subscription, you can then track your trends over time in the Health Metrics dashboard within the Fitbit app to see when there may be indications of important changes in your fitness and wellness.
Coming Soon: Health Metrics dashboard. The Fitbit app now helps you track even more health metrics—not just skin temperature and SpO2, but also breathing rate, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability—important information that can help you uncover trends and changes to your well-being. The new dashboard will be available soon with Fitbit Premium, and is included with your free 6-month Premium trial.
Access to Advanced Insights
6-month Fitbit Premium trial. Sense includes a 6-month trial of Fitbit Premium so you can discover patterns and insights from your Fitbit data and get personalized guidance to reveal a healthier, stronger you.
Other Standout Features
On Fitbit Sense, you can expect everything you love about Fitbit, including 6+ days battery life; water resistance up to 50 meters; step and distance tracking with built-in GPS; sleep tracking and insights (like Sleep Score); 24/7 heart rate tracking; Active Zone Minutes; 20+ exercise modes; text, call, and app notifications; and on-wrist apps, like Find My Phone.
Plus, exciting news for those who love the convenience of a voice assistant on your Fitbit watch: You can now manage your routine with the choice of Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa Built-in. Use your voice assistant to support your active lifestyle: start a Fitbit Exercise on-wrist, find the nearest gym, even learn the nutritional value of an avocado.
Leading Edge Design
Biosensor core. Temperature, heart rate tracking, and SpO2 tracking all take place in this powerful, water-resistant (up to 50 meters) hub on the back of your new Fitbit Sense.
The new biosensor core fuses glass and metal into a single, waterproof plate—an advanced process that’s used on aircraft and submarines.
Premium materials. Our first device to feature a stainless steel frame, Sense not only has a premium look, but these materials serve an important role by functioning as electrodes for the biosensor core. The stainless steel frame serves as a qualified input for the compatible Fitbit ECG app to assess your heart rhythm for signs of AFib.
Infinity band. This new flexible infinity band is sleek, low profile, light, and comfortable. Plus, it looks like the future, doesn’t it?
Impressions & Experience …
Initially, I had very high hopes for using the Sense to better stay within my anaerobic threshold. But I quickly realised that although the FitBit’s sales write-up and images show you can get a vibration notification when your heart rate reaches a certain threshold, all I could find was how to set this up for heart rate during exercise, not at all times, which was what I needed. And so I still had to download an additional app to actually make the watch work for me in the way I wanted it to work. Something I could’ve done on my Versa 2.
In time, I realised that using the app to monitor my heart rate was draining the watch battery. It was only lasting for four days instead of the claimed six. And without the additional app activated my battery definitely was lasting well over six days. On a personal note, I also realised is that it’s no wonder I have PEM every single day, because I was going over my anaerobic threshold by just sitting up. I’m afraid that’s how sick I am. And so I switched off the app because it was a constant reminder of how poorly I am, something I didn’t want to accept. But which I guess was the original idea for buying the watch. That said, I found it quite annoying always vibrating at me and disheartening to realise I have been doing way more than I am capable of.
Finally, although the above may seem like negatives for the FitBit Sense I did decided I would keep it. Mostly because, I liked how it looked and I did like all the functions and the free six months premium app access. And also because I will use it to stay within my safe HR threshold, I just need to accept where I’m at, in terms of my ME sickness level and all that goes with that, first.
See below for my most important pros and cons in relation to the FitBit Sense.
The Important Bits …
what I found especially good about the FitBit Sense ...
- better style than previous versions, looks very sleek
- 6+ days battery
- great watch memory (so if you’re ill and can’t sync with the app you have 7 days catch up detailed stuff and 30 days for totals before you lose anything)
- stores heart rate data at one-second intervals during exercise tracking and at five-second intervals all other times
- links to smart phone and vibrates when you get text message or phone call
- I’m not allergic to the standard strap (all the other FitBit devices I’ve owned I have had an allergy to the straps, and had to change them to leather at great expense, but this time they seem to have changed the material on the band and my skin can cope with it)
- it comes with six months free FitBit premium app service, which I have found extremely useful (it gives you lots more detailed data than on the free version) (I haven’t decided whether I’m going to continue to pay for it however it does have lots of options like extra mindfulness / meditation, in fact I can’t even begin to mention how many additional options it has, but it’s been extremely useful)
what I found especially bad about the FitBit Sense ...
- the watch still needs an additional app to monitor HR outside of exercise and below 100 beats per minute
- cost, almost double what I paid for my original Versa but not double the functionality
- I won’t use half the options available
- FitBit premium health app costs £9.99 per month, or £77.99 a year (if you can afford it), on top of the watch price; it is way too much (all app functionality should come as part of the package)
- the cost of the watch bands is extortionate too, surely they don’t cost that much to make!
- right now the only two options for the watch are carbon or lunar white and the options available for the watch bands are very limited too, leaving little opportunity for personality expression, which disappoints me (I really wanted a rose pink gold watch with a pale pink band)
- it isn’t specifically designed for chronically sick people who want to monitor their vital signs, it’s designed for well people who want to exercise
Initially, I was rather disappointed with this smart watch. Firstly, because I bought it to manage my aerobic threshold. And on investigating further the only heart rate alert you can put in is for when you are exercising, which is obviously not for somebody with ME (just getting up is exercise). And so to use this function you would have to walk, or do some kind of exercise, and be active all the time for the vibration to kick in. Secondly, the vibration alert only works above 100 beats per minute and when I worked out my aerobic and anaerobic threshold my HR notification should have been anything above 85 (anything above that is going to give me PEM), 90 at the highest, and the lowest you could have the heart rate was 100. So either way, I still had to install an additional app, which worked extremely well but I wanted it to work seamlessly out of the box with no extra apps. So that was a disappointment.
I would love to see someone develop a smart watch specifically for chronically sick people, especially for people with ME. So that we can pace ourselves better and stop running on adrenaline and in anaerobic states. We would be able to consolidate our initial level of health, at diagnosis, and not make ourselves any sicker.
That sound like my dream ...
Points to note when considering buying the FitBit Sense ...
- ✓ it looks better finished than previous versions
- ✓ plenty of functionality
- ✓ great battery life
- ✕ initial cost of watch
- ✕ ongoing cost to be able he to have access to all app functionality
- ✕ not perfect for monitoring health conditions
Somebody please design a smart watch, and complimentary app, for the chronically sick, especially those with mitochondria affected conditions, that will allow us to find our aerobic and anaerobic threshold in order for us to stay within it, preserving what functionality we have ...
There are many smart watch contenders out there. The main one being the Apple Watch. But for me the price was too high and the battery life to little. However, I would eventually love an Apple iWatch.
I bought the FitBit Sense with my own money and all the views and opinions stated are my own. Anything in the review should not be used as law, it is simply my own honest and personal opinion. It is not medical advice, I am not medically qualified, and should not be used as such.
Please see Reviews Disclaimer … for my full disclaimer policy.
Last Updated on 12/05/2022 by fragmented_ME
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