Flex, UP, FuelBand: Personalization

All three products allow you to enter varying amounts of personal information. Depending on your goals and needs and depending on how the concept of Connected Health plays out, current capabilities may be good enough. At the very least, certain basic information has to be entered, such as height, weight, age, and gender or none of these devices will work properly. Whatever information you choose to enter, it’s all done via Web interface or mobile app.

Let’s take a look at how the Flex, UP, and FuelBand compare when it comes to user-enterable data:

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The Flex, UP, and FuelBand are targeting audiences seeking greater engagement in their overall  health and wellness. As a result, some customers will find the additional options for self-entered data to be useful. Food logging and calorie estimates is one example.

All three products have their own iPhone apps (Android apps seem to be released shortly afterward) and both the Flex and the UP apps allow users to engage in “food logging”. There are varying degrees of richness in this part of the product experience. The UP has a very subtle, slightly grayed out button to reach the logging function, while the Flex offers the same capability via the “more” option on the app menu.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that these apps are evolving quickly. Over the past few weeks Jawbone released enhancements which allow users to enter their diets by taking pictures of what they ate, scanning a bar code, or simply typing in their entries and searching the UP nutritional database. Calorie estimates are already assigned to each food item.

The Flex follows a similar pattern, allowing users to search a food database, make their selection (which includes a calorie estimate), and log their consumption. Both product chart your consumption over time and since your activity is being measured at the same time, you can compare your caloric intake to your calories burned – if you’re burning more than you consume, you’re losing weight!

All three products get credit for social media integration, with Facebook and Twitter being common connections across all three. The Flex and UP go further – the UP integrates with numerous mobile apps (which will not be a part of this review) and the Flex integrates with other Fitbit devices, such as the Aria Wifi scale.

Finally, as we move toward a Connected Health world, being able to enter, integrate, or import/export clinical values from lab tests may become an important feature (with safeguards!). Devices in other categories already allow this, (like the Polar FT80) although these aren’t integrated with performance data to create a more holistic view of the individual. So, none of our products get credit for this criterion – for now.

Next: Support – always an adventure!

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