Once upon a time – like last year or something – a friend of mine got a fitness tracker. And then another friend got one. And another. They were becoming so popular and I had to find out more; I’m a big fan of gadgets especially if they are health related. Just before I purchased my Garmin, I did some research and concluded that the wearables my friends were using weren’t the right fit for me. The sleep tracking and calorie counting functions were cool, but I wanted something that would specifically record my runs.
Over the past year it seems like everyone has been throwing their hats into the fitness tracking ring including the folks over at Runtastic. Runtastic has a great smart phone app that tracks any sort of activity you do from a run around your neighborhood to spin class to yoga to strength training to swimming. There is a basic version of the app that is free, or you can pay a small one-time fee and get a lot of cool upgrades, such as voice coaching, route mapping, fitness challenges, training plans, and music and story running options (including power songs when you need them!). Their new wearable, the Runtastic Orbit, is sleek, stylish, and has all features that originally piqued my interest, but with a very cool twist that would have probably made all the difference in my decision last June… it can sync up with the Runtastic app and act as a running watch. I can toggle between time, pace, calories burned, and distance traveled with the press of a button. For someone like me that never leaves home without their phone, it was the perfect scenario. In test runs with the Orbit on one wrist and my Garmin on the other they matched up pretty well except for when I was running in Charles Street 12 and the Runtastic voice coach announced mile 11 when I was only at 10.5. I won’t hold a grudge though because downtown Baltimore has the tendency to do terrible things to your GPS.
Notice up there how I mentioned “swimming”? This thing is so waterproof that it’s not even funny. To the depth of 100 meters to be exact so whenever I sweat a lot or hop in the shower or the pool for a few laps or head out on one of my deep sea diving excursions, my fitness tracking won’t miss a beat.
In addition to the Runtastic app, there is an additional app that you gain access to as an Orbit owner; the Runtastic Me. Runtastic Me automatically syncs to the Orbit via Bluetooth and displays a weeks worth of your stats, including steps taken, active minutes, calories burned, distance traveled in miles, and the infamous sleep tracking that I was really nervous to experiment with. I figured I would only be getting bad news in that department. You just set your step and active minute goal at the start of each day and get moving!
When you touch any of the options on the screen, all your information is shown on handy graphs. Below you can see where my most active times of day were – including the icons where my watch was synced for a run and also for a Body Pump class – and those little smiling faces? With a double click on the Orbit’s main button, you add a little smiling face to your chart. More gimmicky than useful, but I think it’s pretty cute. Notice what time it was when I hit those smilies. Wine was probably involved.
Much as I suspected, my sleep needs work. However, I was surprised to find that I do not mind wearing the Orbit around my wrist at night.
I will say that since I started wearing the Orbit I’m much more aware of what time I’m going to bed at night. On that particular night I got 7.5 hours and I was pretty darn efficient about it. The green is deep sleep, the yellow is light, and the red is awake. You can totally tell when I had to get up to use the bathroom. When you touch the color segments on the screen it displays the amount of time that you were in each part of the sleep cycle.
One night decided to test it and see what happened if I just set it up for sleep and didn’t wear the watch. When I checked it in the morning it showed a solid block of red all night so obviously it is doing something while I’m wearing it!
Another feature of the Orbit that I particularly love is the fact that you can set it to buzz your wrist and remind you to get up and move around if you’ve been idle for too long. I have a desk job and this is especially useful. I could go an entire 8 hour shift only getting out of my chair once or twice if I was working on a really involved project! Doing a couple quick laps around the office each hour has done wonders for the lower back ache I would sometimes get from extended sitting.
Unlike other fitness trackers, the Runtastic Orbit includes two different wristband color options (blue and basic black) and a clip if you would rather wear it on a sports bra or waistband. If the blue or black don’t do anything for you, you can purchase additional bands in sets of three. There is one set in particular that has a red, orange, and yellow band that I think I need in my life. It also comes with a charger and I’ve found that this thing charges really quickly even when the battery life is completely drained.
Overall I really love this wearable and my test run with it has been a joyous experience, but there are a few not-so-great things about it that I will share because I always like to be honest in my reviews:
For one thing, the GPS watch function will only work if you plan on running with your phone. This is not a problem for me because I always run with my phone, but I know that not everyone does.
I’m going to chalk this up to the fact that this is a new product and the technology is still being worked on, but occasionally the Runtastic Me app will drop all my information. Like I’ll scroll back a couple days and it will have all my totals reset to 0. I’ve been annoyed/frustrated by this more than once so far, but I won’t hold a grudge. I had one of the first iPhones and that thing was buggy too.
And finally…not a big fan of the fact that you can only access data in a one week time period. Like after tonight at midnight my stats from last Monday will have disappeared into thin air. Maybe in the future they might consider changing this.
All minor complaints aside, I’ve had a fun month with the Orbit. There are still some features that I haven’t had a chance to play around with yet and I’m excited to see what else this thing can do. Because POWER SONGS.
If you are in the market for a fitness tracker I would urge you to add this one to your list. It retails for a reasonable-ish $120 which is a small price to pay to learn that you are 95% sleep efficient.
Do you have a fitness tracker? Which one? How many hours of sleep a night do you normally get?
I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday weekend filled with good runs, good friends, and good food. I definitely overdid it in the good food department today. Not enough steps in the entire world could make up for all the cake I ate at my nephew’s birthday party.