A fitness tracker with a twist. {Runtastic Orbit review}

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.

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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!

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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.

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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. 

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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.

xo,

Salt

I was provided with a Runtastic Orbit for review as part of my Sweatpink Ambassadorship. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own!
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25 thoughts on “A fitness tracker with a twist. {Runtastic Orbit review}

  1. Falyn @ Slacker Runner says:

    I had Nike Fuelband that I used to wear everyday, It was one of the first though so it didn’t track sleep. I went through 3 of them in a little over a year and was done after that. I do admit that new ones do peak my interest. But I already know I don’t get enough sleep, 6 hours or so. Cake is always worth it 🙂

  2. fitfoodiemama says:

    The runtastic orbit sounds like it is a lot of fun to play with! I love that it is waterproof! The activity tracker that I reviewed earlier this month was not waterproof which I thought was a bit odd. I also think syncing seems to be a big issue with a lot of these trackers- it I have run into it a lot with several gadgets I’ve used! It would be nice if they found a fix though 🙂

  3. Michele @ PaleoRunningMomma says:

    The end of the summer has been terrible sleep wise for me. I’m only getting maybe 5 hours a night and I’m all out of whack. I’m genuinely worried it’s going to hurt my running at this point, and I need to get serious about getting in a routine. If I ever get one of these it might keep me accountable for all the missed sleep!

  4. Mar on the Run! says:

    hmm, that looks interesting. Don’t know that I’d pay that much for a fitness tracker. My phone and Garmin hit all the high points but I would love to see what my sleep patterns look like! If only it could cure my talking in my sleep 🙂 ha!

  5. Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles says:

    Sounds like a pretty good tracker. I had the Fitbit, which was fun for like 2 months but then I was done with it. I wanted to gauge how much I was moving everyday since I have a desk job like you, but if I ran before work, I’d always exceed my initial goal before I even really started my day and then when I increased my daily step goal, I would still meet that, so it wasn’t fun for anymore so I gave it away.

  6. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine says:

    Sounds interesting! I haven’t really considered a fitness tracker because Im so dependent on my Garmin. But I have heard that Garmin had a tracker but that it wasn’t very good at this point…maybe if they make some improvements I would consider adding it so I could still use my watch.
    My parents and sister use a fitbit which they swear by, but I don’t feel like I need more data in my life to over-analyze!

  7. Nicole@TheGirlWhoRanEverywhere says:

    Awesome review!!! There’s a lot of pros to it, for sure! I like how many things it can do all at once. However, I don’t think I would ever get one of them because the one week reset would drive me mental! I love comparisons with the garmin connect software..but if
    They DID change that I would absolutely consider it!

  8. Running Betty says:

    Thanks for the great review! I’ve seen so many people wearing the Fitbit and other similar fitness trackers…while I haven’t jumped on that band wagon (yet) I have been very curious about what the difference is between all the different fitness gadgets out there! I’m glad you found one that you like and that works for you! 🙂

  9. samantha couch says:

    this sounds pretty cool. i’ll have to suggest to humana that they add it to their list of accepted devices. we have a pretty well rounded wellness program within the company and the most widely accepted tracker is the fitbit. we get points and whatnot for hitting certain exercise goals per day and those points translate to dollars. it’s one of my favorite things about working here. however, i don’t love the fitbit. i really want something that can gauge my actual activity (pipe dream?). for instance, if i get on the bike at the gym, and bike say…12 miles, the fitbit may record four, if i’m lucky, because it is just based on the up and down movement of your body, know what i mean? thanks for the review!

  10. northernambitions says:

    okay that sounds cool. I use the basic app (aka no money was spent) and it’s good, but not impressive. The orbit sounds amazing and I love that you said it’s waterproof. That’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Doesn’t sound too expensive either….I believe I’ve just found something to add to my wish list 🙂

  11. DarlinRae says:

    I don’t have any fitness trackers yet–I just can’t justify the price tag when I don’t even have a Garmin yet. Maybe someday when the disposable income is a little higher…

    Also, super jealous of your sleep efficiency. I’m pretty sure mine would be solid yellow punctuated by many red streaks. Sleep is not my forte.

  12. Sweaty Mess says:

    Great review! Brian has a fitbit that he hasn’t used in a while. I would get one but I feel like I have enough gadgets in my life. I would consider this one since I could use it running too. I am very curious about my sleep patterns.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    That would sound perfect for me if you could run without your phone. I don’t have data on my phone so that wouldn’t work for me. Maybe I’ll wait and see if they update that feature in the future.

  14. runawaybridalplanner says:

    I love fitness trackers! I have the Fitbit One, and I’ve compared it to my Garmin GPS and it’s very close to accurate. I have found its only off about .10 of a mile for every 6 miles I go and I don’t think that is too bad!
    I have always been a great sleeper, ever since my battles with Epstein Barr:) But I did enjoy confirming that with my Fitbit a few times. I don’t use it anymore, but even it confirmed I get 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep:) My biggest problem has never been falling asleep, it’s forcing myself to wake up, especially early in the morning hours, LOL

  15. Sun says:

    I have never used a fitness tracker but this one looks interesting! I also would like tracking sleep info. I like to think I get enough but seeing the actual data could be interesting!

  16. piratebobcat says:

    Glad you like it! Great review! I only use my Nike+ tomtom watch when I run. I’ve had friends wear them when they mow the lawn and visit disney world, just to track the mileage. Ha! BTW, you need to charge your battery!!!! Get out of the red!

  17. fitnessmeetsfrosting says:

    OOOO this sounds awesome!!! I have a FitBit that I was gifted but I honestly am not impressed. The battery life is horrible (keep in mind mine is old) and won’t stay alive on runs >6-7 miles ON A FULL CHARGE. This might be my next fitness tracker 🙂

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