FitBit One versus Basis B1

The last few weeks I’ve been wearing both of these activity trackers at same time and now a better feel for how these products compare.

I really like all the sensors on the Basis B1.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with skin temperature and moisture, but having heart rate at my fingertips has been very cool. Sometimes during the day I’ll feel tense – say before a sales pitch – and I can look down at my watch and get actual proof that it’s not all in my brain.  It’s also a good reminder to slow down and take things easier.

I had read in various reviews that the Basis B1 feels like an unfinished product and I can see why now.  The product itself is usable but the user experience definitely is not as polished as the FitBit One. The synchronization via USB cable to the PC feel clunky in this age of Bluetooth. I’m forever getting these “Low Memory” errors since I never bother connecting it to the PC. There is an iOS app for synchronization over Bluetooth and it works okay, most of the time, though sometimes it can take a minute or more to upload the data whereas it’s a matter of seconds for FitBit One.  And when I have an almost-full memory and getting the “Low Memory’ message on my Basis B1, I’ve never had the Bluetooth sync run to completion. After about two or three minutes, I’ll get a sync error that that’s that.

The auto sleep detection in the Basis B1 is really cool.  That’s one of the features I like about it over the FitBit One where I have to manually tell it I’m going to sleep. Though the B1 is wrong from time to time about whether I’m asleep.

The Basis B1 step counting feature seems to be more accurate than the FitBit one, at least for the way that I move.

I’ve learned that I don’t like the gamification features in Basis B1. It just seemed too gimmicky and after the first few badges I stopped signing up for new ones.  The Basis B1 experience would be much better if I didn’t have to go to the web site to check my status.  As it is now, I find myself checking the FitBit One several times a day and the Basis B1 once every several days.

The rubber band in B1 is holding up better than I expected, and I found that I don’t really mind wearing a band all day. And no one has said anything to me about the super big watch on my wrist.

Lastly, I wish someone had told me that keeping the FitBit One in your pocket with keys will scratch the display.

As a developer, one issue that really disturbs me is the inability to download my own data from either FitBit or Basis for free. Google sets the standard here in terms of providing APIs for users to download their own data.  FitBit wants $50 a year for a premium service which provides access to the data, while with Basis you need to be registered as an app developer.  So it’s not a technical limitation of the platform not to provide access to the general user but a business decision.

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