As someone who lives a mostly sedentary lifestyle, this is my first time trying a Fitbit, or any health wearable for that matter. I am curious to see if being presented with detailed stats would motivate me to be more active. Fitbit is one of the most well-known fitness tracker brands out there, with a reputation for luxury and high quality.
At a hefty price tag of RM648, the Fitbit Luxe is trying to be the all-in-one health companion that you need, while at the same time, being a deluxe fashion accessory that blends in with your expensive “athleisure” wear.
What Is It?
The Fitbit Luxe is a fitness tracker with a 0.76-inch AMOLED display, housed in stainless steel. It tracks how many steps you’ve taken, how much you’ve slept, whether or not you’ve remained sedentary for too long, your heart rate, and even your blood oxygen level (SpO2).
The Luxe chargers use the included magnetic cable, which uses USB Type-A and doesn’t come with its own charger in the box. From zero to fully charged, the process takes about an hour and a half.
It pairs to your phone with Bluetooth and syncs all the data it collects via the Fitbit app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Fitbit also has a companion app for Mac and Windows PC called Fitbit Connect.
Is It Any Good?
Right off the bat, I have to admit that the Luxe looks gorgeous, especially in the Orchard colour with the Platinum Stainless Steel finish. Its AMOLED display is more than bright enough to use outdoors, which lets me change the brightness setting to dim when indoors to save on battery life.
On that note, Fitbit doesn’t actually say what the battery capacity is but claims that it can last up to five days. In my usage, the biggest factor was whether or not I turned on the Always-On Display (AOD). With the feature active, the Fitbit Luxe would only last about two and a half days. However, with AOD turned off, it easily lasted seven to eight days, well past Fitbit’s claim.
The Fitbit Luxe is water-resistant up to 50 metres, so there’s no issue when it comes to swimming or showering with it. The sleep tracking is also surprisingly accurate at knowing when I’ve gone to sleep and woken up. The tracker also makes for a great alarm and can be set to wake you either with a strong or gentle vibration.
As with all new Fitbit device purchases, the Luxe come with a free six-month Premium membership on the Fitbit app that unlocks, among other things, a detailed breakdown of your daily sleep. Other premium features include premium fitness challenges, wellness reports, and hundreds of workout and meditation videos and audio tracks.
When you start exercising, you can choose from four modes for it to start tracking: walk, run, treadmill, and a general workout option. Of course, If you forget to turn any of these modes on, you can log in your workout after the fact.
The silicone band isn’t the most comfortable but it’s good enough, as I didn’t find it too irritating when worn loosely. The Luxe also comes with a larger band in the box, which might be necessary for some people as even my small wrists use the fourth last notch on the small band. The good news for big spenders is that Fitbit sells swappable bands for the Luxe, including stainless steel mesh, woven fabric, and even leather.
There is also SmartTrack, which is supposed to be able to automatically detect when you are being active, though this feature is a bit iffy as it didn’t consistently log all my walks. Unfortunately, the tracker doesn’t have a built-in GPS, so if you want to map out your route, you will have to carry your phone with you.
The Bad Stuff. Tell Me.
The Luxe’s chic and minimal aesthetic also comes at the price of screen real estate, which limits its compatibility with the Fitbit ecosystem. Because the screen is so small, third-party clock faces in the Fitbit gallery aren’t available for the Luxe. It’s currently limited to only 20 clock faces provided by Fitbit, but since it’s a relatively new model, one can only hope that third-party developers will eventually contribute more designs to the selection.
The problem isn’t just limited to its visuals either: the Fitbit Luxe is only compatible with its basic pre-installed apps. No other app in the Fitbit gallery is compatible with the tiny tracker, not even the Spotify control app or Fitbit’s own Find My Phone. In fact, the only apps that can be used on the Luxe are Notifications, Exercise, Relax, Alarms, Timers, and SpO2.
While you can’t install other apps on the Luxe itself, you can still integrate your Fitbit data into compatible third-party health apps. This includes apps like Strava, MyFitnessPal, Flo, and a bunch of others.
On the subject of getting it up and running, setting up the Luxe through the Fitbit app on my phone was relatively quick, but it does sometimes take a while to sync data with the app. It also has trouble syncing with the notifications on my phone, as most notifications will need to be cleared manually on the tracker even if you’ve already swiped them away on the mobile device.
It’s clear that the Fitbit Connect app for Mac has not been updated in a while as there is no option to register the Fitbit Luxe or even the Charge 3, which was released in 2018. I also don’t see the point of the app as it just takes you to the dashboard on the Fitbit website, which means the app itself doesn’t do anything other than log you in.
As for the user interface itself, while I love what Fitbit has done with the design – especially considering the small space it had to work with – it’s not the most intuitive. You swipe left or right to open apps and while this is fine, you can’t change the order that the apps appear in. So if, for example, I want the alarm app to be the first thing I see when I swipe left, it cannot be done.
And while the display is fine for outdoor use most of the time, the touchscreen is not the most responsive. If I don’t swipe hard enough, half the time, the Luxe won’t register the swipe regardless of whether my fingers are wet or dry.
The step tracking is a fun way to see how much you’ve walked, but I think it’s a bit too generous with what it considers a “step”. Even on days when I’ve barely moved from my office desk, I’m sometimes able to somehow reach thousands of steps. Keep in mind that this is after I’ve reduced the sensitivity by changing the setting to “dominant” even though I wear it on my non-dominant wrist.
A big part of the Fitbit app is food logging, which allows users to monitor their caloric intake. Unfortunately, this feature is a little lacking from a Malaysian standpoint, as the closest database Fitbit has to Malaysian food resides within Fitbit’s Singapore database. This limits how much Malaysian food is readily available, meaning that you’ll either have to manually catalog the food if you can’t find it or estimate by finding the closest thing.
Should I Buy It?
The Fitbit Luxe is a perfectly fine fitness tracker for those who are looking for something light and minimal. The build quality mostly lives up to its luxury moniker, though the sometimes unresponsive screen does hurt the experience. I also can’t help feeling like I’m missing out from the full Fitbit experience since I can’t install any other apps or clock faces.
My biggest gripe with the Luxe, though, is its price tag; RM648 is a ridiculous amount to pay for such a simple tracker and while it bears repeating that it’s a fine product, there are plenty of smartbands, and even full-sized smartwatches, that do everything that the Luxe does at a fraction of the price. At this price point, I was also disappointed at the lack of GPS as the need for you to bring your phone with you on your runs waters down its minimalism selling point.
Even the premium Fitbit app experience charges you RM39 per month after the six-month period, making the high cost of the Luxe even more difficult to swallow. While achieving step goals did make me gradually want to take more walks (which is available without premium), I can’t see how most people could make use of the deeper sleep analysis other than it simply just being interesting.