BodyMedia Link vs. Fitbit Force


BodyMedia Link Armband

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It’s halfway through January and we’re all in a flurry to find the right devices to help us maintain those resolutions we made roughly three weeks ago.  In the spirit of keeping up with our fitness goals I figured I would do a post to compare my experience with the BodyMedia Link Armband with Sarah’s post on the Fitbit Force. Keep in mind that while I have used the BodyMedia Link over the course of several months, I had to resort to the Fitbit website—and Sarah’s post—for my info on the Fitbit Force.

Compatibility and Connectivity:

Both the Fitbit and the BodyMedia Link connect to the computer via USB port and to mobile devices through Bluetooth. The Bodymedia Link shows the intensity of your workout in real time in addition to steps and calories, but you’ll have to sync your band with your mobile device whenever you want to see the rest of your updated info.

The Fitbit has Bluetooth 4.0 which basically means that it automatically syncs to your phone and you don’t have to do anything for that to happen, and it doesn’t drain your battery as much as regular Bluetooth usage. It just doesn’t report as detailed of information as the BodyMedia Link.  Also, this Fitbit feature compatibility is limited to Apple devices plus a grand total of nine Android devices. I should also note that the Fitbit Force face can display your dashboard information.

Both devices have their own apps with dashboards to show you your numbers, with an in house calorie counting aspect. These can be synced with other fitness apps if you prefer—for me that was My Fitness Pal—which means you can continue using most of your fave calorie counting apps which will update your BodyMedia app automatically to calculate your daily calorie deficit.  Either way, the calorie tracking is key, so this is a great way to remove as much labor as possible that’s involved in calorie counting so that it’s feasible to keep it up in the long term.

Style:

Both are a fail in my book. Although the Fitbit gives the option for different colored bands, let’s be honest, a plastic watch looking thing doesn’t really go with any of my outfits outside of cross-trainers and sports bras, regardless of the color.

The BodyMedia Link is a worse fail than the Fitbit. It’s biggish and kind of clunky looking. So, unless you are looking to blend in among the Biggest Loser contestants, prepare to be stopped in the grocery store by random strangers asking if that thing on your arm is a BodyBugg… or something.  The best thing I can think of regarding its appearance is that it is worn on your upper arm, so at least you can cover it up with a long sleeved shirt.

Data Tracking:

Activity Manager 2

This is where I feel like the BodyMedia Link is vastly superior to the Fitbit Force. They both track your sleep quality, steps, active minutes and approximate calories burned. True. But the BodyMedia  has these nifty sensors against your skin that track, not just your activity, but how hard you are working  by sensing how much you’re sweating, your skin temperature, and how much heat your muscles are putting out.  This information, in conjunction with your age, weight and gender, turns out a daily calorie reading that’s more than ninety percent accurate.  According to the website, this is the most accurate calorie expenditure information that can be gathered outside of a laboratory, or forty-thousand dollar equipment.

The Fitbit takes your profile info (age, gender, weight) in addition to your daily steps, distance, stairs and active minutes to approximate your calories burned.

Price Point:

BodyMedia Link is sold on the BodyMedia website for $119 with the first three months subscription for free, and thereafter has a monthly charge of $6.95

Fitbit has no subscription that I can tell, but retails at $129

In a nutshell:

The BodyMedia Link is beneficial for those who mean business when it comes to their fitness goals—the kind of people who want to see a graph detailing their daily calories, and how many calories they burned per minute during any given activity, who want to have an exact number when it comes to their daily calorie deficit, who are willing to pay $6.95 per month (after the free trial) to have that information, or who just want to be cool like the Biggest Loser Contestants. The Fitbit might look a little sleeker, but not by much, and the information it provides isn’t as comprehensive or accurate, but it will do the job if the BodyMedia Link sounds like TMI.

I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.

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