Fitbit Luxe review: A small tracker that is both easy and hard on the eyes

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If I asked you to imagine a fitness tracker on the wrist of a random person, what would your imaginary laptop look like? For years, they looked largely alike – plastic or metal rectangles attached to a generic silicone or nylon strap.

Fitbit likes to say that his clothes look like jewelry. But it’s hard to make a fitness tracker that in fact looks like jewelry and does everything from recording your steps, sleep and workouts to telling you to breathe and relax. The company dabbled in a sleek fitness band in 2016 with the Alta, but that device was just a slightly narrower Charge with a finicky display and has since been discontinued. With the Luxe, Fitbit sings a familiar tune, once again promising a “state-of-the-art fitness and wellness tracker … in a chic and effortless wristband design.”

Benefits

  • Slim and comfortable design
  • Capable health monitoring
  • Good battery life

The inconvenients

  • Tiny screen is hard to read

Design aside, the Luxe packs almost everything you’d expect from a fitness bracelet: heart rate sensor, oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring, sleep tracking, water resistance and basic synchronization with your phone. At $ 150, this could be a great option for those looking for a simple, no-frills tracker that stands out from the crowd.

Design

Fitbit’s previous claims about the style and chic of their trackers have been questionable. These are just rectangular blocks with some minor variations. When announcing the Luxe, the company painstakingly detailed how it designed the case for the Luxe, saying that “the device’s revolutionary design has a soft, smooth, human-inspired shape that rests lightly on your wrist. with a look and feel of jewels ”.

Gallery: Fitbit Luxe test photos | 12 photos


Gallery: Fitbit Luxe test photos | 12 photos

It used techniques such as metal injection molding to fabricate the stainless steel case, “providing the warmth expected of handcrafted jewelry, while providing a level of precision necessary to activate its advanced sensor technology.” After making a few dozen mentions of the elegance of Luxe, the company ended up calling it “one of Fitbit’s most fashionable and comfortable devices to date.”

Co-founder James Park said, “We have made major technological advancements with Luxe, creating a smaller, slimmer and beautifully designed tracker with advanced features, some of which were previously only available with our smartwatches. This means Fitbit was able to squeeze advanced components into the Luxe’s ​​tiny body, which is about as wide as my index finger and just 1.43 inches long. It is indeed very small and thin, with a profile of 0.4 inches. It’s about as thick as the Apple Watch SE, but about a third the width. It’s also about three-quarters wider than a Fitbit Charge 4, and a Hair thinner.

So yeah, Luxe is a dainty little thing, which is great for people like me who have small wrists. The stainless steel case itself is slightly curved along the edges, making it thinner than the Charge 4 and Alta. But the strap you choose can make all the difference. When paired with the silicone option you get in the box, the Luxe still looks a bit basic. Trade it in for, say, the Gold Mesh version that Fitbit sent me as well, and voila! Instant style rise.

Slightly angled view of the Fitbit Luxe with a light pink silicone strap on a wrist against a dark brown background with some greenery.  The screen indicates that it is 6.30 p.m.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

That’s good, but you could make most other fitness trackers look attractive by swapping a nice band. Where the Luxe stands out is in its delicate waistline and narrow width, and that’s good news for those of us who want something smaller. The added benefit of the Luxe imprint is that it never got in my way when typing or handstand.

The bad thing about the size of the Luxe is that its screen is also small. It’s a 0.76-inch AMOLED panel running at a resolution of 124 x 206. It’s surrounded by a thick bezel, which likely hides all of the Luxe’s ​​sensors. But that makes things like your workout stats very hard to read. The screen itself is crisp, bright, and colorful. But if you have trouble reading a small text, you might need a bigger device. Fitbit told Engadget that an update will be coming soon and will include larger text, although we still don’t know the specific timeline or what it will look like when it rolls out.

Like the Charge 4 and Sense smartwatch, the Luxe does not have physical buttons. But unlike the other two, this tracker doesn’t even have a solid-state inductive sensor that senses pressure to trigger an action. The only way to interact with the Luxe is its touch screen. Luckily, Fitbit uses a standard one here instead of its fake touchscreen that you had to press down hard for it to detect a tap. With the Luxe, you can swipe and tap the screen just like any smartwatch, but with a very basic operating system.

The Fitbit Luxe with a light pink silicone strap on a wrist leaning against a wet railing.  The screen is off.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Swiping up from the main screen displays your daily progress and battery percentage, while swiping down lets you access settings and activate Do Not Disturb, Sleep, or Water Lock modes . Side swipe gives you access to notifications, exercise, relax (guided breathing), alarms and timers. You can scroll vertically through each of these sections to access more functions. Double-tap the top of the screen to go back (or swipe right). That’s it.

For more personalization, such as rearranging your favorite workouts in Workout, you’ll need to go to the Fitbit app on your phone. By default, here you will find Walk, Run, Bike, Swimming, Treadmill, and Workout (a catch all for almost everything else). When you exercise, the Luxe displays your calories burned, elapsed time, heart rate and, if applicable, pace or kilometers traveled. That’s a lot less information than what you’ll see at a glance on a larger screen, but it’s the sacrifice you make for a smaller tracker. You can swipe up to see more stuff, like a pause button, but that’s about it.

While you also exercise, Fitbit will display your cardio zone below your heart rate, with labels such as “fat burn” and “peak.” It’s useful information, but again, it’s so small. I have decent eyesight and even had a little trouble reading it (and it got harder when I waved my arms while running).

The Fitbit Luxe with a light pink silicone wristband on a concrete gray background.  The screen shows a race followed at a pace of 26h00 and 0.01 mile traveled.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Narrow screen aside, the Luxe behaves like most other basic Fitbit trackers. While notifications are tedious to read, it’s nice to be able to send a quick preset reply or emoji from your wrist. The device will also ring when you have been inactive for too long or when you have reached your targeted active minutes. When you lift your wrist, the screen wakes up to show you the time (in thankfully large font). If you wear the bracelet to sleep, it will use your heart rate to detect which sleep zones you are in, and after three nights, it will tell you things like your resting heart rate. If you’ve run, walked, swam or biked (or more) for at least 15 minutes, the Luxe will automatically detect and record your activity. You can also change this minimum time requirement to something else through the app. Unlike the Charge 4, however, the Luxe doesn’t have onboard GPS and will need to connect to your phone to map your runs outdoors.

New since Google finalized the acquisition of Fitbit is the introduction of Fast Pair, which works with Android devices. This allowed the Luxe to be set up and synced with my Pixel 4a. broken. I loaded the Luxe and a window appeared on all of my Pixel review units asking if I wanted to connect to the tracker. I tapped yes and before I knew it I was browsing the home pages because I had already installed the Fitbit app. It’s much easier than the old way of first opening the app, hitting the Add New Device button, and then waiting forever for my phone to find the cell.

The Luxe offers other features, but only if you pay an additional $ 10 per month for Fitbit Premium. The company offers six months free with every purchase, giving you additional information like your activity, heart rate, and sleep trends. It will also unlock month-long and year-long reports on your wellbeing, detailed analyzes of your sleep and stress, as well as guided workouts, mindfulness and nutrition programs. Without the subscription, most people should find that the basic data that Luxe collects is sufficient. But those who want to know their long-term health trends could benefit from Premium.

Battery life

Front view of the Fitbit Luxe with a gold mesh strap on a patterned blue and white background.  Its screen displays a calendar notification for an event from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Fitbit promises the Luxe will last up to five days, and I actually spent a full week testing the device before it shuts down. That’s with tracking multiple workouts every other day, although I didn’t wear the band to sleep most nights. If you leave the Luxe on when you go to bed and also connect it a lot to your phone’s GPS, your range will likely be shorter.

Wrap

The most impressive thing about the Fitbit Luxe isn’t its styling; this is its size. The fact that this little device can do so much is remarkable, and those with smaller wrists will love the way it fits. But its size is also one of its drawbacks – its small screen makes things difficult to read. Still, for $ 150, the Luxe is a well-designed and capable fitness tracker that can track just about anything. If you are looking for a simple activity strip that is smaller than most, this will come in handy. At least, as long as you have near-perfect vision.

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