So, you’re looking to buy a gadget like the Fitbit Ultra or Fitbit One, and wondering how long the device will last? That I can answer for you, as my Fitbit Ultra has this week counted its last step.
It’s been treated well, not dropped, and not water damaged. Last week I docked it to my computer in the morning, mainly to give the battery a charge. That evening, I popped it out of my pocket to check my step count, as I’d had a very active day. And… nothing. The screen was blank.
I went to the Support Forum on the Fitbit website. The advice given to others experiencing the problem was to reset the Fitbit Ultra by:
Place it on your base station, which must be plugged into your computer’s USB port.
Next, press the gold button on the underside of the base station with a toothpick, pen tip, or paper clip.
Your Ultra will now be reset and should function properly.
I followed the instructions, and nothing. While the Fitbit was docked, I could press the device’s button and see the title screens, but no data. As soon I removed it from the dock, the screen was again dead.
Next step, I emailed Fitbit. Upon hearing what I’d already done, they asked if I had the receipt to prove a warranty claim. So that’s the non-pronouncement pronouncement of death.
I purchased my Fitbit in February 2012. Since then, the Fitbit Ultra and I have done 6,614,281 steps, or 5,617.65 kilometres, and 11,437 floors. Hell, we even did a marathon together. But that’s it for us.
But there’s some good news. The Fitbit support staff offered me a 50% discount on a new Fitbit One. So very soon a new electronic pedometer and I will be stepping out.
Update, December 2014: How is the replacement Fitbit going?
It has been almost 18 months since this story was first published. As I wrote above, my Fitbit Ultra managed to count 6,614,281 steps before it broke. I replaced it with a Fitbit One, and I’m pleased to be able to report it is still going strong.
I’ve now travelled 16,544,487 steps with a Fitbit, meaning the Fitbit One has been with me now for just under 10 million steps. Not only is the Fitbit One a design advance over the Ultra, it is also demonstrably a better build. Now, if only Fitbit could do something about improving my tired, sore feet!