Fitbit Luxe review
Fitbit Luxe is the US company’s first fitness tracker with a colored OLED display – at least if you don’t count Versa and Sense as fitness trackers but as smartwatches. And I took a close look at those Fitbit Luxe for you. The results can be read here in the Fitbit Luxe review.
For years, Fitbit has sold its products (when it comes to the packaging size) in almost uniform packaging – including the Luxe. Externally, of course, the presentation differs from product to product.
The Luxe reached me in the color variant “Orchid / stainless steel platinum”, accordingly the packaging is designed in a strong antique pink.
The front is decorated with the product photo, the back reveals the essential functions. With Fitbit, it should be clear by now that this is not just about stress management, 24/7 heart rate measurement, sleep monitoring and notifications. Perhaps for this reason, the basic functions of the fitness tracker are no longer listed separately.
The choice of packaging material is pleasing: Pretty much everything is made of thin cardboard. No small plastic bags, no cable ties, no molded parts! That was different for a long time and has not corresponded to the zeitgeist for a long time – at least not mine…
Behind the wearable is the charging cable and another piece of the bracelet, which is suitable for larger wrists due to its longer length.
All in all, there is little new to discover here, but nothing is missing either.
Design & processing
The design of the Luxe had already caused a stir in advance. With the watch body made of polished stainless steel, the watch looks much more elegant and stylish than previous models. You won’t find any edges on the Luxe – everything is somehow round. Shape and material make it clear that the Luxe can be shown in everyday life.
My better half in particular is very enthusiastic about the design. I often have to hear that most watches look very large on the wrist, especially on women. The fact that these watches also look even sportier, sometimes boringly black and not very glamorous, does not contribute to the WAF – the women acceptance factor.
The Luxe is the exact opposite of this: small and inconspicuous in its design language and effective in its visual appearance. My feeling tells me that the Luxe will have significantly more female than male prospects. Why such products are good and important, you only have to look at the market, which is dominated by models that are primarily geared towards the male world.
Fitbit Luxe – sensors and charging contacts on the back
Fitbit makes no compromises when it comes to processing the Luxe. It is consistently high quality and precisely processed. You won’t find any gaps – the watch seems to be made of one piece. The display is slightly curved and merges almost seamlessly into the watch body.
The silicone strap is comfortable and attracts little dust and lint. Thanks to its smooth surface, it is easy to clean. Since the Coros Pace 2, however, I’ve been a big fan of textile wristbands. There is no comparison to silicone wristbands, which can cause skin irritation when worn frequently in connection with moisture.
The mechanism for changing the bracelets without tools is not quite as convincing. In principle it is the same as with Charge, Versa and Sense, but due to the size of the Luxe it is relatively small. This makes changing the strap a fiddly challenge. Whether it’s my fingers that are too big or just the size of the mechanism, I don’t know.
There are now many interchangeable wristbands on the market. Either directly from Fitbit or you will find one of many, many variants on Amazon.
A small highlight is the 0.76″ AMOLED display. Although the resolution of 124 x 206 pixels is not particularly high, the pixel density of 326 PPI results when the screen is small. The display could have been a bit larger, because of what initially looks like a display, only around half is actually used.
The AMOLED technology used – and this is the main advantage over the Inspire 2 – promises high contrasts, above-average brightness and rich colors. The best conditions to ignite a small firework of colors on the wrist. While there is nothing to complain about in terms of contrasts and brightness, you will look in vain for the fireworks.
There are currently 20 watchfaces available and none of them seem to want to take advantage of the display’s capabilities. All watch faces are rather in muted colors or pastel shades. In my opinion, Fitbit could do better, especially since 20 watch faces is actually a bit small for an industry giant. The watchfaces will be an issue again…
With regard to the range of functions, the size of the Luxe can be used as a benchmark, because the functions are just as manageable as the size. This should not detract from the product’s performance and suitability, because the Luxe is simply not intended for extensive functions, which usually also require a larger display and more interaction options with the watch. It is rather the passive companion in everyday life who does his work quietly and, above all, looks pretty.
Operating the Fitbit Luxe
That brings me to the topic of “operation”: The Luxe has no buttons whatsoever, so operation is via swipe and tap gestures. Starting from the time display (“watch face” in modern German), the following functions can be called up by swiping:
- Swipe by function
- Below call up the quick settings
- above Call up the daily statistics
- left / right Navigate through the apps
A single tap calls a function, a double tap leads back to the watch face. If you are in one of the few nested menus, swiping to the right takes you back to the previous view.
The bottom line is that the operation works quite well and, due to the reduced range of functions, is also clear and therefore easy to learn.
Functions in everyday life
Let’s take a closer look at the everyday functions and start with the quick settings.
The quick settings are accessed by swiping down from the watch face. The following functions are then available:
Do Not Disturb Mode (DND)
The activated do not disturb mode prevents the bracelet from reporting notifications (e.g. incoming messages, daily goal achievements and reminders) of any kind. In contrast to sleep mode, however, turning the wrist activates the display.
Like DND mode, sleep mode prevents notifications, also sets the display brightness to the lowest level and prevents the display from being activated automatically. To enable a view of the clock, the display must be tapped twice.
Normally, the Luxe activates the display when the wrist is turned. With this option the automatic activation can be switched off. In this case, too, the display must be “awakened” by tapping it twice.
Water lock / water barrier
Touch displays in general are vulnerable when used in contact with water or sweat. They then no longer react precisely and sometimes even develop a life of their own. It’s no different with the Luxe. With the water lock enabled, the touch display will be disabled until the next double tap.
Here you will find the basic settings of the Luxe, including display brightness, vibration intensity, heart rate measurement and HR alarm.
You can get back to the watch face by swiping up to get the following values for the day:
- number of steps
- Distance covered
- Active Zone Minutes
- calorie consumption
If you scroll down a little further, you get an additional insight into:
- Active hours of the day
- sleep index
- heart rate
- training within the last 7 days
Swipe left or right to switch between apps. The term “apps” is a bit misleading in connection with the Luxe – Fitbit wants to place its products at least linguistically close to wearables with a real apps ecosystem. Because the Luxe apps are “only” basic functions that almost every fitness tracker offers, the choice of words doesn’t quite fit in the end.
Luxe apps include:
- Timer (countdown / stopwatch)
- Alerts / Reminders
Up to 8 alarm times can be set up directly on the Luxe. This is not possible via the Fitbit app on a smartphone or tablet. Somehow it would be consistent and particularly useful if you could simply take over wake-up times from the phone.
Speaking of wake-up times: The clock offers so-called “intelligent wake-up”. When activated, the Luxe is allowed to vibrate up to half an hour before the actual alarm time. However, it only does this when you are in a phase of light sleep. Because waking up in REM or deep sleep phases is much more uncomfortable, the function should ensure an easier start to the day.
It is striking how much Fitbit struggles with the limited space available on the display. Many longer terms that are romping about in the views can only be displayed in a meaningful way as scrolling text. Fitbit shows unusual weaknesses when translating or separating long words that cannot be displayed in one line. It is separated at the right place, but not wrapped.
Fitbit Luxe – Display issues
In my opinion, Fitbit’s claim should be different. I’m curious to see how and when Fitbit will address the issue via firmware update. Of course, none of this prevents the actual functions.
functions in sports
I already said at the beginning that the Luxe is not a watch for sports. Nevertheless, you can do sports with it and there are a few functions available for that.
The Fitbit app has 20 types of sport, of which a maximum of 6 can be selected for synchronization with the watch. Once transferred, the sports can be selected on the wrist after calling up the training app.
In most cases, the choice of sport is primarily used for documentation. There are no really serious changes between one or the other sport. Only the possible objectives differ marginally from sport to sport.
Settings can be made before recording an activity is started. This includes setting goals (i.e. zone minutes, distance, calories burned) and viewing notifications during exercise.
After the start of the recording, the Luxe (here using the example of the “walking” activity) displays individual information:
- pace (current)
- pace (average)
- heart rate
- Calories burned
- total time
Active Zone Minutes
Tapping takes you from one display to the next. A running recording can be paused or stopped.
After the end of a recording, the most important values are summarized in a small format:
- Achievement of goals (if goal is set)
- total time
- zone minutes
- heart rate (average)
- heart rate (maximum)
Very interesting to know: During sports activities, the Luxe records the pulse every second. If there is no recording, the watch only determines the pulse value every 5 seconds. That should be enough for most of us.
You will look in vain for an overview of past recordings or values recorded during the day with the Luxe. The display seems too small for a meaningful representation to be possible.
Because the Luxe is simply not the product that is primarily aimed at sports, I will refrain from comparing heart rate curves and the like at this point. It would not be a meaningful comparison, regardless of which products you had it compete against.
And although it can record the heart rate and Fitbit also works with heart rate zones on the Luxe, you should pay less attention to the specific numbers and more to the heart rate zone. This also roughly corresponds to the range of services that the Luxe addresses in terms of sports.
Just for the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that it is not possible to connect external sensors – by the way, this is not the case with any Fitbit product.
With a good part of the functions, the Luxe primarily serves as a sensor that does its work quietly and quietly. The evaluation of such measured values is carried out via the Fitbit app, which is available free of charge for iOS and Android in the respective store. There should also be a variant for the Windows Phone. Due to the lack of a corresponding telephone, I can unfortunately do little to contribute. Fitbit also offers data viewing on its own web portal. However, I can’t shake the feeling that the web portal is being neglected. In any case, the app offers a larger range of functions. The usual good and clear structure of the smartphone or tablet app has not changed for years. There was no real need for it either. The most important data of the day or week are summarized on the dashboard. From here you can also access the detailed evaluations of individual metrics.