bodybugg vs fitbit: Round 1 – Getting Going

Hello, My name is Elizabeth & I'm a data geek. That's why I love my bodybugg. I've loved my bodybugg pretty much since the day I got it. The bodybugg is the first tool available that allows you to really see how many calories you're burning in a day. This is a fantastic insight for folks who are trying to lose weight, or maintain their weight loss because how do you know how many calories to eat if you don't know how many calories you burn?

Since I'm a nutritionist, wellness coach and personal trainer, I instantly recognized how powerful of a tool this was & became a licensed reseller, which affords me the opportunity to distribute them to my clientele. Initially, the bodybugg didn't have any competition. The first competitor was the GoWear Fit, which is the same product distributed by the company that actually makes the bodybugg armband; the only difference is the software that allows you to see your data.

In December of 2008, a new tool was announced, called the fitbit. It's selling price is half of the bodybugg, and a fraction of it's size, and claiming the same accuracy levels of the bodybugg. But until December of 2009, was only a promise. It is now being distributed & I've been trying it out. There's a lot to compare, so I plan on posting a series of blog posts exploring & comparing the different components of the two devices.

Let me tell you that on first impression, the bodybugg needs to step it up.

I'm not sure that in this case, more is better! I received my fitbit & just put it on my desk. Surprisingly, I didn't get it out set it up & start wearing it. The next morning, when I was headed out the door for my run, I decided to see if I could get it going to start testing it. There wasn't a thick instruction manual in the packaging – Just one sentence: "To start using your Fitbit, go to". I did that & in 5 minutes I was out the door headed out on my run.

Hardware Installation

I had no problems with installing the hardware. I plugged the included fitbit base into my computer through the USB port. It immediately installed the hardware in the background & I continued with the software. The only thing I had to do was press the fitbit button to display a number in order to 'marry' my fitbit to my web login.

I installed my bodybugg almost 2 years ago & don't recall having any issues, however I get customer calls all too frequently because of the hardware and software compatibility issues.

Software Installation

There is no software installation. The web application runs in my web browser. It's not java enabled & so far, (I'm running Google Chrome) it doesn't appear to have browser issues. Additionally, I can access my data on my blackberry; which is awesome!

The bodybugg web application is a java app. It's not smartphone compatible, and occasionally when there's an update to the software, the application requires a re-installation before moving forward. Additionally, when Apex performs maintenance on the site, users are blocked access. This happens at least monthly.


Synchronizing is so easy peasy! I just need to be near the fitbit base & be logged into my fitbit application. It automatically updates with my recorded steps and activity.

Synchronization with the bodybugg is not difficult, but it is a conscious choice. I have the wireless transceiver, which makes synchronization easier.

  1. Once in the bodybugg application, I click the [Calories Burned] button.
  2. A pop-up window appears asking if I'm going to synchronize the bodybugg with the USB cable, or through the wireless transceiver. (If I choose the tethered USB cable, I have to take the bodybugg off my arm & attach it to the USB, which can be a pain if I'm wearing long sleeves. Otherwise, I can keep the bodybugg on & press the transmitter button through my clothing to start the synchronization.)
  3. Once I select my method, synchronization takes about 30 seconds.


The fitbit is currently retailing for $99.

The bodybugg sells for $195 – but that's just the armband. If you want to see your data without uploading, you'll pay an additional $75 & if you want to upload your data without taking the bodybugg off your arm, you'll pay an additional $50. Total Cost? Over $300.

Included Hardware/Information Display

One thing that I really like about the fitbit is that it is so unassuming. It clips to your waistband, and there's just less stuff! In the summer, everyone knows that I'm wearing my bodybugg. Even when I'm not wearing it, you can still see it.

Although the fitbit is so tiny, it has a built in display. I press a button & it cycles through today's data: steps, activity, calories burned, and miles walked. It's very similar data to that of the bodybugg display. It doesn't display information from yesterday, like the bodybugg does, but I think that's okay because the data is in the web application if I choose to look at it.

One feature that I really like on the bodybugg display is the trip-meter. When I run, I like to burn a certain amount of calories, so I set the trip-meter on my display & don't go home until that goal is met. It wasn't obvious at first, but the fitbit also has a trip-meter & I think I might like it better! WHere the bodybugg's trip-meter allows me to set it to zero(0), it keeps collecting data until I re-set it to zero again. The fitbit allows me to isolate an activity: so, I start the trip-meter when I go out for my run, and then when I return, I stop it. When my data uploads to the website, I can analyze it. I like that!

The fitbit's battery arrived half-way charged & just over a week later has no indication of running out. The bodybugg's battery arrives fully depleted & takes 3 hours to charge initially. That charge will last about 2 weeks, depending on how many hours a day I'm wearing it.

Round 1 Winner

The winner of this first round is clearly the fitbit. But don't go out & buy it just yet based on this review. There are still many factors to take into account, which I am still comparing; such as, food logging, data analysis, support & motivation, and most important: accuracy.




hardware installation   win
software installation   win
synchronization   win
hardware price   win
web subscription price   win
hardware   win
Round 1 Winner win