First steps to fitness

Wearables in general have had a pretty turbulent existence, but the one category that has always seen demand is the activity tracker. As more manufacturers join the fray to offer the best package at the most attractive price, Ambrane has decided to throw in its own hat into the ring with the Flexi Fit.

On paper, the Flexi Fit ticks all the boxes. At ₹1,799, it is quite an affordable proposition, offers a decently-sized screen, heart rate and sleep tracking, displays time and calories burnt and offers a stopwatch. The screen is touch sensitive, and as a result, there are no buttons on the Flexi Fit. The tracker itself is a small, curved device with a USB connector at one end, which can be directly plugged into an available USB port on any device. The band is a slightly textured, rubber affair, with a sheath for the USB connector which also helps hold it firmly in position.

What has a little more trouble staying firmly in position is the clasp itself, which has two pins that go into the holes on the band. While the band itself can accommodate different wrist sizes, we found that the pins often came loose, and had to take off the tracker during activities like motorcycle riding to prevent it from accidentally falling off, which is a problem for runners and workout enthusiasts.

The rest of the hardware, however, works rather well. The band display, which can orient horizontally or vertically, displays time, steps taken, distance covered, calories burnt, and live heart rate through a few easy swipes. A long press brings up another menu, with options to switch between display orientations, toggle wrist sense (which activates the display when the wrist is raised, and works reasonably accurately), heart rate tracking and power off the device. When paired to the phone via Bluetooth, the band can also control music playback, display notifications and work as a remote shutter for the camera.

On the functionality front, we found the Flexi Fit to do a decent job at step counting, and distinguish between random wrist movements and walking accurately. Heart rate tracking tended to show slightly lower-than-accurate readings, but for those looking to track activity zones (which the Flexi Fit app allows for) it provides usable results. The sleep tracking is less accurate however, and while it gets overall time more or less right, it doesn’t account for periods of restlessness or lying awake in bed, as well as we’d like.

While the Flexi Fit is a competent tracker in its own right, fitness trackers are heavily dependent on their software ecosystems, and this is where smaller manufacturers traditionally struggle. The same is true in the case of the Flexi Fit, with the app trying to make up for a robust fitness motivation platform with visual design. It shows all the necessary information, though not in the most streamlined way, and also allows for granular control of the hardware’s capabilities and permissions, but beyond allowing for export of data to Google Fit, there isn’t much by way of a social element or achievements, which may be a let down for those looking for some added motivation.

That said, if motivation is not an issue and budget is, the Flexi Fit is a solid device that does a good job of what it was designed for, without breaking the bank.