Reliability is letting wearable tech down

Another month, another bad experience with regard to reliability of wearable tech – this time with the Fitbit Flex.  When the silicon wristband was only about a month old, it started coming apart – and within another couple of weeks, was gaping open at the seams.

From reports around the web, I’m not alone in having this problem. Fitbit’s social media team have been doing a good job in apologizing, but this reliability issue is really hurting early adopters.

Flex seems to have a design flaw where the silicon of the wristband joins with a little plastic window that provides an at-a-glance view of your progress towards your daily goal – in my case, 10,000 steps per day. (Double tap the band and a series of 5 LEDs will progressively illuminate, showing progress – when all 5 are solid, you’ve nailed it for the day (Flex also vibrates in a little “jig” to mark the achievement)).

Fitbit was prompt in shipping a replacement band, free of charge – and I now have the grey band (having thought my original one was grey, not “charcoal”). Ah well. I’m doubtful that this one will last that long, so next time I’ll remember to get the color right…

Oddly, the band itself isn’t available as an accessory on Fitbit’s website. I’d like to buy a selection and ideally, one made from materials that promise to be more durable than the recycled silicone bracelets that are currently the only option.

Wearable technology: great idea, shame about the execution so far.


7 Responses to Reliability is letting wearable tech down

  1. […] Den Howlett is the latest to discover that Jawbone UP appears to have a 60-day life – his story is almost the same as mine … including the migration to Fitbit. When it comes to wearable technology, it’s clear that durability is a major issue and letting the side down when it comes to wearable technology, as I blogged a few days ago. […]

  2. Karen says:

    I just got the Flex for a birthday present and in 1 week, both of my bands broke at the seem where the light band is. The band just popped up. I was really enjoying the band and keeping track of exercise, steps, food, etc.

    Sadly, I’m returning the item and will look at something else, maybe Nike!

  3. Simon Jones says:

    Another month, another broken wristband – my replacement Flex band has now started to tear … I’ve contacted Fitbit and asked for a more permanent solution, let’s see what they can come up with…

  4. […] nano-silicon for an improved wristband. As previously noted, the current generation of bands are let down by a silicon bracelet that both looks and feels cheap. At least nano-silicon has a softer touch, and once on the wrist, […]

  5. […] It’s a good point, with Bowker dubbing wristbands and smart watches as “quite stereotypically plastic and not really aesthetically centred” – something I’d agree with. […]

  6. […] asked directly about problems with the actual silicon wristband for the Fitbit Flex, as documented here and here by WTW, Benoit was keen to reassure the audience that quality issues were few, and […]

  7. […] was also keen to reassure the audience that Fitbit’s quality issues as documented here and here by WTW are “few and isolated”. He also dismissed any discussion about reports […]

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