Do you like the looks of this watch? Read no further and buy the watch right now! Everything else I have to say may discourage you from purchasing this watch.
The Adidas Fit Smart is designed to be a smart activity watch that uses a heart rate sensor and an accelerometer to record your heart rate and estimate pace/distance traveled. All this information is displayed via a neat looking LED screen with a color changing side light pipe. The watch can operate with or without a connection to a smartphone, but will always need to connect to a smartphone to save the workout data.
I’ve used this watch for many weeks and found the Adidas Fit Smart ends up being a frustrating to use package of stellar hardware with mediocre software at a price point that’s too high to compete with similar products.
Adidas put a grid of white LEDs below a thin layer of silicon for the main display. It dims and brightens automatically based on how bright it is outside. The display does get hard to read in direct sunlight. Adidas also put a row of color changing LEDs on the edge of the watch to provide live workout feedback.
This “light pipe” color will be white, green, yellow or red, depending on how hard you are working out. This was a nice feature, but I would have preferred audible beeps or tones instead since I don’t like frequently glancing at my watch while running.
The watch is made from soft silicon rubber that feels very comfortable, even after hours of continuous use. The whole watch feels well made and it’s easy to put on and take off.
The watch is also waterproof up to 3 ATM, so you can safely run with it in the rain. Below are several comparison shots of a Garmin 305, a Timex Ironman M892, and a Fit Smart.
The strongest piece of hardware in this watch is the in-watch heart rate monitor. No more chest straps! It uses a clever setup of two green LEDs and an electro-optical cell to sense subtle skin tone changes as a pulse of blood travels by.
It takes about 7-30 seconds to get an initial reading and then the watch is ready to go. This processes takes longer when your wrist is cold since your blood vessels shrink and the sensor has difficulty picking up the fainter HR signal.
The readings are fairly accurate. Below is a chart comparing readings from my Garmin 305 with the Adidas Fit Smart.
I would note that the Garmin data is not 100% perfect, so this graph is just to show the Fit Smart is as good as a Garmin 305 for basic HR data collection. I’m unsure why the Fit Smart dropped to low values during the first dozen seconds, but the rest of the data seemed to be good.
The bad part is the watch buzzes whenever it loses the heart rate signal, and that gets to be very annoying when it’s occurring a few times every 10-20 minutes. I’ve tried wearing the watch so tight it leaves an imprint after I take it off, and I’ve tried loosening it.
I’ve also tried wearing it on different spots on my wrist, but it still loses the heart rate signal. Although the signal is found again within a few seconds, the buzzing is annoying enough to make you dislike the watch.
Battery life is great on this watch. You would think an LED based watch display that also uses two bright green LEDs and an image sensor would eat through the battery life in a few dozen minutes, but this watch has provided me with 12 hours of near continuous use.
The maximum continuous recording time is 10 hours for this watch, so you need to start a new workout after 10 hours. This watch cannot be used like a Fit Bit… even though they call it a “Fit Smart” since it can’t record a whole day of activity.
The distance/pace/step rate data provided by the accelerometer is mediocre. First use out of the box and the distance estimates for my runs were 20% too short. You can calibrate the watch, but the run distance data was consistently +/- 10% off after calibration. The pace data suffered the same inaccuracies. The step rate data was the only reliable output from the accelerometer.
Bluetooth connectivity of the watch to my phone was easy. I just had to go to the “Devices page” on the miCoach app and tap the “Refresh” icon while the Fit Smart screen was on to sync. You can also do a workout in the miCoach app and add the Fit Smart so your workouts also get GPS data.
The app is ok to use. After completing a workout with the Fit Smart and syncing it to your phone, you then have to synch that workout in your phone to the miCoach servers BEFORE you can see charts and graphs from your workout.
That was annoying. The charts are also very bland in the app, so you are best off just going to the miCoach website to see all your data in an easier to read format.
The following problem might just be limited to some Fit Smarts, but it is a massive deal breaker.
My Fit Smart lost the ability to sync full workout data. This means any workout I do with just the Fit Smart is saved without graphs. I just get a distance total, time total, average step count, and average pace.
I’ve been talking to Adidas tech support for over a month now and they still haven’t figured out how to fix the problem. Below is what I see after completing and syncing workouts:
The only way I can get time-based data off the Fit Smart now is to use the Fit Smart with the miCoach App on my phone and run with both the Fit Smart and my phone.
I eventually got in contact with someone higher up at adidas and they informed me “there have been some issues with Android and missing charts after syncing to the app. There will be an app update in mid-December”.
You would think that a smart watch with a USB charging cable should connect to a computer for easy data transfer, but this isn’t the case for the Fit Smart. You can only get data off the device with a phone.
I do like that the Fit Smart is a cheaper alternative to the miCoach Smart Run Watch, but I don’t see any market for the Fit Smart. The Fit Smart is not a Fit Bit competitor and you can get GPS watches with Heart Rate monitors for the same price as the Fit Smart. The only reason I would recommend this watch to someone is if they liked the looks of the watch.
My dream for this watch is Adidas sends out a firmware update that removes the buzzing when the heart rate data is lost, they add a “watch mode” where the heart rate data is not recorded and the time is displayed whenever you flick your wrist, and they improve the app functionality. Until my dream comes true, I do not recommend this watch.
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