Fitbit need to fix distance measurement with Blaze

fitbit-blaze-stock-shotFitbit has moved from activity tracking into serious fitness monitoring with the Fitbit Surge and fashio with the Fitbit Blaze and recently released Alta.

I’ll be looking at the Alta soon but I’m going to focus on the Blaze for now. I forgot to begin my Surge with me while away recently so I relied on the Blaze for running. However, given a recent run test with the Blaze, I decided to try again.

There’s no kind or gentle way to say this. The Fitbit Blaze is woeful at measuring distance (and therefore pace). I ran with the Blaze, connected to my iPhone using Fitbit’s GPS assistance feature and with Strava tracking my run as well.

Here are the two recordings of the same run (I’ve got Strava and Fitbit exchanging information so the two summaries are stored in the Fitbit app).


Strava recorded, using my iPhone’s GPS a 24.49km run at 6:47 pace.

Fitbit added an extra 3.63km to the distance and credited me with a 5:56 pace.

These are significant differences – particularly as I’m now in marathon preparation mode and tracking distance and pace closely so I build slowly for the 42.2km journey that awaits me.

This problem needs to be solved. Fitbit has all the pieces – communications to the phone, access to the GPS, the ability to produce nice running maps with splits and graphs that show heart rate, elevation and pace so I can look at my performance and tune my training accordingly.

I understand that the Blaze is pitched as a fitness device rather than a bespoke running watch but if you’re to tout the GOS assistance then it should be used to accurately measure distance and not just produce pretty pictures.

Come on Fitbit – you can do better.

2 thoughts on “Fitbit need to fix distance measurement with Blaze

  1. Martin

    I’m in the same boat – training for a marathon and getting inaccurate measurements is more than inconvenient.
    It’s really disappointing because, as you point out, all the pieces are there. For reasons that I cannot understand the blaze uses an estimated stride length to measure distance. All the connected GPS does is draw a line on a map!

    I’ve also read the Blaze will use the connected GPS to adjust and make the estimated stride length more accurate. I’m not sure how true this is as I find it hard to believe this inaccurate loop would be in place when you could just use the GPS data to measure your run!

    Reply
    1. Anthony Caruana Post author

      Agreed. I asked Fitbit for an answer to this via their Twitter support channel and got nowhere. I suspect I was “chatting” to a bot that referred me to useless product pages and support articles telling me what I already knew – that the Blaze doesn;t use the phone’s GPS for anything other than drawing a pretty map.

      Reply

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