Review: Fitbit Luxe is the glam wearable you've been waiting for

Fitbit luxe
The most obvious feature differentiating the Luxe from previous editions is its appearance. Photo credit: Supplied.

Another year, another Fitbit - the wellness-tracking giant has released its most glam edition yet: The Fitbit Luxe.

The most notable new features boasted by the Luxe are its 'built-in stress management tools', which offer the ability to log how you're feeling and track your stress levels across the week, before giving you a breakdown on what's affecting your score. 

Iin theory, it sounds like an ideal wearable for these uncertain times. But how does it hold up in practice? 

I've been wearing the Fitbit Luxe for the past few weeks now and here are my thoughts: 

The good

The most obvious feature differentiating the Luxe from previous editions like the Fitbit Charge or Versa is its appearance. Instead of a traditional silicone strap, the model I was sent to review comes with a gold link 'gorjana' stainless steel chain, which the company says will add some "sunlit sparkle to your look". 

It makes the target market of the Luxe immediately obvious: It's more of a piece of jewellery than the silicone-strapped sports editions of old, and Fitbit's answer to more fashionable offerings from other models like Garmin's 'Vivoactive' - which I think is one of the prettiest on the market. 

This makeover addresses a major issue with most wearables. While you may feel sleek and smug wearing them around the office or to the gym, they very rarely get taken from 'day to night', and usually end up getting left on the bedside table while you boogie the evening away. 

But as many of us know, knocking around a few bars with friends on a Friday evening can very quickly rack up double the day's step count. 

Thanks to the gorjana chain (I will never get sick of writing that word), I was able to wear it out on a big weekend night and confirm what I had suspected: I had clocked an extra 3000 steps without even noticing, and looked bloody chic while doing so. 

The Fitbit Luxe.
The Fitbit Luxe. Photo credit: Supplied.

But don't worry sports fans, the silicone strap still comes included, if that's more your style. 

In terms of a basic activity tracker, the Fitbit is the gold standard - no pun intended. I know people are evangelical about closing 'rings' on their Apple Watches, or comparing marathon times on their Garmins; but for an Average Joe (Sarah) aiming to hit a few thousand steps each day, the Fitbit's basic formula (steps taken, heart rate, floors climbed) is comforting. 

It sounds obvious but thanks to its position on your wrist the count appears to be much more accurate than the Health app on your phone. At the time of publishing, my iPhone thought I had only done 1629 steps today, while my Fitbit was keenly aware I had done closer to 3000 - which means another bikkie for afternoon tea for me! 

The bad

Fitbit's quest for style has resulted in one major design flaw: The screen is particularly small, the tiniest yet.

I'm not sure if it's because I was used to my Fitbit Charge, or if my eyesight is just getting continually worse, but the readings are so small I basically had to hold the screen up to my eyeballs to see how many steps I'd done. 

To be fair I wear pretty thick glasses and have terrible eyesight at the best of times, but during a hoof up Owairaka trying to track my heart rate was fruitless. I just glanced at the blurred, tiny coloured specks on screen and told myself I'd just concentrate on reaching the top. 

It's the first fashion-forward wearable from the wellness tracker giant.
It's the first fashion-forward wearable from the wellness tracker giant. Photo credit: Supplied.

After checking Cherlynn Low's review for Endgadget, I saw she had the same problem, even with what appears to be 20/20 vision. 

The small screen also has another drawback: While previous Fitbit models have a button on the side you can press to quickly head back 'home' this one is purely touchscreen. 

I have particularly fat, short fingers (my biggest shame) and multiple times ended up pushing buttons I hadn't intended, like a giant trying to use a cellphone belonging to a tiny child.

I got to watch my heart rate rise in real-time as I shrieked things like "no, go back!" or realised too late down the track my Fitbit thought I had been doing an hour of yoga when in fact I'd been sitting watching Schitt's Creek. 

The verdict

If you're after a basic, decent wearable fitness tracker that can be taken from the gym to the bar, the Fitbit Luxe is a great buy, currently for around NZ$230 - or a chunk more if you want the gorjana chain.

It does no more than what it says on the tin, but keeps you motivated to move and looks great on the wrist.

The battery lasts around five days - longer if you don't wear it to sleep - and it caters to many different exercise types. 

You just might need to have better vision and smaller paws than I do. 

Newshub was supplied a Fitbit Luxe for this review.