The Fitbit Force is the latest activity-tracking wristband that builds on the success of the Fitbit Flex. Fitbit's new Force answers the prayers of frustrated Flex users. NEWS UPATE: Fitbit withdraws Fitbit Force! [Updated February 21, 2014]
Fitbit's UK online store briefly started showing the new Fitbit Force activity tracker wristband ready for sale (see below), but the company confirmed to PC Advisor that the top-of-the-range fitness tracker is still "unavailable in the UK" with no firm UK release date set. [Updated February 11, 2014.]
Fitbit UK admitted to us that the Force showing up on the UK site and in the official UK Fitbit store was a mistake. It does suggest that the company is readying an announcement, and it has previously stated a "spring 2014" international roll out of the Force. Now that the Force has been withdrawn fron sale we cannot say when the tracker will go back on sale.
However, even the US Fitbit store is showing a 4-6 week backorder on the Force, which doesn't bode well for a quick shipping date in other countries. This is likely why only US customers are seeing any availability now. Until Fitbit sorts out its supply line of the new tracker international customers will have to continue their long wait. See below for details on buying the Force from the US – it's tempting but the costs are much higher and unless the seller has stock in hand you'll be stuck in that same 4-6 week backorder as everyone else. And then it has to be shipped overseas to you.
The Fitbit Force is priced at the expected £99.99. Fitbit has all but admitted that now with its brief listing on the UK store. Retailer Argos has listed the Force in its online catalogue for over a month but until today it was not seen on the UK Fitbit Store. Sadly the long-running saga of a delayed international release seems set to continue. Fitbit will reveal only that the Force will go on sale outside of the US in "Spring 2014".
Some UK buyers are so desperate to get their hands on the Force that the are buying it from the US via eBay but there are hidden charges and it will cost you about 50 percent more than waiting for it to be the UK.
Now read our full Fitbit Force review – hands on with the Fitbit Force.
Also, is the Force the perfect tracker for you: Which Fitbit is best for you?
The Fitbit Force looks just like the Flex (Fitbit Flex review) – actually it’s slightly wider and thicker – but offers a whole lot more. Many of the the features deemed missing from the Flex are now found in the Force. Fitbit is keeping the Flex as the new entry-level for its wristband activity tracker product range.
The new keep-fit wristband gives the user access to the latest up-to-date fitness stats through a much more functional OLED display.
The Fitbit Force’s new display will tell you how many steps you’re up to at that point, an estimated total distance, calories burned, active time and floors climbed.
Yes, the Fitbit Force now includes an altimeter like some of its competitors – so those long climbs up flights of stairs will be given more weight (and ability to lose real weight) than that gentle stroll to the pub.
Previously you had to check these stats on your iPhone or Android smartphone, and updated stats can take a while to sync and display.
Now the Force should give you a running (or walking) total right there on your wrist.
It also tells the time, which has been a common function on wrist-worn devices for a long time. Just to make it even more attractive it boasts a stopwatch – another handy and common keep-fit function that will have Flex owners rushing to upgrade.
With the Flex you had to tap the display in various ways to control the device. The Force features a side button that scrolls through seven screens.
Force uses a MEMS 3-axis accelerometer to measure motion patterns. The Force also contains a cylindrical vibration motor, which allows it to vibrate when alarms are set to go off.
Like the Flex the Force stays on your wrist day and night, as it tracks your sleep patterns.
According to Fitbit, though, the Force is less water resistant than the Flex.
Fitbit trackers sync wirelessly and automatically in the background through Bluetooth 4.0. Like the Flex the Fitbit Force syncs with your computer, iPhones (4S or higher) and select Android devices (Samsung Galaxy III, Note II, and more). With select NFC-enabled Android phones, you just tap your device to launch the app.
It should also soon be able to link with your phone to alert you to calls and even show you the number calling.
While the Flex’s battery life was five days, Fitbit claims that the Force’s Lithium-ion polymer battery can keep going for 7-10 days.
Also like the Flex the Force comes in two colours: Black and Slate.
Fitbit Force UK release date and price
Fitbit hasn't yet announced the UK release/shipping date for the Fitbit Force but has stated that it goes on sale internationally – that is outside the US – in "spring 2014". The fact that it appeared briefly on the UK Fitbit Store suggests an imminent shipping date, but no one at Fitbit UK could give us a firm on-sale date. We estimate a March shipping date in the UK, as there is still a long waiting list for the Force in the US.
Fitbit Force software update: Caller ID
AT CES 2014 in Las Vegas Fitbit demoed a free update to the Fitbit Force software that will be launched in February. The update will add caller ID functionality to the fitness tracking wristband.
The software update will work first on the iPhone, and Fitbit promises an Android update later.
The wristband will start vibrating when a call is incoming on the user’s smartphone, and the Force's digital display will show the name of the person calling – scrolling across the display from right to left – if that person is in the user's phone contact list.