FitBit, which is still the leader in the wearable market for fitness trackers but may not be in the near future (see this engadget article which deep-dives the wearable market) may not be tracking your heart rate as it should be, and could add to the slower decline in market share as other options come out.
A recent lawsuit claims that a handful of the high-end FitBit devices which claim to handle heart rate monitoring by capturing (almost) every beat, primarily during exercise is actually missing approximately 20 beats per minute when doing medium to high activity. The devices effected by this study that was completed by the company filing the lawsuit are the Surge, Blaze, and Charge HR.
The issue arises in the fact that these devices are used by people who rely on measuring their heart rate for health reasons, when doing this you may require 100% accuracy to make sure you’re staying within certain limits recommended by your doctor.
One thing to note is at this time while this civil suit starts to get ironed out, FitBit is denying the claims, stating that the tests done when comparing the FitBit results with other heart monitoring devices were not fair. According to a FitBit rep responding to the lawsuit:
“We stand behind our heart-rate monitoring technology and all our products, and continue to believe the plaintiffs’ allegations do not have any merit.”
Various other researches have stated that the lawsuit, while correct at the core, is a bit of a stretch in stating that FitBit like many other various fitness trackers are just that – “trackers” – they do not measure the actual heart rate like being attached to a machine specifically designed for heart rate monitoring. Additionally according to FitBit they do not claim 100% accuracy (which we’re sure is in place to make sure they cover themselves for lawsuits just like this).
Overall from what we can see, the lawsuit may be correct, but may be a stretch. If you’re looking for a medical grade heart rate monitor then purchasing one specifically for that should be done (especially for health issues). If you’re trying to keep a ballpark figure around your heart rate, calorie tracking, etc. then you should not hesitate to continue to use your FitBit for daily usage – it’s really up to the user at this point.
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