Budget tracker showdown: ​Misfit Flash v Jawbone UP Move v Fitbit Flex

We put these three top activity trackers head-to-head
Misfit v Jawbone v Fitbit

Fitness trackers are one of the most-wanted gadgets at the moment, but choosing between the latest trio of the Misfit Flash, Jawbone UP Move and Fitbit Flex is far from easy.

Misfit, Jawbone and Fitbit have all renewed their fitness-tracking line-up with an even more impressive array of gadgets, and are set for a royal rumble like no other. While these devices are soon to be over shadowed by the futuristic features of the Fitbit Charge, Jawbone UP3 and Microsoft Band, all of these bands bring existing fitness tracking tech at a wallet-friendly price this Christmas.

Essential reading: Best cheap fitness tracker

But while their feature sets might be nearly identical, there’s far more to choosing between these three trackers than meets the eye. We help you decide which band is right for you.

Misfit vs Jawbone vs Fitbit: Features

All three of these contenders to be your fitness band of choice, the Misfit Flash, Jawbone UP Move and Fitbit Flex posses the same basic set of features. Each can keep a track of your daily movements, alerting you to how many steps you take and calories you burn, telling you when you’ve hit your target.

Essential reading: Microsoft Band vs Fitbit Charge HR

Sleep tracking is also a big selling point, giving you detailed info on your slumber. This ranges from hours of deep and light sleep, how many times you woke-up and the Fitbit features a nifty alarm that ditches the usual loud beeps for a soft vibration which adjusts to when you’re in a light part of your sleep cycle.

It’s important to note that the Misfit Flash automatically goes into sleep mode between a predetermined set of hours every night, so, unlike the Jawbone, you don’t manually have to tell it you’re about to catch the Z’s. We like this, as it’s a pain to remember to set a device into sleep mode every night.

Each device packs Bluetooth so you can easily sync your stats with the companion mobile apps, which we’ll talk more about later, and, in the case of the Fitbit, you can even sync it to your computer too.

Water resistance is another key feature to look for when choosing the right wearable, this is not only so you don’t have to take it off every time you have a shower, but also so you can track your water based activities, like swimming.

All three trackers can survive a dip in the wet stuff, though if you’re a swimmer it’s best to avoid the UP Move, as Jawbone says that it’s only waterproof enough to be taken in the shower. Misfit’s Flash can survive up to 30m and will track swimming activity, while the Flex can also dive down to 10m.

Misfit Flash vs Jawbone vs Fitbit: Battery life

The Flash really shines in the battery department, ditching the regular rechargeable battery that juices up the Fitbit. Misfit instead opted for a user-replaceable battery which should last around six months use before you have to change up, which is really impressive.

So impressive in fact, that Jawbone has followed suit with its new UP MOVE tracker, which also boasts a replaceable coin style battery.

Budget battle: Misfit Flash v Jawbone UP Move

The least impressive of the three in battery terms is the Fitbit Flex, which needs to be plugged about once every five days, though if you keep syncing with multiple devices to a minimum, you might be able to stretch it to a week.

Misfit Flash vs Jawbone vs Fitbit: Design

Designed by serial tech artist Yves Behar, the Jawbone UP MOVE doesn’t quite pack the class of the Jawbone UP3. Like the Misfit Flash there’s a host of colours available, and these two certainly represent the best choice for anyone who prefers technicoloured tech.

In black the Fitbit Flex offers the sort of business-friendly look that won’t clash with your suit, and it’s also available in a host of vibrant colours.

The Fitbit Flex is designed to be worn around the wrist at all times, however, the Misfit Flash and Jawbone UP Move can both be clipped onto any part of the body or worn on the wrist. That means they can be placed on the shoe for cycling tracking – making them powerful all-round trackers.

None of the three trackers feature a proper screen, all the devices will show your goal progress from a series of LEDs on the front. The Misfit does this particularly elegantly, although its attempt to tell the time is confusing at best.

All are constructed from plastic, although the Fitbit Flex’s hard plastic band isn’t quite as comfortable as the rubberised Jawbone and Misfit efforts.

Misfit Flash vs Jawbone vs Fitbit: App

As none of these bands feature a display, it’s all down to the companion app to give you all the information they collect.

As we pointed our in our in-depth Misfit Flash review, the app is one of the weakest, with little usable information or actionable tasks.

On the other hand, Jawbone has added a host of new features for the UP Move, including Smart Coach which challenges you to beat your stats, and even prompts you to stay hydrated or take work breaks, helping turn the data stream into something that improves your life.

Rocking a Windows Phone? Well you’ve only got one choice we’re afraid, and that’s the Flex. Fitbit is the only brand to release a Windows Store app for its device, which is a real shame. As you’d expect, they all work perfectly with both iOS and Android, though we’ve found that new features and updates always come to Apple devices first.

Jawbone has demoed a Windows Phone version of its app, however, and is one of the first companies to cosy up to Microsoft's new Health platform.

Misfit Flash vs Jawbone vs Fitbit: Price

There’s one thing that we haven’t mentioned so far, and that’s pricing. The Jawbone UP MOVE is available for £39 and the Misfit Flash costs£49.

The older Fitbit Flex isn’t going anywhere, despite the impending arrival of the Fitbit Charge duo. Officially it's £79 although you'll find them cheaper if you shop around.

1 Comment

  • arijaycomet says:

    Great review, but you have a bit of apples to oranges here. Trying to compare the $99 (USD) Fitbit Flex tot he $49 (USD) others is improper. People willing to spend $99 or more are going to have a lot more selection, whereas people looking for true entry level are probably happiest at that $50-mark the other items are.

    Recently I did the same comparison you here, except with the Fitbit Zip. You can read it here: http://arijaycomet.com/2014/11/06/battle-jawbone-u...

    As you'll see in my review the difference is all three of the items I compared are the same price ($50 USD). And all of them have very similar features. The big difference is that you have to spend an extra $15 (USD) to get the wrist-band for the Jawbone Move, making it actually 30% more than the Zip or Flash. However, I do agree with you that the Jawbone has the best app, though I'm not entirely sure I think that price is worthy.

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