What is the best Fitbit for seniors? Assess your heart for AFib right from your wrist, detect and manage stress, better understand your sleep quality and even keep an eye on patterns in your skin temperature or well-being with SpO2. Is Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch good for heart monitoring? It comes with Tools for Heart Health, Stress Management & Skin Temperature Trends
Pros & Cons – Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch
- Always-on screen is bright and easy to see
- Detailed sleep analysis
- ECG is easy to use
- Built-in GPS
- Google Assistant is versatile
- Stress tracking doesn’t tell you much yet
- No onboard music storage
- Not as responsive or fast as other smartwatches
Price for the best Fitbit for seniors
The Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch adds a whole slew of sensors to the Fitbit lineup to track everything from stress to blood oxygen levels, temperature, sleep and even has an FDA-cleared electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). On top of all that, the $329 (£299, AU$499) Sense also doubles as a regular smartwatch and fitness tracker. And while the Sense still has fitness at its core, it wants to be your daily wellness coach now, too.
Specs – Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch
- Screen: 1.58in OLED
- Case size: 40.5mm
- Case thickness: 12.35mm
- Weight: 45.9g
- Operating system: Fitbit OS 5.1
- Water resistance: IP68, 50 metres (5ATM)
- Sensors: gyro, HR sensor, ECG, EDA, blood oxygen, light, GPS+GLONASS, altimeter, skin temperature
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5, wifi n, NFC, speaker, mic
Compare best Fitbit for seniors
|Sense||Versa 3||Versa 2||Charge 4||Inspire 2|
|Battery life (in days)||6+||6+||6+||7||10|
|Tracks activity & sleep||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|24/7 heart rate & AZM||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Text, call & app notifications||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Store & play music||✔||✔||✔||✘||✘|
|Hundreds of apps & clock faces||✔||✔||✔||✘||✘|
|Alexa & Google Assistant||Yes||Yes||Alexa Built-in||No||No|
|Stress tracking w/ EDA sensor||✔||✘||✘||✘||✘|
|ECG app & skin temperature||✔||✘||✘||✘||✘|
|High & low heart rate alerts||✔||✘||✘||✘||✘|
Best fitbit Sense Advanced smartwatch for senior heart monitoring review
The watch measures just 40.5mm across and 12.35mm thick, making it one of the smallest smartwatches available. The 1.58in OLED display is bright and surrounded by a polished stainless steel bezel that forms part of the electrical connections for the sensors. The rest of the body is aluminium.
It features a large 1.58in OLED display with a resolution of 336 x 336, which is bright, and easy to read even in direct sunlight. While not as high-resolution as the Apple Watch 6, it was bright, colorful, and crisp, and easy to read even outdoors. The screen has three different brightness settings, and you can either adjust the timeout or set it to always-on (which reduces the battery life to about two days).
Fitbit OS 5.1
Fitbit’s software is fairly slick. Swipe down from the top for smartphone notifications, up for widgets including health stats and the weather, left for apps and right for quick settings.
Notifications from your phone are fairly basic, showing texts and alerts, but no images from chats, smart cameras or similar. You can reply to messages with canned responses or voice dictation on Android, but not if used with an iPhone.
Press the side button once to return to the watch face, or twice to access four quick shortcuts for music, apps and other functions. Press and hold it to invoke Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant for voice queries, timers and other functions, which are responsive as long as the watch has a good connection to your phone.
ECG – heart monitoring
The Sense is the first Fitbit to include an onboard ECG app capable of producing a single-lead electrocardiogram read in 30 seconds. Fitbit says that the ECG on the watch will also screen for possible arrhythmias that could indicate atrial fibrillation, or aFib, but it can’t detect heart attacks or other cardiac conditions. It recently received FDA clearance in the US and it’s now available for use in the US and US territories, Canada, New Zealand, some European countries and Hong Kong.
To take an ECG, you first need to go through a quick Heart Rhythm Assessment briefing in the Fitbit app (go to Discover > Assessments & Reports). Once complete, the ECG app should appear on the Sense. Take a seat and place your thumb and index finger on opposite corners of the watch and you’ll see one of three results after your scan is complete, depending on the heart rhythm: normal sinus, signs of atrial fibrillation or inconclusive. You can also review the results in the Fitbit app and share with your doctor.
Samsung has received a similar clearance for the feature on its two newer Galaxy Watches, while Apple’s ECG app has been active on the Apple Watch since the company launched the Series 4 in 2018. It also notifies you of irregular heart rhythms indicative of aFib, plus high and low heart rate alerts, as does the Sense. The ECG and heart rate notifications work in a similar way between the Sense and Apple Watch, although to take an ECG on the Apple Watch you place one finger on the digital crown rather than the two fingers on the rim of the Sense.
Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch also uses sweat data from its new electrodermal activity, or EDA sensor to determine stress levels. To measure your levels, you place the palm of your opposite hand over the stainless steel rim on the top of the watch. The palm’s contact on the watch’s metal rim completes a circuit, then uses the EDA sensor to measure possible sweat-triggered stress markers. The entire process takes two minutes.
There’s also a new skin temperature sensor, which can be used to indicate the onset of a fever or illness (can you think of any big ones going around?), as well as linking up with Fitbit’s existing health tracking for menstrual phases. This is done at night when the Sense will measure your skin temperature variation to see trends, so it doesn’t display one-off readings.
It takes the Sense three nights to calculate your baseline skin temperature. You then see nightly average variation compared to that baseline temperature on the Temperature tile on the Today screen in the Fitbit app.
SpO2 tracking only runs while you sleep
The Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch doesn’t take SpO2 or blood oxygen readings on demand like Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 or the Apple Watch Series 6. Instead, it measures blood oxygen levels while you sleep. The Series 6 also measures SpO2 levels at night.
All you need to do to measure your SpO2 while you sleep is to wear it to bed. In the morning, you can check your SpO2 level in the Fitbit app. You’ll also be able to see the graph of your blood oxygen variations. (There are no specific numbers, just an indication of whether your oxygen variation is high or low.)
With the always-on display active, two 30-minute workouts, a few stress measurements and a full night of sleep tracking, the Sense met the two-day battery life claim. Turning off that always-on display and just using raise to wake helped boost the battery to around 4.5 days between charges. That said, outdoor workouts seem to be a pain point for the battery. Lexy noticed after a particularly strenuous 2.5 hour outdoor bike ride, the battery dipped almost 50%.
On top of general health and activity monitoring, the Sense can track and record 20 different exercises, including the usual walking, running, swimming and cycling, yoga, circuit training, golf, tennis and others.Advertisement
The watch can automatically track many of the more vigorous activities taking more than 15 minutes in length, including walking and running: this records time, heart rate, calories burned, steps and other bits, but doesn’t activate the GPS for a route map. Manually recording the activity adds distance, pace, laps and a GPS map of the route where applicable.
If you subscribe to Fitbit Premium ($$9.99/month, or $79.99 per year), you get a few additional features, many of which are deeper dives into certain measurements.
A Health Metrics dashboard will let you view your 7-day and 30-day history for heart rate variability, breathing rate, oxygen saturation (SpO2), and skin temperature variation. Given the importance of some of these features, Fitbit said it was looking at a way to bring more of them to non-Premium members.
Customer reviews on what is the best Fitbit for seniors
Fitness Watch I’m Using
I’ve had a Fitbit since the very first one. The Fitbit Sense has quite a few notable fitness trackers built-in. I find I’m using it more than any other I’ve owned. The display is clear, fairly easy to navigate, and with the Fitbit app I’m able to track my progress fairly easily. I have yet to use the built-in coach feature on the Fitbit Sense, but will be doing that soon.
I tested the GPS against a friends Garman and they only differed by a couple 100th of a mile. Where I live, the GPS connects quickly and I haven’t had a drop when I am outside.
The biggest area for improvement that I see, is an effective API with Apple. The Fitbit Sense well apparently allow you some smart watch features with an android device, but Fitbit and Apple’s long-term lack of communication causes problems for those of us with iPhones.
I’m not fond of large watches on my wrist, and was apprehensive about this one. However, even though it is larger than I would like, it’s light and comfortable. It doesn’t bother me when I sleep, which the Apple Watch used to.
The battery life lasts about two days when I use the GPS for my 5 mile walks. I might be able to get about three out of it, but I charge it while I’m sitting down and working.
Overall, I’m happy with the features and will continue to use this watch.By Bobm128 at Best Buy
What is the best Fitbit for seniors alternatives?
Apple users interested in more advanced health metrics like SpO2 measurements and fall detection might benefit from the seamless iPhone integration and rich app store of the Apple Watch Series 6.
However, Apple’s smartwatch is more expensive than Fitbit’s since it starts at $399, and it’s lacking when it comes to battery life and sleep tracking compared to Fitbit.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is also a premium smartwatch and fitness tracker that features a blood oxygen sensor. Starting at $299.99, the Galaxy Watch 3 has solid fitness tracking features, good battery life, and the ability to download music from Spotify. But it doesn’t have the Google Assistant, is plain-looking, and the operating system can be un-intuitive.
Smartwatches from Apple and Samsung also come in an LTE compatible variant for those who are interested in getting calls, texts, and alerts when their phone isn’t nearby.
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