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Fitbit Rolls Out Its First Waterproof Fitness Tracker

The workhorse wearable brand introduces its first swimmer-and-surfer-friendly wearable with the new Flex 2, while ramping up its everyman appeal with the beefed-up Charge 2.
The Fitbit Flex 2, courtesy of Fitbit
Fitbit, Inc.

Fitbit has long been the foremost fitness tracker brand on the market—so much so that the term Fitbit is virtually synonymous with the whole concept of fitness trackers as a whole. And they’ve stayed at the vanguard of the trend by integrating its tech with the Amazon Echo and catering to the style-conscious enthusiast with its Blaze smart watch. They’ve even introduced the Aria smart scale, to track your weight relative to all those steps you’re taking.

But for all its ubiquity, Fitbit had one major weakness: water. While its trackers were generally advertised as water-resistant—they can withstand plenty of sweat and the occasional spill—wearers were advised against wearing a Fitbit for a shower, let alone a marathon ocean swim.

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That all changed Monday as Fitbit launched its new Flex 2, the brand’s first “swim-proof” tracker. Together with the newly launched Charge 2, which adds some new features to the do-it-all original, the Flex 2 marks Fitbit’s latest attempt to add some muscle and versatility to its calorie-counting lineup.

1. The new Flex 2 offers new features in a 30% smaller package

The slimmest of the brand’s wristband-style trackers, the Flex 2 ($99.95) has all the Fitbit basics in a 30% smaller package. Like the Alta, the Flex 2 is housed in a removable pill-shaped unit that you can easily slip into different wristbands—leather for the office, say, and black rubber for the dawn patrol at your local beach.

2. Fitbit Flex 2 tracks swimming strokes and calories

While the Flex gets the basics down fine, its “swim-proofing”—up to 50 meters—makes the, uh, biggest splash in the Fitbit lineup. (It's a wonder it took them so long—trackers like Swimmo have been at it for years, albeit without Fitbit's robust software features.) In addition to Fitbit’s standard “SmartTrack” exercise recognition software, the Flex is specifically designed to track your swimming strokes, even estimating laps and counting calories whether you’re in the pool or the pond.

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3. Fitbit Charge 2 packs new updated features

The Charge isn’t quite as heavy-duty as Fitbit’s flagship Surge, but with the brand’s PurePulse heart rate tracker, sleep tracking, and the ability to piggyback on your phone’s GPS, it’s a perfectly functional tracker for your daily grind—and, at an MSRP of $149.99, a more affordable one than the Surge. The company says the Charge is its most popular tracker, and its second iteration improves by quadrupling the screen size and adding an interval workout mode for those high-intensity routines.

4. Fitbit Charge 2 has VO2 Max estimate

One notable new innovation for the Charge 2: an estimate of your VO2 max—defined —which the tracker calculates according to your profile, heart rate, and exercise habits. It’s designed to give users a “a snapshot of their cardio fitness,” CEO and co-founder James Park said.

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