With game consoles Smart TV’s, there’s no doubted; The connected home has become a reality. Now a latest gadget from FitBit is the Wi-Fi bathroom scale, is poised to invade our abodes. The standard price of $129.95 Fitbit Aria is a perfect example of this trend. Not only does it promise to record your weight, BMI, and even body fat percentage, it will then shoot your stats to the cloud for analysis and better motivation. That is, if you want to know.
You often find great bathroom scales. But even, when I first gazed upon the Fitbit Aria I was struck by its clean, modern look. Like most modern scales, the Aria is flat and square. Itself weighing 4 pounds, its main sensing platform measures 12.3 x12.3inWhat’s really striking, though, is the all-glass construction. The black FitBit Aria unit which I bought has a smoky-hued top surface that’s quite sophisticated. In fact, I prefer the Aria’s style over its main competitor, the Withings Body Scale. Not only is the Aria lighter, but also has a more solid build.
Even the bottom design is eye-catching (if you look at the bottom any way). This egg box design makes the scale very stiff and solid thereby distributing the weight evenly. The flat bottom of the Withings Body Scale flexes when I applied pressure to it with my fingers. Its four plastic feet also rattle around in their sockets, whereas the FitBit Aria rubber risers are stable and provide a surer grip. Also on the bottom of the scale is the battery compartment, which holds four AA batteries.
The metal ring on the Aria’s top center encircles a backlit LCD which displays a wide range of information. As you’d expect, the screen prominently shows your weight but is also displays body fat and alerts as battery status and Wi-Fi signal strength.
Looking to the Fitbit Aria as a mere scale is miserably incorrect. It’s more of a “smart measurement device” which is part of your smart home. Of course, the Aria’s primary function is to record your weight, but the Aria will also determine your body fat percentage and calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). This works by sending a tiny electrical signal from your right to your left foot to differentiate between lean mass, such as muscle, and fat tissue which is a proven method. Although this makes it unsuitable for pacemaker users
The scale recognize up to eight different people. Each person does have to create a Fitbit account and register with the Aria device via the Fitbit Web site. In fact the real power of the Aria resides in the Web-based software and diagnostic tools that live online. Once the Aria has recorded your weight and other stats, it automatically transmits the data to Fitbit’s servers in the cloud by your home Wi-Fi. After the scale populates your Fitbit account with this information, the fun really begins.
Essentially, your Fitbit account is a personal fitness profile that tracks your daily and weekly activity, as measured by the other Fitbit devices as the FitBit One and against a wide-ranging calorie counter. The introduction of the Aria, though, adds the final piece of the data puzzle: your weight recorded over time. What’s more, the Fitbit provides free mobile apps for both Apple and Android platforms, where users can track their current activity level. The software enables a method of logging meals and snacks and manually entering workouts.
To motivate yourself, and shame yourself with the truth, you can use your Fitbit dashboard to set goals for weight and verify your progress with daily weigh-ins on the Aria scale. If you achieve your goal the Aria will congratulate you with badges that you can then use to triumph via social platforms or to friends with Fitbit accounts. The setup is another aspect where the Fitbit Aria trumps against the Withings Body Scale. The Aria has a completely wireless installation process whereas the Body Scale requires you to connect the device at least once to your PC via a USB cable. It’s a minor inconvenience but if you lose the cord (USB-to-Mini-USB) and change your home network settings, you’ll be in a real jam.
FitBit Aria Performance
In my brief test period with the Fitbit Aria I came away very impressed. Setting up the device on my home network was a quick, taking about 5 minutes to complete. First I made sure the four bundled AA batteries were properly in place and the Aria was in its setup mode. Then I pointed my browser to www.fitbit.com/start and downloaded the Aria client software. The software pushed me through a simple wizard that helped me log into my Fitbit account, name the scale, and enter my wireless network details. The Aria client then communicated the network log-in information to the scale and confirmed success.
Using the Aria is just as straightforward: just step on the device, preferably with bare feet to ensure proper BMI measurement, and wait a few seconds. In my experience, the Aria recognized me and began sensing my body before entering a “thinking” mode where it calculated my weight and percent body fat. Once done, the Aria instructed me to step off and it immediately uploaded my new stats to Fitbit’s servers. The whole process took about 10 seconds, which wasn’t that traumatic. What the scale reported though was very distressing.
Glaring at me in cold white digits was the reading of 240.2 pounds. “Hell no!” I told myself, but deep down I knew it was true. Less than 10 months ago, just before my twins were born, I tipped the scales at a much trimmer 206 pounds.
Good-looking and easy to use, the Fitbit Aria is a painless way to keep track of your body weight and fat percentage – especially useful if you’re building muscle rather than just out to lose weight. Monitoring changes is dead simple too, thanks to the free smartphone. Widespread integration with other fitness apps isn’t here yet, but if you have the patience it should ramp-up soon.