Fitbit Aria 2 WiFi smart scale hands-on: Accurate, convenient weight tracking designed to help you achieve your goals

There are millions of Fitbit users who track their daily activity and one element of health tracking is weight. Fitbit updated its first generation scale and I am trying to use it to help motivate me to reach my goal weight.

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Aria 2 vs Aria 1, bottom view

I bought the first Fitbit Aria scale five years ago and at that time there was very little competition in this space. The new Aria 2 was recently released at a price of $129.95. While it was easy to recommend in 2012, I think the only reason to purchase this new model is if you are embedded in the Fitbit community.

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According to Fitbit, the improvements in the Aria 2, compared to the first Aria, include easier initial setup via Bluetooth to your phone, weighs people up to 400 pounds rather than 300 pounds, and improved accuracy. The design looks just about the same on top with a different design on the underside, as you can see in my image gallery. It also comes in white or black.

Hardware

The Fitbit Aria 2 has a glossy glass top and a circular LED display. The top is glass so that Fitbit can run a very small current up through one foot and down through the other as it measures body fat percentage, a technique called bioelectrical impedance. I like that Fitbit uses this method to try to capture this data rather than just using algorithms based on weight and your body dimensions.

There are four load cells above the four feet of the scale to try to capture an accurate weight. The weight appears to be accurate, when compared to my doctor's scale too.

The round backlit LED and scale is powered by three AA batteries, included in the retail package. The display shows numbers and animations as it processes your weight and BMI. Initials of the person on the scale, or an assigned icon, also appear.

Software

The Fitbit app is excellent and I am using it to try to lose weight. You can set goals and then track those goals with the Aria 2 and the app. I am on a mission to lose 20-30 pounds and the widget on the Fitbit app home screen gives you a visual summary of your goal progress.

Tap on that widget and you are taken to the weight management portion of the Fitbit application. Here you can see a weight trend plot for the past 30 days. Swipe right to left to see plots for body fat percentage, lean vs fat weight, and BMI. Tap on any plot to then switch to view stats for a week, month, three months, one year, and all time. It was actually a bit depressing to see that I was at my weight goal four years ago and the trend since then has been upwards.

Below this chart you will find the goal progress and below that the daily weight log on the bottom half of the page. Tap on any weight log line to see the date, weight, body fat percentage, and BMI.

Someday when I achieve my goal I will tap on the share button at the top. This lets you share your weight goal progress, current weight, and current body fat percentage with either the weight log or a picture you take as the background. This can be helpful to motivate you to improve, but I first need to commit to lifestyle eating changes to lose the weight I desire.

Usage experiences

If you already own an original Aria scale, then I honestly cannot see any reason to upgrade to this model. It looks about the same, I keep getting the same weight readings, and setup only happens once so using WiFi (original) or Bluetooth (Aria 2) is not really an important differentiator. I had a physical during my testing and the weight at the doctor's office closely matched that on the Fitbit Aria 2.

At times, I actually found the Aria 2 scale a bit annoying as the animations seem slower than on the first Aria scale and feet moving indicating I should step off the scale sometimes appear rather than the resulting weight and body mass calculation. I would then step off the scale, as the feet animation implied, to see the result seconds later. Overall, I found the experience to take a slight bit longer on the Aria 2 than on the first Aria.

The power of the Aria is really in the Fitbit application that does let you track your weight over time, which is where the motivation to lose or manage your weight comes in.

The convenience of WiFi in the Aria 2 is fantastic as I just step on the scale each morning and let the scale sync up to my Fitbit account. You don't even need to have a Fitbit tracker close at hand to measure your weight. I had to purchase a third party app to then have my weight synced to Apple Health since Apple and Fitbit don't want to play together.

The Aria 2 is an attractive scale and gets the job done, but I think it would be a more competitive choice at $99 rather than $130. The convenience of stepping on the scale and having my measurements taken without having to do anything else is excellent and over the past month of use the scale has not failed me once.

The Fitbit app, smartphone and desktop, is easy to use and very functional. Combined with the Fitbit Aria 2, I look forward to a steady decline in my weight after the holidays.

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