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Fitbit Luxe review: A nearly perfect fitness band

jason-cipriani-author.jpg
Written by Jason Cipriani on
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7.5

Fitbit Luxe - graphite stainless steel - activity tracker with band - black

Very good
$130.00 at Target $130.00 at Best Buy $130.00 at Macys.com
Like
  • Long battery life
  • Tracks nearly all modern fitness metrics
  • Petite design
Don't Like
  • A really small display
  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

Fitness and activity trackers have evolved over the years. What started as a small device you attach to your belt or clip on your pants loop, blew up into full-fledged smartwatches or dedicated bracelets. One thing almost all modern trackers have in common is the size and design. They're big and bulky, and not very attractive. 

Fitbit's Luxe fitness tracker, however, is small and stylish, while retaining all the smarts that we've come to expect from the company. 

For the last few weeks, I've been wearing and testing the Luxe. Truth be told, I forgot I was even wearing it at times thanks to its small form factor -- which is a huge benefit. The Luxe does exactly what it's designed to do, but with a glaring flaw. 

Fitbit Luxe

The Fitbit Luxe's display is small compared to the overall housing. It looks and feels like a lot of wasted space. 

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Design and setup

The Fitbit Luxe is one of the smallest wrist-worn activity trackers I've tested. Or at least that comes to recent memory. When thinking bout the design of the Luxe and its overall size, it's slightly larger than the original Fitbit step counters that you clipped onto your waist or put in a pocket. Remember those? The Fitbit Ultra comes to mind. Simpler times. 

Included in the box are the fitness tracker, a charging cable, and two sizes of the standard band. The first thing I noticed about the Luxe after it powered up is how small the color display is in comparison to other fitness trackers. The display measures 0.76-inch. When you look at the size of the housing itself, the total dimensions of the Luxe are 1.43 x .69-inch x 0.4 inches. 

On the back of the Luxe, you'll find charging pins and the necessary sensors to measure heart rate and track other metrics like Sp02. The housing is water-resistant up to 50 meters and can be worn while swimming to track workouts. 

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The Luxe comes in four different color combinations. There's lunar white with soft gold, black with graphite, orchid with platinum, or a special edition gold-on-gold model that's $200. 

Fitbit isn't shy about the target demographic for the Luxe. Every single promotional photo -- except one -- on Fitbit's landing page for Luxe features a woman dressed in stylish clothes showing off her stylish yet minimal fitness band. I think it's great that Fitbit is attempting to attract this segment of the market -- those who want a fitness tracker that fits in with their modern style and clothes, without looking like a hunk of plastic on their wrist with some colorized rubber straps holding it in place. 

If that's the route you're going to go, just be ready to pay for the bands to accessorize the Luxe. For instance, the Gorjana Parker Link Bracelet, which comes in gold or platinum is $100. Remember, the Luxe itself is $150. Not all the bands are close to the cost of the tracker itself. The Premium Horween Leather Double Wrap band, which comes in three different colors, is $50 -- and is one of my personal favorites. 

Fitbit Luxe-2

The Luxe has all the sensors you'd expect in a Fitbit. 

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Performance and specs

The Luxe is a capable and fully equipped fitness tracker we've come to expect from Fitbit. That means it can count your steps, monitor workouts, provide sleep information, and track your heart's performance during all of that. The Luxe can even track your Sp02 levels (or the amount of oxygen in your blood) and show you the Sp02 range it recorded while you sleep. 

Over the last few weeks, I've used Luxe to track bike rides and several walks, along with my daily activity and sleep habits. All the metrics are right in line with what I was getting from my Apple Watch Series 6, with the exception of the distance of walks and bike rides when I didn't take my iPhone with me. 

The reason for the discrepancy is that the Luxe isn't equipped with standalone GPS, and therefore requires your smartphone to be nearby and connected for a more accurate reading of your location and distance traveled. When I did have my phone with me, the distance variance wasn't anything notable. However, when I didn't take my phone with me, the Luxe was off by as much as 0.2 miles. At $150 and this compact size, it makes sense for GPS not to be included. 

Fitbit Luxe 4

You can get notifications on the Luxe. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

As far as Fitbit's core features go, the Luxe does good, if not great, on all fronts. Battery life is advertised as five days, but I was able to get over 7 days of use out of the Luxe before it needed a charge. Obviously, your experience will be different based on a number of factors like how often you work out or how many messages you receive. 

Where I struggled with the Luxe, as I started to touch on earlier, is with the size of the screen. Not only does it make it hard to do common tasks such as read an incoming text message or see who is calling you. 

In addition to hampering the smartwatch-like features with small text, it also made it harder to quickly glance at the display for an update on metrics during a workout. 

Fitbit has told me it plans on releasing an update to the Luxe that will add an option to increase the font size but stopped short of providing specific timing. 

While I think a bigger font will help make basic content on the screen easier to see at a glance, I'm not sure if it will vastly improve the experience of reading messages and other information. With larger text, you'll see less at a given time on the screen, thus increasing the amount of scrolling the text will have to do. 

Bottom line

The Fitbit Luxe is meant to appeal to a certain type of user who wants something that can look nice, but also keeps tabs on their health metrics. And it succeeds at doing just that. 

The display is the lone letdown, but an important one at that, especially if you want to use some of the smart features the Luxe offers. 

That said, if you're looking for a Fitbit with a jewelry-like design that you can dress up or down, then the Luxe is worth a look.

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