Over the years the whole lifelogging / quantified-self thing has interested me, although not obsessively, so when the opportunity presented itself in late 2015 to buy a fitbit HR at a discount I jumped at the chance.

Order online, quote the discount code provided through work, pay, product arrives.

Cue several months of operation, with only one notable annoyance – the very square edges that have a habit of catching on things when I move my arm past them, often leading to it jabbing into my spouse or catching on the bed while I roll over in my sleep.

Then around about six months in it started to bubble and blister, the rubbery material that makes up the band detaching from the hard plastic insert that holds the electronics. After a week or two of this it was clear that it was going to fall apart so I contacted fitbit, sent them a photo, and shortly afterwards received a replacement under warranty.

I kept using the failing one for a month or so then switched to the new, but sure enough, another six months in and the same fate befell it. This one failed more completely than the first, even my attempt to glue the strap back on the body with contact cement was doomed. Around this time an ex-work colleague saw one of photos of the failure and noted that he’d been through three or four of them, all failing the same way, and was eventually given one of the more upmarket models.

Once number two fell apart I went back to number one, babying it along for a few more weeks while a support call to fitbit was made and number three turned up in the mail. I sarcastically noted that I guessed it too would last six months.

Well I must have been lucky, perhaps the quality control or construction had varied slightly. Fitbit HR number three arrived at the end of February and made it past six months… seven… eight… but just like the others, earlier this week the signs of its demise have appeared. The rubber is bubbling and parting from the body, I suspect I’ll get another two months or so before it is unwearable.

Two dead and one dying Fitbit HRs

I can’t fault fitbit customer support, they were very prompt and courteous in handling the calls and in replacing the faulty units, but at two years out I suspect this experiment has had its day.

What then? I’ve read good things about the fitbit Alta HR, but is the contruction and material any better?