Wearables.com community review: The best and worst of the Runtastic Orbit


In May, we gave away a Runtastic Orbit to Wearables.com community Michael Houle in exchange for a user review. Check out his thoughts on the device below (And be sure to enter to win our latest giveaway: the Pebble Time!).

Top 4 pros:
1) Outstanding water resistance, up to to 300 feet
2) The display is simple, easy to glean stats from
3) Pretty good battery life
4) Ease of use with Runtastic Apps

Top 4 cons:
1) USB charging cable is too short
2) Device is sensitive to road bumps when worn while driving
3) A little pricey considering how simple the device is
4) The second display for RuntasticPro is buggy at times

Runtastic Orbit fitness tracker on arm

 

Overall score: 4.3 of 5

Overall the Runtastic Orbit is great — when used in conjunction with Runtastic apps. I found the device easy to setup, easy to use, comfortable to wear, and pretty accurate with the daily readings. The Runtastic Orbit is not as great if used as a standalone device. This is due to the inability to input your height, weight, age, and gender on the device, which can only be done through the apps. The charging cable is very small and does not come with a wall plug, meaning you can only charge it at a computer (unless you go out and buy a USB adapter).

The Orbit did drain my phone’s battery (a Samsung Galaxy S5 Active) quicker than normal due to the use of Bluetooth for syncing the Orbit to the app. The app will automatically turn the phone’s Bluetooth on. My personal workaround was to turn off the RuntasticMe app’s ability to automatically turn on the phone’s Bluetooth when opened.  Instead, I only turned the bluetooth on when I wanted to sync the device to the app.

The screen can be difficult to read in direct sunlight. Be aware that the device can pick up the vibrations of bumps when driving and add unnecessary steps to your daily goal. My fix was to put the Orbit in sleep mode when driving long distances. And finally, I did not use the device to track my sleep after a few days of reviewing the sleep mode of the device.

With all of the above taken into account, however, the Orbit is still a great fitness tracker for walking and running.

Battery life: 4

The battery worked better than expected. The manual states it last 5 to 7 days, but at the 7 day mark I still had just under a quarter of the batter life left. How long it lasts depends how many times a day you use the display and how often you sync the device with the RuntasticMe app, if you use the app at all. I generally synced the device just once a day in the evening. Despite that pretty solid battery life, I would like to see a better battery life like a watch battery has.

Comfort: 5

The wristband is very comfortable and lightweight. I like the soft, flexible material the wristband and belt clip are made from. I wore the wristband all the time, aside from when at work. I’m a Public Safety professional and when on the job I use the clip. Both are lightweight and not bulky at all.

Runtastic Orbit activity tracker clip

Easy to put on: 5

I had no problem putting the wristband on and taking off. I also found that switching the Orbit from the wrist band to the belt clip was quick and easy. It takes a matter of seconds to switch, no tools needed.

App experience: 4

The companion app, RuntasticMe, is great. I love you you can set goals for your steps and goals for how long you want to be active. The app will also allow you to set calorie goals, distance traveled goals, as well as how long you want to sleep.

The downside is that you need to either pay a monthly fee or annual fee to set the calorie goals, distance traveled goals as well as your sleep goals. That ought to come free when you purchase the Orbit.

You might also like: What the Apple Watch winners say about the device

Style and design: 4

I do like the overall style and look; it didn’t seem bulky at all. I also like that you are able to choose different color wristband. Like I mentioned before, the charging cable is way too small and only allows you to charge at a computer unless you want to spend extra for a USB wall plug.

Durability: 4

During the 9 day review period, it held up great. I would recommend having a screen protector for the display. I can see that the longer one wears it, the more apt the screen is to get scratched.

Water resistance: 5

I wore the Orbit while running in the rain, swimming, and even took the Orbit in the shower with me. Not one drop of water affected the device.

Price: 3

I think the price of $99 is a little too high for such a simple device, particularly if one only uses it as a stand alone device.

Runtastic Orbit fitness tracking app

Unboxing experience: 5

Great packaging! Easy to see the contents inside, you know what you are getting before you even open the box. I loved the box’s color scheme and how detailed the information is about the product. It catches your eye and gives you enough insight on the product to know exactly what the Orbit can do.

Any other thoughts on your experience, not listed above?

The Orbit did drain my phone’s battery quicker than normal.  I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 Active.  This is due to the use of bluetooth for syncing the Orbit to the app.  The app will automatically turn the boothtooth on.  My fix around this was to turn off the RuntasticMe apps ability to automatically turn on the phone’s bluetooth when opened.  I would only turn the bluetooth on when I wanted to sync the device to the app.  It is an easy fix and does not interfere with the use of the device.

The screen can be difficult to read in direct sunlight.  The device can pick up the vibrations of bumps when driving and add unnecessary steps to your daily goal.  My fix was to put the Orbit in sleep mode when driving long distances  I did not use the device to track my sleep after a few days of reviewing the sleep mode of the device.

What recommendations would you have to those considering purchasing this device?

I would not recommend it as a stand alone device.  However, I would recommend it when used with the RuntasticMe app. If used as a stand alone device, it does not take in account your height, weight, age, and gender when considering caloric burn or distance. Rather, it will use the preset calculation of an “average” Runtastic user.

If using the app, you can enter your own height, weight, age, and gender. Note that the Orbit does not show your distance in miles traveled on the screen — that’s available only in-app. If you are an avid and dedicated user of Runtastic apps, this the device will work for you.

 

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