Welcome to another Tim’s Tech Tips. This time, we are taking a very honest look at the FitBit Aria review. This is going to be quite short but there isn’t much more to say other than STAY AWAY.
The FitBit Aria is a scale that will track your weight and body fat with the FitBit application over your wireless connection. The scale uses 4x AA batteries and will get about 6-9 months of usage with 2 people using it 1-2 times a day. It connects over 802.11B (via a GainSpan GS1011MEE Chip) wireless to the FitBit servers to store your data. You can share access with up to 8 other FitBit users, this is useful since my fiancee uses the scale as well and has other FitBit devices (I also have a FitBit One myself).
The FitBit Aria will run you $130 on any given day, I have seen them for $70-80 online refurbished. In the box, you have the scale with 4x AA batteries pre-installed along with basic setup instructions. You simply follow the setup instructions to get the scale associated with your account and connected to your wireless network, IF it worked correctly.
I purchased the scale back in December from Target and initially got it setup and working with my network (using a NetGear R7000 with 18.104.22.168 firmware). I shared it with my fiancee’s account and everything worked well for about 1 month. Then out of the blue, the scale stopped syncing with the network.
I then reset the scale and ran through the setup wizard again. I did this over 20 times. The scale would sync and connect to the network about 30% of the time or less. I started reading up on other people having issues with the wireless connecting. I found countless threads on the FitBitforums as well as other internet forums of people having major issues getting it to connect. After the reset I set up a separate wireless network that was 15 feet from the scale with a Cisco 1602I access point I had laying around, it still wouldn’t connect. I purchased a NetGear network extender and set it up, again wouldn’t connect. I then purchased a TP-Link TL-WR841HP router and it wouldn’t connect either.
I tried changing 802.11x speeds to b only, bg only, bgn only, channels, power level, WPA encryption type, and other low-level wireless settings. No matter what I did it would not get a consistent connection.
I called their tech support and they went through all the exact same steps that I took prior to calling them. They sent out a replacement unit and I received it today. However even though they said that my unit was definitely faulty the new one is also having issues connecting to the network reliably. The ONLY way I was able to get it to connect about 80% of the time was to remove encryption from the wireless and place the scale within 15 feet of it. To try and add some security to the network I segregated it to its own subnet and used MAC address filtering on the SSID to prevent anything else other than the scale from connecting.
Currently, it is only syncing about 80% of the time and I have wasted over 30 hours trying to get this working correctly.
Initially, when I purchased the scale it was working well and I liked that it was tracking my weight and body fat. When it was working it did what I wanted it to do and did the job. However, after all the network connection issues I have experienced with not only the first unit but the second one I cannot recommend this product at all. If I had the option to return it still I would be taking it back to the store in a heartbeat. I got this scale because I liked that it integrated with the FitBit ecosystem but it was not worth all the hassle and headaches.
Their support was of NO help and they were not very knowledgeable. The only plus to the support was that they immediately sent out a replacement model but even that one is flaky.
Are you listening FitBit? This product stinks and needs to be revised. Until these issues with the KEY feature are addressed I cannot recommend this product at all.
If you want to see the internals I would check out the PoolOfErrors blog. I did open up my (more) defective unit and it is exactly how this teardown looks: PoolOfErrors – Fitbit Aria Teardown