I love having endless stats about the mundane and fitness-filled moments of my daily life. Sometimes, they're just interesting; other times, they help me improve my fitness — or, at the very least, give me a data-driven way to feel better about the progress that I might not actually see, but what the little device anchored on my wrist has deduced. The Fitbit Luxe is the company's smallest wrist-anchored fitness tracker.
That makes it incredibly comfortable to wear and almost imperceptible during your workouts, but also entirely impractical to use as a replacement for a larger smartwatch. It'll serve in a pinch, but the Fitbit Luxe's strengths lie in its unobtrusive and accurate data collection for workouts, sleep, and more. It may not be one of the best fitness trackers, but it's the Lyanna Mormont of your wrist: small but mighty.
The Fitbit Luxe is much better for tracking stats during workouts than as a replacement for a smartwatch. Its super-tiny screen can help you out by showing notifications from a connected Android or iOS device, but it's so small that we doubt you'll use it as much as a regular smartwatch. But, you get a tiny, almost-forgettable device that does an Apple-quality job tracking your stats (biological and otherwise).
- Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
- Notification Support: Yes
- Battery Life: Up to 5 days
- Display: 0.76" AMOLED
- Sensors: Heart rate, SpO2
- Water resistance: Up to 50m
- Dimensions (body): 36 x 17.5 x 10.1 mm
- Small bands: Fits wrist 5.5" - 7.1" in circumference
- Large bands: Fits wrist 7.1" - 8.7" in circumference
- Color: White, Black, Orchid or Gold
- Price: $150
- Mobile payments: No
- Workout detection: Yes
- Exercise modes: 20
- Incredibly small: almost forgettable on your wrist
- Excellent stats-tracking for your workouts
- Super-long battery life
- Tiny screen hard to read and manipulate
- Some fitness stats locked behind a premium subscription
- No GPS or mobile payments
Fitbit Luxe: Price and availability
You can pick up a Fitbit Luxe from Fitbit itself, usually retailing for $130, or from a myriad of other retailers where smartwatches and fitness trackers can be found, such as Amazon. It comes in four colors — white/gold, black/graphite, orchid/platinum, and a more expensive stainless-steel link version. We've seen the Luxe's price drop as low as $78 for various sales, so you might want to wait a bit if you want to shave nearly half the cost.
Fitbit Luxe: Design, hardware, what's in the box
The teeny-tiny Fitbit Luxe clocks in at a mere 1.43-by-0.69 inches and just a fraction shy of a half-inch at its thickest point, where it's a smidge wider than the narrow silicon band it ships with. It's ever-so-slightly smaller than Fitbit's Inspire 3, which arrived almost a year and a half after the Luxe.
The Luxe may be around one-and-a-half inches long, but its actual display clocks in at only 0.75 inches on the diagonal. The AMOLED screen, great for viewing the Luxe in the sunlight, is surrounded by huge top and bottom bezels (and reasonable side bezels). It's such a small screen that it's hard to get much useful information out of the Luxe — a smartwatch, this ain't. (More on that in a bit.)
The Luxe has no physical buttons. You manipulate the display by tapping and swiping, for better or worse. I wouldn't have minded one button on the side that could pull up a preselected workout, but that's not happening in this version of the Luxe.
The fitness tracker doesn't have a charging port. Instead, Luxe's proprietary charging cable has a USB-A connection on one side and a Luxe-specific magnetic charger on the other. You'll have to buy a replacement cable from Fitbit ($20) should you ever lose it, but the magnetic charger is very convenient for charging your Luxe, much more so than my Orange Theory fitness band that requires me to pry open a micro-USB port to charge it.
As Fitbit's smallest fitness tracker, the Luxe has a few noticeable omissions. There's no built-in GPS, which means you'll only be able to track your physical stats, not your outdoor running route unless the accompanying Fitbit app is synced to the phone you're carrying. The Luxe doesn't have a skin temperature sensor or altimeter for tracking your inclines, but you won't find these in the competing Fitbit Charge 5 or Fitbit Inspire 3.
You can't measure the cadence of your heartbeats with any ECG-themed app, nor can you tap your Fitbit to purchase things: No NFC capabilities. This puts the Luxe in that strange gray area where you might want to wear it and a smartwatch, depending on how much information (or location-tracking) you need on your wrist(s). You could also opt for an alternative like the Fitbit Charge 5, though it's not as svelte or as cheap as the Luxe.
The Luxe comes with a generic silicone strap. It didn't bother me, but I prefer the woven bands Fitbit sells for around $30. I had no issues getting the Luxe to take fitness measurements with either strap, though I did find myself over-tightening the silicone strap from time to time, and that was less of an issue with the nylon strap.
The Luxe has no built-in speaker, so don't expect to rock out while you're working out. More annoying, it doesn't have a way to control music from other devices you may own, even the phone it's connected to.
Fitbit Luxe: Display
When I first tried on the Luxe, I wasn't sure how useful its super-small display could be. It's nice and bright, and I had no issues seeing what I was doing during outdoor runs, but, boy, is that screen small. Don't expect to be able to load up some fancy, complication-laden watch face. There's just no room. You're getting as big of numbers as the Luxe can display, or a standard dial, and one extra piece of information: the date, your heart rate, or how your fitness progress for the day is going (Fitbit's "Zone Minutes" measurement).
While you can read notifications from your smartphone and related apps, including text messages, your ability to do anything with that information is limited. You can't type out replies on a tiny keyboard, for example; heck, you can't even reply to any standard text messages or messages from third-party apps on iOS. You're limited to a predetermined list of quick replies or emojis on Android. That's better than nothing, but it would be great if iPhone owners could share the fun.
You can set the Luxe's display to "always-on," but it'll reduce the device's battery life to days rather than a week. That's still better than most smartwatches, but we hope the second-gen Luxe (undoubtedly coming sometime soon) has an always-on mode with more juice.
Fitbit Luxe: Software and performance
Given the size of the Luxe's screen, Fitbit limits your on-device interactions to just a few key features: viewing and replying to notifications; selecting and starting a workout from a small list of options; starting a relaxation session; and setting up an alarm, timer, or stopwatch. During a workout, you can pull up your device to view your calories burnt, the elapsed time, and your current heart rate. While I wish the Luxe could show you more stats, like some of those you can access within the corresponding Fitbit app, it would be harder to scroll and read even more data during a workout on the Luxe's small display.
Though you might get annoyed at having to manage many of Luxe's functions from Fitbit's app — and then sync your changes before they apply — it's a lot faster than trying to change a bunch of settings on the Luxe itself.
When you launch the app, you'll first see a quick reading of your Zone Minutes or how much time you've spent in the highest three heart-rate zones that day. You'll also be able to quickly see your step count, total distance, and estimated calories burnt. This is a total calorie measurement, which includes what you'd naturally burn as part of your basal metabolic rate, so make sure you've entered your height, weight, and age correctly as part of the Fitbit's initial setup (or change it if you grew or shrank since). The Fitbit app won't adjust your heart rate zones automatically based on your measured performance, but it does allow you to make manual changes.
I love how the Fitbit app gives you a chart and historical readings for everything your tiny tracker can record. You can set individual goals for yourself for some metrics, like daily steps or calories burned, and then see how well you did across a chart or table of your full data.
The Fitbit app's sleep-tracking features give you a detailed look at your stages (awake, REM, light, or deep), a visual graph of how your night went, and an overall score if you're too lazy (or tired) to comb through the specific data. You can see what workouts you did (or the Luxe identified on your behalf), and tapping through shows a gorgeous breakdown of your heart rate zones, heart rate, calories burnt, and, even more interestingly, how your workout contributed to your daily goals.
To say that Fitbit provides information overload would be accurate for most categories the device tracks. Its stress- and mindfulness-tracking features are a bit sparser, with details about your stress locked behind a $10/monthly or $80/annual Fitbit premium subscription.
Though I wish Fitbit had a better way to distinguish free from premium features in the app, my biggest issue is that the app doesn't play nicely with most other fitness-tracking services, including those already built into your device. You'll need to grab Google's Health Connect app to import your data to Android, and Fitbit's stats won't synchronize with Apple Health at all. You'll also have to determine whether your smart health gear is compatible with the Fitbit app, such as your bathroom scale. If it isn't, your only option is to manually input its measurements into the Fitbit app to build a comprehensive picture of your health. That's annoying.
Fitbit Luxe: Fitness tracking
I had no issues tracking workouts with the Fitbit Luxe. While the real-time stats weren't as comprehensive as you'd find on, say, an Apple Watch (my main comparison point), the overall picture of your health you get from Fitbit's app and the Luxe's recording were every bit as good. That said, I prefer Apple's free Health app to the feature-gated Fitbit, if for nothing else than it's annoying that I can't get a 30-day view of my HRV, oxygen saturation, or resting heart rate without paying more for data that the Luxe is already tracking.
Firing up, pausing, and completing a workout only take a few finger taps, and the statistics the Luxe captured aligned pretty closely to what I saw on my Apple Watch after wearing both (on different wrists) for more than a month. I also loved how unobtrusive the Luxe felt during my workouts. It weighs almost nothing, is small and simple, and provides a ton of information to view once you're done. However, it's not the device you should get if you need something on your wrist to guide your workouts or accept input about your reps and weights.
Fitbit Luxe: Battery life
The Fitbit Luxe lasts a long, long time before you have to charge it. I wore it nonstop for days, and I'm pretty sure I got to a whole week before I saw the dreaded "time to charge" notification. I must confess, I completely forgot to record how many consistent days of uptime I got, only because it happened sparingly during my month or so using the Luxe 24/7. However, I never used the Fitbit with my iPhone's GPS, as I didn't do any outdoor running during this time, so your battery experience might differ slightly from mine.
Charging the Luxe from near-dead to full took anywhere from one to two hours, which wasn't inconvenient to schedule during a boring part of my day (like showering or running a quick errand in my car). Unlike a smartwatch, the fact that you don't have to charge the Luxe every day or two is enough of a convenience that it won't matter whether you have to juice it back up after six days or seven. The odds are good that you won't ever be caught with a dead or dying device before it's time for your next workout.
Fitbit Luxe: Competition
The most obvious alternatives to the Fitbit Luxe are Fitbit's own Charge 5 tracker or Sense 2 smartwatch. Though larger than the Luxe, the Charge 5 doesn't give you a gigantic screen to play with; however, it comes with a built-in GPS, ECG sensor, and the ability to make real-world payments from your wrist. The Fitbit app controls the Luxe and the Charge 5, however, so you'll have the same depth (and gated content). This makes more sense if you need the extra features and less if you're looking for a larger screen to read notifications on.
The Charge 5 isn't going to give you that much more to work with over the Luxe. The Sense 2, on the other hand, gives you that meatier smartwatch screen you might be craving. Still, I'd argue that it sits right in the weird middle area between a "super-awesome smartwatch that's designed to work flawlessly with my phone's operating system" and a "super-cheap wrist device that doesn't cost as much as my phone."
It also has a built-in GPS tracker and, unlike the Luxe or Charge 5, a speaker (that pairs nicely with Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant, neither of whom you'll find on the Luxe or Charge 5). That said, there are better-built smartwatches for Android and iOS, and you'd be better off spending $300 (or saving a bit more) for one of them if you need a great smartwatch and a great fitness tracker.
Fitbit Luxe: Should you buy it?
The Luxe does a great job of accurately tracking workouts incredibly discreetly, giving you all the key information (and then some) in an easy-to-understand app for Android or iOS. It's not a smartwatch replacement, but it dips its toe into just enough functionality to be useful, even on the world's tiniest (AMOLED) screen. If you need a more well-rounded device (mobile payments) or more dedicated (built-in GPS), the Luxe isn't as compelling as Fitbit's more-expensive Charge 5. But that bulkier fitness tracker lacks the small style of the Luxe, and I wager that most average-to-interested athletic types don't always need a map of their favorite running spots. They probably just want to see their progress over a multi-month timeframe. On that end, the Luxe doesn't disappoint.
My only hesitation with recommending the Luxe outright is that there will surely be a new one arriving soon, which means the current-gen Luxe will either get a deep discount, or the Luxe II's features will be too enticing. I think it might be worth waiting to see what Fitbit has in store, but if you can't, the Luxe will do a lovely job tracking your athleticism.