I had a hankering for a new gadget, specifically something that could help track my incidental activity. Good old Amazon suggested something called the 3D FitBud – a simple step counter that, for better or worse, doesn’t connect to your phone. In this review, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the FitBud – what it does well, how accurate it is, and whether or not you should get one.
What is the 3D FitBud?
The 3D FitBud is a simple pedometer – AKA step-counter. It’s a large LCD screen that you slip in your bag, pocket, or fasten to your person in a number of different ways. It then counts your steps.
It has one button – a reset button that resets your steps to zero.
You can see your steps real-time if you hold it or, more realistically, just have a check now and then.Check Current Amazon UK Price
What’s the point in the FitBud?
You might be wondering what the point in a step counter is at all, especially if you’re already doing workouts in your home gym or any number of aerobic exercises. Well, don’t write this humble step counter off just yet. Incidental exercise might just be your new best friend.
Reading the awesome book, The Energy Plan recently, which is written by one of the Team GB Olympic nutrition trainers, he mentioned something interesting: incidental exercise. Stating that one thing they use to train athletes is to take into consideration the amount of exercise athletes do outside of their regular training.
Tracking your steps can lead to more incidental exercise
Being aware of the number of steps you do in a given period of time means you can find ways to increase them. There’s a lot of sneaky tricks you can do to increase your daily steps without too much impact on your time.
- Park further away from appointments like school pickups or meetings so you can get some more walking in
- Do more walking during breaks
- Find new ways to walk more at home
- Get a walking treadmill for your office
What I like about my 3DFitBud
This pedometer has a long battery life
While this isn’t a USB chargeable device (fairly odd in 2023!) the battery here lasts a whopping 12 months. It achieves this partly by intelligently sleeping when not in use. I don’t mind not having to charge yet another gadget actually, and changing the battery is cheap and easy to do. Twist off the back with a coin and swap it out. They’re available really cheaply on Amazon.
A really well-made little gizmo
You know those products that just have a lovely feel about them? Well, the FitBud is one of them. It has a large glossy screen (which will likely get completely wrecked over time. And it feels like a smooth pebble in your hand.
You can get this pedometer in pink, blue, white or black too and it’s the same price whichever colour you go for.
Good choice of methods to attach it
Another smart thing about this is there’s a number of different ways you can use it.
- Pendant -You get a simple lightweight fabric pendant that you can clip and un-clip the FitBud to pretty easily.
- Stick it in your pocket – You don’t need to attach it at all – it will count steps perfectly well in your pocket.
- Put it in a bag or backpack – Similarly, the FitBud will work fine in something you’re carrying.
- Belt clip – You get a simple slide-in clip that will attach to belts or waistbands.
I’ve tried them all and at first, having it in my pocket was a good option. After a while, however, I really enjoyed having it on the pendant. I also think this option will protect that lovey glossy plastic screen from getting scratched. It’s so light and smooth you forget it’s there. But play around and see what you think.
This is an incredibly easy pedometer
The FitBud comes with a decent little manual. A manual I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t even opened. This thing is so easy to use after all. There’s really nothing to set. Pull the battery disabler out the back and that’s it. Holding down RESET for a few seconds, surprise, surprise resets the counter to zero. Couldn’t be more simple than that. If you hate anything techy then this is the pedometer for you. I love how easy this is to use, in a world where everything else is… a bit complicated.
This would also be a great pedometer for seniors. It’s actually a lot of fun to use too.
I’ve not used my FitBud for long but, so far, the tests I’ve done have been spot on. In the tests, I took 50 steps, 100 steps at a time and the counter was 99% accurate, only missing a few steps which could have been when I was turning around to do the next set.
Similarly, it counts jogging on the spot perfectly too.
The LCD display is actually decent
If you’ve read any reviews here on HGE you’ll know we’re not a fan of shoddy LCD screens. The one here is pretty good, however. Although not backlit, the digits are around 15mm tall and crisp. You can read them easily and they’re much clearer than other step counters I’ve seen.
There’s literally only the numbers on the screen so it’s quick and easy to read.
The reset button is tucked out of the way
If you’ve ever had a step counter where you kept resetting it accidentally, you shouldn’t have that problem here. Not only do you have to press the reset for a few seconds, but it’s tucked around the back and due to the curvy design, I can’t see how you’d ever reset it accidentally.
Good value for money
I feel like this product is good value for money. While it doesn’t do anything fancy, this simple step tracker has a super-high-quality feel about it and it seems like it should last a long time. I paid £20 for both of mine and I feel like that’s a good price for this fitness gadget.Check Current Amazon UK Price
- How many days of training should you do in a week?
- Body Solid Weight Benches
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- Easy Medicine Ball Exercises
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What don’t I like with the FitBud?
The data isn’t always real-time, even if it is accurate
One thing that confused me when I started with the FitBud was that it doesn’t always count the steps as they happen. Walking around watching it you will see the steps going up as they happen sometimes. But other times it won’t appear to do anything, only to catch up a few seconds later.
It’s worth noting it never misses a step, but it doesn’t always show them in real-time. I’m guessing this is something to do with its energy-saving sleeping mode, where every milliamp of power is carefully guarded. It’s not really a negative, or an issue, but don’t let it catch you out.
No advanced features
There’s no way to upload your stats to your phone or an app. Not unexpected at this price point and the USP of this pedometer is that it’s simple and easy to use.
But don’t expect any GPS tracking or any online functionality. Your daily steps won’t be tracked unless you enter them manually into another app. This isn’t a FitBit or an Apple watch, it’s a very basic step counter.
Maybe one thing I would have liked is to see an approximation of how many calories I was walking off, but again – there’s plenty of other devices that do that. This is a really easy-to-use step counter. End of.
No backlight on the screen
You know the score with LCD screens. You’ve got to get them from the correct angle to see them at their best. The 3D FitBud is a simple grey LCD affair and there’s no backlighting. I’ve tested it in different lighting and you’re obviously going to struggle at night with really low light. This won’t be an issue for most of the time and in household lighting and daylight the screen is crisp and easy to read.
Packaging hard to get into
The 3D FitBud comes in one of those plastic machine-sealed packages that you have to cut into. They’re a bit of pain to open in my opinion but not a great hassle. I do prefer a simple box though rather than a chunk of plastic you’ve got to hack away at.
That plastic screen might not look so pretty in a few months
Depending on how you look after your Fitbud, you might find the screen gets scuffed up easily. It is after all plastic. In a world where phones have extra tough gorilla glass or other forms of toughened screens, it would be good if the FitBuddy had something similar. Of course, this is going to push up the price so you can see why they’ve gone with good old plastic. Using it as a pendant will keep it looking at its best, however.
Verdict: Is the FitBud the best simple step counter for your money?
Yes. If you’re looking for a super-easy way to track your daily steps, then go for this. There are absolutely no advanced features here and you can’t track your stats unless you store them manually elsewhere.
But that’s an unfair criticism of a gadget that’s not designed for that. What you get with a 3D fitBud is a clear, easy to use step counter that’s accurate and extremely easy to use.
If you want to be aware of your steps and increase them, this is a great tool that doesn’t cost the earth. It’s incredibly well made and a joy to use each day.
I’ve just ordered a bright pink one for my wife too.Check Current Amazon UK Price
Verdict for the 3D FitBud
The 3D FitBud is easy to use, looks and feels great and is highly accurate. There’s no advanced features here but what you are getting is a simple and effective way to track your daily steps. The long-lasting battery combined with the large screen is a winner.
References & Further Reading
- NCBI – Step Counting: A Review of Measurement Considerations and Health-Related Applications
- British Medical Journal – Effectiveness of the Stand More AT (SMArT) Work intervention
- Harvard Health – The truth behind standing desks
- NHS – How to improve your strength and flexibility
- Mayo Clinic – What are the risks of sitting too much?