Fitbit Luxe Review | PCMag

Table of Contents A Streamlined DesignSetting up and Navigating the LuxeFitness TrackingSleep, Stress, and Other…

Like the idea of a fitness tracker, but haven’t found one that suits your sense of style? The Fitbit Luxe ($149.95) might be right up your alley. It offers all the basics Fitbit is known for—including 24/7 heart rate monitoring, step counting, more than 20 exercise modes for workout tracking, a swim-proof design, reminders to move, sleep insights, stress management tools, and smartphone notifications—in a fashion-forward design you’ll want to wear. It’s thinner than the Fitbit Charge 4 and Inspire 2, making it more comfortable to sleep with and a better fit for small wrists, and it features a stainless steel case and an AMOLED color display for a significant step up in style. It lacks the altimeter, GPS, and mobile payment support you get with the $129.95 Charge 4, and it has about half the battery life of the $99.95 Inspire 2, but the Luxe offers a more attractive take on the basics, making it the best Fitbit if you’re serious about style.  

A Streamlined Design

Measuring 1.43 by 0.69 by 0.40 inches (LWH), the Luxe stands out among Fitbit’s other trackers for its AMOLED color display and stainless steel case. These details give it a more sophisticated look than the Inspire 2 or Charge 4, both of which are around 0.1-inch thicker, feature plastic cases, and have grayscale screens. 


Left to right: Fitbit Luxe, Fitbit Inspire 2, Fitbit Charge 4 (Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)

For comparison, the entry-level Inspire 2 is a good starter model that offers the longest battery life of any Fitbit device. The Charge 4 is Fitbit’s most advanced fitness tracker, offering a standalone GPS to map your exercise route without a phone, an altimeter to track your floors climbed, Spotify support, and Fitbit Pay for mobile payments. The Luxe offers similar features and functionality to the Inspire 2, but better blends function and form with an elevated, jewelry-inspired design.

The Luxe’s display is tiny, measuring just 0.76 inches diagonally, but it’s sharp and bright, with a resolution of 206 by 124. It offers a slight bump in daylight brightness compared with the Charge 4.

Fitbit offers the Luxe in soft gold with a white band, matte black with a matching band, or platinum with a pink band. The band is made of silicone and features a metal buckle. In the box, you get both small and large bands, which fit wrists measuring 5.5 to 7.1 inches and 7.1 to 8.7 inches in circumference, respectively. 

Fitbit Luxe
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)

Fitbit also sells a $199.95 Special Edition model designed in collaboration with the Laguna Beach-based jewelry brand gorjana, which features a soft gold case and a metal link bracelet for a more sophisticated look. The Special Edition model also comes with a pink silicone band.

In addition, the company offers a range of Luxe accessory bands priced from $29.95 to $99.95. For this review, Fitbit sent me the soft gold/white model, along with a soft gold stainless steel mesh accessory band (sold separately for $79.95). The stainless steel mesh accessory band is classy, but I’d save it for special occasions, as its magnetic clasp can’t be fully trusted when exercising. One time when playing with my dog, the clasp separated and the Luxe fell off my wrist. Luckily this happened in the house, so it was easy to find. I recommend you use the included silicone band for the best security.

Accessories aside, the Luxe features a streamlined design with no physical buttons, so you navigate it soley with swipes and taps on the screen. It doesn’t have an always-on display, meaning the screen turns off after a few seconds of inactivity. 

Fitbit Luxe
The Luxe is 0.4 inches thick (Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)

In terms of sensors and other components, it has a three-axis accelerometer, an optical heart rate monitor, a vibration motor, and red and infrared sensors for blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring. The Luxe is water resistant to 164 feet, so it’s safe to wear in pools and the shower.

Fitbit says the Luxe offers up to five days of battery life on a charge. It’s possible the company is lowballing this estimate, because in testing, my Luxe review unit still had 43% battery life remaining after four days of continuous use. That said, it’s still less than the Inspire 2, which offers up to 10 days of battery life, as well as the Charge 4, which lasts up to seven days (or up to five hours while using GPS).

Fitbit Luxe
The back of the Luxe (Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)

The Luxe comes with a six-month trial to Fitbit Premium, which gives you access to guided workouts, meditations with Deepak Chopra, and other wellness tools. Fitbit Premium normally costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year. 

Setting up and Navigating the Luxe

To set up the Fitbit Luxe, just plug the included charging cable into a USB port and attach the other end to the tracker, then wait for it to reach 100% battery life.

Fitbit Luxe
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)

In the meantime, download the Fitbit app (available for Android and iOS) if you don’t already have it on your phone. When you’re ready to set the Luxe up, tap your profile icon in the top left corner of the app, press Set Up a Device > Luxe > Set Up, accept the Privacy Policy, press Next, and the app will begin searching for your tracker via Bluetooth. It will then ask you to enter the four-digit code shown on the device’s display. After that, accept the Bluetooth pairing request, select Allow/Don’t Allow when it asks if you want the Luxe to display your phone notifications, and press Update Now to install the latest software version. Make sure to keep the Luxe on its charger and near your phone while it’s updating. 

In testing, the setup process and initial software update only took a few minutes. It supports Google Fast Pair for Android users, so as long as you have the Fitbit app on your phone, it will automatically bring you to the pairing screen when you take the Luxe out of the box. 

Fitbit Luxe
Screenshots of the setup process on iPhone

To wake the Luxe up, simply lift your wrist to look at it, or firmly double-tap the screen. When using the Luxe, you can double-tap to go back to the clock face. To go back from any screen, swipe from left to right. 

Swipe up on the screen to view the Today app, which shows the date and your battery percentage, along with stats such as your Active Zone Minutes, calories burned, heart rate, resting heart rate, sleep duration, sleep score, step count, and more. Swipe down to access common watch settings and modes such as Brightness, Do Not Disturb (which mutes notifications), Sleep (which mutes notifications and sets the screen’s brightness to dim), and Water Lock (which prevents the screen from activating when you’re swimming or in the shower). Swipe left or right to access the Luxe’s other apps, including Notifications, Exercise, Relax, Alarms, and Timers. 

Fitbit Luxe
The Luxe with the soft gold stainless steel mesh accessory band (Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)

Fitbit recommends regularly cleaning the band with a soap-free cleanser. If it gets wet, be sure to remove and dry it. I learned this lesson the hard way with the Fitbit Inspire 2, which left a small rash on my wrist when I let it air dry after a sweaty treadmill session and post-workout shower. 

A number of clock faces are available to customize the Luxe. To access them, just tap your profile photo in the app, select Luxe > Clock Faces, choose the one you want, and press Install. 

Fitbit Luxe
Some of the clock face options for the Luxe

Fitness Tracking

In the Exercise app, the Luxe offers the following preinstalled workout tracking shortcuts: bike, run, swim, treadmill, walk, and workout. You can edit this list in the Fitbit app (tap your profile image > Luxe > Exercise Shortcuts). The list of available exercise shortcuts also includes: bootcamp, circuit training, elliptical, golf, hike, interval workout, kickboxing, martial arts, outdoor workout, pilates, spinning, starclimber, tennis, weights, and yoga. You can have up to six workout-tracking shortcuts on the watch at a time. I chose bike, run, walk, weights, workout, and yoga. 

Fitbit Luxe
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)

Like the Inspire 2, the Luxe doesn’t have a built-in GPS, but connects to your phone to track your pace and distance during runs, walks, hikes, and bike rides. In testing, the Luxe only took a few seconds to connect to my phone’s GPS. 

See How We Test Fitness Trackers

During workouts, the information displayed on the tracker will vary depending on the type of activity you’re doing. When tracking a walk with the connected GPS, for instance, the Luxe shows your distance, pace, and workout duration on screen. When tracking a bike ride with GPS, it shows your distance, speed, and workout duration. 

Fitbit Luxe
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)

In testing, the Luxe accurately measured my speed during a 10-mile ride on the VanMoof X3 electric bike. Periodic checks of my speed on the bike’s matrix display and the Luxe always yielded the same or similar results. Afterward, the VanMoof and Fitbit apps said I rode at an average speed of 10.7mph and 10.5mph, respectively. 

After tracking a workout with the Luxe, the Fitbit app shows a wealth of information, including the amount of time you spent in each heart rate zone (Fat Burn, Cardio, and Peak), a graph of your heart rate throughout the workout, your average heart rate, total calories burned, calories burned per minute, and Active Zone Minute points earned. 

Fitbit Luxe
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)

Like Fitbit’s other trackers and smartwatches, the Luxe awards you one Active Zone Minute point for every minute it detects you’re in Fat Burn zone. For every minute it detects you’re in Cardio or Peak zones, you earn two Active Zone Minute points. The goal is to hit at least 150 Active Zone Minutes per week.

During my 10-mile bike ride, for instance, I spent 27 minutes in Fat Burn zone and 28 minutes in Cardio zone (for which you earn double points), racking up 83 total Active Zone Minutes. The Fitbit app also lets you set exercise goals for metrics like calories, distance, and duration so that the tracker alerts you when you reach them.

After tracking a workout with connected GPS, the Fitbit app shows a map of your route. Toggle options on the map let you see your heart rate zone and pace at each point in the workout.

Fitbit app
Screenshots of the Exercise section of the Fitbit app

The Luxe supports Fitbit’s SmartTrack feature, which automatically recognizes and records certain types of workouts, including walking, running, aerobic and elliptical sessions, outdoor cycling, continuous high-movement sports (like tennis, basketball, and soccer), and swimming. In testing, SmartTrack accurately logged several walks, but one time mislabeled a walk as a swim. In the Fitbit app, you can always edit the duration of a workout (just in case you forget to stop tracking), but you can’t change the type of exercise (from swim to walk, for instance), so I just deleted that session.

The Luxe can also estimate your VO2 Max (the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during intense exercise, a common measurement of aerobic endurance), which Fitbit calls your Cardio Fitness Score, and shows how you stack up against others who are the same age and gender. To access this metric in the Fitbit app, navigate to the Heart Rate section, then swipe right on the resting heart rate graph. 

Fitbit app
Screenshots of the Heart Rate section of the Fitbit app

Like most fitness trackers, the Luxe can nudge you to stay active if you’ve been sedentary for too long. If you enable Reminders to Move, it will notify you 10 minutes before the hour if you haven’t yet reached the recommended 250 steps. When enabling this feature, you can set a start and end time, and select which days of the week you want reminders, so it doesn’t bug you at night or on the weekend, for instance. If you want, the Luxe can also remind you to meditate, drink water, and wash your hands. 

Sleep, Stress, and Other Health Metrics 

Like the Inspire 2 and Fitbit’s other trackers, the Luxe automatically tracks your light, deep, and REM sleep, as well as how much time you spend awake at night, and gives you a sleep score so you can quickly assess the quality of your shut-eye. After wearing the Luxe to bed one night, the Fitbit app said I slept for 8 hours and gave me a sleep score of 88. 

Fitbit app
Screenshots of the Sleep section of the Fitbit app

After you wear the Luxe to bed at least three nights in a row, it starts giving you a daily Stress Management score from 1 to 100, with a higher score indicating fewer signs of stress. Fitbit calculates this score based on metrics like your heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV, or the variation in time between heartbeats), physical activity, and sleep patterns. 

Fitbit app
Screenshots of the Stress Management section of the Fitbit app

In the Stress Management section of the Fitbit app, you can see your trends over time, and manually log how you’re feeling (very calm, calm, neutral, stressed, very stressed) to compare your perceived stress level with your body’s stress responses. With a Premium membership, you’ll also see a breakdown of the factors impacting your Stress Management score. 

When you’re feeling stressed, you can try a Relax guided breathing exercise on the Luxe. Just swipe left on the clock face, navigate to the Relax app, then tap Start for a two-minute session, or Custom to change the duration (one to 10 minutes). At the end of the session, the watch will tell you your starting and ending heart rate to help you quantify the benefits of meditation. 

Fitbit Luxe
(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)

In the Mindfulness section of the Fitbit app, you can set a goal for how many meditation sessions you aim to do each week, track your daily mindfulness minutes, and discover trends over time as you practice. A Premium membership gives you access to more than 200 mindfulness sessions from third parties such as Aura, Breethe, and Ten Percent Happier. 

After your first three nights wearing the Luxe to bed, you’ll also start seeing additional health metrics, including your breathing rate (the number of breaths taken per minute, a metric that’s also soon headed to the Apple Watch), HRV, and skin temperature variation (whether you were hotter or colder compared with your baseline).

In the Health Metrics section of the Fitbit app, you can view graphs of your overnight breathing rate, HRV, skin temperature, and your resting heart rate over the past week. With a Premium membership, you can view trends from the past month, your personal ranges, and get a notification if you’re out of your range. 

Screenshots of the Health Metrics section of the Fitbit app
Screenshots of the Health Metrics section of the Fitbit app

Like the Charge 4, the Luxe can track your estimated oxygen variation, or the changes in your SpO2 levels, while you sleep. Its red and infrared sensors shine light into your skin, and measure the amount of light reflected back to estimate the oxygen saturation level of your blood. After wearing the Luxe to bed, the Fitbit app will tell you whether the changes in your overnight SpO2 level were high or low. 

“Seeing frequent high variations is a clue that you may be experiencing breathing disturbances during sleep—something you might want to talk to your doctor about, particularly if you experience symptoms such as excessive tiredness, loud snoring, or gasping during sleep,” the app says. 

The Luxe will also soon track your nightly SpO2 average and range, a feature Fitbit first introduced on its $300 Sense smartwatch.

A Fitness Tracker With Style to Spare

If you’re in the market for an attractive fitness tracker that transitions well from the gym to happy hour, the $149.95 Fitbit Luxe is worth checking out. With a slim profile, a color AMOLED display, a metal case, and a range of compatible accessory bands, it might be mistaken for a piece of jewelry, and it’s as functional as it is fashionable. It makes it easy to track your workouts, and automatically keeps tabs on your steps, distance, calories burned, heart rate, sleep, and other health metrics. It already reports on your estimated oxygen variation when you wear it to bed, and Fitbit says it will soon track your overnight blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) level, a feature typically reserved for more expensive trackers and smartwatches.

That said, if you don’t mind wearing a fitness tracker that looks like one, we highly recommend the $129.95 Fitbit Charge 4, which retains our Editors’ Choice award. It’s not nearly as chic as the Luxe, but it costs less and offers more fitness and lifestyle features, including a standalone GPS for pace and distance tracking without a phone, an altimeter to track how many floors you climb, NFC for mobile payments, and Spotify support.

Pros

  • Slim, jewelry-inspired design with a metal case

  • Color touch screen

  • Tracks heart rate variability and sleeping respiration

  • Automatically tracks certain activities

  • Robust companion app

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Cons

  • No built-in GPS, altimeter, or NFC

  • Blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring not available at launch

The Bottom Line

The sleek, style-forward Fitbit Luxe offers all the basics you want from a fitness tracker in a design that looks more like jewelry than gym wear.

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