Sleek and lightweight
Great mix of health and wellness features
Easy to change wristband
Sleep tracking isn’t always accurate
What is the Fitbit Luxe?
The Luxe is an all-new Fitbit, not an update to its previous models. Its main distinction is its look—sleek, petite, and meant to blend in with or complement whatever you’re wearing, instead of making you stand out as someone dedicated to purely functional fitness. You can change the style of its digital watch face (free on the Fitbit app) and wristband (sold separately in designs like a leather double wrap and stainless steel mesh). The standard Luxe retails for $149.99 and comes with a charging cable and two sizes of its stock plastic wristband, in three color options. The special edition costs $199.95 and includes a charging cable, the classic wristbands, and a stainless steel link band. Both the standard and special edition come with an optional six-month free trial of Fitbit Premium, which provides deeper health and wellness insights and workout videos, though you’ll have to give a credit card number at signup, so you’ll be charged $9.99 a month for continued access unless you cancel in time. The device has a one-year limited warranty.
What makes the Luxe different from other Fitbits?
Feature-wise, the Luxe blends the slim profile of Fitbit’s entry-level Inspire 2 and many of the advanced tracking features of the top-of-the-line Charge 4.
With the Luxe, you get an optical heart rate monitor, sensors for oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring used mainly in sleep tracking, automatic activity tracking, water resistance up to 50 meters, and a memory that stores heart rate data for seven days and daily totals for 30 days—all features found in the Charge 4 and upgrades to the Inspire 2, which only does automatic activity tracking and heart rate monitoring. The Luxe lacks the Charge 4’s built-in GPS, temperature sensor, NFC (near field communication, which lets you use the watch for contactless payment at places where it’s accepted), and altimeter (a function that measures altitude and translates to floor climbed in the Fitbit universe).
Like the others, you can connect the Luxe with your phone to receive calendar alerts and text messages (though you cannot reply to them from the device), and the Luxe can use the phone’s GPS functionality to measure mileage of outdoor walks, runs, and bike rides. It gives a hearty buzz when you receive a notification, have been still for too long, or reach a milestone like hitting 10,000 steps a day.
Fitbit says the Luxe has five days’ worth of battery power, but I got about six and a half from a full charge. This isn’t quite as much as Fitbit’s other trackers—the Charge 4 promises seven and delivers about that, and the Inspire is supposed to last for 10 days but we got about two weeks—but isn’t too shabby, either.
What we like about the Fitbit Luxe
You can see all your stats at a glance
Although it makes its looks more of a priority than other Fitbits, I didn’t find the Luxe lacking in its health and fitness offerings. The stock watch face allows you to look at the primary things Fitbit tracks by tapping the screen for a snapshot beneath the time or scrolling down for more detailed information: heart rate, steps, calories burned, sleep, and “zone” minutes, or the amount of time you spend with an elevated heart rate—Fitbit wants you to get 20 a day.
I thought the Luxe made it easy to check up on my stats throughout the day (though I must add that I have good eyesight—the text is small). It also told me which heart rate zone it thought I was in, from “resting” to “fat burn” to “cardio” to “peak.” I didn’t put too much stock in this, as wrist-based heart rate tracking is unreliable and we’ve found that Fitbit’s numbers can be even wonkier than other wearables (not to mention that its four-zone system is less detailed than ones used by trackers like Garmin, which use five), but it was nice to have an accessible estimate during more strenuous activity.
It tracks workouts on its own
I found that the Luxe’s automatic exercise detection worked well, too. If I began a run without starting an official workout on the screen, Luxe prompted me to record my run within a minute of starting out. It also automatically recorded any walk I took that was longer than 15 minutes. On the app, I found reliable logs of all detected activities, including my distance, time, heart rate, zones hit, and calories burned. The Luxe didn’t automatically detect workouts where my heart rate didn’t appreciably increase or I wasn’t moving around a lot—like barre or lifting weights—but it’s easy to record a session on the wearable by swiping over to the workout section on the display, selecting the workout you want to do, and tapping play. There’s a limit to the types of workouts you can start from the watch—Luxe only lets you pick five exercise “shortcuts” to show on the device from a menu on the app that includes options such as golf, tennis, yoga, and Pilates. But for my needs, the generic “workout” selection on the watch was fine for almost any exercise. (And if I really cared, I could recategorize what I did in the app later.)
It's stylish (for a fitness tracker)
I also think the Luxe looks pretty slick, as fitness trackers go. I got the plain black Luxe, which isn’t anything I would mistake for a piece of jewelry but it blended in more with my outfits more than other fitness trackers I’ve worn. Best of all, though, it’s comfortable to wear. One of our complaints about the Charge 4 was that its stiff stock band felt stifflingly cuff-like, but the Luxe’s standard band is made of a soft, pliable silicone that’s so narrow I barely noticed it, whether I was exercising or just hanging out. It’s also easy to swap out the wristbands, should you feel so inclined. Fitbit also sent me the leather double wrap and woven options, so I gave them both a shot. To swap, you pull the tabs at the base of the Fitbit, gently remove the band, and clip in the new one. Among the three, the woven band was my favorite, because it felt best when I was working out but didn’t look so obviously athletic I felt I had to change it out when I was wearing regular clothes.
What we don't like about the Fitbit Luxe
Its display can be hard to see and navigate
The Luxe’s biggest drawback is its display, which, like the rest of its diminutive size, is very small. This didn’t present me with much of a problem when I was just going about my day or doing a low-key workout like barre or yoga—I could read everything on it, from texts to workout stats, and swipe around to get to the features I wanted.
But I had serious issues when I did higher-intensity workouts, like runs or HIIT classes. Then, accumulating sweat and faster movements—and glaring sun during my run—lessened my dexterity and made the tiny screen harder to read, rendering the watch downright aggravating to use. If I wanted to check up on, say, my pace as I was running, it was too easy to swipe past the stat I wanted and have to cycle through the whole menu again. During one run, I accidentally ended the session when I just meant to pause it while waiting to cross the street. I also have relatively small wrists and fingers (and that aforementioned good vision), which means that my experience is probably a best-case scenario. Fitbit says an incoming software update will allow users to make the text bigger, which should help, but won't prevent fumbling around on the petite screen.
Sleep tracking wasn't always accurate
Another issue for me was sleep tracking. When it worked—which was most of the time—it was great: It ported my data to the app, which provided detailed, useful insights like the time I spent in REM, light sleep, and deep sleep, my heart rate, and why all of that matters (you get more insight with Premium, too). But some nights it didn’t record my sleep at all and other nights it told me I woke up at absurd hours like two or three in the morning and never went back to bed. (I didn’t, unless I have a major sleepwalking problem I’ve never been alerted to.) I’m not too invested in sleep tracking one way or the other, so this wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me—however, if sleep tracking is the reason you want to get a fitness tracker, you may want a different model, like the Charge 4.
Should you buy the Fitbit Luxe?
The Luxe isn’t the fitness tracker for someone who’s concerned with getting the most comprehensive stats for their workouts or thinks the idea of looking at a tiny screen could detract from the whole experience. If that describes you, you’ll want the Charge 4 or even a running watch like our favorite Garmin 245.
But the Luxe is an excellent tracker for someone who wants a general overview of their health and doesn’t mind relying heavily on the app for the bulk of the data and insights. As for me, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on much when I used the Luxe, and I loved that it managed to pack all that it did into such a deceptively small package.
All in all, I think it’s an excellent tracker for someone who wants a general health overview—without commiting to something bulky.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Sara Hendricks is an editor with Reviewed covering health and fitness.
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