Fitbit announced today it is now shipping its latest fitness tracking device that pairs with its popular iPhone app and its first ever wristband design. First shown off at CES, the Fitbit Flex is a $99 wristband appears to compete directly with the slightly more expensive Nike FuelBand and Jawbone Up wearable fitness bracelets but also includes some unique features including NFC and real-time syncing. Fitbit says Flex is the first fitness and sleep tracking wristband on the market to automatically sync wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.0:

Like its sister products the Fitbit Zip and Fitbit One, the new Fitbit Flex tracks steps taken, distance travelled, and calories burned, as well as a brand new stat: active minutes. Active minutes track how many moderate-intensity cardio minutes you have a day (the Center for Disease Control recommends 150 of them each week). Flex’s bright LED indicator lights offer a visual display as you reach 20 percent increments of achieving your goal (such as walking 10K steps), while a vibrating notification celebrates with you as you hit your goals throughout the day. Flex also tracks how long and how well you sleep, allowing you to learn how to sleep better, and offers a Silent Wake alarm that gently vibrates to wake you without waking your sleep partner.

TechCrunch has a nice review after having some hands on time with the Fitbit Flex and a full list of features is below:

  • Know your stats: Tracks steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes, a new stat from Fitbit. The Center for Disease Control recommends achieving at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Flex will encourage you to meet—and exceed—that goal, whether you are taking a brisk walk, running or working out at a cardio class.
  • Getting good ZZZs: Tracks quality of sleep (number of hours, how many times you wake up and offers a sleep efficiency index) and uses a silent alarm that vibrates to wake you up gently.
  • First and only wristband to: Sync to select mobile devices via Bluetooth 4.0 (the first all-day wristband tracker to offer this capability). It also syncs wirelessly and automatically to your computer. Syncs to iPhone 4S and 5, and now select Android devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S III and Note II.
  • With you all the time: Comfortable enough to wear all day. Water-resistant. Wear it in the shower or the rain.
  • Match your mood or personality: Flexible, interchangeable tracker with a variety of colorful wristbands (Black, Slate, Teal, Tangerine, Navy) that allow you to personalize your Flex. Flex trackers are sold with Black or Slate bands, and users can purchase accessory packs (Teal, Tangerine, Navy) for $29.95 for all three or $14.95 for one color.
  • Rich mobile and online offerings: iPhone and Android app and online tools show activity charts, leaderboards and more. Set goals, view progress and earn badges. Also log food, weight and more on Fitbit’s website and apps.
  • Social motivation: Connect with friends and family for support or friendly competition.
  • NFC and real-time syncing mean stats on-the-go: For select Android users, simply tap your Flex band on your NFC-enabled Android phone and it will automatically launch your Fitbit stats. For select iOS users, with real-time syncing, watch your steps increase on your Fitbit iPhone app right before your eyes!
  • Multiple partners: Fitbit also integrates with many popular health and fitness apps, including Endomondo, LoseIt, MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and Sparkpeople, to enable users to share data from their favorite apps.

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Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.