Three reasons why I am switching Fitbit to WHOOP

Three reasons why I am switching Fitbit to WHOOP


In the start of 2024, I am starting to reflect on my fitness tracker usage. I have had a Fitbit Charge 4 for three years now. It has served me well, though it is starting to show its age. Compared to newer entries to the market, it is missing slick tracking features

I did come across new types of fitness trackers in my other article. Advances in battery and wireless technology means that trackers can come in new form factors!

Is a Charge 4 starting to lose its stand in advanced features?

Google purchased Fitbit, completing the takeover in 2021. Personally, this has changed the ethos of Fitbit. I had followed the start of Fitbit as a hardware company (from the Pebble tracker days in 2013). It was then focused on innovative tracking and focus on awesome battery life.

Since the takeover, Google has been busy at work embedding itself into the Fitbit ecosystem. While there is better intergration with Google products (Youtube Music, Google wallet) - I don't see any real big leap forwards. Possibly more bloat and corporate sloth than real (life-changing) innovation happenng.

I personally don't look to use these 'new features' on my daily commute. And I am happy with the use of my phone anyway, to look up podcasts or audiobooks. Having Youtube Music intergration is not going to sway me heavily. (Or maybe I am not quite the target audience and market?) This segment of the market is also cannibalised by smartwatches which are hitting in a different weight-class altogether.

I wonder what about other troubling changes internally. Is there some kind of internal issues with Fitbit? Knowing Google, they are absolutely brutal at killing projects that are not profitable. (I am still sore about Stadia dying, I know - RIP cloud gaming). Google also gets quite a diss from certain segments of the public for data privacy issues.

Google layoffs leave Fitbit staff worried about the future as more execs leave with founders: ‘It’s the biggest blow to us so far.’
Fitbit, a Google acquisition, faces significant cuts; founders James Park, Eric Friedman and several execs depart.

Worrying trends for Fitbit

Recent news also have seen both co-founders, James Park and Eric Friedman leaving the helm at Fitbit.

Layoffs at Google: Company fires hundreds from AI, hardware division, FitBit founders also fired
Google has laid off hundreds of people in a fresh round of layoffs. The tech giant laid people off mainly from its voice assistant and hardware divisions, like the ike Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit. Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman are also leaving as part of this restructuring

I would have my concerns if founders are leaving. Are they desserting a sinking ship?

Kicker here: Are there better options out there? With emerging companies, new tech and a competitive scene I think we can expect some interesting contenders.

Enter the WHOOP

What is WHOOP? In short, a fitness tracker device that is geared towards people who need to achieve elite performance. Its popular among American atheletes, but whats to stop the everyday man (or woman) from eeking out more in their daily lives?

WHOOP band spotted courtside - black band worn by a basketball player on wrist
WHOOP band spotted courtside! Credits - Jason Miller / Getty

I had a peek at their in-app monitoring and it is super in-depth (goes into calories, alcohol consumption, stress levels, etc). It is a fresh breath of air in the wearables space, and it would be worthwhile to test out. My plan is to test it out with mix of swimming, gymming and cycling.

They also have a trials programme which allows testing for a month without any commitment. I am keen to try this out and let you guys know! (Not sure how it'd go with a small time blogger like me; But hey let's give it a shot).

Generative AI

I am quite interested in how well the coaching aspect of WHOOP works. Pretty sure that they are using some form of generative AI (think chatGPT) to tease out some recommended actions.

How personalised can it get? Are they any good, elite level insights, or generic ones? I'll be testing these out!

On-wrist charging

One thing that I am super excited about is to have a larger coverage of monitoring. I am keen to test out the new concept of sliding on a battery pack onto my wrist to keep montioring whilst charging.

The WHOOP 4.0's new silicon-based battery, instead of a traditional graphite based one promises a boost to five-day charge. This is a huge convenience, I really hate charging at inopportune times. Imagine getting a low battery notification just before leaving the house for a relaxing swim!

Anyone working with data will appreciate that there is minimal missing information. It is just cleaner and gives a better precision when making any analytics later.

Is Fitbit declining?

I am slightly concerned with the current trajectory of the company. These concers are also reflected within the community about Google's intentions with Fitbit.

User from Fitbit forums - quote "No I don't mean the simple rebranding of Fitbit ... I mean killing the Fitbit product line"
User from Fitbit forums. With concerns that were not addressed.

I am working on another cool way of quantifying this interest. We can look into Reddit, and using some neat data science techniques: we try to tease out peoples general perception (article pending).

I am optimistic that they are pumping more into the machine learning and betting big on that as the next step. The Charge 6 has a machine learning algorithm that scans for heart rate variability at a 40% more accurate rate.

Perhaps, they are taking a slight diversion. Or pivoting towards the smart-watch space and shunting users towards the Pixel Watch.

I know it is an unfair comparison between the WHOOP and Fitbit. Honestly, as a consumer - they are both head-to-head in a competitive space. For the average consumer, both are adjacent devices competing over huge overlaps in purpose.

A direct apple to apple comparison to place trackers, smartwatches and fitness bands maybe unfair. But, whichever that can give the best tracking or fitness utility would win IMHO.


Look out if I am successful with the application for the trial with WHOOP. And lets see how good it is a month later, after I go through an extensive review process.

Maybe it could be the next winner and daily driver for me? Will it be the the true elite monitoring that is promised?

David Tang