Numbers science/game

Quince blossom cloud

Without planning to do so, I presently have three active activity trackers. Two kindof agree, and one reports wildly lower counts. The only category all three report is steps. My ancient Fitbit One and my iPhone report similar step-counts, but, providing I remember to carry it all the time, the iPhone will have a higher step-count than the Fitbit (attached to my underwear). The Nokia Steel HR always reports a much lower value each day, like around 20% lower than the other two.

I noticed this variation, and began to watch more closely. I’m pretty sure that if you consider footfalls “steps,” which I think the devices do, the most accurate of the three trackers is the iPhone, the one that consistently gives the highest count.

Your counts may vary.

I can wear the Nokia in the shower, and it gives me a chunk of steps for that (which does’t “fix” the discrepancy, BTW), and sometimes enquires if that time was an “activity.” It’s those rapid little steps to soap, rotate, and bend to get clean?


  1. Rebecca says:

    For what it’s worth I also have had all 3 (tho my Nokia is a different model than yours) and for all 3 I measured the steps on a track at UGA to get an accurate stride distance.

    What I found is the iPhone consistently recorded more “steps” which gave a greater mileage report for walking the same distance – so walking home at the old place was 1.8 miles on the Nokia and Fitbit and 2.1 on the iPhone.

    My theory is that the phone, which I have in a pocket or bag, gets jostled and thus records a higher number of “steps” than the Nokia or Fitbit, attached to my person…

  2. Sammy says:

    Thanks for comparative data, R. Yeah, the Phone may well overcount; however, I’ve also watched my Fitbit undercount. I keep telling myself they just approximate, anyway! The distance calculation ignores too many variables to be super-accurate, IMHO—so, I stick to steps from the device(s), and personally gauge “effort” to get at the complex issue of healthiness.

  3. Pooh says:

    As long as you’re not cheating by:
    a. Attaching it to a toddler
    b. Attaching it to a puppy
    c. Attaching it to a paint shaker
    d. …

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