Steps vs. Steps

ipod nike fitbit mobile
Stats between devices are different: iPod nano on the left, iPhone 5s on the right

I attended a couple days of the CES trade show earlier this week. Anyone that’s been to trade shows knows you do lot of walking.

Last year, I used my iPod nano 7th gen to track my steps. It has a built-in pedometer using Nike+ as its app to track steps. On December 26th, I installed the Fitbit app on my iPhone 5s as it used the M7 processor to monitor motion and other movements, like steps.

On the first day of the show – January 7th – I decided to use both devices to track my steps. I placed them both in my pockets [separate pocket for each device] at the same time before I left my hotel room to start my day. And I did a lot of walking that day. I left the room at 9:40am and ended up back at my hotel room sometime before 11pm [NOTE: the iPod nano was set to Mountain Time Zone, while the iPhone 5s running the Fitbit app was set to Pacific Time Zone].


On Wednesday morning, I checked the stats of both devices, which are shown the photo above. Both devices tracked pretty close to the same amount of steps… off by just 760. The mileage appears to be off by a decent margin. Not sure how 760 steps is equal to .83 miles. But the largest difference was calories burned. Nike+ thinks I burned 736 and Fitbit has me burning 2,751. Both devices have identical measurement for weight and height. I am using neither to track food I eat [I do plan to use Fitbit for that here very soon]. Both devices are made by Apple. So I’m guessing it must be how each device tracks – related to the type of algorithm each app applies to calories burned.

Fitbit Going Forward

While this anomaly of compared stats between the two devices is off, I am planning on using just the Fitbit app, adding a Fitbit One device in the coming weeks. But it still begs the question as to how each device knows how many calories you are burning by just walking.

Actual Burned

I decided to load up a calorie burning calculator from the site and using the duration time from the iPod nano results. I estimated from the number returned on the 2mph walking entry that the Fitbit calories burned is more correct, where it appears to be estimating my walking is at 2.5mph.

I’m no math guru, but I am thinking that the Nike+ results are not accurate. Unless there is something related to how its algorithm is calculating calories burned. Which, based on other web pages I visited, the number of calories burned from walking for 554 minutes in a day is pretty close to being what the result the Fitbit app is reporting.

I’m guessing that the ultimate goal here is getting my more active again. And that’s what’s important here, right?


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