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Fitbit unveils new Charge, Flex

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Fitbit this week unveiled two new fitness wristbands, the Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Flex 2 with new sleek looks and a more engaging experience designed to motivate users to reach their goal’s.

The following information was supplied by Fitbit:

  • Fitbit Charge 2: The most popular fitness wristband from Fitbit just got better. In addition to PurePulse heart rate tracking, it now features an enhanced exercise experience, new health and fitness tools, the smart notifications you need most, and a new design with a larger display and interchangeable bands that easily let you go from a workout to a night out.
  • Fitbit Flex 2: Fitbit’s ultra-slim, first-ever swim-proof fitness wristband, features a removable tracker that transforms with classic bands, elegant bangles or pendants, allowing you to effortlessly track all-day activity, exercise and sleep in a style that’s all your own.

“Over the past nine years it has been our ability to innovate on both design and utility, and our deep understanding of what consumers want, that has made us the leading global wearable company,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit.

The newly launched FitBit Charge 2

The newly launched FitBit Charge 2

“Flex quickly became the best-selling tracker on the market as one of the first wearables to successfully merge fitness and fashion; we’ve revolutionised Flex 2 by making it swim-proof and adding more features in a design than is 30% smaller than the original. We broke new ground with Charge HR by making wrist-based heart rate accessible to millions of users around the world, and we’ve done it again with Charge 2, giving users a snapshot of their cardio fitness based on estimated VO2 Max.”

Fitbit, the world’s leading wearables company1, has reimagined Fitbit Charge HR, its most popular fitness wristband that was the first to bring continuous, automatic heart rate to your wrist. With a new, sleek look and an easy-to-read display that is four times larger than its predecessor, Charge 2 brings an experience that is more engaging, motivating and personal to help you reach your goals.

Top features include:

  • Innovations from PurePulse: Continuous heart rate tracking makes it easier to optimise workouts, better track calorie burn, and get a picture of your overall health. Charge 2 advances health and fitness tracking with two new impactful features that are powered by your personal heart rate:
    • Get a snapshot of your cardio fitness level: Automatically find out how fit you are with a personalised cardio fitness level and score, based on your estimated VO2 Max, that are calculated using your user profile, heart rate and exercise data. Plus, get guidance to take action and improve your score over time by increasing exercise frequency, intensity, or by reaching a healthier weight.
  • Relax with guided breathing sessions: Charge 2 offers a relaxing mindfulness experience that calms your body and mind through personalised deep-breathing sessions called “Relax”. Beat-to-beat changes in your heart rate determine your personalised breathing rate. Two-and five-minute sessions display real-time heart rate visualisations, animations and vibrational cues to help you align each inhale and exhale with the guide, and find moments of calm throughout your day. Research has shown that developing a long-term guided breathing practice can have health benefits including reducing stress and anxiety, and lowering blood pressure.
  • Enhanced fitness experience: Get real-time, actionable exercise stats right on the display so you can make instant adjustments during your workouts and improve over time.
    • Multi-sport modes: Track specific workouts like runs, bike rides, weights, yoga and more, plus get post-exercise summaries and a detailed report of your activity in the Fitbit app.
    • Connected GPS: Links your fitness wristband with the GPS in your smartphone to provide even more precise and actionable real-time stats, like pace and distance when you’re running, while recording a map of your route in the app.
    • Interval workout mode: Guides you in alternating periods of high-intensity exercise and recovery to optimise workouts like circuit training so you can stay focused on your workout.
  • Smarter, easier all-day tracking: Advanced sensors make tracking your whole day effortless by automatically capturing all-day activity and sleep. SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition records everyday activities like walking, running, elliptical, and more with ease. Reminders to Move motivate you to stay active throughout the day.
  • Sleek, new design: The modular design and easy-to-read tap-sensitive display is four-times larger than Charge HR, letting you personalise a look that fits your style with interchangeable bands and clock faces – while keeping you connected with the smart notifications you need most.

“Ever since my days as a competitive athlete, staying healthy and fit has always been a top priority and I’ve built my life around those goals,” said Gabby Reece, athlete, model, mother, fitness leader and Fitbit ambassador.

“Fitbit Charge 2 is unique in that it gives me the tools and guidance for both. I not only have continuous visibility into my heart rate which gives me real insight into my overall health including workouts – but Fitbit built on that even further with access to my cardio fitness level. This new feature provides an estimate of my VO2 Max, which is something I only had access to in a lab during my pro days. But it’s Charge 2’s guided breathing sessions that really resonate with me as one of the most important things I do to improve my health and manage stress.”

Fitbit has enhanced its iconic and industry-defining tracker, Fitbit Flex, into an ultra-slim, swim-proof fitness wristband that can transform to fit your personal style with a variety of stylish new accessories. With smarter exercise features, Flex 2 effortlessly tracks your fitness and provides friendly motivation to help you stay active throughout your day.

Top features include:

  • Ultra-slim, minimalist design: Now 30% smaller, Flex 2 features a removable tracker and interchangeable slim, classic fitness bands in seven colours that are perfect for every day, hitting the gym or going for a swim.
  • Premium accessory options: Transform and customise Flex 2 in a variety of Fitbit-designed bracelets and pendants to best suit your style or activity. Choose from a range of luxe, premium mirror-finish bangles in silver stainless steel, and 22k-plated gold or rose gold stainless steel, or elegant lariat-style necklaces in silver stainless steel or 22k-plated gold stainless steel for an elevated look that fits seamlessly into your everyday life – from the office to a night out.
  • Swim-proof and automatic swim tracking: As Fitbit’s first swim-proof wristband, Flex 2 is water resistant up to 50 meters, whether you’re in the shower, pool or ocean, and automatically tracks your pool swims including laps, duration, and calories burned in the Fitbit App.
  • Effortless and automatic: Track your most important health and fitness stats, plus:
    • SmartTrack automatic exercise tracking recognises select workouts (walks, runs, rides, elliptical, sports, aerobic workouts, and now swims).
    • Reminders to Move help you stay active with friendly reminders to reach mini hourly step goals and reduce stationary time.
    • Personalised weekly exercise goals to help you embrace a consistent routine and stay motivated.
  • Smarter: A simple LED display uses colour-coded lights to show progress toward your daily goal, and keeps you connected with call and text notifications.

“Whether I’m working out, taking a class, rehearsing or running errands I want a device that is small, yet stylish, that I can match to whatever I’m wearing,” said Julianne Hough, dancer, singer, actress and Fitbit Ambassador. “Fitbit Flex 2 helps keep me motivated to hit my health and fitness goals and it’s even swim-proof, so I can truly get credit for everything I do in my day.”

Pricing and Availability

Charge 2 and Flex 2 will be available globally at major retailers in September and October, respectively. Pricing below is recommended retail pricing; pricing at retailers may vary.

  • Fitbit Charge 2 (R2,999.00) tracker with a classic fitness band in black, blue, plum or teal
    • Classic fitness accessory bands in four colours – sold separately
    • Luxe premium leather accessory bands in blush pink, brown, and indigo – sold separately
    • Special edition series in gunmetal and rose gold  – sold separately
  • Fitbit Flex 2 (R1,899.00) tracker with a classic fitness band in black, lavender, magenta or navy
    • Classic fitness accessory bands in seven on-trend shades of black, blush pink, grey, lavender, magenta, navy and yellow – sold separately
    • Bangle accessory in gold, rose gold and silver stainless steel – sold separately
    • Pendant accessory in gold and silver stainless steel – sold separately

Charge 2 and Flex 2 will be available in South Africa in selected colours at major retailers in September and October, respectively. Retail pricing and launch dates for accessory bands, special edition series and other accessories noted above from Fitbit will be confirmed at a later date.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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