Review: Runtastic Orbit

Let me introduce you to your new health buddy: the Runtastic Orbit ($120).

It’s fun to use, but let’s get down to brass tacks: the Orbit is black with a white OLED display, has a metal push button to switch views, a tiny light sensor, and small magnetic USB connecters on the back for charging. The straps are very comfortable so it’s actually feasible to wear this gadget twenty-four hours a day. To give you an example of size, this is what the Orbit looks like out of its case.


The Runtastic Orbit comes with two different coloured straps, black and blue (with the option of purchasing additional colours) and one belt clip, an extremely useful addition for those wanting a more discreet look. The Orbit pairs with the Runtastic Me app, which acts as the second screen and data compiler for the Runtastic Orbit. The app itself doesn’t require the Orbit for some of its features, such as the step count, but in order to track more information and to really get the full feel for this technology the Orbit is required.

Here is a list of all of the versatile features that the Orbit offers:

  • Monitors your step count and distance.
  • Counts how many minutes you’ve been active.
  • Calories burnt, even those you burn off in your sleep.
  • Connects to a variety of Runtastic apps (Runtastic Me is the second screen for the Orbit but you can download the running, walking, sit up, push-up, chin up apps as well). Your activity in these apps are added to graphs in the Runtastic Me app and will contribute to your overall step count, distance and active minutes.
  • Waterproof up to 100m.
  • You can enable vibration notifications that will inform you when you’ve been inactive for too long.
  • Monitor your sleeping (manual activation).
  • Set an alarm a wake up to the Orbit vibrating (snoozes every five minutes if you don’t push the metal button).
  • Mood tracking. Press the button twice to note when you are feeling particularly happy.
  • Time (will display in whatever format is on you smartphone).
  • Ambient lighting sensor.
  • Long lasting, rechargeable battery (five to seven days).
  • Quick recharge with a charging display screen making it easy to tell when the device is done charging.

One of the coolest features that the Orbit offers that other activity trackers do not is the ambient lighting sensor. What this feature does is measure the levels of light in your environment every three minutes. The data, like the other information the Orbit tracks, appears in the Runtastic Me app on your phone. To give you an idea of how the data is displayed in the Runtastic Me app, here are a few screen shots.


The one on the left is the main screen of the app. Selecting these areas will take you to additional screens providing more data. For example, the screenshot on the far right shows sleeping data. The top graph shows a percent of how efficently you slept the night before and for how long. On the bottom, the ambient light data is shown as well as any activity you’ve tracked with any of their other associated fitness apps. The yellow sun lines indicate when the sun rises and when the sun sets and the blue bar is when I noted I was asleep. Additionally, I went on two runs which I tracked with the Runtastic app and I have to say, as a runner, I don’t think I will have any need for my GPS running watch anymore.

Using the Runtastic app and the Orbit is like having a GPS running watch that is also a running journal. I can upload pictures, note the temperature, terrain, distance, and map of where I travelled. That data is then synced into the Runtastic Me app and is included in my step count, calorie count, active minutes, and distance data.

The middle screenshot is a detailed graph of my step count and this is also where you’ll see any mood tracking data. A smiley face appears where you noted a good mood and what makes this handy is that you can see if your exercise is a contributing to your overall mood.

What’s great is that the Orbit syncs up flawlessly to the Runtastic Me app and are both so easy to use that anyone with a smartphone or tablet can make use of this great activity tracker. What’s even better is that the Orbit is only $120 and the rest of the apps are free, meaning that anyone can save up for this little device—or maybe ask for one sometime in late December in order to keep better track of impending New Year’s resolutions.


Danielle Roberts is a Canadian freelance writer currently based out of Calgary. A self-professed dweeb with a dash of geek, Danielle attained a BA in English at the University of Calgary back in 2010. She has an obsession with running and cats and also loves to read, write and listen to angry music. You can follow her on twitter @PluviophileRead or check out her website.

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