Thursday, May 21, 2015

Yet Another Fitness Tracker review

Few months ago I gathered my courage and signed up for a 5K run in San Francisco. I will be posting more about how it went in about a week. The run is girly and silly, it's not by any means a hardcore competition - up to the point were participants are given tutus to run in with registration. And I am actually planning to run wearing a tutu... So I am by no means a serious runner, here is my official confession that I haven't regularly exercised in nearly two years.

The run was a good motivation to get moving. But what is the point of running if you can't measure it by ten different parameters? As a reasonable geek, the workouts, especially runs seem dull and pointless to me if I can't pinpoint a number.. that being steps run, distance passed, calories burned, maximum hearth rate reached, and some other not entirely accurate information presented in numbers.

Therefore, before even starting to train I went to look for a new fitness tracker. I had previously had an  Up fitness tracker by Jawbone that I was reasonably happy with for a few months. Until the time it started to incorrectly count the steps and shut down sporadically without any warnings. I gave up on it after shutdowns started happening every day, multiple times a day.

When Apple watch was announced I was reasonably excited about it, expecting to fall in love with it from the first glance (the feeling I had for iPad). From the very beginning I was convinced that I was going to by the cheapest model - Sports edition, because Gold edition is for very rich people who I will not understand (no offense if you are reading this post from a over 10K worth iWatch), the intermediate model also seemed really overpriced, paying extra few hundred dollars for a strap sounds too much. I also wanted the bigger screen size 42" to give me more real estate for watching Netflix (kidding, kidding). But I really wanted the larger screen. So I finally got to try it, and really didn't like it, especially the Sports edition. The way the band and buckle fit are just awkward (band sort of goes under itself, pinching you every time). The intermediate edition I liked was $700 before tax which seemed like too much.

After some more research I ordered Pulse Ox by Withings from Best Buy. First and foremost because I love their scale and app that comes with it, allowing me to track my weight changes overtime. (I especially enjoy the tracking when the weight chart goes down, not so much when it goes up). Secondly, a coworker who is hardcore runner and backpacker, recommended it, especially stressing that the battery only needs to be charge once every 2 weeks. Online reviews warned that it is very sensitive to water, if you happen to get some sweat during the workout or even few drops when washing your hands it gets fried. Therefore, I got Best Buy's incidental insurance ($29) and ordered the band for $120.

So far, I have had it for 3 days and absolutely I hate it! The band appeared nice until it broke within first half an hour of wearing. It broke irreversibly second time later that day. I am down to wearing it with the clip. One of the features it is advertised for is sleep tracking if you sleep with it around your wrist. Well that is a dangerous plan and you are sure to scratch your face and other body parts if you move your arm when you sleep, I took it off after first 5 minutes in bed. The band also has hearth rate monitor, for which to work you need to take if out of the clip/strap navigate to correct menu item and old hold against your finger. Something you are not going to do when running.

I haven't returned O2 yet, but I will soon. Please share your experience if you have better luck with other products.

Update 5/31
The run was a great experience. I survived it at 40 minutes, with about 12 minutes per mile. And here is the self-incriminating photo promise.

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