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random thoughts from my life & the universe

Not the Basis of my Dreams

You may have gathered that I am a bit of a magpie when it comes to shiny fitness gadgets.  I certainly seem to have a decent number of them – I’ve a pair of HRM watches (one from Polar and one from Timex), I’ve a pair of smart pedometers, I’ve got some fancy ID tags and pocket belts to wear when I run outside (speaking of which, these look to be even better)…when I heard about the Basis Band a while back, I thought it might be the must have  gadget for fitness/health tracking.

Well, it launched today, and I’m not quite sure.  In all fairness, I don’t have one, and I don’t know anyone who participated in the beta testing.  I guess I just was hoping for something a bit “more”. When I got my email that the product was finally available for purchase, I just couldn’t bring myself to be an early adopter.

Basis Band: Not just a watch!

On the surface, it really appeals to the data-nerd in me.  The Basis is chock full of sensors – it tracks steps, optical blood flow (think heart rate), skin temperature and perspiration – it’s got algorithms to take all of that data to make estimates on your caloric burn, activity level and even sleep quality.  All of it outputs to a web dashboard with all kinds of fancy graphs.  Like the Striiv Play, it also provides challenges by way of “habit cards” that encourage you to take small steps towards your own selected areas for  improvement.

While all that data is very tempting, I can’t bring myself to jump on board, and rather will likely find myself watching the development of this product for possibly a gen 2 purchase (kinda like how I’ll probably be keeping my eyes out for the gen2 ipad mini 😛 )  Right now, the band is only available in black (white straps are available as a separate purchase – I was hoping for even more colors or alternate ways to wear it), and is Bluetooth Enabled (sadly bluetooth 2.1 and not 4.0, and apparently not to be used to synch wirelessly with a computer – but with mobile apps – which are not yet released).  While it looks like it will be able to track and record quite a bit of information, one area the web interface is completely lacking at the time of launch is the ability to track caloric intake.  Not necessarily a deal-breaker for me since I’m currently using other apps to log food, it would be nice to eventually be able to use an app that has everything built in (coincidentally, fitbit does meet that criteria (either using the fitbit app or linking the fitbit to myfitnesspal), as does Striiv when the striiv app is linked to myfitnesspal).  I’ll be looking forward to hearing what people think of the optical heart rate monitoring, the web interface and the data collected.  I’m also hoping to learn whether or not there really are other ways to wear the device other than on one’s wrist all the time (I haven’t worn a watch in years, and when I do wear one, I wear it loosely).  It definitely looks promising, but there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Demand has been really strong for the Basis, so hopefully there will be some good reviews posted as the early units ship.  Basis is taking orders (and backorders) until noon (PST) on Sunday on the off chance this might be a product you’re interested in…at that point, they say they are stopping orders to work their way through the backorder list after which I presume they will be open for orders again.

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