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Product review: the Basis B1 activity tracker February 28, 2014

Posted by bettyjoan in Running, Uncategorized.
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The men in my office had a little wager going during the holidays, to see who could drop the most weight (don’t even get me started on whose bright idea it was to do a weight loss challenge during the heaviest eating season of the year – needless to say, I did not participate).  Most of them invested in FitBits to track their steps – they were an army of wristbanded crusaders, they were!

At the time, I was thinking about getting activity trackers for myself and hubby, but the FitBit just didn’t do anything for me.  It couldn’t tell the difference between walking steps and running steps, and the reviews indicated that it was a pain to have to maneuver to the screens because they are teeny tiny (though, to be fair, so is the band itself).  Yeah, even before there was a recall, I was looking for something more.  I eventually settled on the Basis, though I honestly cannot remember how I found out about it.

According to the website, here’s what’s behind Basis:

Basis is much more than a personal health tracking device. It’s a system. A system based on exhaustive research and insight to how we can be our best for the long haul. A system created with the most advanced personal tracking technology on the market to provide the most detailed data possible. And a system that can interpret that data, give you insight and translate it into simple actions you can take every day. So that you can meet the demands of today’s world. So you can develop and discover the super human in you.

I haven’t yet found my inner super human, but for the most part, Basis delivers on the technology front.  I love love LOVE that I can get heart rate data without having to wear a chest strap, and in my experience, the device has been accurate regarding step counts and determining whether I am walking or running.  It is supposed to be able to tell when I am cycling, but I have only tried it once, so I’m not 100% sure about the accuracy there – to be continued, when the weather improves!  I have really enjoyed looking at the sleep data – it’s so interesting to compare how I feel in the morning with how well (or not…) I slept during the night, and you don’t have to tell the Basis when you are going to sleep, like you have to do with the FitBit (it figures it out on its own using heart rate and perspiration indicators).  I also definitely appreciate that you can sync the device with a mobile app via Bluetooth or on your computer by plugging into the USB cable:

usb-cradle-4

So far, the only technology-related negative is that there have been some sync-ing issues.  The sensors on the cradle don’t always line up easily, which affects the device’s ability to sync, and recently there have also been some network/system issues that have impacted sync-ability for days at a time (which has meant that I don’t wear the device as much).

The biggest con of the Basis is its look/size:

b1_black_front_1

It is very large, and not stylish at all.  In normal work attire, it doesn’t bother me as much, but when I am actually trying to look cute and fashionable and chic?  Yeah, I don’t want any part of it.  They just came out with a newer model that has a steel “frame” around the face, which seems to slim down the profile a bit and make it look more like a watch.

I am still on the fence about the whole Basis “system” of habits.  Basically, the website/app tracks different habits, such as “Wear It” (which encourages you to, duh, wear the device for a certain number of hours a day), “Step It Up” (which wants you to take 10,000 steps in a day), and “Consistent Bedtime” (I think y’all can figure that one out).  I mean, yes, I like to see when I have achieved a habit, which rewards me with points, which are redeemable for more habits to track, but I’m still not sure how well that works for me as a long-term motivator.  Perhaps when spring and summer are here and I am walking/running/cycling more overall, I will be more successful and enjoy the overall approach more.

All in all, I think the Basis was a good purchase, and I would recommend it for folks who are interested in tracking activities in a bit more detail than with the FitBit.  I will try to write a follow-up when we get to a point in the year when I am outside and active more!

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