After testing a half of dozen options, I’ve offered my opinion in casual conversations and figured I’d get it down “on paper” to share with others who are facing the dilemma.
So here is the first part of the four-part series, which focuses on the fashion and style of each wearable (so listen up Fashionistas and those who are looking for comfort).
The biofeedback wearables I tested include:
- Jawbone UP band
- Nike+ FuelBand SE
- FitBit and FitBit Flex
I rated each product based on the following criteria:
- Style – of course you need to know if it looks great on your wrist, or if it’s annoying
- Information tracking – what does it track and what can it track?
- Information accuracy – was the information track on point, or did it seem there were some inaccuracies?
- User interface – how easy is it to use, both the device and the corresponding app?
- Who would use it – who would best benefit from the wearable and why
So, IMHO, here is what I found… first on style.
The Jawbone UP has a sleek, thin wristband and it [now, with the newest model] wirelessly syncs with its accompanying mobile app. I purchased the black band so it would be more neutral. After putting it on, I found that the fit is comfortable and the band easily wraps around your wrist without any complicated clipping. You can also order it to size (small or large) so there isn’t a super long band that could wrap around your wrist three times.
While I wouldn’t coin this style as “fashionable,” I would rate this as one of the more discreet and better looking products. The band is simply a band, and it doesn’t have a display so its only function is tracking movement.
Overall, I didn’t mind wearing it on my wrist since it was lightweight, could be paired with a watch or bracelet, and didn’t get stuck or pull my clothes.
The Nike+ Fuelband SE is a fitting rubber band that has a colorful digital display that only shows when the button is pushed and display is activated. The model I tested was black and had a rose gold-colored clasp on the underside and is about a half an inch thick. The band comes in two sizes and does have an extender piece that is easily added to the clasp if the band is a bit too snug.
For style, this band is less discreet than the UP, but fits nicer and can be useful with the time display. It makes a bit of a fashion statement when it lights up and has a wow-factor with the colorful display that shows when you hit your daily fuel goal.
The only negative about the design, is that the clasp sometimes came unclasped and I had to close it. The good thing is that when it came unclasped, it didn’t fall off, so I didn’t run the risk of losing it.
FitBit and FitBit Flex
The FitBit is small device that can be tucked in a pocket or bra and tracks movement. It comes with a small case that can be strapped on your wrist (while sleeping), or it can just be attached to your clothing so no one even knows you’re using it. The FitBit has a small display that tracks time and steps and can be viewed with the touch of a button… but that is only until it falls off your waistband and is gone for good (which is what happened to me and I was only about to test the $99.95 device for a few days).
The Flex is the same type of device (without a display), but can be placed inside a rubber bracelet so it remains in a constant place and doesn’t fall off. The wristband is a holder for the device and does not display a time or steps – it is simply some wrist candy that does come in a variety of colors. Overall, the wristband isn’t very attractive, but is also isn’t ugly. The color options make it a little more exciting, and it is lightweight and not very intrusive.
The newest version, the Force is a combination of both – a flexible wristband that has a small display for time and day.
The bulky, uncomfortable wrist watch actually hurts my wrist unless it’s in the one exact spot. The floppy and unattractive rubber wristband is too long and it’s wide – not something I want to wear all the time. On that note, I don’t think it is meant to be worn all the time, which would make it more bearable…especially because the rewards of wearing it and collecting your personal data could be life changing. Yes, I said life changing.
The Basis has some color options and customization, but the watch face is in black and white. It does, however, feature a backlit display and will provide a run down of all your stats when the touch buttons are working (my touch buttons stopped working about two hours after using the product for the first time).
So, that’s it on style… more when it comes to data, insights, and who would like each wearable the best!