In a world where everything is manipulated through our ‘web-active’ gadgets, it can be hard to decipher which additional products and services are actually worthwhile. In seemingly no time, the phrase ‘there’s an app for that’ has gone from a joke-y marketing phrase into a factual expression. We’ll never need the ‘Pull My Finger‘ app or the ‘Love Detector‘ app; but on the other hand, those apps that become available and aren’t blatantly useless are what excites us.
Here at GadgeTell, we do a lot of product reviews and believe me, its not just apps, but accessory products too are dime-a-dozen. There are countless examples of products that are so similar to other products, the actual need for them is negated before they’re even released.
I’m not writing to hate on these accessories but instead do just the opposite. This is a spotlight of the latest contributions to the market that promote the most important aspect of our lives: healthy living. The following are a few that I deem noteworthy.
With built-in GPS, low-energy absorbing Bluetooth 4.0 capability, Wi-Fi compatibility, ANT+, FM tuner, an accelerometer and a 8 GB flash memory hard drive for mp3 storage, this could be the end-all for exercise buffs. Perfect for cross-country runners, the watch tracks time, distance and speed statistics of an exercise session, as well as calories burned and heart rate. From there, it uploads the data straight to your web profile via Wi-Fi; all while strategically selecting the right song from your library to keep your head in the game. It is able to track various types of work outs and even has a golfing mode to track your swing. Oh, and I forgot about its built-in audio coach that motivates and cheers you on, kicking your butt into gear. Feel the burn, baby.
Targeting non-athletes and athletes alike, this device is for anyone who is just curious about the state of their body. This cute iPhone accessory is battery-free with no screen and no worries — plug in and play. Its powered from your iPhone and is equipped with a heart rate monitor, blood oxygen level tester and it tests your respiratory rate and your heart rate variability. If you’ve ever asked ‘how stressed am I right now?’ then look no further. The Tinké uses what they call a ‘Vita index’ and a ‘Zen index’ to gauge your stress level while walking you through breathing exercises to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. We’re talking stress-busting capabilities here — around holiday times especially, I know I can use this thing.
Zeo Sleep Manager Pro – $100
This headband tracks the quality of sleep and then gives you results and provides advice on how to maximize that third of your day spent in dreamland. Sleeping well is directly linked to favorable mental health, which is vital in maintaining level-mindedness. The Sleep Manager tracks when you fall asleep and for how long you stayed asleep; also if and when you woke up during the particular sleep session. By analyzing your brain-waves, it can analyze when and for how long you spend in a REM (meaning rapid eye movement, not when your dreaming of Michael Stipe) phase or deep sleep. It assesses your quality of sleep and compares it to other sleep sessions, even providing insight, coaching you to best maximize your time spent sleeping. Its ‘SmartWake’ alarm will get you up at the most optimal point in your sleep cycle, creating a refreshed feeling — you know, that feeling you get when waking up after sleeping in on weekends.
Fitbit One Activity/Sleep Tracker – $99.99
Fitbit is a ‘family’ of smart-devices that were created to motivate users to live better, healthier lifestyles. Their One model tracks your physical activity vs. your sleeping hours and syncs the data automatically through Wi-Fi. Then, using a system of graphs and charts to analyze your caloric intake vs. calories burnt, it will set up a system of ‘milestones’ that will lead you to your target status. The One tracker can be coupled with the Aria Wi-Fi enabled Smart Scale to round out the Fitbit training program. The Fitbit Zip model is a bulkier version of the One without the sleep tracking component.
Withings Body Scale -$159.99
It may look it but this is in fact not Captain Kirk’s bathroom scale, though maybe it should’ve been (especially during those later seasons). This sleek Wi-Fi connected weight scale is used just like its ‘dumb’ predecessors; you stand on it and it reports your body’s weight. But the similarities stop there. It measures your lean and fat mass automatically and wirelessly uploads the data to a personalized dashboard on the web. It provides your body mass index (BMI) and compares the data to a personalized health target. In a way, its a fitness coach without the chastising. Also, for young parents, Withings also has a smart-baby monitor on the market, so your baby can stay connected too.
Up Health Monitoring Bracelet by Jawbone – $129.99
“Durable like a watch, yet fashionable like a bracelet,” the wireless savvy Jawbone has released the Up. This health/fashion accessory monitors nearly all physical activity throughout the day and assesses the data (accessible via the web), providing health tips to better stay in shape. It tracks your sleep vs. your waking hours and follows every physical movement including your distance traveled, calories burned and how intensely you were moving. You can insert your food and drink intake, as well as your mood — the device will identify patterns and draw correlations between your emotional state with your caloric intake and your physical actions. This can provide some useful knowledge, like a cautionary ‘every time I drink too much coffee at work, I get into fights with my girlfriend when I get home.’ Nobody’s perfect. But possibly the coolest feature is its Power Nap mode, where the Up will awake you at the optimal time (which their website says is roughly 26.5 minutes) after falling asleep. Sometimes you need a quick power nap, we’ve all been there. This will help prevent your typical sleep schedule from being thrown out of whack. Its water-resistant and comfortably designed to remain on your wrist both day and night. Utilizing the Up is a commitment, no doubt, but if used as directed, I feel as though it can really find itself nicely in some people’s lives.
Intentionally, I left some other devices out for reasons of redundancy mostly. Are there any other related devices worth mentioning? How about the next step in smart-health devices? I’d like to see a smartphone-synced enabled yoga instruction device on the market but that’s just because I feel the most lazy before going to my classes.