The Basis of My Decision
The more I research fitness trackers that go on the wrist, the more I understand that there really isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” answer (literally and figuratively). Every option has pretty major pros and cons, and there are people who swear by one while other people think the same device is absolute garbage.
I really wanted to find and get information on a band that tried to do everything and succeeded. The Basis Health Tracker for Fitness, Sleep & Stress has a laundry list of pretty cool promises. I wanted to find out if it delivered.
Keeping Your Basis Covered
Basis is advertised to be able to keep track of more exercise types than just a pedometer. That is a super good thing for people who don’t stick to one kind of cardio. If you’re doing activities that keep you in the same place like an exercise bike or elliptical, those movements just don’t count as much on other trackers.
When I was looking in to the Basis, the thing that caught my eye was that it keeps data on more than just steps and calories. It has sensors to check several things that matter when you’re trying to understand the value of your exercise. It has a heart rate monitor on the watch that is fairly accurate. Of course, it’s not as good as a chest-mounted heart rate monitor that takes the information directly from the heart, but it’s supposed to be better than most attempts. It’s certainly better than the ones that don’t have a heart rate monitor at all.
The reason that the heart rate monitor is so important is because you can’t get an accurate calorie count without some idea of how hard your heart is working. It may not be perfect, but something like it is necessary. It’s not as helpful as some of the chest-mounted trackers that can give you a real-time reading of your heart rate while you’re working, but again, it’s better than nothing.
One of the ideas that I thought was most enticing about the Basis was that it also tracks perspiration and skin temperature. Both of those are valuable to see how much work you’re actually doing. They factor into calories burned and how you physically react to the amount of exercise you’re doing.
Of course, Basis also does the typical calculations like distance, calories and steps. The idea of the added detail gets me interested.
Running the Basis
Basis has some pretty sophisticated movement tracking that can automatically tell what kind of exercise you’re doing at the time. It then tailors the data automatically to running, biking or whatever common exercise you’re doing. Obviously, it won’t be able to track when you’re in the pool because it can’t be submerged for that long, but for most of your standard exercises, you won’t have to think about changing settings or inputs so that it knows exactly what exercise you’re doing.
The Basis of Your Habits
With a program called Habits, Basis has gotten clever with the way they implement goals into their system. While they have big goals for exercise, Habits gives you small lifestyle changes that you can make. Once you achieve them, you unlock more lifestyle changes to try. Achievements in Habits turn to merit badges and unlocked features. Lots of small changes are just as important as a few big ones, and the fact that they’ve tapped in to a way to get people to follow through on them is fantastic.
Falling Short of the Basis
While Basis offers features that a lot of other bands don’t, there are still things that need some work. The heart rate monitor is good, but it’s not great. You should still use a chest-mounted one if you need a really accurate read.
The data collectors on the band are pretty sensitive, but may not be as accurate during extremely intense exercises. When performing at a high level for an extended period of time, the numbers may not record as many movements as you’re actually doing. The band might be more suited to people who don’t push it to quite such high levels.
A quirky but still slightly annoying problem with the Basis is that it uses a proprietary charger to keep it powered up. What that means is that you can’t use cords from other devices to charge it, and you have to make sure to have the one that it comes with handy fairly often. If your cord breaks or gets lost, it won’t be easy to quickly replace. It’s the kind of problem that doesn’t seem like a big deal until it happens. Then it can be a major pain.
Also, small people like me might not fare well with the Basis because of the size of the band. It doesn’t adjust well enough for small wrists, and there isn’t any easy way to make it smaller.
Basis of Your Decision
Basis offers some innovative features that you really can’t get on many other products. I’m most concerned about the size of the band, but I would really like to find a solution that lets me cash in on the rest of the sensors and data collection. I doubt that I will ever find the perfect fitness tracker for anyone, but this one manages to get me thinking about information that I’m missing out on with my current workouts.
If you’re ready to get your Basis covered, head on over to Amazon and add it to your cart for less than $150.00.