I’ve always owned animals, primarily for their companionship, but you can’t deny the fact that dogs make great fitness coaches and exercise buddies too. No matter how lazy I might be feeling, Bolt’s always there to budge me with his cold, wet nose and give a little whine of encouragement that means, “It’s time to get off your butt and take me out for a walk!”
A Basis Peak Review
I’m a fan of other types of encouragement, too, particularly step monitors like Fitbit. Unfortunately, I lost my Fitbit Flex and was without the encouragement on my wrist for quite a long while. I was very excited when I heard that a new Fitbit with a wrist-based heart rate monitor was coming out, as I hate wearing a chest strap HRM but would really like to know where my pulse rate is at during workouts and rest.
Alas, Fitbit didn’t give a firm date for the Charge HR’s release and I got tired of waiting. I wanted a fitness monitor for the new year, so I started investigating other brands and settled on the Basis Peak. It’s a lot like the Fitbit in the fact that it monitors things like steps and sleep, in addition to your heart rate. It’s also truly waterproof and has a nice, large display and a band that clasps like a regular wristwatch, which means it’s not nearly as likely to disappear like my last Fitbit.
Tracking the Basics and More
I try to take Bolt on two to three long walks each day, the I found that the Basis Peak inspires me to make them even longer so I can get my step count up. I also like to watch my heart rate rise as Bolt pulls me along at his brisk terrier pace. Who’d know such short little legs could move so quickly? The band knows automatically when I’m in an activity period and registers it accordingly, although it sometimes breaks my walks down into two or three periods if I pause for longer than a few seconds to let Bolt investigate a particularly interesting smell.
People often mistake my Basis Peak for a smart watch, and indeed, it will eventually have some smart watch capabilities like letting me know about incoming calls. I have to admit, I’m not looking forward to that firmware update, as I’m not a big fan of taking calls right on my phone, let alone being bothered about them by my fitness advice, Instead, what I’d like it to do is to let me know exercise related things, like when I’ve been sitting idle too long or when I’m close to achieving a goal. It sends push notifications to my iPad, but why not right to my wrist?
Goals for the New Year
Speaking of goals, you can set some up with your Basis Peak, although the app calls them “habits.” You can set up a few to begin with, but then you have to earn future habits by doing well with your present ones. Right now, I have morning and evening walking habits set up to encourage me to get out with Bolt early and late, and I also have one set up to make sure I wear my band faithfully. I’m good at that one, although I wish the band were somewhat less obtrusive. Both the watch face and band are thick and somewhat unwieldy, especially since you have to keep it a bit tight to make sure the HRM works properly.
The band isn’t exactly sleek and feminine either. I have the black model, and I’m dying to buy a couple of the optional colored bands to dress things up, but I just can’t make the leap to pay $30 each for them.Don’t they look cool, and potentially more comfy too with the vent holes?
Still, $30 seems awfully excessive just for a band. I suppose I’ll have to pony up eventually, and until then I’m stuck with the clunky black chunk on my wrist. I opted for black over white as I was worried that the lighter color might get scuffed or start looking dingy since I wear it nearly 24/7 and have a very active lifestyle.
At least that clunky chunk is doing a great job of making me more aware of my activity level. It inspires me to hit my habits and to get out with Bolt more often. I love knowing my heart rate, and I’m having a lot of fun watching the sleep stats, too, although lately it seems to think I’m sleeping in two or three spurts during the night rather than just one eight hour stretch with a brief potty visit or two. It was tracking that correctly when I first got it, but now it just can’t seem to make the distinction.
It also has a very short battery life, but I blame that on the display. I really like having the big readout, so I can live with the frequent charging. I just put it on the handy magnetic charger when I’m in the shower or working on my laptop and it regains its battery power very quickly. I wish that it also synced with my laptop, but instead I have to use my phone or iPad for that via Bluetooth. The syncing can be a bit persnickety at times, but the band and my devices always eventually play nicely together.
Happy With My Choice
All in all, I’m glad that I didn’t wait for the FItbit Charge HR and instead tried something new.Granted, the Basis Peak is $199 vs. $149 for the Fitbit, but it has certain features, like the true water tightness, the big display, and the fact that it automatically knows when I’m asleep, that make it worth the extra $50. Heck, just being able to strap it to my wrist with a buckle that prevents me from losing it is a feature well worth the money right there, although the new Fitbit’s band looks more secure, too.
I would probably be happy with the Fitbit, since I’ve been a fan of their products for a long time. Fitbit is the company that got me into wearable fitness paraphernalia. But if the Basis Peak colored bands ever come down to a reasonable price, and if they ever make push notifications that come right to the watch, it will be practically perfect in my eyes. Bolt thinks it’s pretty darned cool already, since he loves anything that increases the number and length of his walks.