A New Year, and list of new resolutions, and one of them may be to be more active or to live a healthier lifestyle. The Basis B1 Activity Band may help you pursue this feat.
The Basis B1 Activity Band promises to do quite a bit. This is a band/watch unlike the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch or a Qualcomm’s Toq smartwatch that promise to run apps, take photos and other various smartphone connected tasks. However, as far as fitness bands go, the Basis B1 is among the smartest. The Basis B1 measures your heart rate, steps, activity, sleep quality, perspiration and skin temperature. Does the Basis B1 live up to all the hype? Does it perform as advertised? We’ll dig into this fitness watch further.
Features / Sensors
The Basis B1 is jam packed with sensors to perform a long list of features. The Basis B1 captures your heart rate using optical sensors. The flashing green lights of the optical sensors is a bit alarming at first (especially at night), but it performs the task through the day and becomes less noticeable as you use it regularly.
As with fitness bands, the most important action is activity monitoring. The Basis B1 does so with a 3-axis accelerometer. It measures walking, strenuous activity like running or biking as well as sleep quality. Some of the activity can be viewed on the band directly while you can see a more comprehensive dashboard through your computer, smartphone or tablet. We will revisit the portal/app in detail later in this review.
The Basis B1 also determines workout intensity by examining perspiration levels and skin temperature through various sensors located around the optical sensor. It is quick to recognize when you’re on a run, cataloging the length of your most recent/current activity (measuring your walking or running/jogging status).
Really for the average user you just need to know the Basis B1 uses a myriad of sensors to determine a more accurate reading of your activity level, whether it be while you’re resting, sleeping or during an intense run. The hardware is certainly more advanced than most activity monitors you’ll find on the market (it measures your sweat for goodness sakes!).
Online Portal/Mobile App/Habits
The web portal and app are both quite robust and show off far more than what can be displayed on the watch’s small screen.
At the core of the Basis (and any other wearable fitness tech) is the idea of changing bad habits and encouraging good habits. In this case the action of being active and sleeping well. As you walk/run more you gain more points and in turn open up new habits. I like this tiered rewards approach to pushing up the frequency and amount of activity, I also appreciated that after the first few achievements the habits become a bit more than “normal” activity. Where it truly challenges users to change what would be perceived as bad habits.
One of my favorite Basis habits is wearing the watch. Which ultimately sounds silly, but without wearing this technology you are not fully tracking your activity. With most watches, I tend to take them off while working because I find it distracting while trying to type. So when I don’t wear the Basis B1, my phone will alert (or guilt) me that I haven’t been wearing it.
All in all, the dashboard and habits are what really set the Basis B1 apart from monitors. The set goals keep you moving and striving for the next achievement.
The lithium polymer battery on the Basis B1 advertises four days of use prior to recharging. I found the battery to last about five days of use. I actually expected far less of a charge considering the Basis B1 is always running diagnostics and syncying from the device to my phone via Bluetooth. Charging the band is easy using the Basis B1 proprietary charging dock. It takes just a couple hours to recharge and you should be good to go for the rest of a normal workweek.
The display is not all that large and not that bright compared to those found on smartphones today. Though for what it does, you will be fine.
The front face of the Basis B1 has four touch sensors that toggle date and time, display light, up/down across different metrics (e.g., heart rate, length of activity, pedometer). The button the right side of the face syncs the Basis B1 with your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth connection. I found the actions to be quite easy to use and more importantly not that difficult to remember which corner performs which action. My biggest complaint about most wearable technology is trying to remember what clicks/flicks control which action. I did not have this issue with the Basis B1.
As far as fitness bands go, the Basis B1 is among the smartest.
I enjoyed my time with the Basis B1, it certainly collects much more data than what I’ve experienced with other health oriented bands (e.g., FitBit, Jawbone, Nike Fuelband). Most of those other devices feel 2-dimensional in comparison to the Basis B1. If you’re looking for a device that is just an overpriced pedometer you could go the route of Fuelband or Fibit Flex. However, for a little bit more you could get the Basis B1 that measures your hear rate, perspiration, sleep pattern and much more.
Basis sent us this unit for the purpose of the review. I used the Basis B1 for roughly 2 weeks prior to writing this review.