Measuring Device Accuracy Isn’t So Simple

September 21st, 2015

In my last post I left off with strong words about visiting a local track to test the accuracy of some wearables I had on hand. Well, I’ve done that and now I’ve got more questions than answers.

The devices I used were my recently reviewed Jawbone UP Move, and my about-to-be-published review of the Misft Wearables Flash. For this inaugural test I wore both devices at the same time, on the same wrist, for the same distance around a 400m track. The results are pretty ambiguous and it’s not easy to be comfortable with the disparities in the data:

Here’s my test method:

  • Standard high school 400 meter track, inside lane, device worn on non-dominant arm, no device calibration.
  • Devices worn continously for 3 hours prior to test.
  • Take position at start/stop point on track and stand still.
  • Fresh sync with device(s).
  • Take screen shot of device app showing standard readings: steps, calories, distance.
  • Walk 400m and come to a full stop. Re-sync and take sreenshot of readings.
  • 800m test repeats process, 2x400m laps, screenshots.

I didn’t count my own steps, mainly because I don’t expect any algorithmic approximation to capture every step, and partly because I didn’t have a step counter. Looks like I’ll be getting one.

The variations between devices are hard to explain, and […]

Is Device Accuracy A Joke?

August 27th, 2015

Because I write reviews it’s pretty normal for me to have several activity monitors hanging around at any given time. At the moment I have a Jawbone Move and a Misfit Flash – I just published my Move review and I’ve started working on my Flash review. I actually spend time using these devices because it helps me get to know them better, but I’ve never taken the time to test their accuracy.

That’s officially going to change.

Companies in the sports & fitness industry are starting to call for accuracy standards and I can now easily understand why. In a very informal test yesterday, I wore my Move and my Flash at the same time for a portion of the day. I put them on my non-dominant arm at the same time and I took them off at the same time. Here’s how the data compare:

  • Jawbone Move: 4,619 steps; 2.21 miles
  • Misfit Flash: 5,778 steps; 2.2 miles

Huh? The distance counts are remarkably close, but the steps are way, way off. This disparity is a significant issue – increasingly, people are going to be relying on these devices to gauge their effort. Accuracy will become far more important than it is now because doctors may start telling their patients “OK, you’ve got a monitor, just make sure you’re walking 5,000 steps/day.”

Based on the unscientific results above there could be a 25% discrepancy and if you’re managing your health, that’s simply not good enough. Furthermore, if you’re in an employer incentive plan like what my company (Make It Count) offers, some people are going to have to work much harder to get the same reward, and that’s not fair. And when things aren’t fair in the workplace… well, that’s […]

Reviewed: Jawbone UP MOVE Activity Monitor Aug 15 2015

August 18th, 2015

Pros:

  • A $49.99 MSRP makes this a very attractive choice.
  • An actual button that provides tactile feedback (hurray!).
  • The easy-to-understand display tells time and tracks progress.
  • The usual excellent Jawbone app.
  • A new high score here on BMR.

Cons:

  • Splash-safe only.
  • Devices this size are easier to lose.

This modest little button of a device has shattered my carefully crafted preconceptions about the utility of this form factor. I haven’t been impressed by the other fobs available to date – they usually need tapping or shaking to enter commands and you can never be sure if you’re actually communicating with the device, if they tell the time you’re lucky, and comprehending the display is too often a joke.

None of that holds true with the Jawbone UP Move thanks to the circular display similar to the Misfit Shine, the dial itself serves as a button so you can be sure of the commands you’re entering, and in general I’ve found myself delighted with this device and that’s rare. Furthermore, not only have I had to revise my opinion of fobs in general, the Move has turned in the highest score yet here on BMR.

Read the full review!

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April 13th, 2015

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Powered By MotionX

February 20th, 2014

BMR reviewed its first Jawbone UP in August 2013. Fresh out of the box, it was impossible to miss the play taken from Intel’s book, which was the statement imprinted inside the band that this was the “UP by Jawbone with MotionX”. Combined with the copyright notices in the phone app, we had all the motivation we needed to start the journey to learn just what MotionX is all about.

That journey quickly led to Philippe Kahn, CEO of Fullpower, the makers of MotionX. If that’s a familiar name it’s with good reason – Philippe is the former CEO of Borland, founder of Starfish Technologies, inventor of the camera phone, leader of the Pegasus Racing sailing team, and holder of endurance sailing records (a pursuit that calls for performance and decision making optimization under conditions of serious sleep deprivation). There’s plenty more, but back to our topic.

What follows is based on recent exchanges with Fullpower intended to bring greater clarity to what MotionX does and why it’s important. Currently, MotionX solutions can be found in the Jawbone UP and UP24, Nike+ running products, and the MotionX 24/7 app found in the iPhone App Store (where it alternates between first and second place on Medical category’s top seller list). Let’s start by digging into the technology’s various facets:

  • Wearable device algorithms.
  • Communications capability.
  • Apps for iOS, Android, and Windows.
  • Cloud infrastructure to support interaction, data retrieval and presentation, updates, etc.

On their own, fitness bands contain a fair amount of miniaturized technology which typically includes processors, an accelerometer, a battery, and an antenna, usually Bluetooth. That’s just the hardware. Software is required to make these components function and work […]

Press Release: Body Monitor Review (BMR) Website Offers In-Depth, Objective Analysis of Activity Bands, Activity Monitors and Body Analysis Scales

January 28th, 2014

Body Monitor Review (BMR) completed comprehensive reviews of leading activity monitors and fitness bands, including the Nike+ FuelBand SE, Jawbone UP24, Fitbit Force and Fitbit Flex, Misfit Shine, Basis B1 and more. These reviews clarify what these products do – and don’t – and makes it much easier for consumers and corporate buyers to understand the differences when making purchase decisions. “These products are a brand new concept for most people” says David Provost, Lead Analyst and President, BMR, “and we’re reducing the confusion that comes with navigating the choices out there.”

BMR uses a methodical, objective approach based on criteria that are grouped into different categories including Data & Connectivity, Functions, Personalization, and Customer Support. This framework is ideally suited to head-to-head comparisons and reliably highlights the characteristics of the entire product offering, not just the device itself. Philippe Kahn, CEO of Fullpower, the makers of MotionX says “I respect Body Monitor Review’s work. Their independent, methodical approach produces rigorous analysis that will differentiate the players from the pretenders in the wearable space.”

Three fundamental trends are converging to drive demand for wearable technology, specifically products that track individual activity levels, sleep patterns, and eating habits: 1) Technology: constant advancements in computing power, miniaturization, and network connectivity; 2) Social: the United States has been waging a pitched battle against the risks of modern sedentary lifestyles; 3) Regulatory: the Affordable Care Act is fundamentally changing how healthcare is delivered and setting the stage for new consumer-level incentives (like cash payments) for using activity monitors.

Startups and global brands have been quick to introduce products to address this opportunity. Another wave of entrants with large consumer electronics product portfolios are […]

Big Electronics Companies Announcing Activity Monitors

January 7th, 2014

It’s hard to miss the number of companies announcing activity monitors these days, particularly now that CES is at hand. What’s intriguing is the fact that companies like LG, Sony, Epson, and Samsung’s (rumored) entrant possess larger product portfolios like phones, televisions, game platforms and more. It’s inevitable that onboard hardware will get smaller, power efficiency will be improved, and functions will expand – and it’s natural to expand into your own portfolio.

We’re at the point where consumers can knit together their own personal webs of monitors that will provide consistent results to help track their wellbeing.  Wow – what’s that going to do for life expectancy?

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Body Monitor Review’s head-to-head comparison of Fitbit Flex, Jawbone UP24, Nike+ FuelBand SE, Polar Loop here.

Head To Head Comparisons Of All Leading Activity Monitors

January 6th, 2014

Announcing head-to-head comparisons of all leading activity monitors! Body Monitor Review cuts through the confusion to deliver detailed, systematic reviews of all leading activity monitors available today. BMR checks functions, connectivity options, personalization, and customer support.

We’ll continue to update our research as new products are launched – come check us out, comment, and get moving!

LG Entering The Fray With Lifeband Touch

January 2nd, 2014

Thank to Engadget for this news – it looks like LG will be launching a wrist-wearable activity monitor. This article is on target – LG’s wearable will connect with other products in LG’s product portfolio.

By this time next year, there will likely be a number of other portfolio connections either live or at the very least, active on the roadmap.

Things are speeding up!

DP

 

 

Reviewed: Fitbit Force Activity Monitor Dec 20 2013

December 20th, 2013

NOTE: Fitbit made the decision to stop selling the Force on Feb 11, 2014. Visit their page for further information.

The Fitbit force has recorded the highest overall score in Body Monitor Review’s evaluation process and it is an excellent all around activity monitor. It delivers on all the basics such as counting steps, calculating calories and distance, along with tracking changes in elevation and serving as a wristwatch with programmable alarms.

All this goodness is topped off by an excellent mobile app (iOS and Android), food logging, and integration with the Fitbit Aria body analysis scale. You can also create custom trackers so you can follow your progress on values that matter to you – if they’re not already configured for you on Fitbit.com.

Fitbit really cut its timing close for the retail season – the Force didn’t arrive here at BMR until around mid-December. Nonetheless, with an MSRP of $129.95, the Force is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an Activity Monitor.