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Basis B1 Band Review

Capable of tracking your heart rate, movement, sleep and even perspiration, the Basis B1 fitness band offers one of the most complete pictures of your overall fitness.

Sleep Tracking, App Interface, Battery Life, Verdict

Sleep Tracking

We especially like that the Basis watch tracks sleep automatically; most other fitness bands, such as the Fitbit Force, require you to press a button. Oddly, the mobile app didn't show a night's sleep as a continuous stretch of heavy or light sleep; instead, it showed our bedtime as a series of several discrete events. However, when we viewed the data on the Web app, it displayed that night's sleep as a single event.

Web App

Basis' Web app provides a huge amount of information about your daily activity. Three tabs at the top of the page -- My Habits, Insights and Data --offer three different ways of looking at your activity.

My Habits shows the objectives you set for yourself -- you can set them here, as well as in the mobile app. As you achieve each Habit, they fill up with points, which you can then use to select a new Habit.

Insights provides summaries of all the activity you did for each day. Below the summary, the day's activities are broken down into separate events. A small tab at the right of each event opens the Data tab, and lets you see more specific details about that event.

And here's where Basis really shines. All of the data it collects -- steps, calories, heart rate, skin temperature, perspiration -- is plotted on a timeline that shows what activities you were doing at that point in the day.

A second chart called Patterns provides a broader look at your trends when it comes to the metrics the Basis watch records. For example, you can see over the course of a month what time of each day you're most active. For stats-obsessed fitness buffs, it's an impressive amount of information.

Mobile App

Like the watch itself, the Basis app (for Android and iOS) is understated. The main dashboard has a brownish-beige background. The top third of the screen shows your profile photo, beneath which are the badges for the goals you’re trying to accomplish.

As you wear the Basis watch and accumulate data, you also earn "points," which you then can use to select a new goal to achieve (known as habits), such as walking after 5 p.m., or increasing the amount of sleep you get each night. We like that you can customize each goal. For example, for the 5 p.m. stroll, you can set the number of steps to take, or the number of hours you sleep.

As with the Web app, selecting the Insights tab shows more in-depth information about all of your activities, but the charts aren't as detailed. You can view the number of steps you took and calories burned, but can't view, say, your heart rate at a given moment.

MORE: Smartphone Buying Guide

Battery Life

According to the company, the Basis watch should last about a week on a charge. We wore it for five days straight before it ran out of juice. That's not bad, considering it's constantly monitoring your heart rate.

Verdict

On its own, the heart rate monitor built into the Basis B1 Band puts it above many other wristband-style fitness trackers. However, the wealth of data it provides further adds to its value.

At $199, the B1 costs the same as the Mio Alpha, yet collects a greater amount of information. However, the B1 is about $70 more expensive than other wristbands such as the FitBit Force, and lacks some watchlike functions such as an alarm clock, so you'll have to decide whether you will make use of all this extra data. But for the quantified self, there's no better option.

Pros
Cons
Collects and displays a huge amount of data
Somewhat bulky
Tracks sleep automatically
Lacks alarm clock
Measures heart rate

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