With a wearables fitness trackers of all kinds available at different price points, the competition between wearable tech vendors can get more complex. We take a look at the GoQii Band from a California-based startup that bought unique product to set itself apart through personalised coaching.
That element of coaching also makes the GoQii Band’s pricing model different. Each purchase comes with either a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription to the GoQii Life Programme, which offers a physical band, a companion app, access to a coach and a philanthropic programme called the “karma” system.
I’ve been tracking my weight off and on for several years, and my sleep patterns as well, but, until recently, had never used anything more complicated than a regular bathroom scale and a app that allows the accelerometer in my phone to track my movement patterns when I’m asleep.
The GOQii band itself is really a small core module about 1.5″x.5″x.4″. The top is slightly curved, so that, when placed in the silicon band, it matches the curve of your wrist. Two colors of band were included – black and red. These are very important little pieces that fit over the joining of the two band ends, preventing them from becoming unfastened. The product weight just 24 gramsSetting up the device is fairly straightforward, or seems so at first. Download the free app, set up an account (90 days coaching is included and requires entering a code from the card in the package), and sync your device with your phone. The device measures steps and distance based on your body metrics entered in your account.
Operating the device is also easy, within what it can do. The initial screen shows time, date and battery status. Tapping on the device moves it to the second screen, which shows steps. Next is how long you’ve been active for. Next is how far you’ve walked today, then calories burned. Last is Karma, the in-system points you earn by moving and meeting goals. Donations of Karma translate to actual donations to charities the company has chosen to support. You get to choose from the list which ones you’d like to back. On a normal day, I’ll get 10-12 Karma points (Don’t forget, I spend most of the day talking on the phone. On my off days, I try to kick it up several notches, weather permitting. I’d have loved to have this tracking activity when I was working retail over the last four years!)
From the app, you can set as many as five alarms and have them each repeat on any desired days. I’m concerned that I don’t always go to bed early enough to get the rest I need before work, so have set an alarm at midnight and at one AM on the days I work. I also have a wake-up alarm that buzzes my wrist about 5 minutes before the “drop dead” alarm on the dresser goes off. Using the gadget is dead simple: strap it to your wrist and go about your business. Steps are logged as a normal part of the program, and those are converted to calories and Karma according to your profile measurements. There is a “thermometer” type indicator that builds up the side of the display from lower left to upper left. As you move more, it gets taller. When you reach the magical 10,000 step level in a single day, it vibrates excitedly.
Battery life is pretty good – about four days or so. The device has a Bluetooth-connected pedometer that you wear on your wrist. Yes, it makes those calculations for movement time, calories burned, and such, but there’s no way to read anything directly on the band except what I just listed above, and the connection to your “home” device is strictly one-way. There is no way for the band to sense my movements while I’m sleeping, or to set an alarm or adjust anything (like time or date) from the device itself. Everything must be done from your phone through the app while they are connected.
All in all, I liked the experience of wearing and using the GOQii. Interacting with Coach was a nice addition. The buzz feedback was a nice touch which makes me more aware of how long I was sitting still sometimes. That made me think about standing or moving around, which is the whole point of these devices.