Fitness Wearables: Basis Peak Review

The Work-Appropriate Fitness Wearable for Men

Basis Peak
Basis Peak

Wearables are everywhere these days, and it's no secret that many of the fitness tracking devices on the market aren't exactly... attractive. At least not work-appropriate-level attractive. I mean, who really wants to clip a neon-green FitBit Zip to the front of their suit pants?

Granted, things have been getting better, particularly in the women's market. For instance, the Swarovski Misfit Shine looks like a piece of jewelry, and FUNKtional Wearables offers jewelry designed to hide ugly wearable devices.

The men's market, however, has been slower to comply... until now.

The Basis Peak fitness and sleep tracker ($199) is about as masculine as it gets - all sharp, dark lines and corners - and it's attractive, too. In fact, the brand's new Titanium Edition ($299) has a forged titanium case with a satin finish and a cognac leather strap that makes it every bit as appropriate for the board room as the gym.

But as wonderful (and important) as a good-looking fitness watch is, you really need it to be functional. Happily, the Basis Peak delivers on both accounts.

The Basis Peak Basics

In a nutshell, the Basis Peak offers:

  • 24/7 fitness and sleep tracking
  • Heart rate monitoring without a chest strap
  • BodyIQ to track walks, runs and rides
  • Automatic sleep detection with sleep stage insights
  • Smartwatch notifications for texts, emails and calls
  • Battery life up to four days
  • Touchscreen display
  • Water resistance
  • Magnetic charger

    The Basis Peak Experience

    My husband's not a big watch-wearer, but when I asked him if he'd test-drive the Basis Peak, he was happy to give it a try.

    Out of the box, everything looked great. My husband's an applications developer by trade, so he appreciates the technology behind a watch like this. He immediately synced the watch to his iPhone to receive smartwatch notifications, and raved about how much he prefers the magnetic charger to the clip charger or mini USB charger seen with many other devices.

    One of the aspects he was looking forward to using the most was the sleep tracking. Neither of us feel like we sleep very well, so being able to receive feedback on sleep quality was important.

    Unfortunately, the sleep tracking didn't work initially.

    My husband wore the watch for three nights straight, adjusting every setting he could find, resetting the watch, turning it off and on, and otherwise doing anything he could think of to get the sleep monitoring to work. It just didn't happen. Every morning the watch registered zero sleep. I even emailed the PR rep to ask about the issue and whether there was a solution.

    There was none to speak of.

    My husband was ready to retire his experiment, but I pointed out that the smartwatch features were pretty awesome, so he should keep wearing the watch a little while longer. Even if he wasn't immediately enamored with the benefits of the watch, I was. You see, my husband regularly leaves his phone on vibrate during the day, tucking it inside his computer bag where he can't hear it.

    I typically find it hard to reach him if I text or call.

    The Basis Peak changed that.

    Because the watch vibrates on his wrist when he receives a call or text, he almost always responds quickly when I try to reach him. He's also pointed out that the watch makes it easy for him to screen calls from other people without having to dig through his bag to find his phone.

    After using the watch for a few more days, an update to the device also resulted in a functional sleep tracker - hooray! He can now wear the watch to bed a few nights a week to get a better grasp on his sleep patterns and determine whether there are ways he can improve his sleep quality.

    Best Parts

    • The watch does a good job of tracking activity - based on my husband's known activity level, the monitor seems accurate
    • Now that the sleep function works, it seems to do a reasonably good job, and the corresponding phone application helps break down the watch's information into more helpful insights
    • The smartwatch features are really nice - it's great to receive texts, emails and call notifications with a simple buzz on the wrist
    • The corresponding iPhone and Android applications are easy to use
    • The watch's touchscreen works well
    • The price is reasonable and in-line with other, similar watches
    • The look is clearly masculine, and the Titanium Edition is a nice alternative for men who need a somewhat more formal workplace wristwatch

    Drawbacks

    • While the sleep tracking functionality did end up getting fixed, it made for a frustrating few days when it seemed like half the watch's purpose couldn't be used. It was during this period that my husband also noticed a few programming errors in the watch's app. All the problems resolved with the watch's update, but it's likely the company is still working out bugs with their software.
    • The wrist-based heart rate monitor is a little glitchy. In general, this type of chest-strap-free monitor isn't as accurate as a chest-strap version, so keep that in mind whenever relying on a watch to monitor heart rate.
    • While four days of battery life is good, it would be nice if it could be worn for at least a week before needing a charge. (The Star.21 Band has up to two weeks before needing a charge and the LifeTrak C410 can be worn for a year without charging.)
    • Because the smartwatch features are Bluetooth-enabled, they only work when in range of your phone. (The Timex Ironman ONE GPS+ offers messaging without the use of a phone.)

    All-in-all it's a high-quality watch and fitness monitor that's geared to guys and has a good-looking Titanium Edition option for the workplace. I'd recommend it for anyone who needs a solid fitness watch with smartwatch functionality.

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