With the craze of wearable fitness trackers now fully underway thanks to Apple’s utilisation of trackers via the health apps in iOS 8; NuBand has stepped up competition in the category with its new release of the NuBand Activ+.
Dubbed as a fitness tracker, sleep alarm and digital watch there is no doubt the NuBand Active has a lot of promise. But is it any better than other options already available? Earlier, we reviewed the Misfit Shine which showed incredible potential of merging fashion and fitness – so what kind of potential does the Activ+ have? Let’s have a look…
So without too many fancy features, the NuBand Activ+ is aimed at those looking for a fitness and sleep tracker. Since it doesn’t boast about anything else; we’ll focus on only those two features and see how well it does.
The Activ+ connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to both Apple and Android smartphones and uses a free-to-download app to display and store your fitness data. Please note that you’ll need iOS 7 or above, or Android 4.3 and above, in order to make full use of the NuBand.
The NuBand works with the app to show you your goals and activities. The Activ+ can store activity data for up to three days so it is recommended that you sync with the app regularly to avoid losing fitness and tracking data.
We tested the NuBand app with an iPhone 4S, and it looked clean and very well laid out. We could sync to our NuBand at the touch of one button and also see the history of our tracking data. The main page of the app shows how many calories we have burnt, how many steps we have taken and how much distance we have covered during that day. The largest dial on the screen shows how much of our goal we have achieved so far along with the number of hours slept.
Under the settings tab we can set our goals and fill out our profile which will allow the NuBand to more accurately determine our fitness level. We can also set reminders so the band vibrates at a given time or at set periods. An ideal way to ensure we keep to our schedule whilst working out or going about our daily business in general.
Unfortunately, after a week of reviewing the NuBand fell short in many areas. Unlike the Misfit Shine we reviewed earlier on, the NuBand ACTIV+ does not ‘learn’ your fitness habits. Nor is it very good at distinguishing between physically demanding activities and general movement. Since the unit is mounted on your wrist, it ends up counting activities such as counting as footsteps (this article so far, according to the NuBand, is 237 steps burning 38 calories!).
It’s a huge shame for a device I actually enjoy wearing and using on a daily basis. It’s not too big, not too small – I mean, it doesn’t get in the way. But for those who are seriously into tracking their fitness this may not be accurate enough!
Furthermore, given that fitness wearables are going to step up in 2015, the NuBand ACTIV+ is already outdated. It only tracks footsteps, whereas some releases earlier this year can track various other activities including cycling, boxing, rowing and gentle strolls.
Like pretty much all fitness trackers, the NuBand Activ+ also monitors your sleep. Unlike other fitness trackers, it also has a built in alarm to wake you up. The NuBand does this by gently vibrating at the end of a deep-sleep cycle to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed.
This is one feature I particularly like about the Activ+ fitness band. From the settings in the app it can also be set to vibrate every hour helping me keep to schedule at University and ensuring I do not over-run into time allocated for different activities.
This does some-what make up for it’s lac of fitness features. Being woken up by a gentle vibration on your wrist really is something different and has worked really well for me over the last week.
Points Worth Mentioning
The battery lasts a very long time. Considering it has a full light up display, a three hour charge kept my NuBand going for a little over two weeks with general use. However, it needs to be taken out of the snugly-fitted wrist strap in order to be charged which can be a bit fiddly.
It can recognise when you’re awake and will automatically switch to activity mode after 15 minutes of activity. Ideal if, like me, you forget to change the mode when you wake up in the morning.
The NuBand Activ+ can store up to three days of fitness data before it needs to be synced. This also means your phone and the fitness band can turn off Bluetooth when not syncing to save battery life.
It also has a very simple, one-button interface. Hold the button down to turn it off; short-press to scroll through your calories burnt, goals and the time; and short double press to toggle between active and sleep mode.
And if you haven’t realised already – it doubles as a digital wrist watch. It’s a pity you can’t change the text colour.
What Can Be Improved?
Accuracy. The accuracy of the NuBand needs work without a doubt. As mentioned above, it doesn’t distinguish between physically-demanding activities that actually burn calories and other activities such as eating! The easiest way to keep it’s current features and make it more accurate would be to add a heart-rate monitor which will enable the fitness band to only track activity once your heart rate reaches a threshold.
So should you by the NuBand Activ+? Well, it’s difficult to give a straight answer. At RRP of only £29 it’s a budget option and will tick the boxes for anyone that wants a cool device that can track basic fitness. If that’s what you’re looking for, then yes – get one! The sleep-tracking and alarm feature is a huge bonus too – plus there are hardly any worthwhile fitness bands around at this price range.