I have been using the BodyMedia wireless LINK armband for a little over two years now. There is also the CORE armband which doesn’t include the Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect to handheld devices such as your Android or iPhone. I first saw this device being worn by contestants on the Biggest Loser. After a quick Google, I found the makers of the device, BodyMedia.
People are always stopping me and asking me about the band. The first question is, what is it? The second question is, does it work? I thought I would provide a detailed review of my experiences with this device. I chose the LINK over the CORE simply because I wanted a live feed of my progress to my phone. I don’t have to wait to sync with my computer to see my stats.
There are several components I will discuss: the device itself, the phone app interface and the online activity manager. The device captures how many steps you take, how many hours you sleep, and how many calories you burn.
The armband itself it light weight and after a few days of wearing it, you don’t notice it’s there anymore. It is clearly noticeable to others though if you’re wearing short sleeves or a tank. If you’re wearing long-sleeve blouse or shirt it isn’t noticeable. You pretty much wear it all day on your left arm. I never developed a rash or anything, but it is a good idea to move it around slightly so it’s not over the same patch of skin continuously. There’s a button you can easily access to press that connects it to your phone, the smartphone app.
The smartphone app is great. I use it to check my progress, but I also record the foods I’m eating. You can save foods and their nutritional values for quick entries. The app also has a workout feature. You can select a workout start and end time, select a playlist and the it records your performance during that the workout.
The online Activity Manager stores all of this information for you. You can even run reports on your eating, sleeping and activity levels. The program will also make suggestions for you to improve. You also get very detailed information about your metrics. For example, if you click on calories, it will show you how many calories you burned by time, how many METs, etc. If you went running at 10:00am, you can zoom in on that time to isolate your calorie burn.
- Accuracy of information
- All of the information is easily accessible from the app or the online activity manager
- The information is broken down very well – for instance you can see if you were sleep or merely laying down
- Set weight goals
- The online Activity Manager gives you warnings and suggestions to hit your daily goals
- Celebrate – the online Activity Manager will alert you when you’ve broken a personal record – i.e. the most calories you’ve ever burned
- Easy to wear
- Links to Withings weight scale and other partner sites such as www.earndit.com
- Print out reports to see and share your progress
- The workout information on the smartphone app doesn’t upload to the online Activity Manager
- Can’t track or record heart rate
- Can only sync the device with the online Activity Manager via computer
- The size – it’s slighter bigger than some other body monitoring devices out there
- A bit pricey – the price has come down significantly since I purchased my device. The good news is BodyMedia is NOT pumping out new versions of these devices. So what I bought two years ago is the same basic device they’re selling today. They focus their development resources on improving the smartphone apps, the online Activity Manager, and connections to partner sites (Earndit, Withings, myFitnesspal, etc.)
Information is power. If you’re serious about controlling your weight, you need a tool. This has been a great tool for me. Especially the warnings when I’ve eaten too much or moved too little. Accountability right on my arm.
I’m just keeping it new.