Over the last 3 months, I have been reviewing the BodyMedia Link armband. After dedicated usage, lots of discussion with other users, serious contemplation of long-time usage, and a now-awkward tan-line, I am happy to report back to you, my readers, with my thoughts on this handy device.
There are two kinds of BodyMedia arm bands. After some discussion with the company, I decided that the Link armband would work best with my busy lifestyle. With the Core armband, the only way to check your progress throughout the day (calories burned, steps taken, amount of moderate/vigorous activity, etc) is to remove the band from your arm and to plug it into your computer. Because I don’t have the ability to have the software on my work computer, I decided to use the Link armband, which coordinates with smart phones using Bluetooth. The Core armband is much smaller in appearance than the Link but neither is cumbersome.
Because of the location one must wear the armband, the arm does develop a strange imprint as well as a ridiculous looking tan line (oh well). Also, it’s hard to see if any lights come on or the device stops working, as mine did a few times the first month I had it, because the “face” of the device looks away from you.
The other negative about the appearance of this armband is the fact that the armband is gray. Unfortunately, it draws quite a bit of attention, whereas a skin-color band might make the device less obvious.
At first, I loved this feature! I could open up the BodyMedia app and see my progress for the day. However, after a few times of resetting my Link, I could not get the Bluetooth to connect and have not been able to for about 2 months now.
I really like the ability to measure my activity throughout the day. The features online show me what times of day I am more active, what my calories-burned-per-minute rate is, and whether my activity is moderate or vigorous. There is so much about this feature that is customizable, and I am sure I have only scratched the surface of the possibilities.
I really like the feature that shows me how many steps I take throughout the day. I get excited as I plug my Link in at night, making guesses on how many steps I have taken. It’s quite surprising to see what my average day entails, even as a secretary at a sit-down job.
The only thing I would like to see is some way for me to enter in how many feet my pace is. This would allow me to see more accurately how many miles I’m walking versus how many steps I’m taking. However, I do understand it would be rather complicated as it would need to discern between walking, running, etc.
I have found the sleep feature on this armband incredibly enlightening. I had no idea that how little I slept or how efficient my sleep could be. I still do not completely understand how this feature works, but if it is completely accurate, it is amazing.
However, I do doubt its complete accuracy, as it sometimes says I was awake for 7 minutes or so, when I do not recall any such time of that length of being awake in the night. My only thought is that it must have to record a certain depth of sleep in order for it to count as solid sleep.
Unfortunately, this is the only feature that I am completely dissatisfied with. The database of foods is incredibly limited, so that most foods have to be entered by the user. Once entered, the database is easy to use and shows how the user’s food macros are balanced throughout the day. However, the need to individually enter all foods into the database made me not interested in using this feature at all. I also find that this feature would work easier if there was a barcode reader with the food entry feature, but this would definitely entail working/correlating the bluetooth and online features.
As I mentioned earlier, I had a few issues with the Link armband early on in my use of this device. I chose to avoid talking to the lady who I had communicated with regarding this review but to go directly to the customer service as a “regular customer” would. I have been pleasantly impressed with the speed and efficiency of the replies I got to my complaints. The customer service workers also replied within 24 hours (often 12!!) with not only patient and professional demeanors but also step-by-step instructions on how to fix my problems.
What I Love
I love the information that this product shows me about my day-to-day life, my activity levels, and my sleep patterns. This is such a wonderful product that I could see myself getting completely addicted to using!
What I’d Improve
I would say that the following are a few improvements that should be made:
* skin-color armband
* Bluetooth linking that really works!
* A full database of food, ingredient, and products so that I don’t need to enter them all manually.
Overall Rating: B+
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