A few weeks ago we attended the presentation Under Armour and HTC: a system that integrates physical activity, weight control and nutrition and rest, and also makes social. We presented the HealthBox: quantifying bracelet, scales connected by WiFi and Bluetooth, heart rate monitor with chest band and an application to control them all.
This system takes a year to be marketed in the United States with some success and now is holding the launch. We have had enough time to test the gadgets and applications and then we tell you how it has been our experience.
It is not an app, a comprehensive system
We are not only to an app or wearable: Healthbox brings together everything that we may need to get in get in shape. Usually when we start caring for our health we usually buy a gadget or app that monitors only one of the three pillars of fitness: sports, nutrition and rest.
What gives us HealthBox in this sense is not just an app, or just a quantizer bracelet, but it is an integrated system through which we can monitor all our constants. A kind of “all in one” for you cannot escape any of the parameters measured.
The system consists of the following elements that come in a single box (compatible with iOS 8 and higher and Android 4.4 and above):
- The bracelet quantizer UA Band
- The heart rate monitor chest band UA Heart Rate
- The scale with free WiFi and Bluetooth UA Scale
And this we must add three applications for free download (with optional Premium paid version), all available for iOS and Android: MyFitnessPal is an application that helps us monitor the amount of calories you eat a day, MapMyFitness is a known training application which can record all kinds of sports and record is the proper application of Under Armour from which we can control others and offers an overall view of our day.
Besides, to complete the training kit, Under Armour has now released the first shoes “smart” UA SpeedForm Gemini 2, comprising a sensor connected to MapMyFitness that sends the information of our career directly to the application, and a wireless headset to complete this line of fitness.
HealthBox is for sale in Spain since 30 June. The complete system including the UA Band, Heart Rate and UA Scale. You can also purchase only UA Band Bracelet, the scale UA Scale and chest heart rate monitor UA band Heart Rate. With the purchase of Healthbox we have access to a year of Premium subscription of MapMyFitness and MyFitnessPal.
UA Band to monitor your whole day
We started talking about the quantizer bracelet. UA Band bracelet is made of flexible rubber, except the area of the clear screen (similar in design to the Polar Loop and FuelBand Nike) and comes with two straps for two different wrist sizes. It is controlled through its touch screen and a single button which is used only to return to the home screen clock. Aesthetically it is discreet and lightweight.
The screen is low resolution and has PMOLED 1.3 inch technology. About this we can make a positive and a negative reading. The negative would be that, if we were expecting pretty colors or large screen, would not find it here. The good news is that this little screen we can navigate by sliding your finger makes battery consumption is very low and do not need to charge it in about five days (depending on the physical activity we conduct with her). In any case, it makes sense to use the wrist strap with the app, so a small screen (which however looks great in full sun) is not a major problem.
Charging is done through an own magnetic charger connected by USB and is done very fast: in about 30 minutes computer connected to the UA Band is ready and prepared for use. It connects to the Record Under Armour application via Bluetooth and automatically.
The bracelet has different functions that we see as our finger slipped on the screen:
- The function “clock” has an alarm (vibrates to wake up, and vibrates well, quite noticeable), stopwatch, countdown and synchronization with the calendar.
- The function of “activity” gives us the data of steps taken throughout the day (through a pedometer) and percentage in relation to your target (which can change in the app), kilometers traveled and calories burned.
- The function of “sleep” automatically monitors our sleep and shows the total time on the screen of the bracelet. Needless to say that when we go to sleep, but she does it (including naps), but we can put it in “manual” mode if you want. During sleep the UA Band motorization our heart rate with its integrated heart rate monitor.
- The function of “heart rate” measures our pulse with an optical reader in the time that we indicated. It does not measure our pulse all day (except when we’re sleeping), but does so only in specific moments in which we indicated.
- The “training” function tells us how long we’ve trained and what percentage we achieved our goal regarding (which can be modified in the app). It is necessary to indicate that we will start training, not detected by herself, and in the same bracelet can choose between running, cycling, weights and other sport select our choice in the app. we must also tell you when we have finished training (ever you have forgotten me and I have come five hours training …).
Those are the main functions of the bracelet to which we must add the notification of the mobile phone (can select the ones you want to receive, but only between calls, no whatsapp messages, but text- messages and notifications application) and interesting function is the ability to control music on our phone from the bracelet (this is fine when you’re training, for example).
My experience with the UA Band
As I said, the advantages that I see this quantize bracelet is the long battery life (when compared with other bracelets in the market), the speed of their load (the fastest I’ve seen so far) and is very discreet. You can see the most basic data on the bracelet and now if you want to dig a little deeper, view statistics and other must be done through the app, but personally for me is not a problem because the bracelet that use usually is the Moov, you do not even have a display. For people who want to see all your data on a large screen, obviously this can indeed pull them back.
The biggest problem that I see this bracelet is that the bracelet sold as a sport when the ability to measure sport is very limited, since it does not have GPS. At first I tried to go running with the Samsung Gear FIT2 and my heart rate monitor TomTom usual, which is what I always take as a reference (both GPS and integrated heart rate monitor) after trying in many races: the measures giving speed they are very unreliable (as an example I will say that I usually run to 6 min / km bracelet and told me he had run to 4 min / km). When we left to run measured much more distance than really we walk (one kilometer and more in training 5 kilometers away) and that makes the rhythm shoot.
They recently released an update by which we can gauge to be more accurate in measuring distances and rhythms bracelet: with the races we’ve done before we calibrate manually to marry the kilometers actually traveled (so you have to have gone jogging with another device to know how many kilometers you have done), we match kilometers and based on that calibration calculates the rates of future careers. I have calibrated a few times and still continues to inaccurate measurements. Hopefully in future updates this issue is resolved.
My assessment is that it is a good quantizer bracelet for day to day, but not for sports.
UA Heart Rate to measure your heart rate
Speaking of sports, we continue to analyze the heart rate monitor chest band Heart Rate UA. It is a heart rate monitor with two sensors must be placed under the chest and connected via Bluetooth to both the app exercise MapMyFitness as bracelet UA Band. Lights automatically when sensors are in contact with skin and starts reading data, sending them both to our phone as a bracelet.
It is attached with an elastic band that can adapt to the circumference of our torso and runs on a lithium battery 3V button. The sensor is removed from the elastic band so we can wash it without problems: it is splash resistant and sweat.
But if the bracelet and has a heart rate monitor, why do we need this? The heart rate monitor bracelet is for peak times, while this is the heart rate monitor that we use when we do exercise. A very interesting feature of this pair of gadgets is that, once we have defined our training zones in the app (are defined by default with the usual percentages, but we can change them if we have our personal percentages after us a stress test or similar) bracelet shows us what area we find a LED light by reading pulsometer chest. So while I’m running, if I see a red light on my bracelet I know I’m in the highest part of my heart rate and I have to slow down.
My experience with the AU Heart Rate
After leaving to train repeatedly with this heart rate monitor am very happy with it. The readings are little more than traced to offering the TomTom Runner Cardio and add that it is a coded heart rate monitor so that readings from multiple devices not mixed together (this is common, for example, uncoded heart rate monitors when used in a small environment, such as a spinning class with several assistants using heart rate monitors).
Of course, the heart rate monitor is not exclusive with MapMyFitness or bracelet, but having Bluetooth connection can pair it with your phone and use it with other applications running or training.
Still, we are at a time when what is expected of a gadget fitness is to have everything integrated in itself, so a good idea for future releases would be to integrate the heart rate monitor (and GPS, of course) in the same bracelet.
You may also like to read another article on AnarchismToday: Power walking: The perfect exercise if you can not beat the running
UA Scale for keeping track of your weight
The last of the gadgets within the HealthBox box is the scale UA Scale, which measures our weight and our fat percentage and sends the data directly to your phone (the Record application) via Bluetooth and a WIFI connection. This is a fairly large-scale circle (35 cm diameter) which runs on four AA batteries. It has a LED screen where we can see the data that throws us (weight and fat percentage) and gives us personalized messages, like how many kilos we are to lose to reach our goal (which you previously set in the application mobile).
UA Scale The scale can automatically recognize up to eight different profiles, so it is not limited to a single user. In fact, if you only have registered a profile and a person who is not you climb it, you recognize it and asks if you want to start a new profile.
Its use is quite simple once is set (it does automatically) and the only thing we should worry us is to make sure to put the “athlete mode” in the application in the event that we athletes to reading body fat (by bio-impedance) is more reliable.
My experience with the AU Scale
I tried the UA Scale with my scales usual bio-impedance a Tanita BC 730, which through electrical bio-impedance measures weight, body fat percentage and throws many data I understand that for a person to walk are not so important. I think it’s great that the AU Scale gives us our body fat percentage, which is one of the most important values we can consider when losing weight: the kilos are not all that counts and, in the case of an athlete, you definitely are not the most important.
At first I struggled a little match it with the mobile phone, but after about ten minutes of prodding began to work together. The first readings and made me see there was something that was wrong: the weight is quite accurate (gram above, gram below), but the readings of body fat index had a difference of more than 10 points with which I offered the Tanita, and that’s a big difference when it comes to fat percentage.
Luckily from Under Armour has released an update in which the person is allowed to opt for the “athlete mode” when measuring the percentage of fat and, thus, the readings are much more accurate. There remains a distance from a point with reading Tanita, this time down (before they were 10 points above), but it is not so serious. If you have this scale and believe that the data reading fat are not real, be sure to download the update to get a correct reading.
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UA Record, an app to control all
Now that we’ve talked about all the gadgets, let’s the most important part: the application in which you can see all the data we have collected with the bracelet, heart rate monitor and the scale (and some more). UA Record is the application Mobile (free and available for iOS and Android) through which we can see our progress, our diet control and monitor our rest.
The interface is simple, with a nice design and very easy to understand. The app divides our day (shown as a circle) in four quadrants : one for nutrition, one for training, one for physical activity and one for the rest, and a space in the center for our weight. This app takes data from other applications (MapMyFitness and MyFitnessPal) and the gadgets and gives us a global view of our day.
As the day goes on and we’re achieving our goals of steps, minutes training, hours of sleep and food eaten, the different quadrants are populated and clicking on them we can see the information on each of them more in detail. In addition, at the bottom we can also indicate on a scale of 1 to 10 how we feel during the day and adding notes: the emotional factor is recorded in this way also in the app.
Entering each of the quadrants we can see the statistics that are automatically created with the data of the last days and we can see for example what has been the average of steps we have taken this week, what days of the week we walked more or what times of day we have moved less.
In the case referred to the dream quadrant, the application offers a vision where we can see how long they have spent in light sleep and how much deep sleep, and an analysis of the quality of sleep broken down by hours and cycles. We can also see what has been our average resting heart rate and how the training is getting better each day.
MyFitnessPal and nutrition
One of the most interesting parts of the application is on nutrition, for which we need the app MyFitnessPal. This app is perhaps most famous as to count calories and helps us to be aware of energy, macro- and micronutrients we consume in our daily lives.
The Record app performs an estimate of our basal metabolism (calories needed by our body to function properly) through the data that we give and those who collect gadgets. These “base calories,” adds them those consumed by our daily physical activity and our training, and gives an estimate of the calories you should consume to keep our weight.
If we want to lose weight, just we have to enter our goal in MyFitnessPal (down 5 kilos, reducing the percentage of fat, etc) and she will give us an idea of the calories we consume in the day to reach the target in the time you want. From here, we have to enter in the app eating foods that are going to perform counting calories, macronutrients and micronutrients.
The advantage of this app is that, through our mobile camera, recognizes the barcode of almost any product you can find on the market, and once scanned automatically tells us what is and what its composition is. Thus, we only have to enter the amount of food that we will take to the app as “point” automatically counting the day.
It connects with the app UA Record, and the quadrant dedicated to nutrition we can see at all times how many calories we ingested and how we get from eating, as long as it considers the application that is suitable for our goal down (or up why not) weight. For more visit http://merchantdroid.com/.