1. Basis Peak
Basis ($199) is a comprehensive fitness and sleep tracker. And it’s even more intelligent than your typical smartwatch. Basis prides itself on being a “habit-based system,” so it’s not just about tracking stats and getting data, although as a numbers junkie I love seeing all the different charts and info. The system is designed to help you choose manageable goals and stick with them. It worked for me — seeing my progress every day helped give me the motivation to not “break the chain,” even when I felt like having a movie marathon on my couch instead of lifting all the things.
Basis monitors your heart rate 24/7. This is great for me, as one of the ways I track my health and readiness is by checking my resting morning heart rate. Ideally, you’re supposed to do this as soon as you wake up, before you train, eat breakfast or even hop out of bed … but I always forget until I’m dressed and already sprinting to the kitchen to make myself some coffee. Not exactly resting anymore! So I love that Basis tracks this for me.
I also like that Basis automatically recognizes when you’re walking, running and biking. Having the sensor on my wrist means I don’t need to remember to grab my phone when I’m walking around during the day, so it tracks my steps (as well as calories burned, and even skin temperature and perspiration … although I have my own highly advanced sensors that tell me when I’m breaking a sweat!).
Another fitness stumbling block for me is one I’m sure many people are guilty of — not getting enough sleep. I really like having access to Basis’s sleep analysis. It automatically detects when you fall asleep and the different stages, including REM, deep and light sleep.
One thing I appreciate (but ultimately decided to do without) is the usual smartwatch notifications like call, email and text alerts. On the one hand, I don’t want to miss an important call … but on the other hand (wrist?), I like unplugging a bit and just having me time when I train. This is especially true when I’m in the water — I’m truly in my own little world. I just started adding swimming back into my training a few days a week, so being able to take Basis into the pool with me is a big plus. It’s waterproof to 5ATM, which is about 50 meters.
Basis charges quickly and the battery life is good. I like that its cradle can plug into the wall with an adapter, or into my laptop’s USB port. If I had one thing to change (or add), I’d like to see a chest-strap option. This is true of every fitness charger I try, though — I train with kettlebells, so I have to keep my wrists clear of watches or other devices. Other than that, I’d never take Basis off.