While most fitness trackers are small and comfortable to wear, many of them can’t tell you the time or display calls from your phone. At the same time, most smartwatches are too bulky, delicate, and expensive to risk wearing during a workout. Basis, the wearable tech company Intel acquired in March, hopes to fall right in between the smartwatch and the fitness band with its new Peak wristband.
The $US199 Peak builds on the features introduced in Basis’ current Carbon Steel fitness tracker, and will launch in early November. Beyond the physical enhancements, which include a build that’s thinner and lighter than the Carbon Steel, the Peak brings more accurate heart rate monitoring and a touchscreen interface. The Peak is also capable of displaying notifications from your smartphone, which make it more of a fitness-band-smartwatch hybrid than its predecessor.
This functionality won’t be available at launch, however. Basis says the watch will be able to display text messages, alerts, and phone calls after a future software update.
The company is also working on adding more notifications that can be pushed to your phone (i.e. the watch may communicate with your phone to tell you when you’ve completed a goal, etc.).
Other than the ability to converse more closely with your phone, the improved heart rate monitor is one of the Peak’s biggest additions.
It will be able to measure your heart rate 24-7 in the background of your daily activities, whether you’re exercising or at rest. The previous model only checked your heart rate when you asked it to.
Basis also says its smart wristband will be able to last for four days on a single charge, which is much longer than most smartwatches but shorter than some fitness trackers that don’t have screens.
It’s also water resistant up to 5 ATM, which means you can take it swimming without worrying about damage.
The company emphasised that its system is about changing your habits, so its app will determine your daily goals and adjust those targets based on your progress. The system also rewards you more generously for changing your habits (i.e. taking more steps each day for a week rather than completing one large workout).
Basis will also offer wristbands in various colours for the Peak, but it’s unclear whether the same custom designs that launched for the Carbon Steel will make their way to the new model.
For those who want a fitness tracker that offers some of the basic functionality you’d get with a smartwatch, the Basis Peak seems like an affordable option. At $US199, it’s cheaper than most smartwatches (except for the $US150 Pebble), but it offers more meat on the fitness side of things than you’d get with a basic smartwatch.