Fitness trackers have evolved a lot over the past several years. The sensors are getting better, the apps are becoming more polished and functional, and the devices themselves look more attractive. Basis’ new Peak fitness tracker meets all of this criteria.
The Basis Peak is a $US199 fitness device that comes with a screen so that it can serve as a smartwatch, too.
Basis has kept the functionality simple though, and the Peak’s focus remains on health and fitness just like the company’s previous offerings. Still, there are a few key factors that make the Peak different from Basis’ other models: the design of the watchface itself is slimmer, the heart rate monitor is much improved, the screen is now touch-friendly and will soon be able to display notifications from your smartphone.
After spending some time with the Peak, I found it to be one of the more accurate and comfortable fitness trackers I’ve tested. Here are my impressions.
How It Looks
The Basis Peak is super slim and light compared to smartwatches you’ll find on the market today, but since it has a full screen its certainly bulkier than your average Fitbit or Jawbone band. Still, the overall design is attractive and sleek, and it looks like something you’d wear on a jog or during your day at work. It doesn’t look like a clunky sports watch.
The Peak is currently available in matte black with red accents on its strap and brushed metal silver with a white strap. Next month, Peak will offer more straps in various colours to choose from in its Sports Vent line.
The white and metal review unit we played with has a soft, silicon strap with a subtle argyle-like pattern. The size of the watch face itself is large enough to easily see your stats, but it’s discreet enough to wear comfortably.
The Basis Peak is among the more comfortable fitness trackers I’ve worn. The silicon strap is soft and malleable, making it pleasant to wear for long periods of time. When you look down at the device, the first thing you’ll see is the time — just like you would if you were looking at a watch. From the home screen, you can swipe to see more information about your health. A quick swipe to the left will show your heart rate, and swiping up will display how many steps you’ve taken and how many calories you’ve burned.
Basis claims there are two main features that make the Peak stand out — its accurate heart rate monitor and sleep tracking. The heart rate monitor seemed to be especially responsive: as soon as I took a deep breath and relaxed, I noticed the sensor would detect a change in my heart rate almost instantly. As far as offering more accurate results than other fitness trackers, I’m not too sure there’s much of a difference. Other fitness trackers and smartwatches such as the Moto 360 detected similar results.
Basis’ Peak app is slick, clean, and easy-to-use. The sleep tracking feedback is particularly interesting, as it breaks down your sleep into various categories such as REM sleep, deep sleep, and light sleep. It also shows you how many times you woke up, tossed and turned, and how long you slept. It’s excellent if you’re trying to work on your habits and track your sleeping patterns over a long period of time.
There’s no need to put it in sleep mode either — the watch can automatically tell when you’re sleeping, walking, or running.
Basis also allows you to unlock different “habits” the more you use the device, adding a gamification element to its fitness tracker.
Although the Basis Peak is very comfortable to wear throughout the day, I found it to feel a little intrusive during workouts.
The band made my arm itch a bit when I started to sweat a lot, which was slightly uncomfortable. I don’t find it to be a deal breaker though — I was satisfied enough with the Peak’s results to continue wearing it during subsequent workouts.
In terms of battery life, the Peak lasts about three to four days on a single charge, depending on how much you sync it and turn the backlight on or off.
Other fitness trackers without screens such as the Jawbone UP 24, or ones with smaller screens like the Fitbit Flex and Charge bands, will naturally last a bit longer. But, several days of battery life is fairly standard for a monochrome watch like the Peak.
Right now the Peak exists as a fitness tracker, but in the future the company plans to push out an update that will allow you to see texts and incoming phone calls directly on the watch.
Should You Buy It?
If you’re trying to decide whether or not you should buy the Basis Peak or a Jawbone or Fitbit band, there are a few things to consider. If you want a fitness tracker with a large screen that you can also use as a watch (and eventually a smartwatch), go for the Peak. If you care a lot about keeping track of your heart rate and sleeping patterns, the Peak is probably your best bet.
Jawbone and Fitbit’s bands are sleeker, more subtle, and cheaper, but you get less functionality. They’re all good choices, but it depends on what you want out of your fitness tracker. Overall, the Basis Peak is worth the $US199.