How to use Lumoid, the startup that will lend you a bunch of gadgets for a week

I write about the tech industry, but personally, I’ve never been that into gadgets. I usually wait for a few iterations of a particular product to come out before I’m ready to make a splurge purchase.

But I care about my health, and being able to track and monitor my exercise with a device seemed appealing. There are a lot of fitness trackers out there, though, and researching them all was a little intimidating.

Enter Lumoid, a Y Combinator-backed startup that sends you a box of five wearables to try at home for a week.

“Everyone is different, and each gadget is personalised,” Lumoid founder and CEO Aarthi Ramamurthy said to Business Insider. “It’s not our job to sell you stuff. We say, ‘Here’s a box — try it out, and you decide.'”

LumoidMadeline Stone / Business InsiderMy Lumoid wearables box.

When you log onto Lumoid’s web site, you’ll see a collection of gadgets to choose from.

In addition to its wearables box, Lumoid also offers the ability to check out drones, photography gear, and Google Glass individually. Google Glass costs $US18 a day to rent, while drones range from $US8 to $US45 a day. Lumoid will be renting the Apple Watch for $US45.

If you want to check out wearables, though, you can choose five of them to put in a box that costs $US25 for one week. If you end up buying one of the devices, $US5 of that initial fee goes toward your purchase.

The Lumoid rental store has pretty much every wearable on the market.

The site even has a handy chart that compares the features in each device you’re considering.

The five I picked: Jawbone UP24, Jawbone UP Move, Misfit Flash, Fitbit One, and Nike Fuelband. Each package listed the device’s features, as well as the cords I would need to charge the battery and the apps I would have to download.

A note on the inside of the box explained exactly what I had to do. There was even a FedEx shipping label ready for me to send them all back at the end of the week.

Over the course of the week, I downloaded each app, wore each device for a day or more, and assessed my options.

Some devices I liked more than others.

The Nike Fuelband, for example, I knew I wouldn’t like as soon as I put it on. The band was way too bulky and tight around my wrist — something I wouldn’t have known if I had just bought it after researching it online.

I ended up only wearing it for an hour or so before deciding it wasn’t for me.

I really liked the sleep tracker on the Jawbone UP24. It even has a smart alarm that gently wakes you up when you’re in a period of light sleep.

Still, like with the Nike Fuelband, I wasn’t sure I wanted something so large around my wrist.

My favourite wearable overall was the Jawbone UP Move.

It might not be the best looking device out there, but it was small and discreet enough that I could attach it to my clothes and wear it comfortably while I slept. Plus, at a price of $US50, it was one of the more affordable options in the wearables box.

The Jawbone app was also easy to use, with hour-by-hour data on the number of steps I had taken and the hours of light and deep sleep I had gotten each night.

Though the Fitbit One was also small, I thought Jawbone’s app was slightly more accurate and efficient.

Ramamurthy said that Lumoid gets smarter when people choose to buy a certain device after the weeklong trial.

“We’re collecting a ton of data, including why you bought something or not, why you picked one over the other,” Ramamurthy said. “We can use that to recommend other products in the future, or go back to the manufacturer and share our findings.”

There was one glitch — the Misfit Flash was still paired with the person who had rented it before me, and I couldn’t get my phone to match with it. This was the last wearable I was going to try before I had to send the box back the next day. At that point, I was pretty set on the Jawbone UP Move, so it didn’t matter too much.

Overall, I found that Lumoid was a less intimidating way for a wearables novice to pick out a fitness tracker.

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