BodyMedia Fit Link Review: Three-Way Fitness Tracker

by Reads (7,321)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Design
      • 8
      • Features
      • 8.5
      • Performance
      • 9
      • Durability
      • 9
      • Utility
      • 8
      • Total Score:
      • 8.50
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Lightweight and comfortable
    • Tracks calories burned throughout entire day
    • Tracks quality of sleep
  • Cons

    • Monthly subscription fee after free trial ends
    • Not waterproof

Quick Take

If you want a device to track your fitness 24/7, whether you’re out walking the dog or running a 5k, then the BodyMedia Fit Link is a great option. Anyone interested in GPS tracking for endurance sports or swimming will want to take a look at another device, however.

Looking to get fit? Curious how many calories you burn in day? Hate keeping track of it?

Research has shown that the key factors to achieving weight loss goals include diet, exercise, and sleep. BodyMedia combines these three elements to create a complete profile of health. Those looking to kick start a weight loss goal or who are interested in maintaining their fitness will benefit from this device.

Design

The BodyMedia Link is a square, plastic, modular device that clips into a comfortable arm band. The device itself weighs only .1 pounds and measures 2 x .5 x 2 inches, making it nearly unnoticeable on the arm. It features two LED lights that indicate charge and memory status. The LED lights also flash to show that the device is paired with a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, and the device will make a little noise when it makes or loses the connection. The memory stores up to 14 days of data, and the battery lasts about 4 to 5 days depending on Bluetooth usage.

\"BodyMedia

BodyMedia claims its unique approach to calorie counting sets it apart from the competition. It tracks four categories, galvanic skin response, skin temperature, heat flux, and motion, from where BodyMedia claims is the most comfortable place to wear the device, the upper arm.

The galvanic skin response sensor monitors the skin’s electric conduction levels, which are affected by sweat. The skin temperature sensor monitors the surface temperature of the body to factor in calorie burn. Heat flux is important because it keeps track of how fast or slow heat is dissipating from the body. Finally, the 3-axis accelerometer catalogs motion and steps. These four elements come together to give, what BodyMedia states, is the most accurate reading of calories burned.

The device is light and, becomes unnoticeable after a short while. One might accidentally hop into the shower with it on. Unfortunately, it’s not waterproof. This is disappointing, considering swimming is an activity plenty of people include in their workout regime. It is water resistant, however, so it should survive a surprise rain storm or particularly sweaty workout.

Performance

The BodyMedia Fit Link is not a GPS fitness device, but it is compatible with GPS apps like RunKeeper. The benefit of the BodyMedia Link is that when working out indoors, or strength training, it can provide an accurate read on calories burned. Most GPS watches will sync with a heart rate monitor indoors with a little configuration, but BodyMedia Link will continually track activity levels, indoors or out.

\"BodyMediaThe best part of BodyMedia Link is that it keeps track of activities most might not even consider active, like lugging the laundry up and down the stairs, walking to the corner store, or spontaneous dance parties. On the flip side, it also reveals just how often one sits around and does nothing.

Seeing your activity on a graph is motivating and you can easily set goals that you want to reach each day. For example, users can commit to 30 minutes of rigorous activity and one hour of moderate activity a day. The app and web based activity monitor, let users know how they are tracking towards set goals.

TechnologyGuide found that BodyMedia tracked a comparable number of calories burned compared to the MapMyRun app, around 100 calories per mile. But calculating calories for an activity like running is a bit easier than estimating calories burned running up the stairs to grab your car keys or sprinting to catch a bus. It is also great for tracking alternative workouts like yoga, which can vary greatly in the amount of calories burned.

The fact that this device also tracks sleep gives it a leg up on most of the competition. According to BodyMedia, sleep regulates your leptin, the hormone that signals your body that you are full, and ghrelin, the hormone that signals when it’s time to eat. Striking the right balance between the two will make dieting and exercising much easier. Trends might show up in sleep patterns that affect how active or healthy users are after a good or bad night of sleep.

\"BodyMediaLogging food into the system is easy as well; it can be done through the app or a browser, and there is already a large database of foods, and it’s easy to input and save new items.

The web interface is easy to set up, but users will have to create an account. It comes with a free 3 month trial for the subscription service, but after that there is a monthly fee of $6.95 to access the Online Activity Manager. If you opt out of the monthly fee, you will have limited access to data on the website, and the app will not work at all.

Conclusion

The retail price of the BodyMedia Fit Link is $149.99 at the time of review, but is currently available on Amazon for around $100. The smartphone app is compatible with iOS and Android, but will not work without a subscription. The monthly fee is the only major downside to the device. Those not interested in spending around $83 per calendar year to use the app and full version of the web based activity manager after the free trial runs out, will want to look at something else.

Anyone looking for a device that gives GPS feedback will want a different fitness tracker. Hardcore bikers, runners, or swimmers, and those only interested in tracking mileage, pace, and splits, might want to invest in a dedicated GPS watch to use on the roads or in the pool. However, it is easy enough to take the BodyMedia Link out with a smartphone in tow. It’s a great choice for anyone that participates in a diverse amount of activities such as walking, weight lifting, yoga, running, strength training, dancing, and wants to track nutrition, rather than those focused on tracking progress in one specific area.


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  1. vermontre

    Nike Fuel Band is a comparable product with superior customer service. I have used both the Nike Fuel Band and the BodyMedia FIT Armband. Good luck if you need service or support from Body Media. response time (if you get one) can be as much as 2 or 3 days.