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My life-changing summer with the Basis Peak smartwatch

 

If you’ve not heard about the Basis Peak, it’s a state-of-the-art fitness and sleep tracker crammed into a good-looking smartwatch. That’s it in the picture above, complete with brown leather strap. I had the opportunity to try it out over the summer and I found it to be a great all-round device. In fact, it has changed my life for the better.

Basis Peak: What’s in the box?

Inside the box, you’ll find the Peak itself and its charging cradle, along with a micro USB cable. While unpacking, you’ll be guided through the configuration process, which is extremely fast and intuitive. In fact, after I had opened the box, charged the device and created a Basis account, I was able to start trying all of its features after just a few minutes.

Basis Peak: Fitness and sleep tracking

The Basis Peak is able to record three types of activity automatically: walking, running and cycling. The BodyIQ software, developed in-house by Basis, enables you to view different types of data such as heart rate, activity duration, steps walked and calories burned.

This core fitness information can be viewed directly on the device, and you can obtain even more detailed data from the web interface or the companion app, including skin temperature and much more.

While testing the device, I was impressed by the accuracy of the algorithms used to track the data. Whether walking, running or cycling, the Basis Peak automatically adapts to the type of exercise you’re doing without any prompting.

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Basis Peak: App for iOS and Android

The Basis Peak not only offers a web interface, but it connects to a dedicated iOS or Android app. Once connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, the watch will begin to synchronize all of your data, displaying the main information on fitness activities and sleep cycles.

Basis Peak: Building good Habits

The app is divided into several sections. One of the most interesting is Habits, which allows you to set certain daily, weekly, or monthly goals. In addition to the default Wear It habit, there are habits such as Consistent Bedtime, Afternoon Lap, Evening Lap, Don’t Be A Sitter and many more.

Of all the habits, Don’t Be A Sitter is one that I used most frequently, as it reminds you to take regular breaks and to get up and move around between the hours of 9am and 5pm. In fact, for anyone who spends long hours sat in front of a computer all day, the Basis Peak may prove to be an essential tool that offsets the health risks of such sedentary behaviour.

Basis Peak activity data - walking
By checking the activity data, you can see when you walked, how far and what your average heart rate was.

Basis Peak: Checking the Activity Feed

The Activity Feed on the Basis Peak gives you an overview of your most recent activities, broken down day by day. This means that you can have data regarding steps taken, calories burned and average heart rate immediately to hand.

Information from the Activity Feed can be further divided into hourly bands. In the graphs section, you can see a minute-by-minute analysis of your heart rate and the level of physical exertion, as well as so much more. It’s extremely easy to interact with all of this data and this means you do not have to access the web version each time you want to analyze individual days.

Basis Peak activity data
The Activity Feed gives you key information about your heart rate, steps walked, calories burned, even quality of sleep.

The activity feed helped me to significantly improve my daily routine. For example, the Basis Peak provided me with important statistics about my sleep cycle, showing when (and how long) I spent in the REM phase and in deep sleep. It even knew how many times I turned over. By using the data collected to monitor my daily activities and create some new Habits, I managed to improve my lifestyle and make it more productive and healthy.

Basis Peak: Enjoy the Playground

Basis Peak doesn’t just provide a wealth of data about how active (or inactive) you are. It also has a fun side in the form of a Playground section.

This allows you to test experimental features. For example, Photo Finish allows you to take selfies after each physical activity so you can monitor your progress and create a gallery of self-portraits. Another fun feature is Location, which is a great way to see the various places where physical activity was carried out.

Whether you’re walking, running or cycling, the Basis Peak will track every single movement using the GPS feature on your smartphone.

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Basis Peak: Notifications and battery life

Unlike a fitness band, the Basis Peak isn’t just a fitness and sleep tracker. The device also lets you receive notifications and email alerts directly on your wrist.

For anyone wary of receiving large volumes of notifications daily, the Peak allows you to choose which notifications are shown. In fact, you can use the app to switch on notifications for instant messages from applications such as Google Hangout, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and HipChat. As well as the standard notifications, you can also see incoming calls and, if you’re busy, you can reject them with a simple tap on the button.

In terms of battery life, the Basis Peak lasted for longer than the four days promised on a single charge. And if you switch off the Bluetooth connectivity used to receive notifications, the battery can last for nearly a week.

In addition, if four days of battery life aren’t enough, you can try charging the device for around 20 minutes a day to give yourself a form of infinite charging. This simple trick is possible thanks to the quick charge feature offered by the supplied charger.

Basis Peak: Ultra-fast charging

Speaking of charging, a special mention must go to the charging cradle, which you can simply leave on your nightstand or desk. Each time the watch needs to be charged, you just place it on the cradle where it is held in place using magnets. No cables required. Something else worth mentioning is the speed at which the device recharges. It can go from 0% to 100% in less than 40 minutes.

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Basis Peak: Strength and comfort

Another strength of the Basis Peak is its durability. I can’t deny that I accidentally bumped the screen and the watch several times over the course of the summer. But there still aren’t any scratches visible on either the aluminium casing or the Gorilla Glass 3 display.

A potential fear for anyone buying a fitness and sleep tracker for the first time is that they will end up with a device that is bulky and uncomfortable to wear. In my experience, the Basis Peak proved to be an extremely comfortable device which moulds easily to your wrist on a soft silicone strap.

Not only that, but the compact body and 1.26-inch e-ink display make it the ideal device for any situation. Whether you’re in a business meeting or at a glamorous party, the Basis Peak’s simple and smart design is appropriate for all occasions.

Basis Peak: My conclusions

While using Basis Peak, I realised that I had a useful, simple and ready-to-use tool on my wrist. I can’t now imagine switching back to wearing an ordinary watch, not when the Peak is an intelligent replacement that’s able to give me a detailed outline of my daily life.

Convenient, accurate and durable, the Basis Peak can easily compete against other fitness bands and activity trackers, while also adding modern smartwatch-style functionality. It’s a great all-round device with a battery life that puts some other devices to shame. Why not try one? — Alberto Marini

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