My First Few Days with the Basis Band

I’ve wanted to get a Basis Band ever since I first saw it at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Unfortunately, the Basis Band has been pretty much out of stock for the past year and half, and pretty hard to get your hands on. So I was pretty excited when my wife somehow leapfrogged ahead of me in the queue and received an email invite to order a couple of Basis Bands. We went for one in white (her) and one in black (me).

Mine came with a crooked display, however. Might not bother everyone, but I’m a perfectionist and it bothered me. I read the return policy which mentions a 15% restocking fee, but when I emailed Basis they were great. No restocking fee, they immediately shipped out an advanced replacement which I received in a couple days, free shipping and free return. The kind of customer service you want to see!

I’ve just had a few days with the Basis Band, but per below I seem to be pretty normal in that my heart rate slows down when I sleep and picks up during the day:

heart rate

At the same time, I seem to heat up a bit when I sleep:

skin temp

Besides these broad stroke patterns, Basis gives you an hour-by-hour summary of your day. It’s sensors track your heart rate, calories, steps, skin temp and perspiration.  It can tell when you’re sleeping as well. Here is me last Sunday:

heart rate and calories

I’ve noticed a few things about the Basis Band that track with what I’ve read on blogs from other users. It isn’t realistic to expect the Basis to work for you as a real-time heart monitor.  If you check the stats on the display while you are wearing it, sometimes the heart rate seems either way too high or way too low. But, when you upload the data and look at the charts, everything seems to smooth out in a reasonable way.

The display is on the dim side. My wife also has a Nike FuelBand, which is Vegas-bright in comparison. At first I thought this would be a problem, but it really isn’t.  The display could be nicer, but it’s bright enough to read and at night you wouldn’t really want it any brighter. Some say the display is too dim to use the Basis as a watch. I disagree. My watch is in a drawer somewhere and I may have forgotten where I put it!

The style has been described as “retro” and that’s pretty accurate.  It’s kind of chunky but the overall look is appealing.  It’s heavier than my Swiss Army watch but the weight is not really an issue.

I was concerned about the sync process. It comes with a USB cable with one end that snaps on the Basis and immediately starts to upload your data. Not wireless. If you have the cable handy, it really isn’t a big deal. It’s a bit fun because I feel like a cyborg tethered to the Internet, my data being sucked up into the cloud.  But the (hopefully soon) upcoming IOS app will let you sync via Bluetooth.

All in all, a good start for Basis. The ability to download my uploaded data would be a real plus, and many others have asked for this too. Looking forward to the IOS app. Otherwise, we’ll see if this becomes a regular fixture on my left wrist!

One new temptation that might get in the way of the Basis – the Pebble Smartwatch will be for sale in a few days at Best Buy. However, I do have two arms…

About Tom Novak

Tom Novak is the Denit Trust Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Marketing at the George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

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