Fitness is a bit of a bone of contention around here. Not so many years ago, my husband and I would run, swim, cycle, do triathlons and play water polo. He also played rugby and squash. And unusually, the desire to exercise is still there for us both. But recently, it just hasn’t been possible. So, reluctantly, I have to accept that a health band is currently perhaps more useful to me than a sports watch.
The FourFit health band
After a slightly worrying health check a few months back, I started to take more of an interest in my overall health, rather than just fitness. I’d previously buried my head in the sand about things like blood pressure and body fat composition. After all, I can run a 50 mile ultra marathon, I can’t be that unhealthy. Can I?
The FourFit health band takes a holistic approach to health, monitoring sleep, blood pressure, blood oxygen and heart rate. It records your steps like a pedometer and analyses fatigue. There’s even a vibrating alarm that wakes you during your lightest period of sleep to ensure you are refreshed.
The band can only be used in conjunction with a smartphone app. With this, you can use it to take selfies at the shake of a hand and see alerts and notifications on the band. Through the app, you can do GPRS tracking and the watch is waterproof so you don’t have to worry about getting it wet.
I have to admit that when I first got the band, I struggled with it. For such a complex health band, the instructions are somewhat basic. It comes with a nifty charging attachment that clips onto the back of the band and before use, you’ll need to charge it up.
The problem is, once you put the clip on, it only flashes for a few seconds to say it’s charging. So, my first mistake was to assume it wasn’t working. Then when I came to set it up, there was nothing on the watch screen. I put the app on the phone and searched for the health band on bluetooth, but nothing happened.
It turns out all I needed to do was wait a little longer. Because when the app picked up the bluetooth from the health band, everything whirred into action. I selected the band to pair up via bluetooth and numbers flashed onto the watch screen. Pairing up sets the time and date on the watch and from then on, it starts recording your activities and sending data to the app.
Using the FourFit health band
Once the band is set up, using it is very straightforward. It has one button underneath the watch face and you press it to toggle between modes. It displays the time, steps, calories, heart rate, blood oxygen, blood pressure and sleep. You can also set it to vibrate when the phone rings and with android phones, you can set it to vibrate when you get a text.
All these options can be seen much more easily on the app. Through this, you can also set it to carry out all the functions. For example, if you want to take your heart rate or blood pressure, you can open the app and the band will take the required measurement.
The only thing I’ve had a problem with is the alarm. I love the idea of the alarm feature, but it hasn’t been working for me. I set it to 6am Monday to Friday, the same time as I usually set my phone alarm for. But I haven’t noticed it vibrating at all. I’ve just checked again and it’s still set, but hasn’t worked for me.
Detailed health analysis
I have been immeasurably impressed with the depth of health information you can get via the app. For example, it tells me that last night, I slept for five hours and 34 minutes. Of that, 2 hours and 31 minutes were deep sleep and three hours and three minutes were shallow sleep. It was interesting to compare that to the previous night when I only slept for four hours, but three and a half of those were deep sleep.
It tells me how much fatigue I’m suffering from and how that stacks up to different times of the day. Apparently I was mildly fatigued at 3am despite being asleep. I’m not sure what that measurement’s based on but it’s certainly interesting.
Within the app, you can input data about yourself including age, height, weight, when you go to sleep and wake up. It gives you a weekly summary of all your recordings and allows you to set reminders and readings. There’s even a ‘find the band’ function. If you press it, the band will intermittently vibrate to make it easier to locate.
The verdict – which health band is best?
The FourFit health band is ideal for anybody looking to monitor their overall health. You can use it to measure a run, but even if you just put it on your wrist and forget about it, it will be recording vital readings. It may occasionally disconnect from the app, but it’s easy to connect back up again.
The screen is black unless you put your hand over it or press the button, which probably contributes to its excellent battery life. From a full charge, I found it only depleted by about 10% every day so you don’t need to charge it too frequently.
If you are looking to buy a health band offering a lot of functions at a low price point, this is the one for you. The band is currently on offer at just £29.00 on the FourFit website. This seems like an incredible price for the multitude of functions it offers. However, it is definitely a health band rather than a sports watch.
If you are looking to intricately record sports performance, the TomTom cardio is a better option. You can also compare the Fourfit health band with a more expensive TomTom fitness tracker. Each offers different functions, but the FourFit health band compares favourably, particularly considering the vastly different price point.