Monday, December 28, 2015

The Wearable Dilemma

Everyone loves gadgets. This isn't a techie thing. Maybe I love gadgets a little more because I love to quantify things. I love graphs. And my Fitbit has introduced me to the world of the Quantified Self. I can never go back.

However, my Fitbit has, once again, fallen apart. This has prompted me to write yet another blog saga about finding the perfect wearable.

I ordered my very first Fitbit Flex in February of 2014 as part of my employer's health rebate program (which I do not love, but that's another story). The next two years have been a love-hate relationship with my Fitbit. Here's the bullet-point version of that:

  • Feb 2014: First Fitbit (Flex) 
  • May: Losing Flex because of stretched holes in band closure. Fitbit replaced band.
  • October: Rubber band separates from screen. Fitbit replaced band.
  • January 2015: No longer charges reliably. Fitbit replaced with new Flex (all components).
  • February: Sold new Flex, and instead bought Charge through work program.
  • April: Back comes unglued (despite screws). I Super Glue to fix.
  • May: Repeat above.
  • October: Rubber begins to peel at junction with screen.
  • November: Rubber beings to bubble under screen on top, and the glue continues to break down.
  • December: Top portion of bracelet's rubber is no longer glued to plastic band underneath. I finally email Fitbit and ask for a replacement.

So, the Dilemma:

I'm really tired of replacing & repairing Fitbits. I love that they keep sending me new ones, but the quality has started me looking at different devices. And once you start looking, you start seeing other things you like. And I'm also realizing how much I miss my pretty black ceramic Skagen watch. This Fitbit is ugly, and I can't wear it to a nice dinner. But I don't want to lose my steps! If you don't have a step tracking device, you have no idea how traumatic it is to lose steps.

I saw an add for the Misfit Shine 2, but as I said in my blog post about that, everyone is losing theirs. No way, Jose. Also, I later realized how much I love having, not just call notifications, but caller ID. I get a LOT of wrong numbers for some reason.

Last week while Christmas shopping, I ran across the Pebble Time Round. It seemed to fit all my requirements:
  • Pretty
  • Small & thin
  • Changeable bands (can work out using a non-leather one)
  • Caller ID
  • Text notifications
  • Tells time
  • Tracks steps & sleep
That's all I've decided I really want. A heartreate monitor would be nice, but, just a bonus.

The more I looked at the Pebble's OS, the more sad I was. It seems to be a really smart OS, but it looks like it's designed for toddlers.

I just can't.

There are other wearables out there that look amazing, though.

Why they won't work for me:

Samsung Gear S2
No iOS support. I'm not so in love with Apple as much as not really excited about being tied to a particular ecosystem.
And also, it's bigger than my wrist. I physically can't.

Moto 360
Out, because I currently have an iPhone and wouldn't pay that much for something I can't use all the features of.
Also, it's pretty huge. I want to say I would be okay with something that's the same height as my wrist since it's pretty, but it would just look silly. It's double the size of my little Skagen watch.

Withings Activité
Gorgeous app.
No call notifications.
$400 unless I want a black one.

Apple Watch
It's a rectangle. That's my big beef with this thing. It's small, which is a HUGE plus, but it's an ugly, ugly rectangle.
Also, vendor-lockin. But I already have an iPhone.
Also also, the bands are, of course, expensive.

A common negative among all these is that they're expensive. None of these is a watch that will last my lifetime. They're gadgets that will quickly go out of style -- so a hefty price-tag for features (like a multitude of apps, GPS,  fast processors, etc.) that I don't want just isn't worth it to me.

This post that I ran across while making sure I hadn't missed anything I would seriously consider gives me hope that an answer is coming in 2016.

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