Two years ago, inspired by the Biggest Loser, I purchased the Ki Fit Body Monitor.
There followed a relatively short-lived love affair with the gizmo which promised so much gadgety joy but delivered more frustration – check here for the review of the Ki Fit.
The idea is that the armband is a 24/7 body monitor that registers a whole host of metrics such as sleep length and efficiency, calorie burn, steps and exercise intensity. Combined with an accurate measure of your calorie intake you should be able to apply a “scientific” approach to weight loss – balancing the calorie intake and burn or tipping the balance to achieve the rate of weight loss required.
I became disillusioned with Ki Fit because I had doubts over the accuracy of particular elements, the food input options were restrictive and the syncing process was extremely painful and unreliable.
In terms of accuracy, I found that motorbike riding seemed to cause havoc with the calorie burn calculation, if I were to believe the gadget I burned more calories riding my Bonneville into work than I would have walking into work. Given the number of fat bikers out there I don’t think motorbiking is generally considered to be a high intensity work out option.
After 3 months I’d packed the gadget back in its box and flogged it on eBay.
This week I rekindled my interest in the Ki Fit body monitor after Fortnightflo raved about hers. I love the idea of 24/7 body monitors – I’ve been wearing the Nike Fuelband for over 6 months but its out of action at the moment and I’m waiting for a replacement from Nike. While I’ve been waiting my eyes have wandered and I’m now sporting a replacement Ki Fit on my arm.
It seems that the Ki Fit offering has moved on a bit. In an act of brilliance they have linked with MyFitnessPal to enable you to enter food details from their website or app. MyFitnessPal offers the most intuitive and British focussed calorie logging system that I’ve seen and is a huge improvement on the Ki Fit system. There is also an app from Bodymedia that enables you to view the activity dashboard from your phone.
Despite the enhancements I’m afraid I am still disappointed with this gadget. The data is great, oodles of detail and beautiful charts but unless you physically connect it up to a PC you can’t access the data. I’m particularly cross about it as I’d managed to convince myself that the Ki Fit monitor was now Bluetooth enabled and that it would link wirelessly to the iPhone app. I think the US version works in this way and despite scouring the UK website I didn’t find anything that contradicted my impression. Having spoken to Ki Fit I can now confirm that Bluetooth armbands are not yet available in the UK and that the iPhone app acts only as a window to the last synced position of the dashboard.
If you want to view your activity or burn status without access to the computer where you’ve installed the sync software, you’ll need to purchase another gadget – the Ki display. At another £60 I find the overall package a bit steep. It seems strange to create such a potentially motivational body monitor and then make it so hard to access the data. If you have to wait until the end of the day to see how the day panned out you’ve lost most of the opportunity to act on the information collected.
I may have to bite the bullet and buy the additional display though. I’m planning a DIY Biggest Loser style boot camp starting next week and this could be the perfect gadget to help me commit to the silly levels of intense exercise.