A Second Look at the Ki Fit Body Monitor

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.

20130213-224705.jpgDespite 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.

20130213-224715.jpgIf 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.

8 thoughts on “A Second Look at the Ki Fit Body Monitor

  1. fortnightflo

    I mst admit I found the fact that I couldn’t access the data frustrating so I bought the display. In my head I am on week two of the Biggest Loser at the moment – I am aiming for a minimum of 3 hours of exercise and 4k cal burn every day. Good luck next week – can’t wait to hear how you get on!

  2. warriorwoman

    Interesting. Sounds like we are doing something similar. I’ve booked 4 days annual leave over the next 2 weeks to kick start my boot camp. I’m planning for 6 hours exercise on each of my off days and weekends. Not sure what my work days will pan out like but I’d be happy if I could hit 4k burn then.
    I’ll be checking on your progress.

  3. JogBlog

    I wanted one of these after reading about it on Fortnightflo’s blog but now I’m not so sure, after reading your blog, but if the only thing you don’t like is that you have to connect it to your PC, then that’s not a disadvantage for me.

  4. warriorwoman

    That is my only gripe. If I could install the software on my work pc I’d be happy enough with syncing twice a day so it could work well for you. On the biggest loser they have computers in the gym and they log in regularly.

    As for sleeping, when you set up your account it asks what time you generally go to sleep. Then I believe it records the point at which you go horizontal near that time. Sleep is just recorded as stillness while horizontal – it doesn’t tap into brain waves. I’ve found it to be a reasonably good indicator of sleep efficiency though.

  5. Ayo

    Thanks for this review. I notice that most accelerometer- based devices fail to compute cycling properly. Have you encountered any that could deal with a motorbike? Just I’m doing some off road days soon & I wondered if I could capture this at all? Any ideas?

  6. warriorwoman Post author

    I would have thought your only option for off road biking would be a GPS monitor rather than one of the accelerometer gadgets. There are some useful phone apps that might do the job as well.

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