Basis updated its Basis Peak activity-tracking wristband on Tuesday--not with wowing new features, but with a rather modest collection of incremental upgrades. There's a snazzy new Titanium Edition case, a variety of colored leather wrist bands, and three quiet software enhancements.
In sum total: Basis is still moving forward, and now you can pair its extremely sophisticated exercise and sleep tracking with better-looking hardware. The updates aren't revolutionary, but they're just enough to put Basis' name back in the conversation as Apple and Android Wear watch manufacturers release ever-more-stylish wearables.
The story behind the story: Your wearables takeaway for 2015 is style matters. Apple is playing up fashion with stainless steel link bracelets and Milanese loops. The Android Wear manufacturers are answering back with LG Watch Urbane and the eponymous Huawei Watch. And now Basis is stepping up to the catwalk as well.
I've seen the new Titanium Edition and leather bands in person, and they do improve the essential Basis Peak package. Compared to the original Basis B1 activity tracker from 2013, which looked a bit like an original series Star Trek prop, the Titanium Edition is positively posh.
But Basis really hasn't done that much to improve its core data-tracking experience--which is fantastic, certainly, but could still use a boost now that everyone is talking about Apple Watch fitness features.
From Aluminum to Titanium
Last year's Basis Peak looked pretty good in its standard aluminum case. But now we have the $300 Titanium option--specifically a "satin finish Grade II titanium case." This new edition comes with a cognac (brown) leather band as well as a black silicone strap. That's right: You get two straps in the box.
If you simply want to improve the look of your existing Basis Peak, there's a new assortment of $50 leather straps (which work with the Titanium Edition as well). All have precious color names, because fashion demands this: Noir (black), Fog (grey), Saddle (caramel), Khaki (light tan) and Blush (light pink).
Of course, the Peak and Titanium Edition already work with standard 23 mm watch straps. But if you don't have the imagination to personalize your fitness tracker all by yourself, Basis has you covered. There are also five new colors for Basis' basic silicone strap. Those will cost you $30.
Expanding the Basis API
Basis already has some of the most advanced sleep-tracking in wrist wearables, using its heart rate monitor to provide data on REM sleep cycles. Basis also has extremely accurate heart-rate tracking during the heat of vigorous exercise, just like what you get with chest strap monitors.
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