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The Basis Peak wants to be the first heart-rate monitoring wristband that isn't a joke

Jon Phillips | Oct. 1, 2014
With a more elegant design, brighter display, and improved heart-rate sensor, the Basis Peak fitness and sleep tracker improves on the Basis B1 Band in pretty much every way.

With all these improvements working in concert, the quality and consistency of the heart-rate data improves significantly--enough for Basis to claim its breakthrough. I can testify that the Peak is more comfortable to wear then the Carbon Steel Edition I tested earlier this year, and an improved black-and-white LCD display is indeed much easier to read than Basis' previous dim, low-contrast screen. Still, only real-world testing in November will prove out the company's sensor claims.

Beyond the new heart-rate sensor, the Peak uses the same accelerometer, skin temperature sensor and perspiration sensor it deployed in earlier products. Algorithms have been improved, and Basis' Body IQ feature can still automatically sense whether you've initiated a walking, running or cycling workout. The Peak is rated for 5ATM water resistance, which means you can take it swimming. Body IQ, however, won't automatically recognize swimming activity--yet. "It's a use case we're aware of, and we're pretty excited about it," said Fassett. 

Improved design, top to bottom

Even without the new heart-rate sensor, the Peak improves nearly every facet of Basis' industrial design. The body of the device has a lower profile than earlier Basis products, making it less prone to snagging on shirtsleeves. It's also now made of forged aluminum instead of plastic, and the improved, high-contrast display is a full touchscreen, allowing Basis to ditch its archaic button control.

Basis Peak pair resting
BASIS. No, it's not a smartwatch. But as a highly sophisticated fitness and sleep tracker, it finally looks like something you might want to wear as a watch.

Battery life remains at four days--a generous duration when Android Wear watches can barely make it through the night. The wearable's charging puck has also been redesigned, and is much easier to snap on and off. When the Peak goes on sale, a matte black model will come with a black strap bearing red accents, while a brushed silver model will come with a white strap bearing gray accents. But Basis has ditched its custom strapping apparatus, so you'll be able to outfit the Peak with any 23mm replacement strap you fancy.

Basis wearables already appeal to quantified-selfers. In particular, the company's Advanced Sleep Analysis system can report not only light and deep sleep, but also REM sleep. But once you add in continuous heart-rate monitoring, you have a wearable that can cover all your activity, from your deepest slumber to your most adrenaline-charged exercise. As Fassett repeated frequently, it's a true 24/7 device.

Basis Peak brushed aluminum white 3 4 turn smartwatch notifications
BASIS. Smartwatch-style notifications are coming, just not when the Peak launches in early November.

 

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