Review: Healbe GoBe2 Wellness Tracker

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Healbe’s GoBe2 is a cutting-edge wearable that promises to help you get a grip on your day-to-day health and happiness

It has been a surprise to Tech Trends that wearables have been so slow to evolve into a truly indispensable part of our lives. A tidal wave of wearable tech hit stores a few years ago and since then I don’t really see the use case advancing or manufacturers offering us increasingly compelling and original solutions for everyday problems. Not to belittle the health tech implementations of wearable tech, including the GoBe2 tested here, but surely we can do more with modern wearable technology than just help us monitor our fitness? Anyway, rant over and onto the product on test here.

GoBe2 is the second iteration of the original product Healbe GoBe crowdfunded and released a few years ago. It is a “specialized wellness tracker”, and claims it’s not a substitute for a general-purpose fitness tracker. Well poo to you Jawbone, Fitbit, MiBand et al.

At Healbe, we believe that how you eat, sleep and feel makes you who you are. Changing one’s life requires identifying and addressing underlying lifestyle issues. GoBe2 can give you deeper insight into quality, quantity, frequency and duration of your nutrition, rest, stress episodes and more. GoBe2 helps you understand how these lifestyle factors interact with each other. When managed properly, these crucial lifestyle factors can positively reinforce each other resulting in improved toning of your body and mind.

So what does it do? Well, first off it is more than just a watch, you get a quite impressive online account where all your data is logged and analyzed to help you make the right decisions about managing your health and wellness. You also get regular email updates on your health data which can boost your commitment or like mine below, bring a tear to your eye! Surely I can’t have put on a Kilo! Yes you did fat boy, and don’t call me Shirley. The interface and communications are really good and allow you to browse back through your energy, hydration and other data to see patterns and improve your goals.

There are five sensors, a heart rate monitor (based on piezo-sensor), bio-impedance sensor, accelerometer, temperature monitor and skin galvanic reaction sensor but lacks GPS so is not useful for those planning their routes or tracking distances covered. It is more a product for your everyman/woman looking to engage with their health and their daily routine than your modern fitness freak.

The GoBe2 tracks your net calories automatically. Typical calorie counting tools rely on averages and estimations from what you eat. Healbe’s patented FLOW Technology (more info here) estimates the amount of carbs/fat/protein, net calorie deficit (which causes weight loss) or surplus (which causes weight gain) that are crucial for healthy weight management. It automatically determines your activity levels and combines it with your heart rate data to accurately track how many calories you burn throughout the day. Healbe’s patented technology measures activity and body movement. This sensor counts your steps, as well as distance travelled but as I mentioned will not be as accurate as a GPS device. A pulse wave sensor measures your heart rate, so it can tell when you’re active and when you’re not, mostly not in my case!

GoBe2’s patented technology measures cell glucose concentrations to estimate calorie intake, which only spikes 1-2 hours after ingestion. Be aware that for this reason the calorie intake measurements seen on your GoBe2 will be delayed and this is completely normal. By combining your activity level with calorie intake, the predicted calorie deficit is important for not starving yourself or overeating, both of which are crucial to avoid for reaching your desired body weight without losing body mass.

Proper hydration is vital to your general health and workout performance. Your hydration level depends on your body requirements and activity level. Using FLOW and the Impedance sensor, the Healbe GoBe2 automatically measures your hydration level and reminds you when to drink water, based on your body’s needs. I love these reminders but found they came a bit late and once notified I realized I was gagging for a drink, not just thirsty. Better than nothing though.

I sleep terribly and well know that the quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, and weight. The GoBe2 analyzes your heart rate and movement to model your waking, REM and regular sleep periods, and reports total sleep, quality of sleep, waking minutes, and sleep efficiency metrics. It uses this data to recommend how much sleep you need the next day thus helping you actively reduce sleep deficit.

Stress is one of the silent killers in modern life, and one of the major causes of bad sleep, lowered endurance, unhappiness and difficulty maintaining healthy body weight. The GoBe2 Fitness Tracker estimates your stress level once an hour and also shows stress episodes. By being aware of these episodes as they happen, one can begin to correlate the cause. The online account lets you look back over your history and can be an especially powerful tool when you want to find what triggers your stress and work towards minimizing it going forwards. I noticed that everyday things like popping to the shops or the post office radically spiked my stress levels, however not much I can do about that!

The device itself is not small but is not cumbersome and looks pretty nice to be fair. Battery life was just about OK. The fully charged but small 370 mAh battery lasted up to 24 hours on continuous use, half what is claimed. The large, flat profile of the back of the GoBe2 makes it fit a wrist well enough while maintaining contact during activity, thus making it comfortable for long-term wear, but I found it got very sweaty when on my wrist for six or more hours. I suppose this is inevitable but something to be aware of. The snap-on charging cradle is easy to use and produces full charge in 30-60 minutes.

Like the online account interface, the smartphone app is well designed and very useful. Available for Apple and Android devices, it is simple to use and presents all the data you might need in an approachable way. It is vital to note that the GoBe2 also integrates with third-party health tech services for easy use including, GoogleFit, Apple Health, Withings App & InKin so users get some very important options there.

Overall my experience of the watch and research into the usefulness of the data it gathers was positive but it is a very involved process, but wait, that is what it is for, involving and engaging people more with their day to day health. Importantly by all accounts the GoBe2 is the most versatile device of its type and is breathing down the neck of tech giants in this space, if not outpacing them in their efforts to advance wearable health tech. Recommended if you want more data to help you improve your health!

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