BodyMedia fitness trackers have always been the ugly ducklings, because, well, they’re ugly. Thankfully, that’s about to change. The new Core 2 fitness tracker keeps tabs on a whole lot of metrics, and it’s a lot easier on the eyes.
At its heart, the Core 2 isn’t that much different from BodyMedia’s previous flagship, the LINK. It still packs in sensors to measure your temperature, heat flux, galvanic skin response, and and 3-axis accelerometer to capture every little motion, from your steps to the quality of your sleep. This is considerably more metrics than you get with something like the Nike Fuelband, the Jawbone Up, or the Fitbit One. The biggest difference from BodyMedia’s old band is that the LINK looked like something you’d strap to your grandma in case she falls and can’t get up. The new Core 2 is much smaller (about the size of a quater), and will have options for interchangeable face-plates and bands so you can customise it to your style. That said, it’s still something you strap to your upper arm, so…
The other new trick the Core 2 has is a Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Ready radio. This is the low-power version of Bluetooth that works with the iPhone 4S and 5 and newer Android phones. It means that you can have it constantly sharing data with the phone in your pocket without killing the battery life on both (theoretically). You’ll be able to record your meals in the app to give you real-time info on calories consumed and burned. It will also be able to pair with a Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Ready chest-strap for monitoring your heart rate — handy for workouts.
At the same time, it’s still a strap you wear on your upper arm. Even all gussied up, can that ever be cool? Most of the other fitness trackers have either gone with a wristband (which watches have conditioned us for) or tiny pebble-like things that hide in your pockets. There’s something about the upper arm that says, “medical device,” no? The added metrics are definitely a benefit, but considering you need to buy a $US7/month subscription to really use the online tools, one has to wonder if it’ll catch on. We’ll update with price and availability when we get it. [BodyMedia]