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Larklife Activity and Sleep Monitor Review

Wristband Plus App to Coach a Healthier Lifestyle

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

Updated February 24, 2014

Larklife Wristband Activity Monitor

Larklife Wristband Activity Monitor

Wendy Bumgardner © 2013
Larklife - Day Activity Screen

Larklife - Day Activity Screen

Larklife - Screen Capture by Wendy Bumgardner
Larklife Day Screen

Larklife Day Screen

Lark - Screen Capture by Wendy Bumgardner

Manufacturer's Site

Update: As of February, 2014 this product is no longer available.

Larklife is an activity monitor wristband that pairs with an iOS app via Bluetooth. It records activity during the day and your sleep quality at night. You can note meals and mood and get coaching for a healthier lifestyle. The wristband has no display. You view all of your data on the app. The monitor needs recharged each day, and you recharge the day-wear band while wearing the night band and vice versa.

Wearing Larklife

Larklife operates with an iOS app, so you will need an iPhone or iPad compatible with Bluetooth in order to use it. Install the free app and pair it with your Larklife wristband.

Now you just wear the Larklife on your wrist. Or, if it doesn't match your outfit, I've carried it in a purse or pocket or attached to a belt loop. It is an inch wide, so it is wider than the Jawbone UP or Nike+ Fuelband, and it isn't easy to wear it with anything else on the same wrist.

At night, you plug the day band into power to recharge and switch to the soft night band to track your sleep.

Throughout the day, the lights on the Larklife band may flash when it has a message or insight for you. The data uploads automatically every hour or so throughout the day. You can force a sync by pressing the button on the wristband.

Larklife takes a few seconds or more to process the information transmitted. This is highly varied, sometimes it is just a couple of seconds, sometimes it is several minutes. I kept thinking I was doing something wrong when my app didn't seem to pick up new data despite the Bluetooth indicator showing it had been transmitted.

Tracking Activity

Open up the Larklife app and you will see circles with the different activity events throughout the day. These include bouts of walking or running, which it automatically detects and times. You also get an activity circle for achieving milestones such as 1000 steps and 5000 steps, and times when you had an "active break" after being idle. This can help you decrease your health risks from sitting too long.

When it detects an activity, you can open up the circle to see a graph of the activity, minutes, step count, calories burned, and distance. You can edit it to give it a name or notation.

Turn your phone to landscape view to see your activity details throughout the day. There are markings every 10 minutes or so and a very light gray hour notation every four hours, which is pretty much unreadable by my old eyes. For the day, you have a total of steps, active minutes, total daily calorie burn, and distance. You don't set goals for the day or see progress towards goals.

Diet and Mood Tracking

You log meals on Larklife by pressing the button twice or using the app. This is not a full diet diary and you aren't going to get a calorie count or nutrition analysis. Instead, you can edit the name of your meal if you want. It asks "Did you have something healthy?" and you click on icons for protein, vegetable, fruit, grain, and water. That's it. Perhaps this will make you more aware of food, but it is a far cry from being a diet tracker. You would have to use an app such as our sister site, Calorie Count.

Mood: You can track your mood at any time from the app, logging with an icon for either energized, good, OK, tired, or exhausted, and you can edit the name of the event to tag it with more details.

Sleep Tracking

To track your sleep, switch to the night band and plug in the day band to recharge it. Wear the nightband and use the app to start a sleep period. You can set an alarm time and the band will vibrate to wake you up. It has a snooze alarm also, you can give yourself five more minutes by pressing the button on the band.

When you get up, you use the app to tell it you are now awake. After it processes the info from the band (seconds to minutes) you can see a graph of your sleep period. This includes time asleep, time it took to fall asleep, number of times you woke up, and sleep quality. It doesn't give you time in deep sleep vs. light sleep as Jawbone UP does. The level of detail is about the same as with Fitbit One.

Bottom Line on Larklife

The app interface for Larklife is very different from what I am used to with other activity monitors. I felt kind of lost with it most of the time, as if I was supposed to intuitively know how to use it -- but I didn't. Eventually I stumbled upon the different features and learned to use them. But in the end, I was far less satisfied with it than with other activity monitors.

Good

  • Automatic detection and measurement of activity periods.
  • Celebrates "active breaks" which may motivate you to move more throughout the day.
  • Detailed activity and sleep graphs and totals
  • Can review past days
  • Sleep quality graphs and vibrating alarm
  • Some users may prefer the Larklife app interface and find it friendly rather than intimidating.
  • No computer needed, just an iOS device (iPhone or iPad)
Drawbacks
  • It's a large wristband and meant to be worn continuously, even though it has no data or time display on the wristband
  • Time delay for viewing data on the app.
  • The meal tracking function isn't of much value for actually tracking calories or nutrition
  • The intuitive display isn't very intuitive for me, I need more instructions
  • No social integration
Overall, I prefer Jawbone UP and Fitbit One, both of which track sleep quality as well as activity, and both of which have allow true diet tracking via a food diary. The Jawbone UP also will vibrate to wake you.

Manufacturer's Site

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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