BodyMedia FIT Activity Monitor
Size and Comfort: The armband monitor is large, but fits closely to the skin. BodyMedia debuted the Core monitor in 2012, which is 33% smaller and sleeker. I didn't have any problems wearing the original larger armband underneath sleeves or sleeping with it on. I only removed it for showering (it is not waterproof). I could mostly forget I was wearing it. They recommend wearing it no more than 23 hours per day, or less if you experience any skin irritation. Those with metal allergies should consult their doctor as there are metal contacts next to the skin.
Monitors: The original Advantage monitor and the smaller Core monitor can transmit their data to a display unit. The BodyMedia Link monitor can transmit it via Bluetooth to a cell phone app, but not the other display unit. Noise: The monitor is silent.
Accuracy: It matched my usual step count per mile.
Battery: The battery recharges when it is plugged into the computer. It should work for five to seven days between charges. A full recharge takes three hours, while a daily recharge takes just a couple of minutes. By using the status button, you can check the battery life remaining.
Memory: The armband will hold 14 days of data, and has indicators you can access via the status button to see if the memory is nearing full.
Viewing and Uploading Your Data
The LINK monitor version has Bluetooth and you can transmit your data to a cell phone app.
The software is compatible with both Windows (XP, Vista or higher) and Mac.
You can upload your data as often as you wish. To upload away from home you will need to use a computer on which you can install the software and which has a USB port.
Cost: The monitor and subscription are available from the program web site. There is a no-commitment program with one free month, but the subscription is then $12.95 per month. The subscription and monitor is cheaper if buying a six-month or yearly subscription
GoWear DisplayThe optional display allows you to view your step data throughout the day if you have the Advantage or Core monitors. You can either wear it like a watch on a wristband or clip it to your waistband like a pedometer, or just carry it in a pocket or purse. It's not a pedometer, so it doesn't have to be attached to your body. Sync it with the armband and view steps, calories, activity time, progress towards daily targets, previous day's data, and a trip function for data on a specific workout.
The display has a backlight and displays the time of day (hour and minute) when you don't select one of the other modes.
The display uses a replaceable coin-type battery that should last for 6-12 months.
I find having a display is critical to motivating myself throughout the day, vs. waiting to upload via computer once or twice a day.
Your Summary Homepage
Clicking on the bar for any item opens up detailed data about that item. If you click on the steps, it shows the steps taken each hour. The physical activity graph is similar, but is colored for moderate or vigorous activity each hour. Rolling over any hour displays the total of each for that hour.
If you have entered food data, it shows you the calories and nutrition for each item, meal, and daily total.
The sleep quality graph will be of interest to many people, and it is something that sets this program apart from many other activity programs. It shows total duration, points at which you got up or tossed and turned.
You can review previous days.
The difference between the GoWear FIT and some other monitors is that it should track other physical activity that doesn't produce a step count, via the skin temperature and heat flux measurement. You can enter any exercise you think it skipped, or exercise you did when not wearing the monitor. You won't be able to wear the monitor swimming, for example.
You can download a PDF summary report by one week, two weeks, three weeks or four weeks.
You can input your own recipes via the ingredients to have it analyze and save them for re-use.
The food display includes calories, fat, carbs, and protein.
The daily total also shows cholesterol, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
You can access the nutrition charting via a Nutrition tab to go directly to it.
Overall, I found the web site display to be very useful and easy to use.