After wearing the Fitbit Surge for seven weeks, I developed an ugly skin rash. So, I took a break and let my skin breathe for a while.
I’m all better now, thanks for asking.
For most of the year, I’ve been test-driving various fitness bands and super watches and journaling my impressions here as one man’s research. After all, wearables are, and have been, a thing for a while now. So, I need to know as much as possible.
If you’re scoring at home, that’s 18 weeks with something on my wrist, a lot for me after 23 years, give or take, of nothing on my wrist; I’m not really a watch guy.
Physical bands aside, I was also tracking and quantifying myself, my fitness and general activity data and my sleep data. I’m a fan of the quantified self and better living through statistics and math. Looking at raw numbers forces introspection that can be very revealing, in good and bad ways.
Anyway, before I put on another device, I decided to capture the pros and cons of not wearing one, at least in terms of what was missing when I had a naked wrist.
Not having something on my wrist all the time is pro enough. I generally don’t like encumbrances, and having my wrist free again is nice.
Typing on a keyboard is another plus. I still don’t know how people with watches do it. A guy I used to work with wore a watch, and his Macbook Pro showed the scratch damage it did to the unibody aluminum.
Being free of data collection is liberating, but it cuts both ways. On the plus side, I don’t obsess about my step count. Wearing a fitness tracker has made it painfully obvious that my life is dangerously sedentary.
If it weren’t for running on a treadmill, there are many days when I wouldn’t reach the 10,000 steps magic number.
Why is this a pro? Now that I know, I can adjust accordingly, without a tracker, and I have a general idea of how much activity generates 10,000 steps.
Taking a break from testing has given me time to reflect on the four devices I’ve used without being too close to the one I’m currently testing. When I finish this research experiment, I should take a similar break to reflect.
On the downside, I really got used to having the time on my wrist, which is something I missed when I wore the Jawbone UP24 as well.
Even though I did find myself checking the time as a nervous habit, the utility outweighed the nervous tick.
I really miss the phone and text notifications that the two super watches, the Basis Peak and Fitbit Surge provide.
On the data collection side, I find myself needing to be pushed by numbers. It’s weird, I know; I’ll recognize something that generates more activity, like walking vs. driving, but I need the extra push to do it.
I also miss my morning data review. It became routine for me to review my night’s sleep and browse through my data each morning, my own a personal, daily report.
Now that Google has Your Timeline for Maps, you can begin to see the value of aggregating data summaries; yes, it’s creepy, especially the implications of kismet or whatever the opposite of that is, but I remain in the optimistic camp that hopes to correlate and improve based on personal data sets.
Anyway, figured since I’d been sharing my wearables observations, I might as well share my lack of wearable observations.
Sometime in the next few weeks, I’ll get started on a new one. Stay tuned.