The Basis Peak: Take a #selfie. See How Exercise Changes You

Editor’s Note: Reposted from Ultan’s (@ultan) Tumblr, a great read. Ultan knows his fitness (and fashion), so his rousing endorsement of the Peak is legit. Read my impressions of the Basis Peak for more. Since I wore it last, Basis has updated the watch’s firmware to add some pretty cool features. Enjoy.

“You’ve been running! Take a selfie, see how exercise changes you!” I smile when that message pops into the notifications list on my Android smartphone after using the Basis Peak. All part of what endears me to using it even more to track my activity and sleep patterns.

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This “smile-o-meter” approach of the Basis Peak Photo Finish feature is a great mix of the analog and digital, leveraging well-familiar smart phone functionality to enable me to choose to add even more “in the moment” context that adds to creating a better user experience.

Not that I need encouragement to take selfies. But the qualitative self, fun, and motivational power of selfies, even if you do not want to share them, should not be underestimated in today’s fitness world. On the other hand, there is evidence of less than attractive dimensions to the phenomenon.

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I’ve documented my earlier pains in setting up the Basis Peak, now resolved with Basis Help team support through Twitter and an onsite visit. Now up and running (#seewhatIdidthere), I really like the thing. I am glad I stuck with it. Would others persevere after my initial experience?

I love the look of the device itself, its shape, sleek finish, and the option to add other colored sporty straps (I have the green and white SportVent straps now). The device UI is compact, easy to use, glanceable, and supports simple gesture interaction. Although I think the lack of a color UI takes away from the #fashtech aesthetic, most people remark on how great the Basis Peak looks on.

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The phrasing of some of the messages, that shouty “CHARGE ME!” in particular, seems out of step with the crafted look and a modern UX for the mobile, selfie, visual, fit’n’finish world. Nothing major though.

I also enjoy those visualizations presented from the sensed-out data from my activity– though some may be a little dense for some people to grasp. These visualizations allow me plenty of insight to track my progress and are an easy way to explore personal habits and data of all useful sorts.
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The sleep analytics are awesome and for the first time enabled me to see a relationship between the nature of my sleep (or lack of it) and my fitness. I track everything diligently and rely on unfolding habits and patterns to progress things. I am never bored by the Basis Peak.

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That sleep summary email at the end of the week reminds me of how well I am doing (or not!). A pause for thought as I enter another week.

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Although most of my activity is running and walking, this ability to unlock more, diverse “habits”, to mix it up, to try new things, and to explore variants of activities is both motivationally challenging and rewarding. “Torch More Calories”? Hell, yeah! An “Evening Lap”? Go for it. “Run Club”? I’m there. My kind of gamification (personal exhortation, really).

I am sure the lack of built-in social and community features won’t work for everyone, and there are merits to sharing, but what the Basis Peaks offers works for me. Fitness isn’t a Facebook-level activity for a lot of us. As my Basis Peak-using colleague Jake Kuramoto (@jkuramot) might say: “This is about quantified self, not quantified community.”

Other things I have noticed about my usage of the Basis Peak are that I am more inclined to rely on the mobile dashboard and activity steam than I did with other fitness bands, turning to the desktop dashboard only to obtain more data and analysis at the weekend. I dig that activity feed and glanceable style of the dashboard, and those little messages again:

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In all, a great user experience. It’s my favourite piece of wearable tech right now. I wear my Basis Peak all the time (another “habit” unlocked) and the battery life works great for my global, mobile lifestyle.

The Basis Peak works for me. The technology and sensors rock. And it looks great. An emerging innovation story I guess, and I’m excited as to where the Basis Peak is going.

Even my 11 year-old wants one. And in preference to… that other Watch. I prefer it too.

That says something of the appeal and potential of the Basis Peak.

2 comments

  1. Thanks Jake. I know it’s gonna be #haterzgonnahate for the #selfie stuff, but overall I think the Basis Peak UX is up there. I read that Google was working to calculate calories on Instagram images of food (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/02/google-calories-instagram-food-porn), so selfies may move from being a purely qualitative self to a something more scientific. But for me they’re a bit of fun for now really.

  2. @Ultan: I read the post you linked about that, and it’s a solid tactic for motivation. Collecting pictures of yourself over time can be beneficial for many reasons, so let them hate.

    Re. calories calculated from pictures, that’s only a matter of time and closer than we think. It will probably be about as accurate as the calories burned measurements these devices provide.

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