Don't confuse this with the likes of the Adidas Avenue A (a subscription box). Under Armour's HealthBox is more like a bundled service holding multiple high tech fitness products by the brand, all of which sync together to give you a great experience.
An activity tracking wrist band, a chest-strap heart rate monitor, and a wireless weighing scale connect to the app to provide you consolidated information about your fitness levels, dietary requirements, sleep cycles and performance zone. This goodie box is made in collaboration with HTC, and comes at a discounted price of $400—a lot cheaper than if each product was bought separately.
Sounds awesome, right? Well, we've been reading all about it since it was first launched to find out if the "world’s first connected fitness box" where everything in it is "engineered to make you better" is truly worth it.
The UA Band & Heart Rate Monitor
We will begin with the activity tracker—the UA Band. If you want to buy it separately, you’ll have to shell out a steep $180. You could alternately buy a FitBit (a rather reliable activity tracker) for about $150. What’s more, while the design resembles the Nike+ FuelBand, when it comes to performance, consensus has it that it falls short. The UA Band has optical heart rate sensors that record your resting heart rate instead of your active heart rate. A big downer, don't you think?
Moreover, users have reported that the band has trouble with accuracy. There were discrepancies in the number of steps clocked and the distance walked/run when compared to their phone’s built-in pedometer.
While the band charges super fast (in less than 30 minutes we’re told) and can last for about five days on a single recharge, generally speaking, the UA Band has been rated mediocre at best.
Weighing In The Scale's Problem
Now, the wireless scale by HTC is definitely a fun gadget to own considering it is a connected scale that knows your body composition and recognizes you when you step on it (it will greet you by name). However, the scale, like the UA band, was inconsistent which was a huge disappointment. This one could be another $180 liability. In the scheme of things where today high-tech connected scales tell you your BMI and how much weight you need to lose as they monitor your progress, the HTC scale fell way short and was rife with inaccuracies.
It didn’t correctly register weight, with the initial weigh-in displaying higher than usual. However, on the second or third try, it seemed to be on point.
Considering the scale sends a record of your weight to the app, having the wrong number in the log would just be frustrating.
Speaking Of The App
It seems the app is the only saving grace as it computes and logs all the information you need and provides you a customized feed to suit your preferences. Supported by UA's MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter and MapMyRun (and Google Fit, too), the only resounding problem that was reported was the painstaking effort to sync all devices to the app when you first start using the box. It's all automated on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi from the next time around.
While the goodies in the box didn't quite match other devices available in the market, the HealthBox products' ability to sync with other UA Record devices interested some folks.
Take the Speedform Gemini 2 sneakers, for example. Built with technology that wirelessly syncs with your running app, the extremely comfortable shoes are perhaps the only thing you can count on for accuracy as they record your stride, steps and force of impact. At $130, the shoes are definitely not cheap, but they're totally worth the investment.
Interestingly, if you chose to go running without any tracking devices on hand, your activity would be monitored by the shoe's built-in microchip sensor anyways—so technically, they don't need anything from the HealthBox to do their job.
Also, the UA Wireless Headphones (at a steep $180) can be paired with the band and the phone to set the tempo of your run; in case you're still interested.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive analysis of your fitness progress, you may want to wait it out until a new and improved version arrives. Alternatively, you can carefully curate your own fitness box using select gadgets across brands, and it might just cost you a whole lot less than $400.
As one disappointed customer says, "I want to love this [but] the scale took forever to set up and doesn't give the most accurate body fat count but it is a great scale. 5 stars for the app and the heart rate band. But the Under Armour band itself is where the biggest problem lies."
Reviews via TheVerge.com, PocketLint.com, Wareable.com, CNet.com, PCMag.com
Images Via Instagram/Under Armour