The basis peak is a follow-up to the B1, which was released last year. The B1 was notable in the fact that it was one of the first fitness trackers that contained a built in heart rate monitor. However it suffered from some nagging performance issues and it was aesthetically unpleasing. Additionally, while the peak is marketed as a fitness tracker, it has the look, feel, and features of a basic smart watch. Indeed, I was happy to find out that the peak contains all of the features of the B1, yet also manages to throw in some new odds and ends as well. It also fixes some of the problems of its predecessor. Here is will is my initial look at the Basis Peak fitness tracker/smart watch.
The peak has quite a few differences over the B1. The bulky heads up display is gone, and the band has been slimmed down and now resembles a traditional watch. The display is much larger and there are no buttons – the device completely touch controlled. It comes in 2 colors: black or white. Additionally, it is apparent that considerable efforts have been made to make the watch stand out less in non-fitness situations. This makes the watch more attractive at social gatherings.
The peak comes with a magnetic charger which is also another big improvement. The B1 had a rough charger that required a lot of finesse to place it in to its awkward plastic housing. The new charger is magnetic and resembles something apple would use for its MacBook products.
The watch is also more comfortable to wear than the B1. Where the B1 had hard plastic wrist bands, the Basis wristbands feel more like a with a soft rubber textile.
The screen is around 1 and a quarter inches wide and is fully monochrome. I did some reading test in full on sunlight and I had no issues making out the screen – there is pretty much no glare. Also, Basis has opted to utilize gorilla glass in its construction, which is something you see mostly on smart watches. It is good to see they went the extra mile here.
And of course the bottom of the device contains an optical heart rate sensor and 4 metal points that come in contact with your wrist. The metal points are supposed to measure body temperature, which helps give the device more data to accurately read your current exertion level.
Tracking & Functions
In addition to the bog standard accelerometer, Basis has included a heart rate and temperature tracking function with the Peak. The device can also track all of the standard metrics you’ve come to expect from a fitness tracker, such as steps, calories, and even sleep. Strangely, the device lacks a distance tracking function. Not a deal breaker for me, but it may be issue for those who do a lot of hiking or cycling.
The basis uses “Body IQ” technology, a proprietary algorithm that is supposed to automatically detect your activity. Since the Peak is only set up to track running, cycling, or swimming this kind of make sense I suppose. But there is little in the way of customization. I was able to set basic things like a daily goal and total units but not much else. Basis does allow the option to set up “habits”, which are goals that you can set select within the app. They range from things like setting a calorie goal to running a lap every day. The interface also gives you an explanation of each activity and why it is beneficial. A nice touch, but I didn’t find myself using it much.
Sleep tracking on the peak is somewhat detailed. It will automatically detect when you are sleeping and begin its analysis. The analysis is pretty in depth, much more so than most fitness trackers. It was more akin to a stand-alone sleep tracking unit in that regard. You’ll be able to see a sleep score, the number of times you got up during the night, and total sleeping time. The app will also give you an additional breakdown of your different periods of sleep, such as light, deep, and REM. You’ll also have access to smart alarm which can be set to increasing levels of vibration and also has a much needed snooze function.
The basis is waterproof to 5 ATM, which means you can easily swim with it.
One of the more minor improvements over the peak over the B1 is the addition of smart notifications. The basis is able to receive texts, emails, and caller id when paired with a smartphone.
I was able to go about 5 days before charging the peak, which is about average for a fitness tracker. Since there is no GPS input a constant drain on the battery you generally expect it to outlast most smart watches.
Basis Peak GPS?
The Basis Peak unfortunately lacks a GPS function. However, it is pair-able with a GPS enabled device. This makes it so you are able to use it as a stand alone heart rate monitor.
I was happy to find out that the Basis Peak does in fact have a backlight for low light conditions.. It was a little tricky to figure out how to turn it on as it does not come on automatically. I had to consult the manual (crazy I know) for it: Swiping up on the right area of the screen does the trick. I do a lot of running at night so this was a great feature - something most fitness trackers lack.
Basis Peak App Review
The Basis Peak app is easily one of the more robust fitness tracking programs on the market, at least when compared to its competitors.
The home screen has a black bar that shows all of the usual metrics like heart rate, steps taken, and calories burned for the day. The bottom of the screen shows your current progress if you have a habit set. Selecting more details will give you a myriad of options, from activity feeds and charts to graphs and an overall timeline of your fitness goals.
Unique to the basis app is the chart section. This area shows a large tally of all of your currently collected data. Things like heart rate, steps, and body temperature are added to a timeline and you will be able to view a breakdown of each day. I was able to go back 1 week but basis claims the app can keep track of a whopping 5 years’ worth of data.
I also liked the activity feed section. Here I was able to see what activities I engaged in over the course of the day and how they affected my heart rate and calories burned. Tapping on an activity will show you when your body temperature changed or when your heart rate spiked.
At its core, the Basis Peak band is a great fitness watch. It excels at tracking any detail you can throw at it. The only downside is that it lacks a few premium features – like a GPS or elevation tracking. Also, being able to track distance is pretty standard on most fitness trackers and it would have been nice to see it included here. For the most part though, the Basis will meet the needs of most athletes.