july 10, 2012

and so it has begun...

I spent two and a half weeks with a Striiv and this is my write-up on the device. Let me start by saying the Striiv is awesome and it is backed up by some awesome customer service. I will be upfront about the fact that I have returned my Striiv and have a Fitbit right now -- and will be testing out the Fitbit. This doesn't mean the Striiv was not worth it.

A Striiv is a small pager-sized device that has a touchscreen on the front with two buttons. One could say that it is a glorified pedometer, but that would not do justice. The Striiv is a pedometer, and a pretty accurate one too, that brings value by adding games as a motivator. This gamification of fitness sounds gimmicky, I know because that's what I thought -- but it really works. There are three things in the Striiv that helped to motivate me to walk more (and to take the stairs instead of the elevator):
Energy points are points that the Striiv rewards you with as you exercise. The amount of points you receive are based on the difficulty of the exercise. Walking gets you a little bit, running gets you more, and climbing stairs gets you the most. Doing challenges and races earn bonus energy points depending on the level of challenge you pick. Energy points are used for two things (the points used in one are not taken from the other):
I really liked the idea of walking for my health AND walking towards helping others. That really motivated me to walk more.

The Striiv has a USB port and can be connected to a computer to sync and backup the device. When a device is sync'd via a computer your stats are sent to Striiv servers. Striiv has a very rudimentary website for viewing the stats. When I write "rudimentary", I really mean it. The website only shows today's stats, the last full days stats, personal bests, and the number of donations you have done.

I really wish that Striiv would have produced a website that could track and display more user data. Fitbit's website has extensive tracking of both the data out of the Fitbit device plus manually entered data (blood pressure, weight, food log, activities log, journal, etc). Plus, Fitbit has an open API and currently lets other sites use the API to access Fitbit stats (like Endomondo, Earndit, etc). Striiv should expand their website offerings.

Outside of the website, there were a few small flaws about the Striiv. First, the device is bulky -- especially when it was in the belt-holster. While the white iDevice look made it less geeky, the size and shape screamed "pager". I can understand why the device is so large -- the color touchscreen. The screen itself is plastic and is a resistive touchscreen (think old Palm devices): this made it so that the screen was not as responsive as a capacitive touchscreen (like on all modern smartphones). Moreover, the plastic touchscreen is not scratch resistant like a glass touchscreen -- and I think Striiv knows this because there are screen protectors included in the Striiv box. For a device that comes with a keychain connector, it would have been nice to have a more scratch resistant screen.

All-in-all though, I really liked my Striiv a lot and kind of miss it now that I don't have it anymore. The Striiv is definitely more fun than the Fitbit, but is lacking in some areas (mentioned above). I wholeheartedly recommend the Striiv for those who can overlook the minor flaws and want to inject some fun into their fitness routine.