In an ever widening market of wrist based fitness trackers it is refershing to see a company doing something different to the norm. On this basis, we have had an eye on HealBe for around two a years and are happy to have tested their latest device, the GoBe2.
Build and Appearance
The first thing you will note about the GoBe2 is its size, as it is by far the largest wrist based fitness tracker we have tested, with the tracker unit measuring 18.5 x 35.2 x 57.4mm, doubling the size of a Fitbit Charge 2. This said it’s lightweight plastic construction keeps the weight down to 45g.
There is a good justification for the GoBe2 large size however, in that it is packed to the brim with innovative measurement sensor technologies, namely:
- Piezo sensor
- Impedance sensor
- 9-axis accelerometer
- Gyroscope and Magnetometer
- Temperature sensor
- Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) sensor
Housing the sensors, along with a blue LED and lithium-ion battery requires a larger than average tracker body.
Although the main tracker unit only comes in black you can spruce it up with one of a selection of colourful bands.
The mass of sensors in the GoBe2 are all necessary in order to provide the following innovative functionality:
- Automatic calorie intake tracking
- Energy Balance analysis
- Real-time emotional state monitoring
- Automatic water balance monitoring
- Constant heart-rate monitoring
- Sleep quality monitoring
In order to review the GoBe2 we first need to include an explanation of what it does.
Automatic Calorie Intake Tracking
Approximately 15-20 minutes after you eat, glucose concentrations in your blood start to rise, at which point insulin triggers your cells to absorb it and release water. The GoBe2 impedance sensor sends high and low-frequency signals through your body tissue to measure the fluid moving in and out of your cells. HealBe proprierary FLOW Technology then applies an advanced algorithm to analyze this data and determine calorie consumption.
The average time it takes to calculate calories digested from a meal is approximately 2.5 hours, but this time varies depending on what, and how much, you eat.
For example, the average meal at McDonalds (burger, fries and a Coke) contains roughly 1000 calories. The high number of calories combined with the high sodium (salt) content slows down the digestive process significantly, causing it to take approximately 5 hours to be fully digested.
For more information head to https://healbe.com/us/info_intake/
During testing this has been, by far, the most impressive functionality provided by the GoBe2. Not only are we unaware of any other trackers doing this, but its measurements have appeared pretty realistic. Although it is hard to prove or disprove its accuracy, when we have compared what we have eaten with the calorie consumption data in the mobile app it has been believable.
The GoBe2 heart rate sensor, 9-axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer measurements are used to estimate the number of steps, rate of movement and level of excursion which are used along with the users weight, height and age to calculate calorie burn.
Although the calorie consumption data has been believable, the burned calories data is limited. As you are unable to select the activity types you have been doing, the calorie burn calculation is limited to wrist movement and heart-rate meaning that cycling and other similar activities will be under calculated.
Real-time Emotional State Monitoring
The GoBe2 estimates your stress level via complex analysis of your heart rate data, sleep quality data and physical parameters such as weight, height, sex and age. Once synchronised, a graph of your stress level, over a period of 24 hours, is plotted in the ‘Stress’ section of the HealBe iOS and HealBe Android mobile apps.
This is a nice idea, but has felt somewhat gimmicky in our experience as the reported high stress moments, as reported in the mobile apps, have not aligned to stressful points we have noted during our days.
Automatic Water Balance Monitoring
The GoBe2 uses its impedance sensor, along with FLOW Technology to automatically monitor your hydration level and vibrates to remind you to rehydrate when your water balance (hydration) drops below ‘normal’.
Within the mobile app you can set the start and end time for these reminders. The sad thing is that you are unable to set different times for workdays versus weekends.
Hydration level is heavily dependent on multiple factors, including activity level and food intake.
This is another beloved functionality of ours as it has shown us that we don’t drink enough and has therefore changed our lives for the better. The intermittent prompts to ‘DRINK’ have been great at stopping us doing what we have been doing and to get a drink when we start to become dehydrated, rather than waiting an extra few hours.
Constant Heart Rate Monitoring
Although the GoBe2 incorporates constant heart rate sensing there is no green light flashing at your skin like used by other fitness tracker. Instead, then GoBe2 uses complex algorythms to calculate heart rate based on its internal sensing technologies.
During testing we have found recorded heart rate tends to be low compared to those recorded by other wrist based fitness trackers and HRM chest straps. We have been advised by the HealBe team that the GoBe2 is reliant on user weight, height and age data, as heart rate is calculated rather than directly measured. They also advised that they are working on improving the high intensity workout HRM accuracy.
Currently this is used for end of day assessment, calorie burn and stress calculation. This is another area that causes us to class the GoBe2 as more of a healthy lifestyle and wellness tracker rather than a fitness and activity tracker.
Sleep Quality Analysis
In addition to calorie, water and activity tracking the GoBe2 uses its internal sensing technologies to analyse sleep quality based on wrist movement.
The sleep tracker functionality seems quite accurate, but we prefer the data provided from movement and heart-rate tracking from the likes of Fitbit and other brands as they provide more granularity of sleep states.
Sadly, the GoBe2 is only specified as water resistant to 3m, meaning no swimming. In addition to this, the official guidance is that it is not to be exposed to chlorinated or salt water negating your options even further. So no chilling in the the pool or sea.
Cross App Integration
During testing we have found this link somewhat sketchy with calorie consumption only appearing in Google Fit some of the time. A recent major update to the HealBe Android app improved Google Fit integration until Google released a major update and the connection regained issues. The latest issue is a lack of calorie balance information transfer to Google Fit, which is the most important functionality of the interface as this is the differentiator between the GoBe2 and other trackers.
During our testing we focussed ourselves on the HealBe Android app, although we did dabble with the HealBe iOS app a little. Our limited observations were that the HealBe iOS app looks and feels further developed that the HealBe Android app. A couple of examples of are improved bluetooth connectivity and solid integration with the Apple Health app. Our favourite enhancement of the HealBe iOS app is simple reminder notification that the GoBe2 battery needs recharging as the biggest limitation of the GoBe2 is it’s battery life.
Although it is possible to automatically collect weight data from the Withings app, this is the only auto weight import option. We would have liked the option to auto import from other apps like Fitbit and Polar.
We love the ability to track calorie consumption without having to be constantly checking ingredients lists, searching food databases or photographing your food in the hope it is recognised correctly.
This is the main, and justified, reason for our positive review of the GoBe2 along with automatic water consumption and hydration tracking. If you want a compact fitness tracker that you can swim in the GoBe2 is not for you, but if you are prepared to wear a larger tracker to autmoate calorie consuption and hydration the GoBe2 is the tracker for you.
- Automatic calorie consumption monitoring
- Automatic water consumption monitoring
- Constant heart-rate monitoring
- Large size
- Only 3m water resistance
- Tight fit required for good sensor contact
Build & Appearance: **
The low score for build and appearance is a result the GoBe2 appearance and not its build as the biggest negative of the GoBe2 is its large size and plastic construction making it look cheaper than similarly priced ($200) competing products.
The GoBe2 has to get full marks for functionality as it provides automatic calorie and water consumption monitoring which are not offered by any other product that we are aware of. The second point to make is that it doesn’t only provide this functionality, but it does it well.
Value for Money: ***
The GoBe2 is not cheap with a $200 price tag, but the functionality it provides cannot be found anywhere else that we are aware of from competing brands.