I just looked up my old Vivofit review (with Ashtanga Primary heartrate chart! very cool) and realized almost a year has gone by since I got the thing. Wow, that was absurdly fast. But the point is, the Vivofit has been on my wrist this whole time, and I’m about to replace it. So, the burning question that I’m sure must be on everyone‘s mind: what turned out to be the best feature of the Vivofit (and therefore possibly, something to look for in future devices) that kept me using it for a whole year?
Was it the fancy heartrate monitoring? Was it the sleek design? Was it the accuracy of the algorithms?
Nope. It was the battery life. And being waterproof.
I did not expect that.
Basically, the history of my use of the Vivofit has been a progressively diminishing giving-a-shit about what the Vivofit can do. Let me explain. First I gave up on sleep tracking (no actionable data). That only took a week. Next I tossed the distance and calorie burns, because distance was too meta, and calorie burn was always pretty much the same: I’m a creature of habit, apparently. My metabolism is boring.
Next—and this surprised me—I tossed the heart-rate strap, and therefore all the “work-out event” monitoring.
Wait, what?! Heart-rate monitoring was why I bought the damn thing in the first place!
But it turns out I’m really annoyed by my heart-rate strap. Especially in the winter (it’s cold when you put it on!) and besides that, it’s uncomfortable (especially when doing yoga). I probably only used the heart-rate tracking for a month (maybe two?) before I quit.
Man, I should have just gotten a pedometer.
But tossing the heart-rate monitoring meant the app pretty much went by the wayside, too. Not enough left to track to bother, and I was never into the whole competitive aspect of leader boards and such.
Which left steps.
Oh, and the watch.
But step-awareness, yeah, that has become a part of my life. Kind of funny, really, because that was the thing I was least invested in to begin with…but it’s the thing I’m still doing. Life is weird. But yeah, I park the car in the furthest part of the lot so I can get some steps. It takes about ten steps from a cold start to get the Viviofit to register, and so I have this idiotic behavior now where I add a couple of steps (walking past the target and doubling back if needed) to get to ten or eleven when I’m moving around the yurt, or grocery shopping, or whatever. I walk in wavy lines to get more steps when taking Henry down the drive for a quick pee (cheating? or genius?)(Henry hates this). I also now know it’s 100 steps to the end of the drive, 100 more to the neighbor’s drive, 400 to the pond, 500 to the big creek, 1400 to the big tree and back. And an all important 12 from the bed to the fridge. It’s a game—or at least a mini-game—and I’m playing it. Still.
And, as part of this, surprisingly, I do still try to get that red bar off the screen. It’s the last remaining feature of the Vivofit that I still engage with. At least once a day I find myself pacing around or taking Henry out, just to clear that stupid red bar. And it seemed like a silly gimme at the beginning, the least important feature. (Besides the watch. Which I’ve gotten used to having on my wrist now. Never worn a watch before. It’s actually kind of handy.) Stupid red bar is stupidly effective all these months later. Go figure.
But the reason I’m still wearing the Vivofit and counting steps and clearing the red bar? It’s because the battery needs no charging, plus I can wear the dang thing in the bath. Which means I never have to take it off or do anything to it. Zero effort.
Zero effort turns out to be the Vivofit’s killer feature.
In fact, it’s more effort to take it off than it is to leave it on and keep using it. Which I’m certain is why I still am.
The battery life seemed like a nice extra when I bought it. Yet it’s turned out to be the most important thing.
But…..the label started peeling up last week. And yeah, I’ve got a hard on for the Apple Watch even though I have no idea why or what I’d use it for—I don’t even have an iPhone so I couldn’t even use it if I got one. But looking at the Applewatch led me to looking around at the State Of The Wearable Market and I found that the whole optical wrist heart-rate tracking thing has improved in the last year and…it makes me want to upgrade. Not to the Applewatch (too expensive! too ridiculous!). But something, maybe. I like this game, I do. But it’s got to be something that requires no cold plastic thing strapped on under my boobs.
Anyway, thank you Vivofit for hanging out with me for a year and getting me to walk more, including my standing desk and running (jogging, really) a few times a week, and parking in the far corner at the grocery store. It’s been fun. Really. It’s me, not you.