The Basis Peak is owned by Intel and comes with the tag line ‘The Ultimate Fitness and Sleep Tracker”. The goal of Basis and Intel was to create the most advanced fitness tracker on the market, with a few smartwatch type features mixed into the bag.
So does the Basis Peak live up its tag line? I spent a couple of weeks with it to find out..
In The Box
The first thing you need to is go to mybasis.com to initiate the setup. If you fully charge the watch before setting up the OS, you will just get stuck on a screen that says “Charge Me” even though it’s already fully charged.
The Basis Peak comes with a magnetic charger which plugs into a USB port. Magnetic chargers get on my nerves a bit, because anything metal in close proximity gets gravitated and clunks against them, resulting in tiny scratches.
The Basis Peak is made from lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum, with a soft silicone strap, there’s no doubt that it’s very well-built! It has a more solid design than any other fitness tracker that I’ve tried, the Fitbit Surge comes in second place. The watch buckle is stainless steel and there are double free-loops as you can see in the picture The Basis Peak straps are one size fits all, unless you’ve got wrists like Andre the Giant! You can get replacement straps, including a quick release leather version. There is also a limited edition Titanium version of the Basis Peak for about $100 more than the aluminium model.
For me, the white Basis Peak is a pretty damn fine-looking fitness watch, and I’m happy to wear it with casual gear. I tried the black version at the London Wearable Technology Show but it didn’t look as good. In terms of looks the B.P puts other fitness trackers/watches in their place.
The Basis Peak is 11 mm thick and weighs a little under 54 grams, so it’s not the most slender fitness tracker in the world. However, it is extremely comfortable! The silicone band is soft, feels good, and the edges of the watch-base are curved to contour your wrist. For a fitness/smartwatch of its size, it’s a winner in the comfort department!
The Basis Peak is equipped with a 1.26 inch, monochrome e-ink, touchscreen display protected by Gorilla Glass 3. Although the display is black and white, it’s high contrast, perfectly legible outdoors, and responds very well to bright sunlight. It also looks good indoors, and there’s a backlight for dark conditions. The backlight is turned on by swiping upwards on the right of the screen, then you can turn it off again by swiping back down, otherwise it switches off automatically after about 30 seconds.
The Basis Peak Display is always-on so you won’t ever be looking at a blank screen. I’ve recently been reviewing the Fitbit Surge and the Garmin Vivoactive, and the Basis Peak display is superior! It’s very responsive, and with the Gorilla Glass 3 you can see and feel the quality difference, plus you don’t need to worry about scratches.
There are no buttons on the Basis Peak, so everything is done via touchscreen, either by swiping or double tapping.
The Basis Peak sensors track your heart rate, steps taken, calories burned, skin temperature, and perspiration. Surprisingly, one common feature that the Basis Peak lacks is distance! I usually determine the accuracy of my fitness tracker’s accelerometers by measuring their distance readings vs GPS (for outdoors), or the readings on a treadmill (for indoors). So, the Basis Peak not providing distance stats makes it hard to gauge the accuracy of the step counter.
Another stat the Basis lacks is elevation, or floors climbed as some prefer to call it. So with distance and elevation missing from the feature list, I don’t quite see how the Basis Peak is the ultimate fitness tracker! It does kind of make up for the loss of these two features though, with seemingly one of the more accurate optical heart rate monitors around, plus not too many of its competitors log your skin temperature and perspiration.
Heart Rate Monitor
You need to wear the Basis Peak quite tight to get the best results from the heart rate monitor. It gives you a real-time BPM reading that seems reasonably steady, and when you check your activity details in the app, you will see an average BPM which seems pretty consistent with the rest of the activity stats.
If you are serious about heart rate training, need to find your exact maximum and rely on your device to accurately maintain heart rate zones, then an EKG chest strap is the way to
The Basis Peak uses a feature called Body IQ which uses gesture recognition to automatically determine when you start an activity, and what type of activity you’re doing, as long as it’s walking, running or cycling. It automatically logs the activity for you to analyze with the app. If you have a rest for a few minutes during your run etc, and get going again, the Basis will log it down as 2 separate activities which is a bit annoying.
You can scroll through your steps, steps per minute, calories and heart rate stats from the Body IQ activity screen, and double tap to exit. When Body IQ senses your activity type, it automatically adjusts your calorie burn according to the exercise. It also automatically adjusts your fitness goals based on your progress.
The Basis Peak automatically enters sleep mode. It provides very decent sleep analysis, much more in-depth than most other fitness trackers. It provides an overall sleep score, how many times you tossed and turned, number of sleep interruptions, total hours slept, and time of sleeping and waking.
It provides a graph of your night’s sleep, showing what times and how long you were in light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep.
The automatic sleep tracking works well in my experience. The times it gives for falling asleep and waking up are consistent with my rickety time-keeping skills.
Here’s two screenshots of the same night’s sleep, the first one from my Android smartphone, the second from my PC.
The Basis Peak displays incoming caller ID, text, and email notifications, but first you need to enter the settings to enable notifications. The Basis will vibrate up to three times, depending on the notification type.
You can hook the Basis Peak up to Google Fit and Apple Health. Although it doesn’t have a built-in GPS, you get a location report within the Basis app. Location is a method of coarse tracking which derives your (mobile’s) location from cellphone towers/WiFi. The Location feature doesn’t map your routes in detail, instead you get a graphic showing you the general location where you have been active. I don’t really see too much point in it though!
The Location feature is in a section of the app called “Playground”. Also within the Playground is a feature called “Photo Finish”. This feature prompts you to take a selfie after you exercise for 20 minutes or longer. The app curates a selfie image gallery for you, the point being to see how you progress over time.
Not too much about the Basis Peak is customisable. You can change unit preferences from lbs to KG’s, and height from feet to meters. You can edit your goals AKA habits, set your time and date format, turn off the vibration feature with the “Do Not Disturb” mode, and not a great deal else.
For some reason, the Basis Peak does not have an alarm. I know we’re moving into a new era of mobile technology with wearables, but leaving out the oldest, and one of the most useful features seems a bit peculiar!
Update: A firmware update has just been released which means the Basis Peak now has an alarm with a snooze feature!
There is a stopwatch on the Basis Peak, but it’s taken me a couple of weeks to get my head around how it works! There again, I was never the sharpest pencil in the case!
The Basis Peak app has seen its critics. It’s not the most feature packed app in the world, but it’s easy to navigate, and what it does, it does well. Like other fitness apps, it provides you with history, goals, activity data, and insights. As I said before, the sleep tracking section is one of the best around.
I like the way the activity screen is layed out. It shows a graph with a different color for each biometric; i.e heart rate, steps, calories, skin temperature, and perspiration.
You can hook the app up with Google Fit and Apple Health, plus stream heart rate data to third-party apps such as Strava.
There’s also a section within the app which enables you to directly contact Basis customer support, and a section that makes it easy to update the firmware.
The Basis Peak app is compatible with iOS and Android. The official list of compatible smartphones may not include yours. I currently have a Samsung Galaxy Ace 4, and that isn’t on the list, but it works just fine. As long as you’re using a reasonably new iOS or Android phone you should be ok.
I haven’t had any issues with the Basis Peak not syncing or crashing.
I’m getting 5 days from one charge with my Basis Peak, although it says 4 days on the mybasis website. I would say that I’m an average user in terms of activities and notifications, so I think Basis saying 4 days of battery life is pretty honest of them!
The Basis Peak is water-resistant up to 50 meters (5 ATM). It is safe to swim with but has no dedicated swimming mode. Personally I wouldn’t bother wearing it in the pool without swim mode.
The Basis Peak is missing a few features, like GPS, elevation and distance, but it makes up for it in other areas! It has a much higher build quality than any other device in its class, and looks good enough to wear with night-time garb.
Personally I really the Basis Peak! I didn’t really care too much about sleep tracking before I tried it, but the B.P has changed that!
Is it the ultimate fitness and sleep tracker like the tagline says? Maybe for sleep, but probably not for fitness!
• Basis Peak
Around $190 USD.
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