UPDATE: March 2017
It appears that the iBody website is no longer working, as a result the iBody device and app won’t sync properly. I’ve removed the links to the product in this post as I now class it as non-functioning or maintained. I’ve left the links to the website and app as I’m hoping this is a temporary blip. If you’re interested in fitness trackers the please check out the following guest posts:
- Three Fitness Trackers With Smartwatch Notifications
- Threes Waterproof Fitness Trackers With Smartphone Notifications
The following article is left for archive purposes in the hope that the manufacturers will re-instate their website
Following on from my post last week about getting fit for the New Year using MyFitnessPal, this week I thought I’d take a look at a recent purchase of mine, the iBody Activity and Sleep Tracker.
I have to admit, I lead a pretty sedentary lifestyle with the majority of my days sat in front of a computer screen. I do however occasionally work part-time at a local bar and on a busy night this can involve quite a lot of walking. I was interested in seeing how far I actually walked on a shift but wanted to use something a bit more technically savvy than a simple pedometer. I know my phone could have counted the steps for me but I am always a bit concerned about having my mobile phone hanging around places where beer is present!
I looked at the popular contenders that seem to have cornered the market such as the Fitbit, the Jawbone and the Samsung Galaxy Gear (affiliate links) but these were really expensive considering I may not end up using them regularly, or they didn’t look like they’d work with my Phone (a HTC One X).
After reading plenty of product reviews, I settled on the iBody Activity and Sleep Tracker which, at only £21 from the seller I chose seemed an ideal choice.
What’s In The Box
The device comes in a bland, but well made box
And on opening the box base up gives you all of the contents: The iBody tracker and wristband, Mini-USB OTG (On The Go) cable, USB Convertor to enable syncing the iBody with your phone and a very basic (and I mean very!) set of instrucitons
The main tracker part of the iBody pops out of the wrist strap quite easily, although putting it back in can be a bit filldy.
In order to get your device set up, you need to pop out the tracker and connect it to your phone or computer using the cable provided.
I was unable to use the device for a week after I bought it as I didn’t have access to a PC with Windows 7 and my phone was running the wrong version of Android. This meant that whilst I could track data (the iBody will store data for 30 days without syncing), it wouldn’t be of any use as the date was incorrect – the only way this can be set is via syncing.
Windows 7 Sync Program
I Initially used the Window 7 program to setup my device. I had to reinstall this twice as the first time no text appeared at all on the interface. Re-installing over the original program seemed to fix this problem.
The applications only functionality is to link your data to your cloud-based iBody account. If you wish to view reports on the data you have collected you will need to use the website dashboard or the Android/iPhone App.
Once the program has loaded you’ll be prompted to create an account and then connect your device via USB. It should be found and connected automatically. This will now enable the syncing of data from the device to your account. It’s important to note that the time will not update automatically! (See below for details).
When installing, the program sometimes renders menus in Chinese, or a combination of Chinese and English so it can be quite difficult to find how to change the language. If in case your program starts itself up in Chinese, below is the menu layout so you can switch it into English. Simply click on the menu item in the top-right of the screen that looks like a bulleted list, then on the top item under the 5th menu choice and the program should update itself to the correct language.
Setting the time
In order to set the time on the iBody (it doesn’t do this manually when syncing the P.C like it does with a phone) you need to force this change manually (this is also true when the time changes for Daylight Savings). Do this by clicking on the “Update Device Time” menu item and the iBody will update the time for you.
First you need to log in on the website with the account you created when initially syncing your device
After logging in, you’ll see your initial dashboard page which shows your height, current weight (if you’ve entered this manually), BMI (Body Mass Index), and daily activity (if the device has been synced).
Clicking on the “Health > Sport” Tab allows you to view your activity by day and by month
Health > Sport Day View
Health > Sport Month View
Clicking on the “Sleep” tab under health breaks down your sleep over a 24 hour period
Weight Month View
Unfortunately there’s no way of exporting any of this data that I can see to import it into something like MyFitnessPal so you’ll have to enter this information twice if you want to have it in both dashboards.
There’s also a section for tracking your heart rate but I haven’t really looked into this as the iBody Tracker doesn’t have heart rate monitoring – although the upgrade iBody Rainbow looks like it may have this functionality built in.
On the web dashboard, there’s also a group section where you can meet and join up with other people but I have yet to find any social functionality linked with this – unless I’m missing something.
Finally, there is a Tips section, but this is all in Chinese and Google translate does struggle a bit – sometimes with hilarious results!
iBody Android App (iPhone App Also Available)
The Android App isn’t available directly from the Google Play Store – presumably as the developers can’t be bothered with the rigmarole of submitting it and having to deal with so many versions of Android.
If you wish to install the Android App, you’ll need to navigate to the Downloads Page on the iBody website – don’t be fooled by the “Play Store” link (or use the Handy QR code in the instruction booklet).
In order to install non-Google play Apps you may need to enable “Unknown Sources” in order to get the app to install.
In Android 4.4 Kit Kat, go to:
Settings > Security
Under “Device Administration” Check ” Unknown Sources” and “Verify Apps”.
You can then install the App and then go back and uncheck the “Unknown Sources” to re-secure your phone.
Once the app is installed, you can create an account or log in using the account you created through the website or Windows App.
Mobile App Views
On loading the app, you’re presented with the homepage which shows the days activities:
Your homepage gives you an overview of the amount of exercise you have completed that day. Using the navigation at the to you can scroll backwards and forward through entries but, unlike the web dashboard there is no month view.
There are also sections for sleep (below) and heart rate but oddly, you aren’t able to add or view weight data which is available on the website dashboard.
Comfort and build quality
The unit itself if very light, feels reasonably durable. It’s not too bulky and doesn’t get in the way when you wear it in bed.
The strap of the watch is reasonably well made and the strap holds together through most punishing tasks – if you call pulling copious pints of beer, cleaning glasses and walking a couple of miles a punishing task! My only concern is that the area that the strap pulls through is very thin and does feel like it will split after a few months of sweat, general wear-and-tear and beer getting on it.
The material of the strap is a”furry” plastic for want of a better description and as a result does tend to pick up quite a bit of fluff and dust.
There is a rim surrounding the screen which provides some protection, but direct knocks do see to be able to mark the screen, though they can buff out if caught quickly enough.
Plugging the iBody Tracker into your phone will start charging the tracker. This isn’t a problem if you’re just quickly syncing but I found a 50% battery drain from my phone over around a hour of having the iBody tracker plugged in so it may be worth your while unplugging it as soon as the sync is complete and charging it via your computer
The manual states that the tracker will hold enough power after a full charging for 15 days of running. I’ve been charging mine around once every seven days and I’ve yet to see the power indicator drop below approximately 85%. I’m pretty sure that, at a push, you could run the iBody for the full 30 days that it holds data without charging it.
Charging is a very quick process. The unit comes around 75% charged and it only takes around 2 hours to get it fully charged and ready.
The website contains all the functionality you’d expect from a product of this nature but I do find it odd that the Android app is lacking what I’d consider some core functionality.
The Windows program can be a bit tricky to set up initially due to the language and missing text issue but once you’ve got that sorted it’s a case of simply plug your tracker in and forget – unless the time changes and you have to manually update it.
I’ve been comparing the sleep functionality with other apps (reviews to come soon) and it seems to be a very fair an accurate representation of my sleeping patterns.
The tracking of footsteps seems reasonably accurate. I’ve done a few manual counts and they all tally within 10 paces or so. Also it’s not so sensitive that wildly waving your arms around sets it off either.
The only downsides I found was that it initially wouldn’t link to my phone or PC until I updated my software, and there is no Mac version.
So, if you’re looking for a cheap and reasonably easy to use Pedometer/Activity and Sleep tracker you can’t really go wrong with the iBody Activity and Sleep Tracker.
Over To You
Do you use a fitness tracker? If so, which one – and do you think the massive price difference is justified in terms of extra functionality you get? Let us know in the comments.