$199 Basis Peak Gets Heart Rate Monitor, Smart Features
Intel-owned Basis Science today announced a new $199 wristwatch activity tracker and smartwatch with a built-in optical heart rate monitor, touch screen, support for some push notifications from iPhones and Android smartphones, and a swim-safe design.
Dubbed Basis Peak, the new fitness tech gadget is essentially a 2.0 version of the equally priced Basis Carbon Steel Edition (which originally launched as the Basis B1 Band; same device, different strap).
The new Basis Peak answers pretty much all the complaints users had about its predecessor. The optical heart rate monitor now holds up better during high-intensity workouts, whereas the original version was unreliable at higher heart rate zones, with results varying from person to person. The screen is much brighter, now with a high-contract LCD display with some backlighting that results in less glare. The display is wider, but the watch itself is thinner. The strap is still swappable, as it was in the customizable Basis Carbon Steel, but the Basis Peak uses a more conventional method to secure the band to the tracker so that it never pops off. The design also makes it compatible with straps made by other companies.
CEO Jef Holove said the new Basis Peak has more of an emphasis on athletics, but is still first and foremost a fitness and sleep tracker. One of the key improvements, he said, was to put more powerful LEDs in the heart rate monitor, which is what makes it a more stable device now during high-intensity workouts.
Like the previous version, Basis Peak contains several physiological sensors, measuring not only heart rate, but also skin temperature and galvanic skin response, which are additional data points used to estimate calorie burn more accurately and differentiate between your three sleep stages: light sleep, deep sleep, and REM.
Peak will support a few very basic smartwatch features, such as notifications of incoming calls and text messages, and using BLE to connect to iOS and Android phones, but it won't compete with the likes of the Pebble Smartwatch or others that come with their own app store. (Not yet, anyway.)
The watch itself is constructed with forged aluminum, and uses Gorilla Glass on the screen. The strap is silicone, with ridges on the underside that promote airflow, and Peak is available in two colors combinations: brushed silver with a white strap, and matte black with a black strap.
Peak is also fully safe for swimming at depths of up to 50 meters (5ATM water resistant). It's launching in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., with a list price of $199, and will initially be available through Amazon and Futureshop.
For more advice on activity trackers, see how to choose a fitness tracker and PCMag's list of the best activity trackers for fitness.