Most entry-level fitness trackers only have a gyroscope and special software for processing and analyzing measurements. Any smartphone can handle this task, but if you really want to take your health seriously, you should pay attention to specialized devices that, thanks to an extensive set of sensors, can provide complete and accurate information about your activity. One of these gadgets is Basis Peak, which combines the functions of a smart watch and a fitness tracker.

Specifications

  • Screen: reflective TFT, 1.26”, 144×168 pixels
  • Built-in memory: 16 MB
  • Wireless interfaces: Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Sensors: accelerometer, optical heart rate monitor, galvanic skin reflex and body temperature sensors
  • Battery: 190 mAh, non-removable
  • Dimensions: 42.5x34x11 mm (without strap)
  • Weight: 27 grams (without strap)

Packaging, accessories

We received the Basis Peak smartwatch for testing without packaging, but with all the necessary accessories – a USB<=>micro-USB cable and magnetic charging.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

The package also includes brief instructions on how to use the gadget.

Appearance

The Basis Peak model is offered to the buyer in two colors: black with a black-red strap and silver with a white-gray strap. We received a metallic version for review, which has a white strap with a gray interior. The light-colored strap raises some concerns about color preservation during long-term use: dust quickly sticks to it, so cleaning may be required after some time.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

The top of the watch screen is covered with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 protective glass, and the frame around the perimeter of the device is aluminum.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

The bottom cover of both versions is made of matte black plastic, on which there is an optical heart rate monitor and four metal contacts that are used for charging and also as sensors.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

The charger for Basis Peak is a magnetic stand with two contacts. Despite the apparent symmetry and the presence of four contacts on the back of the watch, charging the device is possible only in one specific position of the gadget.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

Ergonomics

The smartwatch turned out to be very comfortable for everyday wear. Thanks to its small size, the device practically does not interfere with any everyday tasks, and the flexible and elastic strap allows you to accurately fit the watch to your hand. The protruding parts on the bottom cover, which at first glance were not very convenient, turned out to be completely invisible when worn on the hand – nothing presses or rubs.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

Basis Peak is completely protected from water under pressure up to 5 atmospheres – you can safely wash your hands, take a shower, and even swim in the pool. However, after swimming in sea water, you still need to rinse the device under fresh water – otherwise the contacts may oxidize.

Screen

Basis Peak are equipped with a reflective monochrome TFT display. The watch screen, similar to E-ink, requires external lighting to read information from it, but also has its own backlight for use in the dark. The display diagonal is 1.26 inches and the resolution is 144×168 pixels. Viewing angles, as expected, are maximum – you can find out the exact time by looking at the watch from any position.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

Despite its monochrome and modest specifications, the Basis Peak display does an excellent job not only with basic tasks, such as showing the time, number of steps or heart rate, but also allows you to comfortably read notifications from your smartphone. In addition, such a screen consumes little energy, which made it possible to make it non-switchable: it always shows the time unless the battery is completely discharged.

Interface

You can interact with a smart watch only within the framework of predefined functions; functionality cannot be extended by third-party applications. However, the manufacturer periodically adds new options to the firmware, for example, the latest version has the ability to display notifications from a smartphone.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

As you may have noticed when reading the “Appearance” section, there is not a single button on the watch – all control is carried out using swipes on the touch screen. The home screen displays in large numbers the time, date, number of steps of the current walk, as well as the status of charging, synchronization and connection with the smartphone.

By swiping from the left edge, we get to a small menu where there are buttons for quick control of the main functions – synchronization with a smartphone, Bluetooth connection and vibration.

Two more screens are located to the right of the clock. The first displays the last measured heart rate, and the second shows the number of steps of the last walk. Daily statistics are also available directly on the device – just swipe from the bottom edge on any of these screens. You can return to the home screen either by swiping in reverse order, or by double tapping anywhere on the display.

The device in operation

Despite the fact that Basis Peak can show the time, count steps and measure heart rate even in standalone mode, they are primarily designed to work in conjunction with a smartphone. But the requirements for a mobile device for the watch are quite strict, which is a little disappointing: the watch requires either one of the Apple smartphones, starting with iPhone 5 (or iPod Touch 5G), or one of the flagships of HTC, LG or Samsung, and only with Android OS version 4.4 KitKat. But if there is still a potential possibility for the application to work on other devices with support for Bluetooth 4.0 LE, then the requirement for the firmware is strict: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with firmware on Android 5.0.1 Lollipop simply did not see the smart watch. The manufacturer Basis Peak claims that it is working to fix this problem, but it has been resolved for more than a month, and the company does not give a specific time frame.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

The smartwatch was tested in pairs with an Apple iPod Touch 5G; no problems arose with it on the latest firmware version (iOS 8.3) – pairing took less than 10 seconds.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

The application for controlling the gadget bears the same name – Basis Peak, and is downloaded for free from the App Store. Unfortunately, the program has not been translated into European, so you have to be content with English. After starting the program, the user first gets to the Dashboard tab, which contains data about the last sleep and last activity, as well as a status line displaying heart rate, steps taken and calories burned.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatchBasis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

More detailed information about physical activity is collected in the Activity Feed tab: the program shows the average heart rate and calories burned for each exercise separately, and in total for the day. By clicking on any entry, you can get detailed information about it in the form of a graph. But, unfortunately, they don’t know how to calculate the distance of Basis Peak.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

If you are interested in statistics not for a specific walk or exercise, but for the entire day, you can see it on the Charting tab.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

Accuracy is an important parameter for any fitness tracker, and here Basis Peak leaves its competitors far behind. In addition to the accelerometer found in every device, as well as the quite familiar optical heart rate monitor, the gadget is equipped with skin temperature and galvanic skin response sensors. The galvanic skin response (or reflex) sensor has not previously been seen in mobile devices, so let’s look at it in more detail. It passes a weak current through the skin and measures its electrical conductivity. The change in the latter is influenced, first of all, by moisture, which can be released in the form of sweat during physical exertion, or due to changes in the emotional state. Thus, this sensor, along with others, allows the fitness tracker to obtain more accurate information about activity and sleep.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

One of the main goals of programs like Basis Peak is not only to allow the user to enter and analyze information about their activity, but also to make them move towards their goals and lead a healthier lifestyle. Other companies usually add a social component to their programs, which encourages owners of fitness trackers to compete with each other. But the manufacturer Basis Peak did not go down this path, and came up with something truly new: a feature called Habits.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

The application has a rich set of useful “habits”, but initially only 2-3 of them are available to the user, for example, “Wear it” (wear a smart watch more than 12 hours a day to accurately track progress) and “Torch more calories” (burn more than 2500 calories per day). For completing these tasks, which, according to the authors, should become a habit over time, the application awards points that can be spent on discovering new “habits.” Made fresh and unusual. Again, it’s interesting to see what other “habits” the developers will offer in the future, and it really encourages completion of tasks.

Autonomous operation

The Basis Peak smartwatch received a non-removable battery with a capacity of 190 mAh. As stated on the manufacturer’s website, the gadget can work up to 96 hours on a full battery charge. This is a rare case when official battery life data fully meets expectations. Since the power consumption of the watch is the same in almost any mode, the operating time of the gadget without recharging is an honest four days, which was confirmed during our testing.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

Results

While reading the review, you probably already noticed that all the shortcomings of Basis Peak are associated with software shortcomings, including the lack of translation of smartphone applications into European and support for Cyrillic, as well as the inability to work on firmware higher than Android 4.4 KitKat. In addition, the program could show, for example, the emotional state, based on readings from galvanic skin response and skin temperature sensors, respectively. For some reason this functionality has not yet been implemented. However, the application can also be praised for its more informative data on exercise and sleep, as well as for its unusual incentive system to continue using the tracker and increase the load.

Basis Peak review: fitness tracker plus smartwatch

It was not possible to find any shortcomings in the gadget itself: Basis Peak is comfortable for everyday wear and use, protected from water and scratches, and operates in autonomous mode for a relatively long time. The price of the smartwatch is a considerable 200 dollars on Amazon (almost 110$ at the exchange rate at the time of writing the review). There will most likely be no official sales in EU, but we do not give up hope that the manufacturer will pay attention to our market and, at a minimum, release localized firmware.

Pros:

  • tracker functions work without user intervention;
  • long battery life for a smartwatch;
  • an unusual system for encouraging activity.

Minuses:

  • lack of localization and support for Cyrillic in notifications;
  • lack of support for Android 5.0 Lollipop