Basis brings better smarts to its advanced fitness band

Body IQ adds contextual, automatic fitness tracking to the Basis B1.

Basis Band
Body IQ adds contextual tracking to the Basis Band. Basis Science

Startup Basis Science shook up the nascent fitness-tracking world with its advanced Basis B1 Band . Now the company says a fresh software update enables the device to automatically comprehend when you're biking, on a run, or simply taking a stroll.

Called Body IQ, essentially a cocktail of software and product firmware, this improved code is designed to squeeze more functionality out of the Basis Band's impressive array of onboard biometric sensors. These include an optical blood flow monitor that extrapolates heart rate, sensors for skin temperature and perspiration, along with a more traditional accelerometer that records movement.

Basis says that with the B1 Band running the Body IQ update and strapped to your wrist, the gadget will seamlessly understand when your casual walk becomes a jog, and then a full-out gallop. The gizmo should also be intelligent enough to figure out when you've hopped on your 10-speed for multiple laps around the park.

So why is this type of automation such a big deal? Frankly it moves the needle closer to the ultimate in fitness tracking, a gadget that has the brains to know what specific exercise you engage in, detect it, log it, and then spit out your performance results on demand -- and without laying a finger on your tracking doodad.

Basis Band
Now track runs and bike rides with the Basis Band. Basis Science

Other high-tech fitness solutions on the market merely measure steps and sometimes stairs climbed. To record more-committed workouts such as marathon training and cycling, then tease out their associated performance data from background activity for later review, users typically must manually kick trackers into exercise session mode. In the case of Fitbit devices (including the Fitbit Force ) and Nike FuelBand SE , that involves remembering to long-press each gadget's physical button.

Additionally, the abilities that allow the Basis Band to track runs and biking let the corresponding mobile app and Web site suggest exercise-themed habits to complete as personal goals. For instance the Run Club habit might nudge you toward hitting the pavement for 30 minutes at least four times a week. Likewise, the Let's Ride habit may entice you to zip around the track with similar frequency. Just like habits for jumping into bed at a reasonable and regular hour, or matching daily step quotas, the Basis system rewards completed activities with points toward "buying" more challenging habits.

Basis Band
Take a deep dive into physical performance. Basis Science

Curious about giving the Basis Band's new skills a spin? Basis IQ is scheduled to begin rolling out to B1 Band owners today. For more info check out the company's site and our full review of the Basis Band tracker .

Read the full CNET Review

Basis Band

The Bottom Line: The $199 Basis Band offers a powerful mix of sensors and motivational tools, but pass if you'd rather spend less on a fitness tracker or aren't partial to big, watch-style designs. / Read full review

About the author

Brian Bennett is senior editor for mobile phones at CNET and reviews a wide range of mobile communication products. These include smartphones and their myriad accessories. He has more than 12 years of experience in technology journalism and has put practically anything fun with a micro chip through its paces at some point.

 

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