Oaxis Star.21 is a crowd-funded fitness band with a different take on health

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Renders of the Star.21 from the Pozible site. Oaxis

I first saw the Star.21 briefly at this year's Computex in Taipei, but my attention was mostly taken by the range of e-ink accessories that Oaxis had on display.

Oaxis, it turns out, is crowd-funding the Star.21 on Pozible, with -- at the time of writing -- over 300 percent of its goal achieved with nine days left to go.

That's actually 396,000 Yuan -- roughly $65,000, AU$70,000, or £38,000. At the moment, a pledge of around $32 -- AU$35 or 20 quid -- will get you the Star.21, although Oaxis thinks it'll sell for around $95 (AU$102, £57) when it lands in retail.

In terms of its 'philosophy', if you will, the Star.21 has a quite different approach to other fitness bands. It's designed to work around a 21-day cycle -- for the first three days the band learns about your habits while you wear it. Then, it sets you a bunch of goals for sleep, steps and calorie consumption, and works on constantly reminding you about the goals.

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The Star.21 displaying the time. Nic Healey/CNET

The idea is that after 21 days, you've learned new fitness habits -- as Oaxis says "the novelty wears off, but the habit remains".

The design is also a bit different to the usual -- a multifaceted plastic front plate hides 21 LEDs which use patterns to tell you how far along you are with steps and calories, as well as telling you the time.

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Screengrabs from the Lifebalanz app. Screenshots by Nic Healey/CNET

I've had an early version of the band and the companion Lifebalanz app for a few days now. The joy of using a pre-release sample meant that there were initially some difficulties with setup, but all that was fixed by downloading a newer version of the app -- currently iOS, with Android coming for launch.

The gem-like design looks a little odd on my man-sized wrist, but I've actually become quite fond of the display for the time and updates.

I haven't been using it long enough to get a real sense of how the promise of the gamification of fitness pans out, but the app is a lot more detailed and polished than I had initially expected. (There are a few translation issues with the English instructions here and there, but it remains quite understandable.)

While I haven't got a full sense of the Star.21 in terms of its 21 day cycle, what I have seen is pretty encouraging, especially given the low cost of the device. Add in a silent alarm function, a choice of colours, and a claimed 15 day battery life, and the package looks pretty good at first glance.

At the very least, I'm happy to see a fitness device that doesn't want to let you take phone calls or read emails -- I've slowly come to the conclusion that, for me at least, I like my exercise tech to be dedicated, not a jack of all trades.

I'll update this First Take when I've had some more time to explore the progression of the Star.21's fitness cycle.

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Where to Buy

Oaxis Star.21

Part Number: STAR.21

MSRP: $95.00

See manufacturer website for availability.