In a world of smartwatches and fitness bands, it is easy for consumers to feel overwhelmed and naturally gravitate towards brand recognition instead of functionality, however, that does not necessarily mean that this company you bought into makes the best fitness-centric wearable. Whoop Strap 3.0 forgoes the bells and whistles of a smartwatch or fitness tracker and focuses on what matters most – your health.
Chances are, you have not heard but seen Whoop on the wrists of a plethora of big-name athletes like Michael Phelps, Patrick Mahomes II, Lebron James to name a few. Originally designed for professional and college athletes, this health monitoring device is not about how many steps you took or calories you burnt, it is about finding the right balance between exertion, rest, and recovery.
Whoop’s philosophy is quite brilliant and boils down to one simple idea – optimizing performance should not be a random sequence of events and decisions, but rather a systematic approach to understanding your body. In essence, the third generation of their band is about promoting positive behavior change, fitness improvements, and injury reduction. Even their pricing structure is different from their competitors essentially offering a pay-as-you-go subscription model averaging about $30 per month which can be lowered with longer-term buy-ins, making the band itself essentially free.
The strap is constructed from a stretchy sweat-absorbing knit fabric with an anti-slip rubber grip that is safe to wear in the ocean, pool, shower, and sauna. The device itself relies on HRV, heart rate, and other metrics to assess sleep quality, workout strain, and recovery, using LEDs and photoplethysmography to gather your health data. It is also surprisingly light on the wrist which we love and comfortable enough to wear to bed to track those important sleep metrics. At 0.375 inches at its thickest point and just 1-inch wide, this is the first fitness wearable we have tried that is so comfortable on the wrist, you forget it’s there. Another thing Whoop got right is the way you charge the device, essentially it is an external battery pack that just connects to the strap itself when the battery runs low, meaning you do not have to take the band off your wrist to charge it, which is something we would love to see brought to the world of smartwatches and fitness wearables.
Set up was super easy and very convenient across both iOS and Android for a change and the app itself is intuitive and easy to navigate offering 4 main subsections of your data including – overview, strain, recovery, and sleep. The overview section is the most comprehensive for a glance at your day including metrics on recovery percentage, total day strain, heart rate variability, calories burned, sleep duration, and any tracked activities. However, for more in-depth data, users can navigate to each section to better observe how their body functions and recovers during and after their workout. In our books, Whoop does two things better than the rest out there, firstly, measuring your sleep. Only in the past few months has the Apple Watch adopted this feature, albeit poorly, given the smartwatches’ abysmal battery life and the second is recovery. Whoop gives you a color-coded recovery score each day which is based on how well you slept, what activity you did the day before, and other metrics like HRV and resting heart rate. The green, yellow, red color grading indicates how well your body has recovered from the previous day and whether you are ready to go or need to take it lighter that day. It works incredibly well.
So, all this is good but are there any caveats? Sadly, there was for us and it mostly comes down to how well the device talks with Apple’s iPhone, the device we paired it with for testing. On repeated occasions, we had to force sync the device as the auto-sync feature was just not working. Even after seeking help from support and forums, nothing seemed to work for us. The result, force syncing hours of sleep data takes a long time, and not being able to see recent data until it synced was almost a deal-breaker. There were also a few times where the band did not auto log my activity like a simple jog around my neighborhood and I had to manually enter it. Now, are these deal breakers? Absolutely not, because the Whoop is more than a sum of its parts and remains the most comprehensive health data accumulation tool we have used.
To conclude, many smartwatches and fitness bands can measure your heart rate, track your steps and calories burned, but not many can tell you how your body is doing on a fundamental physiological level based on important metrics like sleep, stress, nutrition, and hydration and that is where Whoop excels. Put simply, if you are a data-obsessed health fanatic wanting the absolute best way to know your body. This is it.
Get yours at – https://www.whoop.com/