Healbe GoBe sees daylight–but still can’t count calories

click to enlargeAt CEWeek NYC last June, this Editor spent some time with Healbe’s co-founder, who demonstrated to me a prototype of the Healbe GoBe 100% Automatic Body Manager fitness tracker. I walked away underwhelmed at its performance and skeptical of its main claim to fame–automatic measurement of caloric intake via measuring blood glucose conversion to fluid in cells. This was reinforced by a trail of tech product reviewers digging into its development, the controversial science behind it and a growing rebellion on Indiegogo, where contributions exceeded $1 million. Then it took delays–first September, then November. Few in the industry believed it would ever ship.

However, it has, and at least one intensive review after a month of wear is in from Engadget. Topline: it’s not a scam (which will disappoint some) but it’s just another activity tracker–not only expensive at $299, but clunky unlike the trend evident in most of the competition. Its raison d’etre, calorie counting, doesn’t work reliably or accurately. A +/- 500-1200 calorie swing versus a standard caloric measurement renders this feature useless. It is also not fully automatic as advertised; “you need to constantly tell it if you are about to eat, or remember so you can confirm via the app later.” It is also lacking comparative tracking and its battery life doesn’t last the day. Pluses in its favor are excellent sleep tracking and analysis, the addition of protein tracking as well as all day heart rate tracking. Bottom line: it still does not do what it claims to do, but it puts up a great front. Buyer beware. It’s also not a great argument for the category reaching the saturation point. Engadget. Also a kinder follow up from his May article by Christian Brazil Bautista in Digital Trends. PandoDaily, the harshest critic, weighs in here.

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