I’m a teeeeensy bit spoiled. After years of being told this, I’m going to admit it right here right now. This is, unfortunately, not in totally in line with the My Minimalist Face Philosophy if you consider the price of this product (roughly $150). Bellabeat is not paying me to write this (but they can if they like!)
My parents asked me what I wanted for my graduation gift, and I asked for a LEAF by Bellabeat. A close friend of mine has one and raved about it, so I put it on my “Things I’d Like to Have One Day” list. I asked my brother purchase two, one for myself and my mom. He made fun of it, naturally.
Aside: the list of “Things I’d Like to Have One Day” is actually pretty short, in case you’re wondering.
In essence, it’s a pretty Fitbit disguised as jewellery! Smart, pretty jewellery.
A Lowdown of the Features! Several features are new; I’ll touch on some of the old features that didn’t exist until recently. It’s clear the team at LEAF are working hard to improve the app and the device.
(1) It’s purrrdy, but also practical. And doesn’t look like a Fitbit. I’ll be the first to admit that I secretly pass judgement on people that wear a Fitbit. Although, my aunt says hers tells her when she has a phone call. Hmm. My Fitbit bashing ends here.
Back to the LEAF: I like that it can be worn clipped on, as a necklace or as a wrap-around bracelet. It comes with a leather strap (I broke the clasp on mine…), chain for the necklace (it’s actually great and sturdy), and a small tool to take out the screws on the back of the LEAF when you need to change the battery.
(2) It tracks steps and activities (duh), and most importantly, IMO, sleep! Initially, the LEAF used to only track steps, but they added a feature to manually add activities into the app. There are tons of activities to choose from, as well. Pretty great! For both sleep and activity, you can add goals; my sleep goal is 8 hours, and my activity goal is 35 mins a day. You’ll see the bars “fill” with a darker shade based on how much of your daily goal you’ve accomplished.
The sleep feature also displays your quality of sleep. I’m not entirely sure of the accuracy, because there are days where it tells me my sleep was restless (vertical light purple bars), but I feel incredibly rested. This is likely from moving around in my sleep a lot (which I do). They’ve also added a feature where you can add naps (it’s new!)
(3) It syncs when you tell it to! I appreciate this feature: it doesn’t make me feel obligated to check it every ten minutes (okay, except when I first got it). I can update it over the course of a few days, once a week, or twice a day. Human has control over machine, not the other way around. Unless you become dependent on it. It also integrates with Google Fit, just in case you forget to take your LEAF off of your pajamas and stick it on your shirt the next morning.
(4) You can tell it to vibrate and communicate with you when:
- You want an alarm vibration. I don’t recommend relying solely on the vibrating alarm: there have been mornings where my pajama shirt is loose, and I didn’t feel the vibration at all. But my cat probably did…
- Remind you to take pills, birth control or otherwise
- To remind you to get up and move around, aka, an “Inactivity Alert”. This is actually my favourite feature. As an antsy human, I think the inactivity alert is perfect: it reminds me to get moving before I start getting restless. Highly recommend for the folks with a deskjob.You can set different activity levels with a “do not disturb” period, exactly like a ringer on a phone.
- A Buzzfeed employee also endorses this feature! Aside: her post highlights the older features from 8 months ago around when I first got my LEAF. She mentions several things that I like about the LEAF that were not available previously.
(5) Period Tracking. I do like me a good period tracker! In all honesty, the Bellabeat’s period tracker isn’t mind blowing, but simple. Again, it’s up to personal preference. It does tell you when you should anticipate your crimson tide, so long as you enter the dates correctly and tap the button on your app. This feature can be turned off. It actually couldn’t be turned off when I first got it, which I thought was annoying and somewhat ageist, since it excluded post-menopausal women or women that no longer menstruate.
For menstrual tracking, I use a separate (and more comprehensive) app called Clue, and (it’s not pink!) which tracks everything from pain (cramps, headaches, breast tenderness), how much I slept, sex / sex drive, an estimate of when I’m ovulating, to energy levels and focus. I can even make notes or add my own tags! I’ll write a separate post about why I heart Clue so much…
(6) No charging! Woohoo! Just change your battery once every 6 months. The app will also show you your battery charge, and will let you know when your battery is low. There’s a tutorial on how to change your battery, as well.
(7) The meditation feature. I can’t exactly comment on this feature, but I do intend to use it more in the near future. It gives options to choose different kinds and lengths (2 mins or 10 mins) of guided meditation “programs”.
When I first got the LEAF, you HAD to set meditation goals. Personally, I feel the definition of meditation is so much broader than deep breathing: it can be art, work, personal projects, cleaning, exercising, knitting, you name it.
My mom used this feature a couple times, and my impression is that she was happy with it. You simply choose your meditation program through the app, and play it. The physical LEAF does not need to be in, on, or around you for use of the meditation feature.
Overall, I’m happy with the improvements in the app. And the fact that I found it in the washing machine after losing it for 3 months and it still worked. Yeahhhh, do not wash it on purpose; I got lucky. That said, they are water resistant, so don’t worry about spilling a little bit of liquid on it. No swimming with it, either.
I feel that the LEAF encompasses the concept of body and mind in technology, while also appealing to an innate human desire to have aesthetically pleasing objects on or around us.
My understanding of other fitness trackers is that they focus on weight loss, while this one wants you to be all-around healthier, be it in body or mind.
If you have a LEAF or other fitness tracker, leave your thoughts in the comments!