As if it looked at Nike’s exit from the fitband industry and just said, “we can do it better,” LG has announced the impending release of its own wearable calorie tracker, the LifeBand Touch, in just three days time. Is it any good? We’ll have to wait for release to find out, but for now, let’s review what we know and see if if seems like a good buy.
As a fitness band, you know that the LifeBand is going to have a few set things it can do. Tracking your heart rate, calories burned and motion, through a built in triple-axis accelerometer and altimeter. The stats created by these internal tools can all be accessed via the device’s built in 0.9 inch OLED display in real time, giving you constant updates on how you’re doing. However, if you want added functionality and more in-depth information, you can view it on your smartphone via a series of apps.
The Lifeband works with LG’s fitness app on iOS and Android, but also works with a variety of others, including: MapMyFitness, RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal.
It works both ways though, so while you can get more information on your LifeBand on your phone, you can get more information on your phone, on your LifeBand. If you have an incoming call or message, just glance down at your wrist and the details will be displayed there, letting you decide whether you want to interrupt your run to talk to Dave. Again.
You can also control your music from the device, which makes it a great fit for LG’s other wearable product being released in a few days, the Heart Rate Earphones.
All of these features are powered by a tiny 90mAh battery, which should give you as much as five days of usage between charges. LG helped keep battery usage down by having the screen turn off whenever you aren’t looking at it. To turn it on, simply lift it up to your face in the classic “checking the time,” fashion.
The LifeBand is hitting the market in the US at $150, so expect it to be around the £100 mark in the UK. While that seems hardly fair, once you take into consideration import taxes and that oh so lovely 20 per cent VAT charge, you can see why.
The biggest drawback with this product isn’t necessarily its features or cost, but its timing. The fact that Nike just exited the market after its own very similar product had lacklustre success a couple of years after release, makes you wonder whether LG thinks it’s going to be able to cash in on a market that isn’t particularly big, yet. Time will tell if this was a smart move or a poor one.
The LifeBand expands on previous fitness band releases and should make for a pretty solid product, even if a £100 for a glorified phone app is pretty pricey. Still, perhaps it’ll make a great combo gift with the LG earphones?