LVL – A Wearable Activity Monitor, A True Fitbit Rival

LVL - a wearable activity monitor that also tracks hydration, activity, heart rate and sleep!

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LVL - wearable activity monitor

One of the keys to a healthy lifestyle concerns what liquids you put into your body. Undoubtedly, water is the most beneficial to our bodily functions. Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues, according to the CDC. The average person should be drinking eight, eight-ounce glasses of liquid a day to stay properly hydrated. Dehydration effects concentration, motor function, and mood. I do my best to follow this age-old advice, but sometimes I struggle to track just how much water I’ve consumed . A new wearable activity monitor, that also tracks hydration, may soon change that.

LVL

Just yesterday I came across the LVL on Kickstarter, a wearable activity monitor that tracks hydration. It also boasts some of the features traditionally found inside wearable fitness technology, such as activity tracking, sleep tracking, mood tracking, and heart rate tracking. It also displays the time to function as a watch and is water resistant. BSX Athletics are the folks developing the LVL. They successfully launched a lactate threshold monitor back in March, 2015.

I own a Fitbit Flex, another wearable activity monitor, but have not used it in sometime and frankly cannot remember where I last left it. I have been eyeing up some of the newer Fitbit models since I recently started running again. So when I saw the LVL, I just had to give it a look.

LVL - Wearable activity monitorAs I said, the LVL simultaneously tracks your hydration, heart rate, mood, and activity with the idea of optimizing your workouts. It then prompts you in real-time, alerting you to how much fluid you need to intake. This is done through technology that tracks your current hydration levels and sweat rates, in conjunction to the intensity of your activity, throughout the day. Some example alerts include, “Drink 31oz at this sweat rate to maintain optimal levels.” and “Drink 19oz before today’s workout for  a 4-5% performance boost!”

I am not going to try to explain the technology myself, so I have included an excerpt from the LVL page on Kickstarter. It gives an overview of the technology right on your wrist.

“Unlike traditional devices on the market that use green light to measure heart rate from the wrist, we have spent the past four and a half years developing a revolutionary red light technology (actually near infrared light) that for the first time ever can measure dehydration, while also providing industry leading heart rate accuracy at the same time. Our red light sensor originates from the world of medical devices where accuracy is king. It can measure 10 times deeper into the body than green light can, which allows us to see more and measure it more accurate.”

I was a bit skeptical to be honest. How accurate could this be? The campaign details prototype testing. LVL prototypes have been tested, “on hundreds of athletes in our sweat lab for development of LVL–using gold standards in biometric sensing to refine the algorithms LVL uses to measure hydration.”

Additionally, prototypes have exceeded military and first responder standards in hydration tracking and measurement. It also delivers accurate heart rate readings that beat other any wearable activity monitor meant for the wrist.

LVL - Wearable activity monitorAfter your workout, sleep is the best way to recover at the end of the day. Being properly hydrated when you fall asleep has been shown to improve sleep patterns. LVL alerts you before bed to tell you how much you need to drink before your head hits the pillow. It then reminds you to drink when you first wake up in the morning.

The LVL appears to require an accompanying smartphone application. Unfortunately, it is not really detailed in the campaign. It is unclear how dependent LVL will be on the app. All I could find in that the LVL comes with a free mobile app for iOS and Android users and will be available worldwide. The app will provide current hydration levels through real-time notifications, as mentioned, and hydration patterns. The LVL has on-device memory to store important information even when your phone is not around. It will automatically sync when reconnected. If more information about the app becomes available, I will be sure to update this post.

Design

LVL - Wearable activity monitorI was really attracted to LVL’s sleek design. It really looks like they put some effort into it. Design in mind, the LVL looks really simple. It has a clear interface on a full-color touch screen, with side buttons for additional interaction. As I mentioned, I have owned a wearable activity monitor in the past. With something on my wrist all day the design has to be elegant, yet minimal. I really could envision the LVL on my wrist during meetings and morning classes, and even more so on my evening runs and trips to the gym. The fact that is functions as a watch as well is a plus.

The LVL comes in black with three wristband styles, that are silicone, brown leather, and black leather. For a limited time a turquoise sports band is available to any backer who shares the project on Facebook or Twitter and provides their email address. Pretty good deal, if you ask me!

Specs

Personally, I always find myself wondering, “How long with the battery life last on this thing?” The LVL should last up to four days on a single charge, which should take no more than one to two hours. It can connect with Bluetooth Low Energy to other devices, and will be supported for both iOS and Android. It weighs just 4.4 ounces and, as mentioned, is water resistant, but only up to one meter. Unfortunately, this means I would not bring it into the pool with me. I would certainly be testing that one meter resistance.

You could originally get the LVL with a pledge of $99 or more, a special early-bird rate offered to some of the first Kickstarter backers. But, that reward is no longer available, and neither is the second early-bird extended offer for $109. Both got you the LVL in any style. At the time of writing, you can still get a LVL with a pledge of $119 or more. If you’re interested in receiving more than one, bundles are available at discounted prices.

The LVL is expected to ship in July, 2016. It will go onto production as BSX Athletics have surpassed their original funding goal of $50,000. With nearly $435,000 raised to date and thirty-six days left in the campaign, how much more will they raise? You can secure your own LVL here. I really believe the LVL has the ability to be a rival to current fitness technology on the market.

What do you think of the LVL? How about any wearable activity monitor in general? Do you have any concerns about this product? Would it beneficial in your life? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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