*Special thanks to Bellabeat for the Leaf health tracker for review. This product was used/demonstrated on with an active female.*
The Bellabeat Leaf is a new entry into the health tracker market that has become a huge success in the tech industry. The Leaf, from day one, has done its best to set itself differently from the rest of the market (see Jawbone, Fitbit, etc) and develop a new identity: smart jewelry. Up to this point, the market has seen its fair share of smart technology, but nothing that truly engages the female base. The Leaf is that first step into the female market.
Designed For Women
For starters, the Bellabeat Leaf is absolutely gorgeous. From a female perspective, and a male’s, the craftsmanship here is executed wonderfully. This is not cheap wear, but actual cut, sanded wood that is both elegant and charming. Coming from a strong oak cut, the Leaf feels durable, solid and in testing, held up to day to day functions. The front of the Leaf is branded with a metal piece that is not only the trade marked company symbol, but the ‘activation’ button for the Leaf. Again, its elegance is something fresh to this market.
The Leaf can be worn in a few different ways. You can clip it on to a piece of clothing (jeans or t-shirt), have it as a bracelet, using Bellabeat’s signature leather wrap, or even use a necklace. Through testing, the best, and most accurate in results came from simply clipping it on to clothing. Using it as a bracelet came off a bit too clunky in most outfits, with the Leaf being a possible hazard in getting caught. The necklace just felt a bit too inaccurate, especially with walking and stride counting.
The only major negative for the Leaf’s design is not being waterproof or sweat resistant. This is a double edged sword to the smart jewelry aspect, as most jewelry isn’t built for water. The Leaf is more of the same, with it being just too fragile.
The Leaf feels like it was made to be accessorized. Bellabeat designed a thoughtful concept that feels inspired, especially for women who have been clamoring for a more personal health tracker.
While the Leaf is a genuine mark of true craftsmanship, the innards are a bit of a hit and miss, unfortunately. The Leaf has the ability to count steps, track sleep patterns, moderate your periods and give you helpful breathing exercises. The Leaf works in sync with your phone, via an app designed by the Bellabeat team. In order to get the app to receive the information, just double tap the steel Bellabeat symbol in the front, and through syncing via bluetooth, your app receives that information.
While some inspired ideas are at play here, the execution is a bit hit or miss. The step tracker, a signature of health trackers in the industry, was not accurate. After a few hours of walking, double tapping the Leaf, it would register numbers that felt too short of what we actually did. This was a consistent problem that removed some confidence from the device. Truthfully, the truest way to keep to the tracker is to attach it to your hip, via jeans or otherwise.
The sleep tracker is the best feature on the Leaf. For the most part, it was true to life, providing accurate details and information through a night’s rest. The app will show you the best parts of your sleep, how often you did it and whether you should be feeling a full night’s worth of rest. Again, of all the trackers built into the Leaf, this is the best executed.
The app and Leaf also feature trackers designed around women’s lifestyle. The menstrual tracker was helpful, allowing for you to keep a log of your menstrual cycle. The Leaf doesn’t play much into this but the actual tracker itself is helpful and welcomed for females. A breathing section is included here, allowing for exercises to be completed for health purposes. The Leaf simply attaches to your hip, and goes with the flow of your belly movement. The idea is pretty interesting, but would have been better with a heart rate monitor. Unfortunately, both of these ideas can be met with apps you can find on the app store, using the built in monitors of most smartphones
An alarm is also built into the Leaf. So, if you’re a female that likes to be graciously awoken in the morning, you will get this, thanks to a silent alarm. The alarm will simply vibrate a few times, letting you know when it is time to wake up. An interesting idea that was hit or miss. If you are a deep sleeper, this might not work the best for you.
Another nice feature is the positive feedback. The Leaf looks for ways to reward you throughout the day, filling in with canned responses to your accomplishments. If you had a great night’s worth of rest, or met your steps for the day, it will reward you with a card. The idea is simple, and again, the cards are canned responses, but it is rewarding to know the tracker is supporting your health (as it should).
How Many Pennies Is It Worth?
The Leaf, as a standalone product, will set you back about $119 USD. The price puts you in the below average cost bracket for fitness trackers. The Leaf comes with the actual product itself, a necklace and a clip for your clothing. Additional material can be bought, like the bracelet and other accessories, to maximize the options for the Leaf.
At the price point, the Leaf isn’t rechargeable. Instead, Bellabeat went with a built in battery, promising up to six months of life before needing to be replaced. This idea is definitely new, and welcomed. However, that being said, replacing the battery is a hassle, with tiny screws and awkward angles. Thankfully, this will only occur once a month.
For the value, you get a mixed bag. $119 for a fitness tracker, and one that also doubles as a beautiful fashion piece, is hard to argue with. The app needs some work, and unfortunately, some of those technicals, cannot be fixed with a simple update.
What Bellabeat is doing here is commendable. The fact this hasn’t been done before, is definitely curious. Sure, other fitness trackers have female options but nothing like this. Bellabeat has designed a health tracker catered and built for women. While it doesn’t always work, the craftsmanship and design aspects are wonderful. The organic nature, framed with the ability to accessorize with almost anything, makes up for some poor execution in the Leaf’s tracking. While not a perfect tracker, the Leaf embodies effort and craftsmanship at a reasonable price.