I've tried a number of fitness wearables and most of them wind up lacking in one area or another. With many you can have solid hardware with shoddy software, or the software offers outstanding tools, but lacks in the hardware department. So when Jaybird asked if I'd be interested in giving their Reign a go, I was (as you might expect) skeptical. But I agreed and slapped one on my wrist.
That was about two months ago. The Reign hasn't left my arm since (outside of charging). Strangely enough,I've become quite fond of the device and use it daily for runs and keeping track of my physical output. Reign offers one of the best wearable software tools I've used and the band is quite pleasant to wear.
What does it track?
- Physical movement (broken down in standard and active)
- Active time
- Time slept
With the Reign software you set your standard bits (age, weight, height, etc), but also a daily activity goal (how long you exercise daily) and your bedtime. The bedtime is key in that Reign tracks your sleep. Reign is actually considered an activity and recovery wearable. That recovery is key. Exercise buffs (or anyone involved in IT) knows sleep is crucial for normal everyday function. The ability find a solid balance between activity and rest is important for your health. As well, the ability to keep a record of said rest could give you an intelligent look into why you're running on empty by the end of the week.
Setting up your Reign is really quite simple. You install the software from the Google Play Store or the iTunes Store, answer a few quick questions, and then pair your device. The pairing of the device is easy. You lightly wet your thumb and index finger and place the Reign between your fingers (index finger on the top sensor and thumb on the bottom - Figure A) and then tapping the PAIR button on the app.
Pairing the Reign.
Once you've paired your Reign, you're ready to go. Start running, swimming, walking, sleeping and Reign will track your activity.
The Reign software is one of the best in its category. At a glance, you can check your current activity score, your sleep trends, and your Go-Zone. The Activity tab will change, depending upon your movement. As you can see (in Figure B), it's early in the morning, so I haven't been all that active.
The Reign Activity tab on a Verizon-branded Nexus 6.
If you tap the Menu button (top left corner) and then tap History, you can then scroll through your daily history of activity (Figure C).
The Reign history showing all your activity for the past days.
You can view your history by Day, Week, Month, or Year. When you view by, say, Month, you can get an at-a-glimpse of your daily averages for points, calories, steps, distance, and time slept (Figure D).
Monthly averages are a nice addition.
One very cool feature of the Reign is the Go-Zone. This zone is Reign attempting to keep you in a state of balance...where you're getting enough sleep and exercise. After two months of usage, I've yet to have a single day where I've met that coveted zone (too much exercising and not enough rest). This is a great way to help you learn solid recovery habits...which will lead to a healthier lifestyle.
A couple of caveats
All of these types of devices (those which track your movement with the likes of accelerometers and not GPS), the accuracy is, well, not accurate. A run which I have measured with both a standard odometer and GPS device measures exactly 6 miles, turns in at 4.1 miles using the Reign (as well as other, similar, devices). That is not so much a caveat for Jaybird's device, but these "fitbit" devices in general...none of them are very accurate with distance. Unfortunately, there are variables they do not take into consideration (such as stride length) that prevent any level of accuracy.
However, you do not employ such a device for exact mileage of your runs and walks. This is about tracking general fitness or, for the very active, recovery times. I know my runs tend to be 5-7 miles in length, so I can look at the Reign numbers with a nod to that difference.
The second caveat is that you have to manually sync device and software. It's simple (you just have to open the software, go to the Dashboard, and swipe down), but would be nice if sync could happen in the background at user-set intervals. That is a very minor nit to pick, considering how easy it is to sync the device.
Let it reign
I've tried, over the years, to like fitness wearables. It wasn't until I strapped on the Jaybird Reign that I was able to fall in love with such a device. I haven't taken my Reign off (outside of charging) since I opened the package and cannot imagine I will be removing it any time soon Figure E).
Me and my Reign.
If you're looking for the best fitness/recovery wearable on the market, look no further than Jaybird's Reign.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.