iHealth Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker Review

Think Twice
This cheap activity monitor offers sleep tracking and can be worn with a clip at the waist or as a watch. However, it's so heavy and cumbersome that many owners don't bother using it.

The iHealth Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker (starting at $29, Amazon) is being slowly retired from shelves but still attracting buyers on Amazon. Based on the box, it should be one of the best activity monitors in the budget price range, but reviews tell another story.

The device can be slipped into a clip that attaches at the waist or into a band that fits around the wrist, where it doubles as a watch and displays the time. It's water-resistant and tracks steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and, as the name implies, sleep patterns. The device can even be set with a vibrating alarm to silently wake the wearer. The battery lasts about five to seven days before it needs to be recharged via USB cable.

Where to buy

Given all its functions and the option to wear it with a clip or on the wrist, one might expect iHealth Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker reviews to shower the device with praise. It's very inexpensive compared with popular fitness trackers that offer the same features, yet consumer reviewers find several faults. The first of these is the physical design of the device. Not all fitness trackers are comfortable or stylish, but some are better than others. One reviewer posting on Amazon says after just a week, the weight of the tracker had become a nuisance, especially in bed at night. Others comment on the size of the device when worn on the wrist and describe it as bulky and uncomfortable enough that they can't fall asleep while wearing it (it gathers sleep data only when worn on the wrist). One reviewer has a different objection to the design: He says the device looks and feels cheap -- so much so that he feels unsure about wearing it in public. Although generally we shied away from considering style in favor of utility in this comparison, a comment like that is noteworthy. Remarks about the tracker's weight, appearance, and bulky form lead us to recommend that potential customers see this tracker in person, and try it on if possible, before making a purchase.

IHealth Activity and Sleep Tracker reviews generally don't complain about the device's accuracy when measuring steps taken throughout the day, although a few recommend using it as a clip-on rather than a watch to increase accuracy. When it comes to counting calories burned, however, this tracker uses the same guesstimating method as many others that don't have a heart-rate monitor. The calorie count is based on step count and stats put in by the wearer (age, sex, height, and weight). It doesn't consider factors such as the intensity of the workout unless the wearer inputs a workout via the app.

One of the biggest selling points is the sleep-tracking function. Aside from the fact that the tracker may be too uncomfortable to wear during sleep, reviewers are generally pleased with the results. In sleep mode, the iHealth tracker collects data on when the wearer falls asleep, wakes up throughout the night, and is in deep sleep. However, without a heart-rate monitor, the data are based solely on movement.

IHealth Activity and Sleep Tracker reviews that mention the iHealth MyVitals app generally find it useful for more than just syncing and accessing data. The app adds the option of manually recording and tracking meals, for example. But some wish it would offer more a more detailed understanding of the data being recorded. Several reviewers mention the fact that it's free, a plus over a few competitors. Creating an account with a login and password provides access to the data via a web browser.

Our initial excitement at seeing an inexpensive fitness tracker that monitors sleep and can be worn as a clip-on or watch was drained after we dug into iHealth Activity and Sleep Tracker reviews. The world of fitness trackers is filled with options that consumers forget they're wearing or are proud to show off, and the iHealth is neither. Plus, without a heart-rate monitor, the sleep data aren't especially reliable. It's a nice try, but if you really want all these features in a useful, appealing form, you'll need to pony up a bit more cash.

Just don’t spring for the upgraded iHealth Edge AM3S (starting at $63). This version may be slightly more technologically “with it” than its predecessor -- it can now provide instant assessments at the end of workouts -- but what it makes up in data accessibility, it apparently loses in reliability. Selling for more than twice as much as the original model AM3, the AM3S Edge receives constant complaints about functionality in reviews on Amazon, even from customers given the device for free in exchange for their reviews. Many said the devices they purchased were faulty and they couldn’t get them to work at all.

Louis DeNicola

Louis DeNicola is a freelance personal finance writer who specializes in credit, debt, and practical money-saving tips. He loves stacking savings opportunities to get amazing deals, traveling for free using credit card rewards, and teaching others how to do the same. Connect with Louis by visiting louisdenicola.com.

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