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UA Band review: HTC's first ever wearable is a fitness tracking device

Florence Ion | Jan. 26, 2016
But there's no need to discount it. The UA Band actually an impressive fitness gadget, made better by the accompanying app.

The only annoyance is the Band’s magnetic charger. You have to stick it on a certain way and wait for the green light to indicate that it’s charging. The magnets aren’t very strong, though, and you can easily knock the Band away. There were a few times I thought it was charging it, but it wasn’t.

The app is what makes the Band

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The UA Record app offers one of the most intriguing interfaces in the fitness app realm. Credit: Florence Ion

The UA Record app has existed for some time, but Under Armour recently overhauled it so that it integrates with its new suite of new connected products. The UA Band would hardly stand out from the competition without the aid of its software. 

UA Record acts as a hub for your active life. The main interface utilizes a circle motif where a quarter of each bit of the “life pie” is devoted to a particular facet, including sleep, fitness, activity, and nutrition. In the middle is a button you press to reveal your current weight, though it remains hidden so that it’s not constantly in your face. At the bottom, you can rate how you’re feeling overall and then add any notes about your health for that day.

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UA Record charts your data and presents it in an organized, easy-to-read format.

The UA Record app is one of the most concise and informative fitness applications I’ve ever used. It offers charts to help you see your progress in a simplified manner, and everything is organized so that you know where you are in the interface and what exactly it is you’re looking at.  There’s also a social element to the app that encourages you to participate in challenges, but it’s hidden away in the hamburger menu as if to suggest that it’s not a primary function of the app. I like that it’s unassuming, and that the app leaves it up to you whether or not you want to bother with bringing others on your fitness journey.

Where UA Record really excels is with its integration of third-party connected products and applications. You can link up gadgets from the likes of Garmin, FitBit, and Jawbone, or hook in apps like MyFitnessPal to help you track your meals, and most of that information will sync up with your daily summaries. 

A worthy first try at a fitness wearable

It’s been interesting watching the development of this product from the sidelines.  I wasn’t too convinced at first that HTC could successfully build a fitness tracking device—not after the atrocity of the Grip—but this second time around has made me a believer. It’s unfortunate the company didn’t choose to hit the ground running with an Android Wear product, but perhaps this was a smarter business move on HTC’s part. Rather than venture out into a forest full of wolves, the company opted to partner up with a brand that’s already well-established in the fitness world, which will make its entry into the fitness market a little easier.

 

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