REVIEW – As January and a brand new year rolls around, many people make resolutions to get healthier and thinner. Are you someone who aims to get healthier? Achieving these goals requires motivation, willpower, and fitness equipment to help you see progress towards your goals. A new fitness gadget that I have been testing in the last 2 weeks is the WHOOP 4.0 band. What does it do and what did I think of it? Read on to find out!
What is it?
The WHOOP 4.0 is a wearable biometric tracker that collects sleep data, skin temperature, blood oxygen, heart rate data and more.
What’s in the box?
- WHOOP 4.0 fitness band
- battery charging module
- USB-C charging cable
- setup guide
design and functions
The WHOOP 4.0 is a fitness tracker that is IP68 dustproof and waterproof. It has no built-in display or buttons.
It features an expandable closure design and the ability to customize it by swapping out the elastic straps, available in different colors.
On the bottom of the WHOOP 4.0 fitness tracker is the sensor that uses 5 LEDs and 4 photodiodes to track your heart rate, sleep cycle, skin temperature, etc.
Charging the WHOOP and battery life
WHOOP doesn’t have a port to connect a charging cable as it uses a small wireless battery that charges with a USB-C cable.
The waterproof battery slides over the top of the WHOOP sensor. The cool thing is that you can slide this in place while actually wearing the band. This means that there are no gaps in your fitness data during the loading process.
There is an LED on the edge of the WHOOP 4.0 that visually indicates the battery level. When you tap the top of the sensor, if it’s amber or red, the LED will flash green, amber, or red to let you know you should charge it. You can also check the battery level through the WHOOP app. During my testing of this fitness tracker, I was able to use the WHOOP sensor for about 3 days before needing to charge it.
Comfort when wearing WHOOP
The elastic strap was comfortable on my wrist. I had no trouble wearing the WHOOP during the day, but I did find the wide sensor a bit uncomfortable when wearing it to sleep. I really don’t like wearing anything on my wrist at night, so maybe I’m overly sensitive. For people like me, WHOOP offers special clothing such as underwear with built in pockets/sleeves that you can put the sensor in so it fits snugly against your body so you don’t have to wear it around your wrist.
The WHOOP app
Since the WHOOP 4.0 fitness band does not have a visual display to see your fitness data, you must use an app to interact with it.
When you launch the app for the first time, you’ll need to create an account and provide a credit card number. More on that later. You also need to decide what your primary goal is: optimal training, overall fitness, or a focus on wellness. I chose general fitness and was then asked to choose from several options that interested me.
The app’s main screen shows your fitness status for the day, as well as battery status and WHOOP’s cloud sync status. From the main screen you can start an activity, which will prompt you with a long list of different fitness activities. WHOOP is supposed to automatically detect some activity, but during my testing I started and stopped each activity manually.
When the activity starts, you can see a live view of your heart rate information and load. You can also see a GPS view of where you are performing the activity. This feature would be great if you are a runner or workout in the great outdoors, unlike my activities which consisted of indoor treadmill walks and indoor workouts in my basement.
Note that WHOOP does not track step count, but does show distance information.
You can get more information about each of your past activities/workouts by tapping it in the main view. From there you can see the estimated number of calories burned, the average and maximum heart rate during the activity, and the duration of each activity.
Regarding the heart rate sensor of the WHOOP. I was also wearing my Apple Watch Series 6 the entire time I tested the WHOOP fitness band. I was able to view real-time heart rate on both devices and found that the heart rate data from the WHOOP sensor and the Apple Watch always within 1-2 beats of each other.
The interesting thing about WHOOP is that it collects your fitness data and uses that data to calculate a daily stress score for each day. The score lets you know whether you should rest or work harder the next day.
WHOOP also analyzes your various health metrics like resting heart rate and HRV (heart rate variability) to give you a recovery score. You can then use this metric to see how your activity affects your recovery and helps you avoid overtraining and injury.
The app offers a lot of good information in easy-to-understand graphs and charts along with short blurbs at the top of the screen that condense the information into one bite-sized block of information so you don’t have to wonder how to interpret the data.
WHOOP even tracks your breathing rate, which indicates issues related to COVID and more if you notice drastic changes.
The Coaching feature provides you with a daily stress/stress goal based on the recovery score from the previous day’s activity stress. With this goal, you’ll know whether to take it slow or give it your all to meet your goals for the day.
WHOOP is also a sleep coach that tracks your sleep patterns so it can tell you when to go to bed so you can have the best recovery. It can also use haptic feedback to wake you up at the optimal time based on your set alarm time.
This is where I’m going to lose some of you… You’re not actually buying the WHOOP 4.0 Fitness Tracker. It’s free. What you pay for is a monthly or yearly membership which is only $18 per month ($324 upfront) for 18 months, $24 per month ($288 per year) or $30 per month for a minimum of 6 months.
What I like
- Lots of good data on sleep, stress and recovery
- Easy to understand and actionable information/advice
What I would change
- Offer a pay-once price and never have to pay for a monthly membership
It is important to note that WHOOP is not a smartwatch. There’s no display and it doesn’t buzz when you receive a text message on your phone or a call. What WHOOP is is a hardcore fitness tracker that provides lots of data and coaching tips that you can use to optimize your sleep and reach your fitness goals. If you’re willing to pay for membership, this tracker can be a formidable tool in your health toolbox.
price: $18 – $30 per month membership (the WHOOP 4.0 fitness band is included)
Where to buy: HOOP
source: The template for this review was provided by WHOOP.