The iHealth Edge (AM3S) is an activity tracker that looks like a regular watch, but measures the number of steps you walk or run each day, distance travelled and calories burned. At night, it analyses the quality of your sleep, so it offers 24-hour personal monitoring.
Activity trackers are making a lot of us fitter – or at least more active – with their encouraging statistics of our exercise and sleeping patterns. Following in the steps of Fitbit, Jawbone and the Apple Watch, the Edge is actually just one part of a large family of health-monitoring devices, which includes wireless scales to measure your weight, a pulse oximeter to check the oxygen levels in your blood, and blood-pressure monitors, as well as glucometers to measure your glucose levels. If you want a doctor’s armoury at home, iHealth has the digital tools you need to monitor a wide range of key health signals.
We wore the iHealth Edge alongside a Fitbit Charge HR (top of our best activity charts on page 135), which provides more measuring data (heart-rate sensor and an altimeter for floors climbed), but also the basics. The more advanced Fitbit models also offer Caller ID and other notifications, linked to your phone. The Edge doesn’t have this handy feature. It does measure your sleep patterns though, recording when you were awake, asleep or in deep sleep.
One feature we particularly like is its automatic Workout Mode. After a period of activity, the Edge detects when you have finished your walk or run and buzzes your wrist to show you how long your workout/walk lasted plus the steps, distance and calorie stats.
Like all good trackers, the Edge syncs with a free app. The iHealth MyVitals is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Here you can check your performance against your own fitness goals.
The app is impressively clear and can also connect with other iHealth devices. You can look at ‘Recent’ for that day’s activity stats, and also Trends, which can show stats by Week, Month and Year. We would, however, have preferred the ability to swipe back through more detailed stats on previous days rather than just the day today and then more basic trends.
The iHealth Edge can also share its data with the Apple Health Kit if you prefer to use Apple’s app – something you can’t do with any of Fitbit’s activity trackers.
Like the Apple Watch and the forthcoming Fitbit Alta, the Edge can politely remind you to get out of your seat and move around at set intervals of inactivity. We love this feature as it’s all too easy to sit at your desk during the day and not move for a few hours. A gentle prompt to go take a walk, make a cup of tea, or whatever is a neat way to make you increase your activity during the day. You can also set a quiet vibrating alarm to wake you but not your partner. One turn and it will show you the date and time, plus battery life and whether the device is connected by Bluetooth.
The Edge has a large, circular screen, much like a normal watch. The backlit display is activated by a
The Edge can also share its data with the Apple Health Kit if you prefer to use Apple’s app – something you can’t do with Fitbit’s trackers
simple turn of the wrist. Otherwise, it stays off to save battery life.
Tap the screen and you’ll see how many steps you’ve taken during that particular day, tap it again for the distance you have travelled (on foot). The next tap will reveal the estimated calories that you have burned that day. It will also show you how far you have progressed to your performance goals.
Unlike other trackers, the Edge ships with four different colour bands: black, grey, pink and orange. You can swap these as the mood takes you, and having spares is always handy. The tracker itself can be easily popped in and out of the strap, but isn’t loose enough to fall out of its own accord.
We prefer the watch-buckle type fastening found in the Fitbit’s Charge HR, Blaze (see page 38) and Surge, and the Apple Watch. Owners of the Fitbit Charge and Flex have often complained about the pop-in clasp working itself loose, and therefore getting itself lost.
The Edge’s pop-in clasp does, however, feel more secure than the Fitbit’s clasp, and we had no problems with it slipping off in the week that we tested it.
If you prefer to use the iHealth Edge as a clip-on tracker, it also comes with a clip-on carrier (pictured left) that feels tighter and more secure than the one you get with the Fitbit Zip or One.
The multiple wristbands and clip-on option set the Edge apart from other trackers where such extras come at a greater cost.
The iHealth Edge charges via USB, and the proprietary charger.
The Edge is part of a suite of fitness-monitoring devices that will help you use exercise to get more healthy. It measures most (but not all) of what rival activity trackers do, and its app connects to wireless scales and pulse measures, plus other health-related gadgets. If you prefer your tracker to look more like a watch than a band, you’ll like its old-school round trackers. It comes with a range of coloured wristbands, plus a clip-on holder. It lacks some of Fitbit’s measures (such as heart-rate monitoring and number of floors climbed, plus Caller ID), but boasts an automatic workout and exercise reminders mode that are absent from the older Fitbits.
If you prefer to use the Edge as a clip-on tracker, it also comes with a clip-on carrier that feels more secure than the one you get with the Fitbit Zip