Spire activity tracker review

{ 17 comments }

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With all of the activity trackers on the market right now, new trackers need to do more than just count your steps. They need to have a unique design and features that make them stand out from the crowd. The Spire activity tracker has both a unique design and feature set. With its soft touch stone sensor, wireless charging and ability to detect your state of mind, it is one of the more interesting trackers currently available. But is it enough? Let’s take a closer look.

Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.

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Included in the package

Spire stone sensor
Qi wireless charger
USB cable

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What is it?

The Spire is an activity tracker that can record your steps/activity and your breathing patterns to detect if you’re calm, focused or tense. It is made of durable plastic that looks like a stone but feels like soft textured plastic. The Spire is waterproof and sweat proof. It’s even washing machine proof!

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Attached to the sensor is a surgical grade stainless steel hypoallergenic clip.

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The Spire has been designed to be worn facing your body either by clipping it to the inside of your waist band or bra. If you just put the Spire in your pocket it will only be able to track your steps and not your breathing.

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I was happy to see that the Spire comes with a Qi-compatible wireless charger. That means no cables to plug in. All you have to do is unclip the Spire tracking sensor, set it on the charger and you’re done.

The charger has an attractive design that includes a cork pad and it also offers a USB port to connect a second USB cable for charging another device like a phone or tablet. If you have a Qi compatible device you should be able to use this charger to charge it. I tested it with my LG G3 with a Qi patch and it seemed to charge it just fine.

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The activity tracker runs for up to 7 days per charge and fully recharges in about 3 hours. A small blue LED (you can see it in the image above) will glow when the sensor is charging and will go out when the tracker is fully charged.

What can the Spire track?

The Spire activity tracker will track your steps, activity and your breathing patterns to show the periods when you’ve been calm, focused and tense. How can it do that? Here’s an explanation taken from Spire’s FAQ:

Spire uses a suite of sensors working in concert to process data with our proprietary algorithms to sense body position, activity, and breathing patterns. These sensors detect the respiratory movement of your body. Spire does not use the chemical makeup of your breath. The raw sensor data is sent to your phone, and from there, the cloud, where it is analyzed to provide personal feedback.

To see your recorded steps and breathing data you will need an iOS device like an iPhone or iPad and the free Spire app. Unfortunately, Android devices are not supported at this time but there are plans to have offer one at some point. I used a first gen iPad mini while testing the Spire.

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The Spire tracker uses Bluetooth to constantly sync your data when you’re within range of the paired device. You don’t have to initiate syncing, it all happens automatically. The Spire app interface is pretty easy to navigate and understand. The home page allows you to see how many minutes in the last hour that you’ve been calm, focused, active or tense.

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Tapping on one of the headings takes you to a page with additional info. And no, I didn’t know that beavers can hold their breath for 45 minutes.

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If you’re not doing too well focusing or remaining calm, the app provides voice guided breathing exercises to help boost your focus, calmness and energy. There’s even a deep meditation exercise. I tried all of the exercises but only found that the energy boost exercise was beneficial to me.

Final thoughts

As a step counter, the Spire activity tracker records steps as well as most other trackers that I’ve tried. While testing the Spire, I also wore another tracker and the steps recorded were within 100 or so steps of each other.

As far as the Spire being able to tell my state of mind, it’s hard for me to say if it’s accurately recording how calm, focused or tense that I am. I’ve been using the Spire for several days and it shows that I’m almost never tense, which is true. I’m really laid back and am rarely flustered. Each day I was able to reach my calmness goal (2hrs) without any problems. I didn’t fare so well with the Focus goal, but I don’t feel I need any help focusing as I’m able to handle what needs to be handled on a day to day basis. I think this tracker might be better suited for someone who needs help cultivating focus and calmness.

The Spire activity tracker is unique in both look and features, but with a price tag of $150, I think it’s over priced for what it offers right now. Since it only tracks steps and state of mind, and doesn’t work with Android devices, it feels a little lacking in the feature department when compared to other trackers that can track steps, stairs, sleep, heart rate and blood oxygen levels.

Note: the Spire does not track sleep but they are developing features to help Spire collect data about your sleeping positions, sleep stages, and breathing (or snoring) patterns, and recommend ways to improve your sleep quality.

Although I think the Spire activity tracker is overpriced, I still find it an interesting gadget because I like that companies are continuing to add unique features to fitness trackers. Now I just wish I could find one tracker that has all these features.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Spire. Please visit their site for more info.

 

Product Information

Price:$149.95
Manufacturer:Spire
Requirements:
  • iOS (7.1 or above required) for data syncing/viewing
Pros:
  • Wireless charging
  • Detects stress levels
  • Helps you relax with voice guided breathing exercises
  • Waterproof
Cons:
  • No Android or Windows phone support
  • Expensive for only tracking steps and breathing
Posted in: Health, Fitness, Sports, iOS, Reviews
{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Betty Widerski December 16, 2014, 10:29 am

    I pre-ordered one in Sept for $119, and it’s finally somewhere in USPS transit from CA – they had a Customs inspection delay earlier this month. I’m interested in the stress level tracking, since I already have a Fitbit (just got the Charge to finally replace my Force, though first tried the Charge HR which worked well but the wristband buckle design was too flimsy).

    • Julie Strietelmeier December 16, 2014, 10:46 am

      @Betty after you get a few days to try it out, please come back here and let us know what your thoughts are about it.

  • meistervu December 17, 2014, 1:09 pm

    I have no interest in activity tracker. However, I feel compelled to comment on the main product photo.

    It’s a terrible photo because looking at it I have no idea that the tracker is sitting on a charging pad. At first it appeared that the tracker and the charging pad is a single unit which looks like a clipped on mirror, quite unattractive I think.

    I would at least turn the tracker on its side to create more contrast.

    • Julie Strietelmeier December 17, 2014, 2:48 pm

      @meistervu did you forget how to scroll? If a person is interested in reading about this product, they will scroll down and see more images that are less terrible.

      • meistervu December 17, 2014, 10:01 pm

        Ah, scrolling. Thanks for mentioning it. You learn something new everyday. What do they think of next.

        The image I mentioned was on the main page of your site. As I SCROLL down the page, I see the headline for the review, with the unfortunate aforementioned image. I could click on the link to go to the article and see better images.

        My point is that the headline image is ambiguous. I couldn’t tell what I am looking at, a Roomba?, a mirror? It’s like one of the puzzle in which you try to figure out what an object is based on a partial close-up of it.

        In the world of advertising, that would be a really bad image because it didn’t make a good first impression. A casual reader would have no interest in reading the article after seeing it.

  • Truffol December 17, 2014, 10:05 pm

    We recently found out that the Mi Band (by XiaoMi) is now compatible with iOS, which is huge since it’s only $13. (Just checked and their app is indeed available on iOS app store). Would you consider reviewing it? (Not many Western/English blogs have reviewed it and I’m wondering if it’s a good buy). Pretty tempted to pick a $13 device over $50+ competitors…

    • Julie Strietelmeier December 18, 2014, 7:31 am

      @Truffol the Mi Band is almost $30 through Amazon. I’m not finding it anywhere for $13. The 30 day battery life does sounds nice!

      • Truffol December 18, 2014, 10:27 pm

        ahhh the middlemen. Perhaps one day when Xiaomi decides to enter Western countries all of those in America can enjoy the same prices too. Same thing with their pistons earbuds. They go for $14.4 in China but are $23 on Amazon. But even that isn’t too bad.

  • Detroit Me December 22, 2014, 11:37 am

    I ordered mine in September and, after endless complaining on social media about them taking my money in early September and not shipping til December, I received my Spire December 17th . I just emailed them today about a refund. Yes, it tracks steps and that really is about it. The “Calm” and “Focus” have no discernible connection to my breathing or state of mind. The boosts are nice, but I recently downloaded Headspace and am getting more from that. It is constantly telling me to re-position and is so uncomfortable wearing at night, it is ridiculous. Won’t measure anything when worn on the waistband or center of bra and is intermittent on the side of the bra. A friend ordered one as well and she is having even less luck getting it to read anything. I was under the impression it would alert you somehow when you were “stressed” but so far wearing it for 4 days non-stop, nothing.
    I wanted so badly for this to be what it was advertised as but it just isn’t.

  • Linda S December 22, 2014, 12:14 pm

    Last week, I finally received the Spire I ordered in September. I’d like to tell you how it’s working, but mostly it needs repositioning. I get a message to reposition about every 20 minutes, all day long. I have sent emails to spire through the device without any response. Then (hilariously), it tells me I’m a little tense. Seriously. I can not utilize the device unless I can determine why it does not like being worn in the positions that are recommended by Spire. I can’t be moving it all day long. I’m looking for a refund, now. Best of luck to the rest of you.

    • Linda S December 22, 2014, 12:24 pm

      What is the point of having a site for reviews… if you have to agree to the content first? Maybe you should redirect your efforts to monitoring your customer complaint/assistance emails? Simply refund my money. This is too much of an aggravation without the proper customer service.

      • Julie Strietelmeier December 22, 2014, 4:18 pm

        @Linda S this is not a customer support site for Spire. This is an independent review/news site. I’m sorry that you are having issues with the product and their customer service. I’ll let my PR contact know about this. Not sure it will help, but it might.

  • Bob K. January 2, 2015, 10:06 am

    After reading this review, I purchased a Spire and received it right before Christmas. Like the other comments, mine kept alerting me to reposition the Spire to monitor my breathing. I contacted their tech support (which has been outstanding, BTW) and was advised that there were some units that had a problem that was causing this. They are sending me a new Spire.

    Some other comments:
    –The app IMO is absolutely gorgeous! There is tons of data, although I’m still struggling to figure out what it all means.
    –I’m not so sure about the accuracy of the step count, although clip on pedometers generally are more accurate than those worn on the wrist. Yesterday, my Garmin Vivosmart registered 7564 steps, while the Spire registered 5577.
    –I receive messages on the app that describe my “calm” and “tense” periods. There are also little snippets of health-related info that are interesting.
    –As I look at the app now, It’s showing a “Calm Streak” going on ten minutes with a cool, flowing graph much like what a medical device would show.
    –The “Boosts” are an interesting addition, as well. I find these little exercises for focus, calm, energy and deep meditation helpful.
    –As I mentioned earlier, Spire tech support has been outstanding! Even during the Christmas holiday, they responded within hours of my emails.

  • Cindy H. February 4, 2015, 8:01 am

    When my first Spire arrived, I was excited. I charged it and set it up on my iPhone, then wore it to work the next day. I kept constantly getting the “reposition” message until I finally contacted CS (as someone else said, their CS is very helpful and friendly). Within a couple hours they were able to tell me mine was one of the units with a faulty sensor and they were sending me a new Spire. I received the new one yesterday and, although it initially seemed to work and it did updates, charging, etc., this morning I tapped it to make sure it was charged (the LED on the device should blink) and it is DOA. No blinking LED, no connection to my iPhone, nothing (even though there had been no trouble with this when I pulled it out of the box). I’ve tried to troubleshoot it for an hour now but it is completely unresponsive. Once more I’ve had to contact Spire CS and tell them my replacement Spire is a dud. I really would like to see the potential this device promises–especially since I tend to stress out easily–but so far all I’m seeing is fail. Maybe the third time will be the charm…? Otherwise I’m getting a refund and saving my money for something more dependable. What a shame.

    • Bob K. February 4, 2015, 11:45 am

      Cindy,
      I contacted them last week about my Spire getting disconnected from my phone and having no way of knowing unless I check the app. They acknowledged that there is a glitch that they are working on. Like you though, I am getting a little frustrated with the issues with this device.

  • T Lev February 12, 2015, 1:40 pm

    THEY DON’T DELIVER *** TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE. Ordered a Spire on Saturday and paid for 2-day expedited shipping, nothing by Tue, only on Thu they finally responded saying it’s back ordered. GOT ME STRANDED FOR VALENTINE’S DAY after wasting 5 precious days leaving me ONLY 1 DAY to get something else. A waste of time + a BIG problem for me. NOT COOL. Screwed me over. STAY AWAY.

    • T Lev February 12, 2015, 2:57 pm

      UPDATE / CORRECTION – THE COMEBACK OF THE CENTURY!

      WOW! Failed to deliver b/c of inventory shortage (a good problem to have!) but then founder called me personally to apologize + offered a free device. GO SPIRE! Can’t wait to get the device!

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