The LifeTrak Brite R450 is a fitness tracker that wants to do everything.
It looks like a conventional watch, so you can wear it as your everyday watch.
Not only does it monitor one's fitness activity, but it also tracks one's exposure to blue light, which is light emanating from displays of laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Blue light retards the production of melatonin, a hormone that controls one's sleep-wake cycles. It is used as a sleep aid.
Overexposure to blue light may lead to insomnia.
The R450 automatically tracks your sleep patterns and measures your heart rate.
It can be your smartwatch as well by displaying notifications when connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth.
In terms of looks, R450 has a rather plain design with a small round display and three buttons on its right.
The whole device feels plastic but the silicone strap feels comfortable enough.
The small display is always on and shows the time, but it is difficult to see the display under bright sunlight.
In dim conditions, the backlighting (press the middle button to activate this) does not help much.
This is a shame because the display lets you see all your statistics at a glance.
Just press the top button to toggle through the display's view, from notifications to fitness activity graphs.
Pressing the middle button toggles through the fitness statistics, such as distance walked, calories burned and steps taken.
Hold down this button to measure your heart rate.
The bottom button is the start/stop button, which you press to start and stop tracking your workouts.
Hold down this button to activate Bluetooth for syncing.
To sync the tracker with your smartphone, download the LifeTrak app (Android and iOS) first.
On my first try, it took me about 5min to sync the device with my iPhone 6 Plus.
On subsequent tries, the app would crash and the process needed to be restarted.
The app lets you input your vital statistics and set up alerts, such as an inactivity alert, which otherwise would be complicated to set up using the buttons.
The app also lets you toggle on/off notifications such as social media, SMS or e-mail.
The device displays the latest 20 notifications.
You can read some e-mail or SMS messages by pressing the bottom button, but not for all.
WhatsApp messages often showed up as rows of tiny squares.
Sleep tracking is supposed to be automatic, but that very function sometimes seemed to go to sleep.
Some days, it would tell me that I had slept for only an hour.
While the app might show you what blue light levels you are exposed to, it does not tell you if that is good or bad.
Or what time is not good for blue-light exposure.
On the bright side, the battery life is quite good. It should last six months.
No charging is required. It uses the regular CR2302 coin battery.
The fitness-tracking statistics are accurate. I checked them against my calibrated Nike+ FuelBand fitness tracker.
Heart-rate measurements varied little from those given by my Moto 360 smartwatch.
The LifeTrak Brite R450 tries to be a jack-of-all-trades fitness tracker but ends up being rather mediocre.
Water resistance: 30m
Value for money: 3/5
Battery life: 4/5
This article was first published on Feb 18, 2015.
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