Review: Tinke

Review: Tinke

Tinke measures your fitness and stress levels. It is about the size of a matchbox, but flatter.

You place your thumb over the sensor groove for about a minute for the gadget to "read" the blood and oxygen levels in the blood vessels of your thumb.

First launched for the iOS platform last year, the new Tinke is designed for Android devices and connects to the Tinke app on your Android smartphone via Bluetooth.

This is more convenient than the iOS version, which must be plugged directly into the Apple device.

The new app is beautifully designed and easy to use. You do not need to read any instructions.

The device measures heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen level and heart-rate variation.

The first three are aggregated together to form what its makers calls the Vita score. The heart-rate variation is translated into a Zen score, which indicates how stressed you are.

Surprisingly for someone so unfit, I had a good Vita score. My score ranged from 73 (average) to 84 (fresh), out of a maximum of 99 points.

My Zen score, however, was not so good.

It fluctuated between 20 (anxious) and 31 (composed), out of a maximum of 99 points. World averages are 80 for the Vita score and 57 for the Zen score.

There are already stand-alone apps which can be downloaded to measure your heart rate, with the phone camera working as an optical sensor in a similar fashion. However, these apps mainly measure only your heart rate.

The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5 has a built-in heart-rate monitor which works in a similar fashion.

Tinke is powered by a built-in rechargeable battery which is supposed to last about a month on a full charge. The charging cable is a standard micro-USB cable.

The Vita score is useful for tracking general wellness, but its usefulness is limited.

Unlike the standard "round-the-chest" heart rate bands, it does not monitor your heart rate continuously. Fitness buffs use these bands in order to work out within the optimal range of their heart rate.

Tinke lacks a pedometer, so it cannot measure your speed, distance or steps taken to help you achieve a higher level of fitness.

The Tinke looks cool, but has limited functions.

ginlee@sph.com.sg

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