Striiv is a company incorporated in 2010, which is considered long in the technological segment. They design and manufacture activity bands with their own interface and UX. The Striiv Fusion Bio 2 I have on review here is their top-line product, with features from all their earlier products.
- Supports on-device habitual journaling, like diet, water intake, weight, medication, without using smartphone.
- Displays real time stats on the device, like steps, calories, distance, activity time.
- Continuous heart rate monitoring.
- Supports notification alerts for incoming calls, texts, meetings, and smartphone apps.
- Supports smartphone music control.
Packaging and Setting Up
The retail package comes with 3 silicon straps of black, blue and purple, which is a great premium, given most other brands come with only a single strap colour. The black strap also comes with a strap holder, so that when the user cuts the strap to fit smaller wrist, the holder can keep the strap together.
Swapping the strap is really simple, just push the unit towards the back of the strap. The unit has to be removed from the strap for charging. Note that the Bio 2 is only splash proof, as it is rated only IPX4, and definitely NOT waterproof.
Initially I was worried about re-inserting the device in the wrong orientation, but I later found that it is possible to change the orientation under the strap settings.
Like many activity trackers, the Fusion Bio 2 must be paired to a smartphone app before it can work. Until then, the display will show a Striiv URL to direct the user to download the app and pair. Upon installation, there will be screen guides to get you set up the necessary information, like age, weight, and more importantly, your desired goals for daily steps, activity level, sleep hours, hydration. There is no specific goals on workouts, but that falls under the “active (min)” where the Bio 2 will track how active you are.
Once everything is set up, you can start to wear the Fusion Bio 2 to let it track your daily activities. Under the user settings, there is an option to specify your stride length, which should improve the accuracy of the captured distance, though there is no option to specify running stride length. Some data like fluid intake, weight, diet, medication (if needed) are manually entered on the Bio 2. The stats will be displayed on the smartphone app whenever the data is synced.
One of the most commonly-asked questions is: what does one do with all the data? The purpose of such fitness tracker is to capture stats for individuals who are working towards specific health goals, like drinking 2 litres of water daily, doing 30 minutes of light activity. Compared to many activity trackers I reviewed previously, the Bio 2 lets me capture information, especially weight progress, diet status, fluid intake, medication, on a periodic basis.
The stats you capture can be reviewed from time to time to see if you have achieved the goals daily, weekly, or monthly. The Bio 2 can also remind you to input the data like weight, diet, medications. The frequency of the reminders can be configured on the smartphone app based on your needs. I like that there is a dedicated “medication” goal, which would be a great feature for people who needs to take regular medication, and to track if they have missed any medication.
If you do not have any specific goals in your health routine, then you will certainly find fitness trackers like the Bio 2 meaningless.
When there are incoming calls, texts or app events, the band will buzz and display the notification detail. But because the display can only show a single short line, it does not display the full notification in a single view so I need to scroll to see more details.
The other behaviour of the app notifications is that when there are multiple notification events, the device will vibrate one at a time over intervals, instead of skipping to the latest. This method can be irritating when there are multiple incoming messages.
The Fusion Bio 2 is definitely not a product for consumers who need to read notifications off the band display. For that, the Samsung Gear Fit2 would be much better option. It is easy to configure the notification features from the Device Settings menu.
Continuous Heartrate Monitoring
The Fusion Bio 2 can monitor the heartrate continuously, 24 hours. The result will be presented on the smartphone app. Surprisingly, it does not heavily drain the battery. During my review period, the battery drops 12% a day with continuous monitoring.
Without continuous monitoring, it is possible to check heartrate on-demand, but the readings will not be saved to the app.
As a Watch
One of the reasons for the long battery life has got to be the display, which is only turned on when I double-tap the device at the sides, not on the screen. There is an option to enable wrist gesture to turn on the display. The watch face is fixed without option to personalise, hence the Bio 2 is not focused as an alternative to a wristwatch. Under bright sunlight, the display lacks brightness – as seen in the photo below.
Based on my review, the sleep tracking feature on the smartphone app seems to work the least responsively. The graphs load slowly and not all the tabs – hours, days, weeks, months – display the data consistently (see screenshot below). Scrolling the timeline is also laggy. On good days, the information captures the sleep patterns, how long I was in deep sleep, light sleep, and awake.
I sent my feedback to AXTRO Sports, the Singapore distributor, who then advised me to use the “Send Feedback” feature on the smartphone app in order for the Striiv technical support team to investigate. Apparently, they have the ability to check the app logs remotely, only if I create a ticket from the app.
The Striiv Customer Care responded a day later and informed me that the smartphone I was using (Zenfone 3 Max and LG G5) to review the Bio 2 was not in the list of supported devices. They also added that it appeared the app was crashing, and so the log data is not captured properly.
The local distributor also shared that once the Striiv determined the cause, it will then assist in the device replacement or servicing. Owners of Striiv products should take note of this process. I browsed the Striiv online portal and it appears to be well-supported.
The Striiv smartphone app lets you search for friends who are also using Striiv so that you can discuss the health. The app also has a game called “My Land”, where it requires the user to get active in order to grow plants and earn gold.
The Striiv Fusion Bio 2 is one of the more unique activity trackers I have reviewed. Other than the usual tracking of steps, activity level, and continuous heartrate, it offers capabilities to remind and capture additional health data like liquid intake, weight, diet, medication. These data are journalised and summarised on the companion app to provide a wellness history. The heartrate monitor can be continuously tracked 24-7 while maintaining an impressive 7-day battery life.
Other features like watchface and app notification are secondary functions that the Fusion Bio 2 does not excel, but nonetheless available for the user. The UI is not the most intuitive nor pretty, but one will get used to it, and it serves the purpose of letting the user wear and forget, thanks to the thin strap – bundled with 3 colours for wear variety – which is comfortable and unobtrusive.
Although I faced some technical issues with the smartphone app, I received good support response from the Customer Service. Not surprisingly, the issue lies with the Android smartphone app (just too many Android variants out there for manufacturers to support entirely) rather than the hardware.
The Fusion Bio 2 is distributed by AXTRO Sports and retail price is S$179. Also available at Lazada and leading electronic stores, they are offering readers 5% discount by using this promo code FIT16 when purchasing at the AXTRO Sports website. I would recommend this for the elderly and anyone who needs the journaling reminders like medication, fluid intake, weight tracking, continuous heart rate monitoring, without worrying about battery life.