If there is one thing that is sorely lacking in the explosion of fitness and activity tracking devices, it is a feminine look. I mean, there’s very little diversity in form and function in the first place, but when it comes to differentiating wearables by gender there simply aren’t many options out there.
The Bellabeat Leaf is an activity tracker that is uniquely feminine in both form and function. We recently had the opportunity to test out a Leaf that Bellabeat sent us for review.
The Leaf is about the size and shape of a small to medium sized leaf you might find on a tree. It is 1.8 inches tall by 1.1 inches wide and less than half an inch thick.
There are a variety of looks available—different patterns and colors of metal—but the underlying form is the same regardless. There is a wood composite “pebble” encased in a hypoallergenic stainless steel clip. It is designed to be worn as a necklace or bracelet, or just clipped on to your clothing.
The unit is water resistant, but not rechargeable. It runs on a standard CR2032 watch battery with an estimated lifespan of about six months.
The function of the Leaf is similar to just about any other activity or fitness tracking gadget. You simply wear it to gather information about when, how, and how much you’re moving, and then sync that data with an app on your phone. Bellabeat offers an app for both iOS and Android, and the data can be synced wirelessly from the Leaf using Bluetooth.
Leaf tracks the standard things you’d expect from a fitness monitoring device—activity, steps, etc. The Leaf takes a more holistic approach than most, though—and more feminine. In addition to monitoring activity, the Leaf also monitors sleep, mindfulness, stress, and your menstrual cycle.
Well, not my experience, actually. The Leaf is a distinctly feminine device with distinctly feminine features, so I let my wife test it out.
I’ll start with a quick back story. My primary activity tracking device is my Apple Watch, but I used to rely simply on my iPhone. My wife was trying to use her iPhone for monitoring steps and activity, but her phone is often in her purse, which means that it isn’t always with her—and even when it is, it doesn’t necessarily record accurate data. To solve that problem, I bought her a Fitbit Zip that she can clip on to her waistband.
The Leaf offers that same versatility, but with the added bonus that it can also be worn as a pendant or a bracelet. It comes with a silver chain and a leather bracelet strap in the box, so you have all of the options available to you. We found that sometimes you might want to change where you wear it, depending on what you’re trying to monitor or track. Necklace or bracelet mode are good for all-day activity tracking, but we got more accurate results for sleep by clipping it to the waistband of pajamas.
The Leaf app is a crucial part of the experience, because there is no display on the Leaf itself. The only way you can view the data is by syncing the device with the app. Thankfully, the app is nicely done and relatively simple to use.
You set your goals in the app settings to define how much activity you’re striving for in a given day, how much sleep, how much meditation, etc. One thing that’s cool is that you can manually add activity as well. Activities added manually show up in a different color on the Activity tab, so you can’t just cheat without getting caught. It’s nice, though, to be able to give yourself credit for activity even if you happen to forget to wear the device. You can also set the Leaf to vibrate if you’re inactive for too long—a little prompt to get off your butt and go do something.
The mindfulness, stress, and period tracking make the Leaf more comprehensive than many fitness devices. Meditation and breathing exercises help you to relax and be mindful. The period tracking lets you track your cycles. It will also attempt to predict which days you’re ovulating, and includes the ability to set a reminder for things like taking a birth control pill every day.
The Leaf Urban Silver Edition that we tested costs $139 on the Bellabeat website. There are certainly cheaper fitness and activity tracking gadgets out there, but $139 is a reasonable price for this device—especially when you consider that it also comes with the necklace and bracelet to give you options for how to wear and use it.
The Leaf has a uniquely feminine appearance that stands out in a crowd of indistinguishable black bands, and the app allows it to monitor health and fitness from a uniquely feminine perspective as well. The only other wearable device I’ve seen that addresses the gender gap this well is Omate Lutetia smartwatch. No activity tracker is perfect—and the Leaf is no exception. It doesn’t monitor heartrate, and the lack of any sort of display on the device itself may be an issue for some, but if you want to monitor and track your fitness with style, you should check out the Leaf.
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