Let me start off with a confession — I am not a fitness enthusiast. If you ask me to choose between going to the gym or staying at home and playing on my PlayStation, well I will choose the latter. I’m also a foodie who likes exploring new eateries, and have a couple of vices that are better left unsaid on a public platform such as this. But recently, I became a bit conscious about my growing waistline, and coincidentally I was asked to review the new GOQii 2.0 band around the time I decided to do something about my health. I have been using the band and GOQii’s services every day for a couple of months now and here’s my review.
GOQii hasn’t drastically changed the design of its band, but look closely and you will notice that the OLED display is a tad bigger, the quality of the silicone band has been improved, and most importantly, it now has a clasp like a standard watch. This fixes one of my complaints with the previous-generation band wherein I was always afraid of the band slipping off my wrists when I was on a treadmill. Speaking of fixing issues, the new band now comes with an integrated USB port. This is a huge advantage over the previous band and even the likes of the popular Xiaomi Mi Band, since you no longer need to carry around a separate USB charger. You can simply remove the core from the silicone band and plug it into a laptop or power bank to charge it.
Along with a bigger display, GOQii has also managed to fit in a slightly bigger battery, which is claimed to be good enough to last for about 14 days. During my usage though, the maximum number of days the band lasted on a charge was about a week. But when I turned on the display notifications feature, my constantly buzzing smartphones apps would drain the band’s battery in just two days. Though you can’t interact with the notifications, I do prefer keeping them on since they are useful when you are outside and are sometimes unaware of the phone ringing in your pockets. I also do not mind charging the band every two days since I simply plug the core into my laptop while working. Despite being constantly connected to my smartphone, I didn’t notice any significant difference in my phone’s battery life.
Another interesting addition to the band is NFC support, but the overall functionality is pretty much at the nascent stage at the moment. The band now also comes with auto sleep detection, which was not available on the last-gen wearable. If I were to nitpick though, I do miss the heart-rate monitoring feature which is really useful when in the gym. GOQii has promised that its next band will have the feature, but there’s no word on when it will be launched. In the meantime though, the new Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is the only other affordable fitness tracker with the feature. It was recently launched in India with a price tag of Rs 1,999.
With the launch of the GOQii 2.0 band, the company also slashed the prices of its subscription, which now starts from Rs 1,999 for three months of coaching. Since you do not have to pay for the band, that is the minimum amount you need to pay to get your hands on the GOQii 2.0 band. But the good thing is, you don’t really need to use the GOQii band at all, as the ecosystem also supports other popular trackers from companies like Fitbit, Garmin, and Jawbone to name a few. This brings us to the highlight of the band, which sets it miles apart from most fitness trackers — the ecosystem.
Apart from just tracking your fitness activities, GOQii offers you a personal coach for the duration of your subscription who helps you on your path to fitness. While this may not apply to all, but in my experience, having a personal coach really helped me bring in major changes to my lifestyle. When you fire up the app for the first time and sign in, you will need to connect the tracker via Bluetooth. The syncing was pretty straightforward, and I quickly moved on to the next step where I had to answer a few questions about my lifestyle and my fitness goals. Based on my answers, I was given a choice of three to four fitness coaches, and I was asked to select one. While each of them is qualified and has reviews from users as well, you cannot change the coach once you have selected them from the list.
After having used a couple of fitness trackers before, I have come to realize the importance of someone who can decode all the data these wearables track. Even with the coaching intensity at the lowest, I was able to get to valuable information and tips to get fit, and I still follow all her suggestions. The coach is not only good at motivating you, but at times I literally stopped myself from indulging in junk food so as to not disappoint her.
With GOQii 2.0, the company also introduced a few new health-related features for users like doctor consultation, diagnostic services, HRA (health risk assessment) and a health locker to store medical records. With just a tap on the app, you can book a consultation with a doctor who may be able to give you better suggestions on improving your lifestyle. Mind you, GOQIi clearly says that the doctors on the app are not for medical emergencies, but are basically an extension of your coaches.
The GOQii HRA or Health Risk Assessment feature will monitor a user’s fitness data and lifestyle and generate a comprehensive report. Based on the report, a doctor could be assigned to the user. In case a doctor recommends a diagnostic test, a user will now be able to book a lab test from Thyrocare via the app. Alternatively, if the user needs to undergo a more detailed consultation, the app will allow one to book an appointment with any doctor at one of the Max hospitals. The last two features are only available in select cities.
GOQii has also added a bit of social element to fitness by letting users earn karma point for every fitness goal they achieve. These karma points can be used to occasionally donate to certain charities on the app. The company has also said that it is in talks with companies to eventually let users redeem their karma points at certain stores to buy ‘healthy” products. You can also add friends on the app or have groups and chat among yourselves on the app itself.
If you are serious about getting fit or simply bringing about a change in your lifestyle, I would strongly recommend you give GOQii 2.0 a try. Even if you want to use more expensive fitness trackers, you can still subscribe to the company’s fitness ecosystem and take guidance from qualified coaches and doctors. Take it from guy who has used multiple fitness trackers before, it really helps to have someone qualified to constantly decode the myriad of data and guide you on your path to fitness. In the past couple of months, I have not only shed a few kilos, but have also become really conscious about what I eat, drink and how active I am.