While there are a large number of health and fitness wearables on the market, only a few of these are designed specifically for women. The industry is however realising the importance of combining functionality with style.
The Leaf is advertised as a sleep, activity and reproductive health monitor that helps you cope with stress through built-in breathing exercises. The device looks more like a stylish piece of jewelry than a standard tracker. You can wear it as a necklace, bracelet or a clip with Leaf accessories or items you already own – or clip it to any clothing item as a stylish accent.
The device has a refreshing design – quite distinct from the typical activity tracker. Size-wise, the Leaf weighs 0.64 ounces and measures in at 1.89 inches by 1.18 inches and it’s a half an inch thick – so may come across as a bit bulky.
The original, Silver Leaf design is crafted using elegant and recyclable American ashwood in a neutral beige color combined with hypoallergenic stainless steel. The tracker also comes in a Rose Gold version, made out of Black wood and a durable rose gold steel plating. The limited edition Gold Leaf is made of 7000 year old Bog oak combined with gold steel plating. The tracker comes with a chain to wear it as a necklace and a leather strap to attached it to wrists.
This smart piece of jewelry works as a tracking system for your health and provides insights and helpful reminders to keep you on track. Monthly cycles (ovulation, period, and contraception intake) are tracked through the app so that you can have greater awareness of your reproductive health.
The Leaf has sensors that measure every movement including large movements like running, walking, and climbing, as well as small movements like breathing (while you are in a seated or in a stationary position). By tracking your movement, the Leaf measures your overall activity and reminds you when you could use more or less activity. The device can also detect idle time (i.e. if it is left on a table), and for that time it ceases tracking and notifications.
The Leaf does not recognise specific sports or activities on its own, but the app will allow you to manually enter the sports and activities you did during the day. It will then assign a certain calorie value to each activity or sport, letting you know which activity spent a certain amount of calories. The app calculates calories burned by calculating your stride length (based on your height and gender) and your average calorie burned per mile (based on your weight).
For activity tracking, the Leaf should be worn on the wrist, around the neck, or on the collar of a shirt. For breathing exercises, it needs to be worn at the waist or clipped inside your pants. When sleeping, the preferred method is attached to your shirt. This means that in any given day, to get the most out of the product, you need to shift the Leaf around several times.
The device can be set up to vibrate to remind you to either be more active or reduce the intensity of workouts based on your set preferences. You can use it to wake you up in the morning, or it can be set to gently vibrate with other health reminders. The app enables you to set up to three alarms, which can be for one-time or recurring alerts. It should be stressed that the buzzing feature of the Leaf is fairly subtle, so it’s only going to wake the lightest of sleepers.
The Leaf automatically tracks your sleep according to your body movements during a night’s period. By measuring how long you spend in each sleep stage, the device tells you how long and how well you’ve slept. While relying on automatic sleep tracking does not work all of the time, there’s an option to enter exact sleep/wake times in the app. The quality of sleep tracking offered these days is a bit questionable, and the Leaf is no exception. Sleep tracking is useful for measuring how much overall sleep you are getting each night, but the quality of sleep metrics should be taken “with a pinch of salt”.
The Leaf also advertises its stress tracking feature. This is not a 24/7 feature – rather it needs to be initiated manually, through the app. First place the Leaf as a clip on your waistband, slightly on the side, so that it can measure the abdominal movements while breathing. Then you select the desired breathing exercise in the app and try to perform the exercise as precise as you can to enhance the effects of the exercise. These exercises are intended to relieve stress, but in reality, you may find them of limited use.
The Leaf operates on a removable coin cell battery CR 2032 that can easily be replaced when it is exhausted. The battery life is approximately 6 months. The device is a splash-proof product and can handle sweat during workout. However, it is not a water resistant or waterproof product so we suggest you avoid getting it wet.
This is by no means the best fitness tracker out there in terms of data quality – not even close. Syncing is also tricky at times. To sync the Leaf with the app, you need to tap on it, which doesn’t always work. So you may find yourself tapping a few times before a sync is initiated. The app has a pleasing aesthetic design, but it is also very basic and missing many features in comparison to the apps from competing activity trackers. And some features, such as the breathing exercises and sleep tracking are of limited use.
It is, however, reasonably accurate. And it is very nice looking, provides simple activity tracking, has some appealing features – so might be the thing for you. An all-day fitness tracker that’s fashionable and meets women’s needs. Why didn’t they come up with this before? This is a first generation device – and many of the problems with the Leaf can be solved through app and firmware updates, and feature additions – so it has the potential to improve quite a bit.
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