The Improved LEAF
Since testing, Bellabeat made a few tweaks relating to the accuracy of this popular device. In the past, some issues caused imprecise tracking of waking hours. Apparently, this issue has been addressed. Additionally, according to Bellabeat, the tracking algorithms have been improved to be more accurate no matter how you wear the tracker. The gadget looks the same as the model we reviewed, and the list price continues to be set at $120.
Here's a summary of the critical differences between the current Bellabeat
and the previous version:
- Tracking Algorithms — The LEAF is updated to improve the tracking algorithms so that it performs consistently any which way you wear it.
- Past Glitches Addressed — Bellabeat fixed a glitch that caused some imprecision during waking hours. In theory, this should increase overall accuracy percentages of this device.
Since we haven't had the chance to test this new model, the review below pertains to the original model which we thoroughly tested. Aside from accuracy ratings, we don't expect the performance of this new model to deviate too much from our original assessment.
Hands-On Review of the Original LEAF
The Bellabeat crafted LEAF is the only gender-specific product in our test. As such, it has a smaller market and smaller tester team but is perhaps more compelling for women.
The Leaf is pretty in necklace mode.
In assessing data management, the biggest criteria we assessed is how data is collected and displayed. There are two major ways of displaying data. Some of the devices we tested show data on the device itself, some on a smartphone app, and the best do both. Of those that show ongoing data on a smartphone app, the LEAF and the Fitbit Flex 2 are the only devices we tested that do not show any sort of progress on the device itself. Of the devices we tested that are app-enabled, they are all best when used with their corresponding apps. The data shown on the app is always more robust than the information on the pedometer itself. The LEAF is not alone in this regard.
However, it is one of two devices that have absolutely no visual indication of one's progress toward an ultimate goal. Similar to the Fitbit Flex 2, the LEAF vibrates when you have achieved daily fitness goals, and both of these pedometers have discrete vibrating alarms to remind you to move at regular intervals, which can double as alarms.
The LEAF's associated app is excellent, clean, and clear. The only app that rivals Bellabeat's LEAF app is the app for the 2018 Editor's Choice Flex 2 and the Zip Wireless both from Fitbit.
The main "home" screen of the Bellabeat app.
Depth of Data
The LEAF gets one of our Top Pick awards for being best-in-class in depth of data next to the 2018 Editor's Choice Fitbit Flex 2. The only other product in our test that captures a comparable level of data is the Flex 2. The LEAF can monitor steps, mileage, breathing, and sleep using the accelerometer sensor. Then the LEAF's associated app also allows the user to enter information about diet, mood, and menstrual cycle. While the Flex 2 tracks a similar amount of data - it does not track breathing or offer meditation guidance. However, this device can track swimming and cycling distance, in addition to menstruation, and diet. Some devices in our test, like the simple Top Pick winner CSX Simple Walking 3D record nothing more than step count.
In our roster of devices, it is in Depth of Data collected that there is the most variety. It is this potential variety that distinguishes some products from the rest of the pack. The LEAF proves to be an exceptional device for the comprehensiveness of data captured. It is for this reason the LEAF garnered a Top Pick award. To address both ends of the spectrum, we awarded a Top Pick to the data comprehensive LEAF and the bare-bones CSX Simple Walking 3D device.
The most unique attribute of the LEAF is its comprehensive manual data entry. It serves to track activity and menstruation.
Accuracy is the easiest attribute to test. In a standardized test we have used for years, we walk a known distance, counting our steps along the way. We then compare the actual results to the pedometer's record. We calculate the error in terms of a percentage variation from the actual distance traveled or steps counted. With the Leaf, over multiple iterations and across both step count and distance, we experienced an error percentage of 5.5 percent. Compared to our most accurate devices this is a fairly mediocre inaccuracy rating. The other Top Pick CSX Simple Walking 3D has an error percentage of 0.4 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, the non-award winning OZO Fitness SC2 delivered an inaccuracy rating of 9.2 percent. Essentially, the LEAF's accuracy sits right in the middle of the spectrum. This device neither provides exceptional accuracy nor is it questionably inaccurate.
Ease of Use
One of our testers is an admitted Luddite and a reluctant user of technology. That said, she is smartphone savvy, and it took her mere moments to get up and running with the LEAF. She has used other period-tracking apps and likes that the LEAF app can be programmed back many cycles for better and faster calculation of future cycles. Also, the user-programmable time-based and activity motivating vibrating alarms proved quite useful and inoffensive.
In terms of size and weight, the LEAF is in the middle of the pack. However, in terms of aesthetics, the LEAF sets an unsurpassable bar. Without fail, external wear of the LEAF yielded compliments and curiosity. It looks like jewelry but functions as a pedometer. It comes equipped for necklace wear, wrist mounting, and pocket or hem clipping. In any orientation, it is visually appealing and unobtrusive. Our testers found it large at first but quickly realized that the low-profile construction is inconspicuous and comfortable.
We did find the spring-steel clip did stretch out with use. The stretching precluded secure clippage and prevented attachment to the included necklace chain. Thankfully the steel clip could be bent back in just a few minutes with a small screwdriver, which was included in the packaging. The questionable portability of the LEAF is remarkably similar to the other Top Pick Spire. Unfortunately, one tester mislocated the Spire when the clip failed in routine use.
The devices that only count steps and distance didn't have any inconsistencies in terms of reliable carry that these two top pick winners do. However, the Fitbit Flex 2 proved extremely secure over a month of testing. Essentially, our testers have determined that to track breathing both the Spire and the Leaf must be clipped to your torso, and these clips have proven unreliable over extensive use. To simply count steps, devices like the CSX Simple Walking 3D can be securely stored in one's pocket.
In clipped orientation, only the metal leaf design shows. We did have a little trouble with the integrity of the spring loading of the leaf clip. We were able to bend it back using included tools.
This stylish pedometer is awesome for an active woman concerned with holistic health tracking. The device and app work well when paired together for women to monitor many aspects of health and well-being. Further, the smartphone app integrates data to provide interesting and valuable insights and conclusions about overall wellness and health. You may come to the LEAF for one attribute but find yourself pleased with the many functions it offers.
The activity page blow up on the Bellabeat App. Not only can you see overall goal progress, you can also view the time of day in which you were most active.
The *LEAF is the most expensive product we tested, but it is also one of the most feature rich. For a woman interested in deploying all the features and attributes offered by this Bellabeat device, the LEAF* is well worth the higher price. For someone looking for simple step counting and activity motivation may prefer the Best Buy 3D TriSport or the Editor's Choice Fitbit Flex 2.
The LEAF device in an average-sized female hand, for scale. It isn't the smallest nor largest product in our test.
The LEAF from Bellabeat is both highly specialized and an aesthetically pleasing general purpose tool. This device's branding, style, and femme-specific features target the ladies.