Hands-on Gear Review

Bellabeat Leaf Review

Bellabeat LEAF
Top Pick Award
Price:  $120 List | $100.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Appealing look, robust set of data captured
Cons:  Fragile spring clip, no data displayed on device
Bottom line:  A female-specific pedometer that tracks more types of data than any other product in our test.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Battery Life:  Up to 6 months
% Inaccuracy:  5.5
Tracks Distance in addition to steps?:  Yes
Manufacturer:   Bellabeat

Our Verdict

The Bellabeat LEAF sets itself apart from other products for several reasons. It's marketed entirely to women and the aesthetic is more feminine than unisex. Additionally, the feature set is female-centric, notably with a menstrual cycle calendar built into the app. Beyond the branding and female-specific features, the LEAF offers by far the most different types of data collected. No other product reviewed comes close to capturing as much information as the LEAF does. Also, the other Top Pick Spire collects a wide range of information, making it somewhat similar to the Leaf.

Update - August 2017
For 2017, Bellabeat addresses past glitches and aims to improve accuracy. Keep reading to learn more!


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Pedometers of 2017


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jediah Porter

Last Updated:
Thursday
August 24, 2017

Share:

The New and Improved Bellabeat Leaf


For 2017, Bellabeat makes a few tweaks relating to the accuracy of this popular device. In the past, there were issues that caused imprecise tracking of awake periods. Apparently, this issue is now in the past. Additionally, according to Bellabeat, the tracking algorithms are improved to be more accurate no matter how you wear the tracker. The gadget looks exactly the same as the model we reviewed and the list price continues to be set at $120.

Here's a summary of the key differences between the Bellabeat Leaf 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 awake periods. 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 investigated. Aside from accuracy ratings, we don't expect the performance of this new model to diverge too much from our original assessment.

Hands-On Review of the Original Bellabeat 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 perhaps a more compelling appeal to women.

The Leaf is pretty in necklace mode.
The Leaf is pretty in necklace mode.

Data Management


In assessing data management, the biggest criteria we look at is how the 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 is the only one that does not show any sort of progress indication on the device itself. Those that are app-enabled, in our test, are best used with that app. 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 alone in that there is absolutely no visual indication of one's progress toward an ultimate goal. Even the Jawbone UP Move has a rudimentary progress indication. The LEAF has an excellent app, but no display. The LEAF does have a vibrating feature in the pedometer itself that will remind you to move at certain intervals and can also be set to activate as an alarm.

The app of the LEAF is excellent, clean, and clear. Jawbone is widely regarded as having the best app in the business, but the Bellabeat does almost as well.

The main "home" screen of the Bellabeat app.
The main "home" screen of the Bellabeat app.

Depth of Data


The LEAF gets one of our Top Pick awards for its best-in-class depth of data. No other product in our test captures more information. The LEAF user can monitor steps, mileage, breathing, and sleep using the accelerometer sensor. The app also allows the user to enter information about her diet, mood, and menstrual cycle. The next closest competitor, the Jawbone UP Move, doesn't do breathing or menstruation record keeping. Some devices in our test, like the ultra-simple and also 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 products from the rest of the pack and it is in terms of data comprehensiveness that we describe and award our Top Pick winners. We ended up with Top Pick winners at opposite ends of the spectrum. The LEAF stands out for its great variety of data captured, while the CSX is appealing for its absolute simplicity.

The most unique attribute of the LEAF is its comprehensive manual data entry. It serves to track activity and menstruation.
The most unique attribute of the LEAF is its comprehensive manual data entry. It serves to track activity and menstruation.

Accuracy


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 actual. With the Leaf, over multiple iterations and across both step count and distance, we experienced an error percentage of 5.5 percent. As compared to our cream of the crop product selection, this is mediocre. The other Top Pick CSX product has an error percentage of .4 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, non-award winners like the Striiv Smart delivered accuracy of 10.3 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Basically, the LEAF sits right in the middle, in terms of accuracy.


Ease of Use


Our lead female tester is an admitted luddite and reluctant technology user. That said, she is smartphone savvy and it took her mere moments to get up and running with the Leaf. She has used other cycle-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 useful and welcome.


Portability


In terms of size and weight, the LEAF is again in the middle of the pack. In terms of aesthetics, however, the LEAF leads the pack. 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 unobtrusive and comfortable.


We did find that the spring-steel clip stretched out with usage. This stretching precluded secure clipping and prevented positive attachment to the included necklace chain. Thankfully the steel clip could be bent back in just a few minutes with a small included screwdriver. The relative unreliability of the portability of the Leaf is remarkably similar to the other Top Pick Spire. We lost one tester Spire when the clip seemingly failed in routine use. The devices that only count steps and distance don't have the particular carry criteria that these two top pick winners do. Basically, in order to count breaths the Spire and Leaf need to be clipped to your torso. For counting steps, like the CSX Simple Walking 3D does so well, more secure pocket carry is appropriate.

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.
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.

Best Applications


This fashionably pedometer is awesome for an active woman concerned with her holistic health. The device and app work together with the woman to monitor many aspects of her health and well-being, and the software integrates the data to provide interesting and valuable insights and conclusions. You may come to the LEAF for one attribute but find yourself pleased with all the other 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 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.

Value


The LEAF is the most expensive product we tested, but it is also the most feature rich. For she who will use all the features and attributes, the LEAF is well worth the higher sticker price. For someone looking for simple step counting and activity motivation, something like the Best Buy Ozo Fitness SC2 or Jawbone UP Move is likely more suitable.

The LEAF device in an average-sized female hand  for scale. It isn't the smallest nor largest product in our test.
The LEAF device in an average-sized female hand, for scale. It isn't the smallest nor largest product in our test.

Conclusion


The LEAF from Bellabeat is simultaneously a specialized and general purpose tool. Right away, the branding, styling, and feature set target women. While this effectively halves the potential market, the robust depth of data makes it the one fitness tracker and pedometer that could appeal to most women.
Jediah Porter

You Might Also Like

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: August 24, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...