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Design Badly Implemented
on February 3, 2009
Basal Digital Thermometer / B001AM43VY
I bought this Basal thermometer with the idea that I would chart my cycle, learn about my own body, and eventually use that knowledge to conceive with my partner. The thermometer was not too expensive and the reviews were largely good, so I made my purchase and downloaded my free Basal charts from the Internet and went my merry way. Several weeks later, I have to say that I wish I'd bought a "regular" thermometer at the drug store.
Here is what this thermometer is purported to do: You wake in the morning, and with as little movement as possible (no getting up to use the bathroom, no fumbling for lights, no turning off the alarm clock) you grab the thermometer and go to work. This brand advertises that the thermometer won't start beeping until it is 'correctly positioned' in your mouth (this much seems to be true) and will then beep intermittently for several minutes before punctuating a string of beeps to announce that it is finished. This model is supposedly superior to other brands on the market because it is backlit and has a memory recall function - we'll get to that in a moment.
On accuracy, this thermometer seems to be correct - at least, it always agreed with the "regular" thermometer we keep in the house. (The "regular" thermometer costs less than this Basal one and has a comfortable, flexible tip as opposed to the rigid plastic on this one.) The temperature reading only goes to one decimal, which was fine for my downloaded chart, but some Basal charts require two decimal accuracy.
As far as reliability, the thermometer works sometimes and other times it will not. The beeping just...stops after awhile, without the final readout and without the punctuated string of beeps. Did the thermometer slip out of position and just give up? I don't know, and the instructions provided do not address this issue. Some days, I would have to reset the thermometer and try two or three times before getting a reading which I suspect would then be inaccurate because I was no longer "just woken up".
The beeping is an issue, and I really thought it would not be. My partner did not much like the shrill beeps anymore than I did, and you are subjected to at least 13 or 14 beeps every morning (more if you have to do multiple readings). The "a baby won't be quiet either" excuse didn't ease either of our minds because this was a information gathering experiment, not an active baby making attempt.
Worst of all, I cannot imagine why the backlight is touted as a selling point when it is implemented so poorly. The backlight comes on once, when you first turn on the thermometer. The backlight glows for about 2 seconds (very short) and then cuts off. It takes at least a full minute to measure your temperature, at which point you have 3 seconds to read the temperature (again, a very short time) WITHOUT A BACKLIGHT before the thermometer shuts off. Read that again - the backlight does not come back on for the final temperature reading; it only comes on when the thermometer is turned on initially. That means that your new temperature for the day is not backlit, so you have no idea what your temperature is for that day until after you take your temperature, and THEN turn the thermometer back on so that you can see what went into the memory recall function. Even better, you only get ONE chance at this, since the act of turning the thermometer on signals that it's time to take a new temperature, which erases the old temperature in memory, so you really shouldn't check our temperature reading until you've slogged out of bed, turned on a light, and located your chart and pen.
And, yes, you read that right - this "sophisticated" model has only ONE button for all the "features", including backlight, temperature reading, and memory recall.
In practice, this is impossible to use. If I can't have proper memory recall and backlighting, I'll stick with the cheaper, more comfortable, silent drug store thermometer. I wanted backlighting so that I could tell, in the dark, in the bed, if I was ovulating and - if so - to maybe do something about that.
~ Ana Mardoll