on April 23, 2014
[Updated 29 May 14 - there appears to be a strange reviewer war going on; so, please take the "likes" and "helpful" votes with a grain of salt.]
I liked this monitor, but I am giving it four stars because of connection issues between the device and the App. (I would give it fewer stars, but it appears that I am in the minority having the connection issue, and, when it works, it is very useful.)
I was a little skeptical of something that you wear around your head, but it actually does not interfere with exercising. It is kind of like having a hat on, and a lot of people (especially runners) wear hats when exercising.
It measured my heart rate more accurately than any other monitor I have used.
The connection between the App and the monitor is a little sketchy. First, the App only works on the more recent i-devices. So, if you have an iPad (original) or iPad-2, the App will not work. Second, it is hard to get the device to connect to the App.
The customer service is pretty responsive. They talked me through the usual list of things to do (uninstall, shut down the iPad, reinstall, etc.), but even after doing that several times it was still hit or miss if the device would talk to the App. The device apparently needs to be moved around fairly vigorously for two minutes to turn on, and then it might talk to the App.
So, when it works, it works well. If you cannot connect then it has limited use.
It appears I'm the odd man out with the connection issues; hopefully you will be luckier than me.
on August 28, 2014
I originally bought it for $157 but could not get the temperature gauge to work. Returned it and must say Amazon was superb. When the price hit $57 bought it again. Temperature still does not work but for $57 makes an excellent heart rate monitor. Watching the price go down and when it gets into the $20- $30 range, I am going to buy another one for back up. Easily connects to the Digifit App and works beautifully. Also connects to the Spree App but it does not give you as much info as Digifit. If the temperature gauge ever gets up and running, this will be an amazing product well worth the $200. However, at the above price of $43 it is the absolute king of heart rate monitors.
on June 4, 2014
The Spree Bluetooth Fitness / Heart Rate Monitor is one of the more recent fitness gadgets to make its debut. Unlike most heart rate monitors, which rely on a chest strap and accompanying wristband, the Spree is affixed to a rubberized headband (and communicates with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone).
The Spree headband seems durable and well-made; I had no compunction about throwing it in my gym bag, but - despite this - am still a little concerned about its durability. It has survived many workouts, and is still accurately reporting data to my iPhone 4S. The battery life is also pretty good for such a device: I recharge it on the weekends, and it accommodates 3-4 2 hour workouts throughout the week.
The iOS application was easy and quick to setup, though there's no full-featured Android counterpart (yet). The Spree also communicates with multiple third-party software applications, which can make tracking heartrate during a run (or similar), via Runkeeper, easy and informative.
The major drawback to the item is the price: it's an expensive item, and I don't quite trust myself to be delicate and careful enough while working out to not destroy it. Additionally, the iOS application is occasionally buggy and unstable: overall it works well enough for a beta design, but clearly isn't ready for prime time.
on June 2, 2014
I ordered the Spree Headband product at $300 and received it Friday. It simply did not work. I spent an entire frustrating weekend trying to communicate with the Spree tech support people. They were responsive to emails, which was good, but ultimately they could not correct any of the myriad problems and I returned the product on Monday to Amazon for a refund. It appears that Spree has a multitude of problems with their device, not the least of which is an inability to pair, problems with a functional app and their instructional manual is one step above nonexistent. Their so-called operating manual had no details of any kind to enable a user to troubleshoot any issues, it didn't even tell the user how long it would take to charge the unit, it didn't say what the indicator light should be while charging and when it was fully charged, this was all information ascertained only after a long back and forth with Spree tech support while troubleshooting. The pod is not firmly secured in the headband and it can easily drop out and be lost, scratched or damaged. The device doesn't even give you a number for temperature. Spree says they do this intentionally but it would be much more accurate if a number was displayed. This device concept seems promising, however, it's definitely not ready for prime time. It seems as though they are using early adopters, such as myself, as beta testers. It appears they have rushed their product to market and they definitely have a ways to go before this is a functional product. I do not recommend at this time.
I've encountered a number of problems trying to use this tracker, but I haven't given up yet, and will update if I have any success. The website address for support given in their tiny little paper brochure is wrong, so seek "support" on the spreewearables website to look for help.
My main problem is that I can't get the spree to send any information to the app, even though the spree ID shows up in the device section of the app (iPhone 5S). When the heart icon turns red to indicate a connection, if I start walking, the connection breaks. After some time walking, if I finish the exercise, there is a Mark screen and a Goals screen, but nothing is on them, and I don't know what triggers the different possible displays. Note, even though the app shows it, it does not show up in Settings > Bluetooth -- their support "knowledge base" says this is because it pairs with bluetooth in a "non-traditional" way. Given the problems I've had connecting, maybe it should be using the BlueTooth connection in a more traditional way.
Also, the battery seems to run down just sitting there, so you want to have it freshly charged before working out.
The other problem I have is with the headband, which I am finding uncomfortable. Non-absorbancy is the last thing I want on my forehead, with sweat dripping into my eyes. At one point on their website they mention you can use an armband instead, but I haven't found one available (because of the design of the device, the fit needs to be precise).
This tracker is only for exercise sessions, not for overall 24-hour tracking such as the Basis, which include daily activity as well as nighttime sleep stage analysis, or also the Withings Pulse or Fitbit, and many others.
It is a testament to the cryptic design of the app that their support site has to explain various symbols and methods of usage -- the app itself should not be so mysterious. Unfortunately, they only explain some symbols. During exercise, there is a big X in the middle of the screen, is that X to stop? is it X to access some command? is it X because that is part of the Spree logo? And how should I interpret the arcs next to the picture of the thermometer and picture of the heart? In the knowledge base about connection problems, it says to wait for the heart icon to turn red, but there are two different heart icons on the screen, could they be any more ambiguous?
Also, the app doesn't seem to sync with any of the other major fitness apps out there, so there is no data interchange. With other devices I've seen that there is a lot of power in syncing activity info and intake info (e.g. for weight loss, to know overall if you are eating more or fewer calories than you need, such as Withings does with their HealthMate app).
However, the app itself seems to provide some useful analysis, rating exercise according to maintenance/warm up; fitness/fat burn; cardio/endurance; hardcore training; and VO2Max, so I am hopeful that i can get this device working, though I am not hopeful, given how fast the connection breaks once I start walking. However, if these aspects interest you, there are other trackers to look at as well (I found an informative comparison chart at BestFitnessTrackerReviews ).
In theory, this is kind of a cool product. It's a small monitor that you wear in a headband, that is supposed to measure heart rate and a bunch of other data, then transmit that to your phone via low energy bluetooth.
Unfortunately, I have never been able to get mine to work. I was able to pair my phone with the monitor, but when I go into workout mode, the workout never starts. I've emailed Spree and will update if we get it sorted out.
Based on the description and what I've been able to test out so far, here are my general thoughts.
- It's cool that this records more data than traditional heart rate monitors. I'll be interested to see if anyone thinks it's helping them optimize their workouts after a few months of use, though, or whether the extra data is just a curiosity.
- For people who don't like wearing chest strap monitors, a headband might be helpful.
What could be better:
- Well obviously, I can't get mine to work. Spree's website doesn't have a useful troubleshooting guide or a customer forum, live chat, or really anything that would help me solve this problem - it's pretty much just marketing materials. It doesn't even have a way to download the manual.
- It does look pretty silly. Maybe these will come into style, but for now, you are going to get some looks.
- I have my doubts whether the extra data will be very helpful.
- Currently, the monitor only works (if at all) with Spree's app, and there isn't any function to export. Most of the modern apps export to each other -- when I do a rowing workout with Digifit, for example, I can export to Runkeeper, and Runkeeper exports to myfitnesspal.
I used to be a computer geek so setting up electronic devices has always been relatively easy. My gauge for simplicity is whether or not I have to read the directions. With this product, I have to admit, not only did I read the directions, I called their help desk. The first problem is that it's not clear in the instructions that this ONLY works with an iPhone. I tried using the application with my iPad first (large screen, old eyes…) and I had no success. The help desk analyst said that they were planning to port the application to other platforms but they have not done it yet. That was a little frustrating. Also, the application doesn't work on a computer. Even though you have to charge the device through your computer's USB port, the application is not for your computer. Believe me, I tried… Finally, the device sits in a rubber and elastic head band. It's not the most comfortable place for me since I sweat a lot while exercising. You will have to wash out the band and the rubber device holder regularly to keep things from getting grungy. Also, after taking off the band (I exercise for 30 minutes a day) I see cross hatched impressions in the skin of my forehead. I can live with that but you may not be able to. Otherwise, this made in the USA device works as described. You enter your personal data and start working out. It reads and presents just every type of stat your might need. I'm not much of an athlete so I can't say that tis is helping me get into shape but I think if you were doing serious training, this device would be a help.
Conclusion - Works as defined. Uncomfortable to wear on the forehead (we have a FitBit and it's more comfortable), a little confusing (based on the text in the inaccurate instructions) to set up. Could be a valuable aid for a true athlete. For this reforming couch potato, a bit of over kill.
I really wanted to like this product, but just couldn't. There seems to be some potential, but things just fell down in the execution.
It starts with charging the device. Plug it in to the USB supply, and the red light comes on. Does that mean it is charging, charged, or that Tinker Bell is alive? The directions are no help. Turns out the solid light means it is charging, and a flashing light means charged, just opposite of most devices. And of course it doesn't work properly until it is fully charged....Grrrrr.
Next comes the Spree App. The instructions point you to iTunes, but you will never find it in the iTunes search. Google Spree Fitness monitor and follow the links. The app is in need of some serious work. The interfaces are balky and fussy, and navigation is a bit unintuitive. But finally I had the Spree ready to use, and the real disappointment started.
=== The Good Stuff ===
* I can't decide if the headband is a good idea or not. It seems a bit fussy over the exact placement on my forehead, and I still can't decide how tight fitting it needs to be. On the other hand, it is less annoying than a chest strap.
* The idea is nice- integrate distance traveled, time and heart rate and build a profile of your workouts. And when it works, it is pretty slick.
=== The Not-So-Good Stuff ===
* It is tough to get a handle on all the things I didn't like, because they all sort of run together. The headband brings with it its own problems. It is impossible to store the unit in any sort of workout bag without the Spree falling out of the headband, and conveniently getting lost at the bottom of the bag. Also it is very easy to walk around with a red mark on your forehead for a few minutes.
* The Spree has no internal data collection, so you have to carry your iPhone with you to collect any data. If you don't mind, great, but for the price, it would seem like it could have a little bit of flash memory.
* The app forces you to define your workout ahead of time. I am not sure exactly what difference it makes to the Spree if you are walking or running, but there are two different modes. Likewise, it is not designed to wear all day to get a feel for overall activity, but rather is designed around specific workouts.
* The app only reports totals- e.g. total calories burned on a workout. You can't see your results graphically, or analyze how your heart rate varied over different parts of your workout. To see any "instantaneous" data, you have to stare at your phone during the workout.
* I can not figure out if it is possible to change target heart rates. Rather there seems to be a one-size fits all, based on your age and presumably weight.
* The literature indicates that body temperature is measured. Maybe so, but it not displayed...at least that I can find.
=== Summary ===
For the price of this unit, the tradeoffs seem a bit severe. Some of them could be cleaned up in the app, which has that "rushed to market" feel to it. Some, such as the need for a constant link to an iPhone seem more the result of a problematic architecture. Sorry to say, there seem to be much better, and cheaper, alternatives on the market.
on May 28, 2014
I have tried several fitness heart rate monitors recently, most are either uncomfortable, inaccruate, or hard to use. This is the only one I have found that is pinpoint accurate, simple to use, and comfortable. Admittedly, it does lose some fashion points being that it is an ugly odd shaped headband.
The Spree app is easy to insall and easy to use on my iPhone 5S. The headband is comfortable and easy to adjust. Once the settings are input in the app, the Bluetooth is easy to connect and the headband is easy to use. It monitors heartrate and temperature, so you can keep within your desired workout range. The only drawback is you have to have your phone with you, so if you arent the kind of person who likes listening to music or dragging their phone on workouts, it could be a drawback.
When compared to my other heartrate monitors, and my wife's monitor she uses at work (she is a nurse), it is dead on accurate. The body temperature measurement is less important to me, but it also seemed to be within 1 degree of my other thermometers I compared it with.
If they made a hatband adapter or something similar, I would like it even more. I feel kind of silly wearing a headband like this when I work out, but for me function is more important than looking cool. The headband is just thick enough that I would have to buy a hat 2-3 sizes larger to wear a hat over it, but the actual monitor is small enough that a small adapter should be able to be made to fit it into a hatband.
Overall, if you have a need for an top of the line fitness heart rate monitor, this is an excellent choice. The only option that functions as well is to use the chest strap versions, and I dislike those and find them very uncomfortable. It is up to you if the extra money this costs over the chest strap versions is worth it for you.
I'm a Fitbit user. When I saw the Spree, I was excited to add more data to my fitness tracking. Mostly heart rate, but I found the idea of body temperature tracking intriguing.
I downloaded the app. It seemed a bit basic, but the Spree is only used during workouts instead of continuously, so there wasn't a huge need for a in-depth app.
The problems were unending with the Spree. First, I couldn't get it to sync with the app. After 10 minutes, I gave up and went running without it. On my second try, I sort of got it to work. It synced, but no matter where I positioned the headband, it could only barely make out my heart rate. It could not read my body temp.
I honestly look like a complete tool wearing this thing. It's big and noticeable. If sweatbands were to come back into style, it may sort of blend in, but I doubt that's happening any time soon.
So I'm wearing this thing and I check the app. It's not getting any data. It's synced, yet it claims I'm dead I guess because I have no heart rate and no body temp.
I've Googled a bunch. I know I have the right phone (iPhone 5) for the app to work. I know I'm positioning the headband correctly. I know it's charged and ready for use. I do not know why all these things can't come together into an easy functional tracker.
I don't care enough to bother with this thing anymore. I look stupid wearing it, even if it was working well.