“Our take on GOQii’s latest fitness tracker, the Vital”
Every year, thousands of people pledge to get fitter, stronger and in general, a better version of themselves. To help them along in their journey, they often look to fitness trackers, which helps them calculate the number of calories they’re torching and the steps they’re walking on a daily basis. That said, sooner or later, the novelty of hitting a new step record wears off and most buyers start using their fitness trackers as a watch of sorts. I’ll be the first to admit of being guilty of the same.
Although fitness trackers present users with a ton of data, they don’t give insights on how one can use said data to better their health. And therein lies the problem. Enter GOQii, a fitness tracking service which doesn’t just offer buyers a fitness band, but also assigns each GOQii-er a nutritionist and a health coach as well. I managed to get my hands on the brand’s latest fitness tracker, the GOQii Vital and after using it and the company’s services for over two weeks, here’s what I make of them.
Design and Display
The GOQii Vital has a generic design which does little to separate it from the herd of other fitness trackers in the market. The Vital makes use of plastic in its construction and ships with a boxy looking core flanked on either side by rubberised straps. The bands employ a metallic clasp to fasten the tracker on your wrists. So far, so good (and boring).
Unlike some budget fitness trackers, the GOQii Vital doesn’t ship with a proprietary charger and instead, buyers can simply remove the strap (the one with the holes) to reveal a USB connector. The plug can then be connected to any wall charger or a laptop to refuel the Vital. Now, not having to worry about carrying an extra charger in my bag made my life a lot easier but I had to be extra careful when I was removing the straps to charge the Vital or risk breaking the USB plug, thereby rendering the tracker completely useless. On the flip side, the GOQii Vital ships with a waterproof design, so you can backflip into a pool with the wearable strapped around your wrist.
While the design of the fitness tracker is nothing to write home about, the Vital’s display is excellent. The wearable ships with an OLED colour display which is somewhat of a rarity in the budget range. The display is touch-sensitive too, and buyers can swipe up and down on the panel to navigate through the UI and tap the display to open an app or toggle a function. You’ll also find a capacitive button positioned below the panel, which can be used to exit an app or a function.
App and features
As is customary with fitness trackers, the GOQii Vital too ships with a companion app which offers a ton of features. From tracking your workouts on the app, participating in various challenges or purchasing various healthy snacks from the in-app store, the app has it all. That said, the most important aspect of the application which sets GOQii’s line of fitness trackers apart is the ability to chat one-on-one with a health expert.
After you’ve punched in your personal details and have defined fitness goals for yourself, you’ll be asked to schedule a call with a health expert. Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn’t slate a call with my fitness expert Suha, who had all the slots booked for the month. Surely GOQii doesn’t expect its users to sit around for a month, just to have a telephonic conversation with their health coach, right? Makes you wonder if you should buy the fitness tracker over other affordable offerings in the first place.
There are some other issues with the band and its companion app that I’d like to point out too. For starters, the app’s UI is cluttered and I would’ve liked to see my core fitness stats on the first page rather than food items for shopping. Moreover, the ‘raise to wake the band’ function and inactivity alerts rarely ever worked properly.
That’s not to say that the app doesn’t offer any useful features. For instance, you can earn GOQii cash by completing daily tasks and use it to avail discounts on various products. I managed to cop a box of six protein bars for quite cheap by using my GOQii cash during my review period. Moreover, you also get the option to interact with other users, read informative medical articles and play some casual games.
Fitness tracking and battery life
When it comes to tracking steps and runs, the GOQii Vital is an excellent performer. The wearable did a fantastic job at accurately counting the number of steps I’d taken in a day. Moreover, unlike some other budget trackers, the Vital didn’t factor in ghost steps either. As for runs, the GOQii Vital did overestimate my 3km jog and showed me that I’d traveled close to 3.2km, but that result was within a five percent margin of error, which is more than acceptable. The fitness tracker ships with an optical heart rate sensor too, which works admirably. The unit takes a few seconds to analyse a user’s heart beat and provides a result which once again, sits well within the margin of error.
Interestingly enough, the GOQii Vital can measure a user’s blood pressure too. To my knowledge, the Vital is the only fitness wearable (at least in the budget segment) which lets users measure their blood pressure without hooking their arm to a machine. Now, the band isn’t supposed to replace the intricate instruments you might have seen at hospitals, but it’s a nifty tool to have in your arsenal nonetheless. Once strapped around your wrist, the band will take a little over a minute to get a gauge on your diastolic and systolic blood pressure. For the uninitiated, the systolic reading represents the amount of pressure on your arteries during the contraction of your heart’s muscles. The diastolic reading, on the other hand, is the blood pressure when your heart is between beats.
As for battery life, the GOQii Vital lasted me four days off a single charge, which isn’t so far off from the company’s seven-day claim. Bear in mind that I had the push notifications enabled the entire time, so you could squeeze a couple more days battery by disabling the feature.
The GOQii Vital retails for Rs 3,499 and for its asking price, seems a game-changer in the fitness industry if it delivers on its promises. Our experience with the tracker’s health services was less than satisfactory though, and if that’s the case for others too, the wearable is overshadowed by the likes of the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 (review), which was recently announced in the country at a competitive price of just Rs 1,999.
The Vital really does bring some interesting, never-seen-before features to the affordable segment such as the ability to monitor one’s blood pressure. That said, the Mi Band 3 comes across as a solid, more affordable alternative in case you’re just looking for a no-frills fitness band.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Blood pressure monitoring
- No cables required to charge
- Availability of fitness services
- Companion App could be designed better