Basis Unveils The Peak, A Smarter Fitness Tracker

Today Basis is taking the lid off of the Peak, its followup to its Basis B1 fitness tracker. Like its predecessor, it’s a device focused on tracking your health, fitness, and sleep, but with this time the company has spent some time on their watch’s looks, packing its motion and heart rate sensors into a thinner body made of aluminum and glass.

In a hands-on briefing, Basis general manager Jef Holove told TechCrunch that the sensors in the Peak have all been upgraded from those contained in the bulkier B1. This is most evident in the optical heart rate sensor, which uses a more powerful light to blast through your skin, allowing for more accurate measurements, including the ability to measure your pulse during a workout, a feature that was starkly missing from the previous model.

Beyond that, the Peak’s motion sensor is better able to track what kind of exercise you’re up to (and thus give you a better idea of how many calories you’re burning) and how much you roll around in bed while it’s tracking your sleep.

And you can actually wear the device through the night without waking up with a low battery warning. As with the B1, you can expect about 4 days of battery life from the Peak, as it uses a low power, high-contrast LCD display that sips power compared to the screens on Android Wear devices. It’s not going to be quite as long-lasting as the Pebble’s week of battery life, but it means that you get to swipe around on the Gorilla Glass-covered touch screen without waiting for e-ink to refresh.

Speaking of Pebble, Basis plans to move into its territory with a software update coming at some point after the Peak’s release, which will add notifications for calls, emails and texts when you’re connected to your phone over Bluetooth LE. It’s not quite as advanced as what you get on the Pebble, but at $199 it’ll be priced right between the current models from Pebble, closer to the higher-end model in terms of material quality, and you get all the fitness sensors and the ability to wear your watch while swimming (the Peak is water-resistant to 5 ATM).

The Peak will be available in November from Amazon, Best Buy, REI, and Basis’ website. It’ll be interesting to see how it sells over the holiday season: some expect Android Wear sales to pause as consumers wait to see what the Apple Watch is like upon release. As a health-focused device, the Peak might be able to avoid that negative effect by appealing to users who care about fitness and sports over notifications and wrist-based apps.