Reviews

Wellograph In Depth Review (Updated 4th April 2015)

February 15, 2015


LOOK AND FEEL

The sapphire display is gorgeous. The Wellograph watch pretty is thick, about half an inch thick. From the side, it looks like one of those quirky overpriced time pieces. There are 2 physical buttons on the right side of the watch that lets the user control a lengthy list of functions and settings. The Wellograph is not touch control enabled.

wellgraph-unpack

Aside from the sapphire display, the Wellograph is also made of stainless steel and brushed aluminium. The Wellograph is easily one of the heavier fitness trackers I’ve worn; 55g to be precise. For comparisons sake, the Jawbone UP24 weighs a mere 19g.

wellgrpah-removable-strapThe unit I reviewed came with genuine leather straps; not something I would wear during workouts. The strap is easily removable and can be fitted with any 20mm wide watch straps.

back-of-wellgraph

A heart rate sensor circled by 3 LEDs adorn the back of the Wellograph. The back is slight concaved and should sit nicely on any wrist.

wellgraph-against-grass

The display is off-center and takes up only about 50% of the watch face. I thought this was a pity. Had the wellograph embraced the entire display, it might have looked even more aesthetically pleasing.

wellgraph-watch-face

The display is crisp and sharp under the brightest of days. Activation of the back-lit function ensures the Wellograph performs equally well under no-light conditions.

wellgraph-charging

The charger is proprietary but links to any USB port easily. A standard USB to micro USB cable is provided. The dock is magnetic in nature and holds the predominantly mental made Wellograph easily. Adjust to hear the “Beep” and juice up. Strangely, the watch face goes landscape during charging.

wellgraph-on-hand

FUNCTIONS AND DATA PRESENTATION

Dashboard

wellgraph-new-dashboard

Main Wellograph mobile app dashboard

The updated mobile app dashboard is simple to use in terms of reaching tracked stats easily. A summary of tracked stats to date is presented and more can be accessed by tapping on the various icons. Specifically, there are 5 tracked stats:

  • Move
  • Heart
  • Sleep
  • Live
  • Run

Pulse mode

wellograph-under-sun

According to a representative from the company, Wellograph does not have 3rd party independent validation of their HR reading technology but they do carry out internal validations compared against medical and sports ECG equipment.

In Pulse mode, the Wellograph went about measuring my current pulse. I found myself using this function quite a bit whenever I’m in a resting state to check out my RHR. Though the readings may appear off initially, it normalises after a while and I’m pretty surprised that at a glance, readings have been close so far compared to other HRMs.

wellograph-RHR

The Wellograph app does not provide a HR curve of the tracked HR on the Android app so all I could do was monitor the HR readings, in real time, versus a Polar H7 and Mio LINK . The Wellograph was strapped tightly as I’m aware that’s the way to get the most accurate readings from wrist worn optical sensors.

high-intensity-HR-readgins

In terms of HR reading, the Polar H7 and Mio LINK were more responsive while the Wellograph took a while to catch up. At one point, Wellograph was registering 49 BPM while Polar H7 and Mio LINK were in the 120s-130s. It did not help that Pulse mode is automatically disable after a short while.

It’s a pity but I would use the Wellograph strictly for resting heart rate readings only. There’s just no easy way to view my current HR during training.

The rep from Wellograph further added that because “…Wellograph uses a dedicated, high-speed 16-bit analog-to-digital convertor (ADC) it is able to operate at an extremely high frequency of 1 MHz and capture up to 1 million samples per second which enable functions like HRV (heart rate variability) readings.”

Exercise Readiness

Not all wrist worn HRMs are built the same. Getting one that reads HRV puts it in another league.

wellgraph-taking-readiness

Which brings me to the next function the exercise readiness reading. Presently in order to carry out HRV reading, you may need a chest worn HRM and transmit the data to a mobile app.Wellograph has simplified this by allowing HRV reading from the wrist and further makes sense of the data by presenting it in a readiness score.  So users can see if their body is ready to exercise again after the last bout.

The readiness reading have been consistent even when I take it 4 times over 2 hours.

heart-data-wellograph-2

Present heart data and RHR over the month.

heart-fitness-and-exercise-wellograph

The amount of exercise and the fitness age.

HR monitoring takes place once every 10 minutes unless Wellograph is in Pulse mode. Over time, the Wellograph presents a nice view of resting HR overtime that should give the user a good indication of fitness levels or improvements if any.

I particularly like the updated app interface where the data is more intuitively presented. There’s also tiny advice message  at the bottom of the screen that says “Get more exercise” or “Too fatigued, needs rest.”

Step count

Wellograph tracks activity in the form of step count. Step count was compared versus 3 other main stream hip worn fitness trackers over a period of 4 days that includes a run session and these are the results:

Fitbit One  49130

Withings Pulse  45758

Jawbone UP Move 43191

Wellograph 41701

The results are comparable. It was slightly off compared to hip trackers on days when I engaged in less intense activities like just walking around.

Step count sensitivity can be tweaked under settings. The sensitivity level for my review unit was set to “HI”

move-wellograph

The tracked stats is presented in now, day, week, month. The pyramid on the “MOVE” tag shows the number of steps, cardio steps and progress towards the target of 10k steps. The line graph at the bottom also shows the amount of idle versus active time.

Over time, the user is able to see his activity level by month; or what Wellograph calls “Move”

wellograph-move-screen

The tracked stats can also be accessed from the Wellograph watch without the need to view it on a smart phone.

Idle Time

Once Wellograph detects that they body is inactive after a minute, the user will get a small message on the watch face displaying the length of idle time. It goes away once the user gets up and walk for 15 steps.

Though great, I would have really loved some form of notification to a connected smartphone device or even an audio beep which the Wellograph is fully capable of but alas. Many a times the idle alert comes and goes.

Auto Sleep

wellograph-sleeping

Sleep tracking is automatic. Upon waking, I can either cease sleep tracking through a press of the button or go about my daily routine as Wellograph can detect when I wake up.

wellgraph-sleep

What about the quality of sleep tracking? Well besides accurate step count, I’m a sucker for trackers with HR monitoring functions. I was told by Wellograph that the HR monitoring function on the Wellograph allows the watch to track sleep more accurately by detecting HR changes during sleep and associate that data with REM.

wellograph-sleep

The newest app update allows the user to view sleep data within the mobile app where way more information can be viewed and examined. Sleep tracking is accurate in terms of duration.

Run Session Tracking

Like most other trackers on the market, Wellograph allows the user to track their run sessions. This is supposed to provide the user with a more detailed analysis of the activity level in terms of distance, speed, lap time and movement intensity.

wellograph-sessions-new

 Total distance ran on a treadmill was 3.55km and Wellograph gauged the distance to be 3.33km which is excellent by my standards. The test workout included gradual warm up and warm down.

You might recall Mio Alpha 2 and Adidas Fit Smart also having similar function of deriving distance clocked with the accelerometer within the tracker.

sessions-wellograph

In Run session tracking, users can also count by laps and the timer is manually reset by the user each time a lap is completed. The lap function can be disabled from the Wellograph watch settings.

Users can also decide which tracked stat to display during Run session tracking. For example, time, calories, distance, top speed, pace.

LIVE function

new-wellograph-LIVE-function

There’s a “LIVE” function under settings which will broadcast your step count with your friends in real time via bluetooth connectivity. This requires a firmware update and of course friends who also own the Wellograph watch.

A later firmware update supports devices that do not have Bluetooth Low Energy. Steps will be pushed to Wellograph Live after syncing.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Battery life is advertised as 7 days but I only managed about 4 days with light usage and minimal activity session tracking. Upon reaching low battery status, the function to sync cannot be executed. Upon reaching 10% battery, more functions are disabled though Wellograph still maintains a watch display.

wellgraph-resistant-to-5atm

Wellograph is also water resistant to 5 ATM BUT users are advised not to press any of the buttons while submerged. I’ve had no problems taking the Wellograph for a dip.

I’ve been informed that the scope of audio beeps may be expanded beyond the current charging dock connection and completion of readiness test in future firmware updates.

Users will receive their fitness age based on the tracked stats such as resting heart rate (RHR) and sessions tracked.

Step count goal is set at 10k with a maximum of 12k for start. This number can be amended under settings.

There’s also an ambient light sensor on the front of the Wellograph watch which I’m presuming is one indicator of sleep quality.

IN A NUTSHELL

Pros

  • Tracks steps, sleep duration and quality, Pulse and HRV.
  • 9 axis accelerometer
  • Pulse read with 1000Hz sampling rate
  • Activity session tracking
  • Water resistant to 5 ATM
  • Gorgeous sapphire glass display; clear in day and night
  • Changeable watch strap on Wellograph or any 21mm wide watch strap.
  • On watch 7 day view
  • Fitness age indicator
  • Deep sleep analysis with latest firmware
  • Wireless syncing via Bluetooth 4.0
  • Stores up to 4 months of sessions within Wellograph watch
  • Customisable watch faces
  • Compete with friends using the “Live” function
  • Data sharing with Google Fit, Runkeeper and MapMyFitness

Cons:

  • No vibration
  • Small screen in relation to watch size.
  • No alarm
  • No smartphone notifications or alerts
  • Thick watch unit
  • Price
  • No data export for now

Wish List

  • Enable the audio beeps for more functions.

It’s been 3 weeks of rough knocks and the Wellograph followed me where ever I went. The sapphire display looked as new as the day I received the Wellograph. No micro scratches whatsoever. 

As a standalone product, the Wellograph grew on me. After communicating with a Wellograph rep, I got the sense that the product is en route to more updates and features. I love the newest app updates and the presentation of tracked stats and look forward to more improvements.

After a week, I’ve gotten used to the controls and know exactly which button to press to activate the various functions. It was slightly frustrating at first I must add.

Compared to Basis Peak, Wellograph lacks smartphone notifications, web account platforms and it also can’t transmit HR data to 3rd party app. But the Wellograph is able to read HRV and presents the data in a cleaner manner than the Basis mobile platform. Pricing wise, Basis Peak wins hands down.

I’m impressed with some features like HRV readings and distance estimation but Wellograph’s price is going to be a big deterrent compared to other fitness watches out in the market.

At that price, I would expect notifications to smart phones on current activity progress or even reminders on getting enough sleep and so on. There’s no in built vibration and the audio beeps are restricted to only 2 functions presently. This baffles me; I’m still reliant on another device as an alarm.

Wellograph is a classy looking watch that focuses on capturing pulse, HRV, sleep quality and activity. I like what Wellograph has delivered so far but I would like to see more.

Wellograph is available at a RRP of $299 in Silver Satin, Black Chrome and White Pearl. Changeable straps are also available at a RRP of $49.

* The Wellograph wellness watch was provided by Wellograph for review. There was no monetary reimbursement for reviewing the Wellograph that may result in the review being less than objective. The rep from the company has requested I keep the Wellograph to test out future hardware and app updates.

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