REVIEW: LEAF Smart Jewelry / Health Tracker by Bellabeat*
What It Is: LEAF by Bellabeat is smart jewelry that tracks steps, sleep, meditation, exercise and more. There’s also a setting to make it briefly buzz when you’ve been sitting for a long time. You can wear LEAF as a necklace, a bracelet or clip it to clothes.
What You Might Not Know: As a health tracker made for women, LEAF includes period tracking and a fertility calendar. Based on the info you tap into the app about your cycle, it’ll tell you when you’re probably ovulating. Always good to know!
Feelin’ the Love: I’m not usually a fan of the way traditional wrist-based wearables look, so when I first saw this unique smart jewelry that could be worn three different ways, I couldn’t wait to try it.
How to wear it
I started out wearing LEAF as a necklace with the silver chain that’s provided. That was good for everyday puttering around, but not suitable for working out because the LEAF has a bit of weight to it—I was worried about taking out a tooth doing burpees.
Using the strap that comes with LEAF, I wrapped it around my wrist instead. Even though I usually take off jewelry to work out, the bracelet never felt bothersome, even when lifting weights. You can also clip LEAF to your waistband or bra so it’s safely out of the way while still collecting activity data. For best results, use the companion app to tell LEAF where you’ve placed it.
LEAF doesn’t have a screen and it doesn’t automatically sync data—steps, calories, distance—from the device to the app. You have to do that manually. This, the LEAF folks tell me, is to avoid constant Bluetooth emissions as you wear it all day and night. I can appreciate that.
For example, choosing from a comprehensive list of activities, you need to tell the app what workout you did each day, and for how long. You’re also supposed to enter water intake and what time you went to bed the night before and woke up that morning (or you can wear the device to bed and it’ll track sleep for you).
One of my favorite features in the app is about meditation. I’m a Type-A personality and, fittingly, I love the idea of earning brownie points for time spent chilling out. To get credit, you either follow along to one of the guided meditations and breathing exercises provided (e.g., Inner Peace, Menstrual Discomfort, De-Stress for Busy Women) or manually enter that you completed a DIY meditation.
Overall, having to manually sync the LEAF to the app, along with inputting other data myself, made me more aware of which milestones I was keeping up with and which ones were a fail. I appreciated this process because I am probably less inclined to notice what’s going on with devices that auto-sync everything for me.
During testing, I wore my Apple Watch on my left wrist and LEAF on my right, which provided a good opportunity to compare metrics. On most days, LEAF tallied about 2,000-3,000 more steps and 1-2 more kilometers per day than Apple Watch. Hmmm, I am inclined to side with Apple Watch. Actually, because I wear LEAF on my right wrist, I have wondered if it “reads” my back-and-forth hand motions from computer keyboard to mouse as steps.
Regardless, I’m not all that worried about the data discrepancy. LEAF was designed to help women take better care of their overall health, not as a device to meticulously analyze performance metrics. And I did find that using LEAF boosted general awareness about good health habits and illuminated areas for improvement.
If I Could Change One Thing: I am curious if future iterations of LEAF will be slightly smaller and thinner. That would be a bonus.
Should You Buy It? LEAF seems like the perfect entry point into the world of activity trackers for women who want a stylish, low-key system (no screen, minimal bells and whistles) for improving daily health habits. Comes in two different designs and either silver or rose gold; $119-$149 USD. App is for iOS and Android. Find LEAF at bellabeat.com or Amazon.