I am an Apple Watch user and use it mostly for health benefits. I use it with Strava while cycling through the Kent countryside or if it’s wet, pair it with Peloton for an indoor session. When Aura got in touch about their Apple Strap, I was intrigued and asked them to send one over for me to try out.
We all know that the Apple Watch can be used as a fitness tool, it will track a number of basic stats but it is limited and that’s where the Aura Strap comes in. The Aura Strap offers an array of additional stats, helping you know more about your body and general health.
What the strap does
The strap will measure your body composition, it will measure fat, visceral fat, muscle, protein, lean mass and based on the height & weight you input, will produce a BMI output as well. It will also monitor your hydration levels.
The strap itself comes in either 38/40mm or 42/44mm versions. It can come in either coal-black, light grey, peach red and mint green colours. The strap is fabric, it’s made from nylon (or nylon-like) fabric. It connects to your watch like any other strap but to fasten it, you pull the piece of plastic through the loop and attach it to the strap via velcro. You need to do this on both sides to secure the watch in place. At the middle section of the strap, is the tech, a plastic casing with metallic sensors on both sides, so one that’s constantly touching your wrist, while the other you use as and when required. There is a single push button on the casing, which you need to use as prompted.
The strap itself is quite nice, it’s soft to touch and feels good on my wrist. I thought the plastic casing part would irritate me but I really didn’t notice it at all while wearing the watch all day. My only issue with the strap from a practical point of view is it doesn’t come apart unless you de-attach it from the watch. This means you need to slide your hand through the strap every time before tightening it up. This also has an issue with charging. I would usually lay my watch flat on the charging dock but as the strap doesn’t come off (unless you de-attach it from the watch), you need to attach the dock to the watch and charge it on its side. It’s not a huge problem but surely I’m not expected to de-attach the strap from the watch every night? Or am I?
The strap pairs up with the free Aura app, available from the app store and then you need to sync the two together to get started. The next step is to take your first reading and although it takes a little getting used to, the step by step guides provided, really do help. In brief, you need to have the watch on, open the Aura app on your watch and hit measure. It then reminds you of how to take a reading, which involves you pressing the button on the strap and holding the palm of your hand (the muscular part under your thumb) against the sensor facing outwards on the strap. You will hear some white noise and the progress of the reading as a percentage will be shown on the watch. Once you hit 100%, the reading is done and the data will be shared with your smartphone.
It took a while to find the correct spot on my hand to attach to the sensors but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. That noise you hear is normal, it’s meant to happen and apparently, it’s a way of the strap communicating to the watch itself. It’s best to stand up, be calm and slightly raise your elbows to get the best results. There is also a warning of sorts after taking a reading, making note that it’s a long term trend, i.e once a day, not once an hour as that won’t help the stats.
Using the strap is easy, the app is easy to navigate as well, as there isn’t too much to it. On the home screen, it details each metric and then if you click on it, it will show your data readings per day, week or month. Syncing the watch and the app is automatic and I’ve had issues. I initially started recording data daily, at the end of February but when it turned the 1st March, that data disappeared. Sometimes I’d take a successful reading on the watch, and it would take a few minutes to sync, or wouldn’t show up in the app at all. Also, storing the stats was touch and go, for example, muscle, the week graph shows the recordings, the month graph doesn’t but the year one does.
It’s interesting to see the stats, the hydration levels, the fat and muscle too. How accurate are they, I’m not too sure but I have manually worked out my BMI, which is also shown and the app is accurate with what I’ve worked out. Hydration was an easy one to test, taking a reading after a day of drinking plenty, hydration levels were shown as higher. Other options in the app include activity, which just replicates the info from Apple Health, steps, heart rate and calories burned. There are settings too, your account details, edit your profile (height & weight etc), change units, change watch faces and see how much charge the strap has. The strap does have a removable battery that will need changing after several months.
The strap itself is comfortable to wear, the sensor part doesn’t distract or get in the way at all. I’ve been cycling with the strap on, I get sweaty, and when I remove it, it is wet. So not as hygienic has a rubber strap but it is advertised as waterproof, so shouldn’t affect the longevity of it. As far as I can tell, the stats measured are fairly accurate and it may help you know more about your body & health.
The Aura Strap is available now and retails for $119. I like the concept, the idea of being able to easily and quickly track further stats on the go, after a ride, or run. However, I feel it needs some slight sotfware updates to make it more streamlined. Having said that, there was an update pushed out during testing.
For more info and to purchase, head over to the official Aura website.