The Breo UME health monitoring tool tested

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The Breo UME health monitoring tool began life on JD.com as a crowdfunded project, breaking its target goal of 100,000 RMB almost five times over with a total of RMB 579,194.

Touted as a health monitoring assistant, the UMI watch offers 4 primary features: an optical heart rate monitor, a step counter, a sleep monitor and a blood oxygen monitor.

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UME’s ECG-style heart rate monitor

At first glance, the UME watch is not a bad looking watch. It has a clean looking stainless steel finish, a slick leather wrist strap, and offers a nice crisp looking OLED display. It also claims to offer battery life of up to 7 days or 20 days on standby.

The primary and most impressive feature of the UME watch is the heart rate sensor/ECG, which delivers an ECG-style printout of your heartbeat to the watch display. Why this is more relevant than a standard heartbeat readout is beyond me, but suffice to say this data can be synced with a corresponding app on an iPhone or Android phone.

The sensor, interestingly, is placed on the front of the watch, which kind of makes this watch more like a Samsung Galaxy phone than a fitness tracker device.

Typically for heartbeat readings, a sensor is featured on the back of a device, so that you can continuously track readings while you participate in different activities. With a heartbeat tracker placed on the front of the device, a user has to place a finger over the sensor to gather readings, which typically involves stopping an activity to collect data – a not-so-convenient feature if you’re interested in collecting readings frequently.

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The step counter feature

The watch prominently advertises that it collects blood oxygen levels, but in my reading into the relevance of the blood oxygen metric, it seems that there’s only really a niche set of people who might be interested in collecting such readings: mountain climbers, who like to assess the impact of mountain air on their oxygen supply, asthmatics who chronically suffer from deficiency, and perhaps the elderly.

I attempted to use the step counter. However, my attempts mostly fell on figuratively deaf ears as the piece did not respond well to any of my steps. I could not get the figure to budge beyond the ‘421’ starting point it began with.

Connecting the unit up to the linked app provides the usual ‘smart’ features associated with various accessories. Heart palpitations are animated in a visually appealing fashion across your smartphone, you can view step totals (with calories and distance summed), establish a sleep protocol and monitor and log your blood oxygen and heart beat.

As crowdfunding for the watch has now been completed, you can no longer buy the watch over on JD.com and a search on Taobao reveals the watch sells for about RMB 1200. In my opinion this watch doesn’t really warrant RMB 1200 as you can get a much more functional step counter/heart rate monitor for under 200 RMB. Though it appears slick and well finished, the UME watch does not provide enough added value to warrant a price much in excess of other products.

Rohan Malhotra
Rohan Malhotra

Rohan, originally from Australia, writes about a variety of things, but the things that most appeal are: e-vehicles, opensource software/hardware and various kinds of small computers.

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