It is great to see so many start-up as well as established companies jump on this opportunity as it will benefit everyone in this day and age when you can pretty much buy anything except health….so whether you are a sporty or lazy, thin or fat, it still is wise to track some of your heath data like weight, fat%, blood pressure, glucose levels, etc.
As mentioned before there are many companies that are fighting in this market. Some have only Apps, some have Apps as well as products that measure your data and transfer into Apps for review and trend tracking. Some great examples is a health tracking App DigiFit, Fitbit and Jawbone UP activity trackers, as well as scale and blood pressure meter from Withings and Zeo sleep manager.
Besides the great design, this product suite comprised of the weight scale called TargetScale, CardioDock blood pressure monitor, ThermoDock thermometer, and glucose meter GlucoDock consolidates all data in one App named Vitadock. Vitadock is currently only available for the iPhone, but I have no doubt that the company is working on the Android version also.
In this review I will try to give my point of view on this package that I have been using now for just over 2 weeks.
Just to be clear, I bought these products, they were not freebies, and want to share with you some great and some things to improve on that I found after using the products.
Many images in this review have been taken from the VitaDock website and are copyright of Medisana.
Before we start with the product review, let me first quickly touch on the Vitadock App that is downloadable from the iTunes App Store.
Navigating through Vitadock App is very easy and very self intuitive….you just need to follow the flow and all will be clear. Most of the screens work in landscape as well as portrait mode. Following are some images of the tracking templates to give you more feel on how the App works in general.
Opening screen Dashboard screen displaying the latest readings from each of the suite apparatus. You will see each of the bubbles that I used so far has a green flavour to it. The color changes to purple once you are outside of normal measuring parameters (example high blood pressure).
Vitadock App to date does not have a browser/portal equivalent, and I certainly hope that will be coming soon. What I miss is that I can track the health metric of my family from one central point. I would love to be able to have my son weight himself in the morning and data be uploaded onto the portal where I would be able to pick up the data from. Or alternatively, if my son has a fever he can measure the temperature using the Vitadock thermometer, upload and I can from a distance check the progress. Same thing would be very helpful with the blood glucose levels tracking.
As the App develops I am also hoping that 3rd party applications will be able to tap into Vitadock and send information to other portals. For me personally I would love to see integration with Trainingpeaks.com which is a tool I use every day for my training. I know for a fact that all fields that are in Vitadock are also in Traininpeaks.com so integration should be possible.
As said, these are the beginnings of a journey and am sure that the development team will be working on further building and improving the App and creating the portal that will be synching with each other. So far great stuff.
Having said this lets start the review of the products….
Product that will appeal to most of the people just after making their New Year resolutions.
TargetScale has a very nice futuristic design, and is not flat like most standard scales on the market. This one is a little curved as you can see on the below photos. TargetScale tracks a number of key weight metrics, such as: weight, BMI value, body fat, muscle mass, body water, bone mass, daily calorific requirement value. Plenty of data…
After unpacking the TargetScale and inserting 2AA batteries it was ready to go. On the back of the scale, in the battery compartment, there is a switch where you need to indicate in what units you want the measurements to take place: kg, pounds, stone.
The really cool feature of the TargetScale is that it works with Bluetooth to connect to your iPhone and the Vitadock App.
TargetScale works just like any other scale….you step on it, and it measures all the above already mentioned weight related metrics. In the scale as well as the App you can set some parameters like gender, age, height and there is also the athlete mode. A cool feature is that you can set your target weight upon which the scale will be not showing you your actual weight, but your over/under kg vs. the target weight.
3 easy steps and you are done…
After the measurement is completed you can add some additional comments regarding the measurement.
You can also use the scale if you don’t own an iPhone or iPad. Data will then simply show on the scales screen. Using TargetScale without the iPhone and Vitadock App will limit you to 4 users, while with Vitadock App you will be able to assign up to 8 users.
TargetScale displays data in kg/pounds/stones.
Pairing with the iPhone/iPad needs to happen only ones and that worked without any issues. Once the connection is established for the first time you will be assigned an avatar, and this avatar will always be displayed on the scale when connection with your iPhone is made. It takes a few seconds after turning the TargetScale on to make the link with your iPhone/iPad.
Bluetooth connection will play a big role in further development of the scale as the firmware can be updated this way to improve the product even further.
Scale is easily calibrated and should be calibrated every time you change the surface it is placed on. To calibrate you simply need to place the scale on hard (not carpet) floor. Switch it on, and allow it to switch off automatically. Once it does this you will see a “target” sign displayed. Once this is displayed TargetScale is calibrating.
Weight Management Metrics – The Accuracy.
How do we know if a scale is accurate? We don’t!!!!
Unless we do some very comprehensive tests that require multi thousand euro equipment. Over the past few weeks I managed to get 13 comparing measurements of the TargetScale vs. Tanita BC-1000.
Results can be seen in the below table. It is clear that the Tanita scale is showing about 2.6kg higher values than the TargetScale. Which one is correct? I have no idea! What I do know is that both of the scales are tracking the trend pretty accurately, and in weight management trend is the most important aspect in my opinion. Are you losing weight, are you gaining weight or are you keeping your weight steady are the most important considerations.
Furthermore on the accuracy part, I am unclear as to when the scale actually records the measurements. On Tanita BC-1000 there are 2 signals informing you when the measurements start and when taken. TargetScale does not inform you, but it just takes a measurement. If you continue standing on the scale and move a little it will constantly change the weight reading rather than just freezing one number. The Vitadock App reading does freeze. Would be great if this can be changed through firmware updates.
Next on the review is the body fat %. Well, to be honest, this metric is not calculated/estimated properly as it shows a considerably higher number than what I really am. Measurement from TargetScale were constantly some 6-7% higher than what my doctor measured which was pretty close compared with the Tanita scale….so it must be possible to re-program the TargetScale….I am hoping to see this as an improvement in the future also.
I have not reviewed any other metric as I only really look at my weight and body fat%.
As already previously mentioned, the design is not traditional. Its not a boring looking scale like 99% on the market these days! I like the black color and a little bit spacy feel to it. What I am unsure of is why they didn’t make it flat but rather curved on the top. I think this could be one of the reasons for the potential inaccuracy of the scale. People will tend to sometime stand on the scale with the balance towards the right side making the scale reading inaccurate. If the scale was flat it would have been more easier to use.
Tracking weight in Vitadock App is very easy and very self intuitive….you just need to follow the flow and all will be clear. Most of the screens work in landscape as well as portrait mode. Following are some images of the tracking templates to give you more feel on how the App works in general.
Body weight in portrait view
Body Weight in landscape viewBody fat in landscape viewBone mass in landscape viewBody water in landscape viewBody muscle in landscape view
The only comment I have on the App is the graphs that track progress over time. The scales need to be a little more flexible to allow you to see the real fluctuations. See as example any of the above charts. Looking at these graphs you would say that I am tracking pretty steady while in fact there were quite significant fluctuations. Hopefully this can also be fixed in the release of the updated App.
TargetScale Conclusion is that this indeed is a very innovative product, with futuristic design that does track the weight progress nicely, but there are a few tweaks that I would like to see in both scales firmware to get to as accurate weight as well as body fat%, but also in the App itself. I will continue to use TargetScale.
ThermoDock thermometer is a really exciting tool. It is the first of a kind (that I know) that measures body temperature accurately without actually touching the body…
ThermoDock comes with a little black pouch for better protection.
…and is really easy to use. Once you insert it into the iPhone it automatically recognizes the apparatus and the VitaDock opens up in the ThermoDock mode ready for the measurement.
I have so far measured my body temperature every morning and it works flawlessly! In comparing the ThermoDock with the Braun ear thermometer I found that they were only 0.2C apart, so a pretty accurate device compared to a product that has been o the market for quite some time.
Here come some of the screen shots from the ThermoDock part of the VitaDock.
Above you can also see the Live Mode tab as well as the Diary tab. The latter will allow you to scroll through your database of body temperature measurements, while the Live mode will be explained later.
Last but certainly not least, ThermoDock can also be used to measure temperatures of surfaces and liquid in temperature range of 0 to 100 C. This is done in the “Live Mode”. An example can be seen below.
Here comes a short video to show how simple it actually is….apologies for the eye blinking…not sure what was happening there (not normal)!
Blood pressure monitor that works with an iPhone. Brilliant, and it is very accurate. With Vitadock App you can now track your blood pressure as well as your pulse over time. I use my CardioDock every morning.
I encourage my wife to use CardioDock as she experiences severe headaches often, so am hoping to find a trend of her headaches related to high/low blood pressure as well as glucose levels but more on that later when we look at GlucoDock.
It is very simple to use. As a matter of fact, besides the blood pressure monitoring I use CardioDock as am iPhone charger so I can start the day will full batteries.
The product shot
These are all the components that come with it: docking station, the band that goes around your arm, charger and a very nice black pouch where you can store not only the CardioDock components but also the ThermoDock as well as GlucoDock.
As said already, it is 1, 2, 3 and its working. Very simple.
However, before you are ready to do so, you need to set up a few things in the Vitadock App. You get the option of choosing the WHO (World Health Organization) standards or you can customize your own tracking blood pressure and pulse measures. I opted for the WHO ones, and this is how it looks:
The beauty of this blood pressure monitor is that you can do a one time measurement, but you can also opt for a much more accurate revolutionary method called 3MAM for even more precise results. The 3MAM method measures your blood pressure up to 5 times, and averages it out which equalizes natural fluctuations that could occur when measuring. I have so far always used this method. So far all my measurement using this method were equal to 3. Between each of the measurements there is a 15 second pause. More details on this in the short video.
Once you have complete some measurements, this is how it is all displayed in the Vitadock App.
In portrait mode showing last 3 measurements…
while in landscape mode you can choose the data range. Here we see the blood pressure tracking
while here we see the tracking of my morning pulsethe App also allows for recording your mood of the day
and a short video of how the CardioDock works…
Overall, very happy with this product. Great!
The product that I have least experience with, but still wanted to show you what it is all about to complete the picture.
I am not diabetic, and therefore I guess it was hard for me to start using this one. But think I figured out how to use it today, so here we go.
This is how it all looks like from the outside
As you can see, same design features across whole Vitadock range.
Test strips look as follows:
They are very tiny and there are some special rules on how to use them within 3 minutes after they are out of the container due to obvious reasons in order to get most accurate data.
When you purchase the GlucoDock, you will receive the sensor that is inserted into the iPhone, 10 test strips, Medisana control solution, AST cap, 10 lancets, adjustable lancing device, 5 alcohol pads, and a nice black pouch that can store everything you need.
How does it work…..once you figure it out it is actually very easy. Am sure that someone that is tracking their glucose levels would not even need an instruction manual to do this….
In short, you insert the GlucoDock into iPhone, you then insert the test strip into the GlucoDock. Now comes the scary bit, you need to take some blood, and let it absorb on the test strip, and a few seconds later you get the results.
Before you actually go and do the work, you need to set up the Vitadock with the measuring units for your glucose. You get the option between the mg/dL and mmol/L. I chose the mmol/L and inputed the target values that I found on the Wikipedia to be normal levels.
and after you perform the readings these are the screens that are possible for viewing and tracking.
This was my reading this evening before dinner…
Once you have many readings you can track the glucose level with this nice overview.
This App also allows you to enter your insulin levels as well as your food values in a very similar screen. I have not done this as I am not using insulin.
Lastly, all is consolidated in a very nice Excel sheet that you can save and naturally send to your doctor or family member for review.
To conclude I am very happy with this suite of products, and use them daily (except the GlucoDock as there is no need to use every day). I use it every morning so that data is comparable and most relevant.
Yes there are some question marks about the accuracy of the TargetScale but hopefully with lots of feedback from various places on the plant the Medisana technicians will be able to make TargetScale even better. Same story with the Vitadock App.
Once again, as stated in the beginning, I wrote this purely based on my experiences and these are merely my findings. Someone else, somewhere else in the world will agree but there will also be people that will disagree with my findings.
I really like these products and will certainly continue to use them and encourage everyone to hop on the DIY Health vagon and join the fun!
Vitadock products are currently available in Europe, and some countries in Asia. Hopefully soon they will also be available in the USA.
I found a great internet shop where I purchased my products. If you ask them nicely they will also ship to outside of Netherlands am sure. Their service and prices are unbeatable!
You can buy here at HARTSLAGMETERSHOP.NL
Just to make sure…..I have no interest in this transaction, and will not receive any commission.
Hope you enjoyed this review. It was my very first. I am by no means trying to compete with the master of reviews DC Rainmaker….he rocks!
Please let me know if there are any questions, and I will try to answer them.