Fitness

Is it worth buying a WHOOP band? Our honest thoughts on this popular fitness and health wearable

Published by Finn Hayden

Currently, there are lots of apps and gadgets on the market which claim to accurately track your health and fitness, be we've found so many of them to be less than perfect. When we heard about the WHOOP, we were immediately skeptical - paying almost £30 per month seemed really steep, especially considering that is more than we pay for our full gym membership (something about spending more on the tracking of the fitness versus the actual fitness seemed wrong to us). Plus, endorsements from the likes of LeBron James made us think this was nothing more than a fad, Instagram-friendly product.

When we finally got around to trying WHOOP, we have to admit that we were impressed - yes it's expensive, but you really do get what you pay for. We wanted to conduct a full review of the WHOOP tracker and app to share with our readers, let's get into it:

How does the WHOOP band work?

WHOOP might be touted as a revolutionary fitness device, but the way it works is really nothing new - you wear a device on your wrist which tracks everything from your sleep to your activity, and the device is linked to an app on your phone which provides you with a summary of everything and some tips on where you need to improve. It's definitely nothing new, but the way it is all put together is impressive.

The tracker

Unlike many of the fitness tracking apps out there, WHOOP requires you to wear a tracker at all times to ensure the accuracy of data. In terms of comfort and style, we actually really liked the tracker band - you can choose something colourful if you wish, but we wanted to go for something more discreet so chose the black design. It's definitely comfortable and you barely notice it's there, similar to a watch or bracelet. They are SuperKnit bands which are made with microfilament yarn, and we do have to admit that we find this material much more comfortable than the likes of a Fitbit. It might seem like a small thing, but it's really important that the tracker is comfortable because otherwise, you won't want to wear it 24/7, and you won't have accurate data. The band also has the ability to vibrate, meaning it can be used as a haptic alarm that gently vibrates to wake you up. You can slide the charger onto the tracker while you're wearing it, so you don't have to interfere with your data while you're charging the device. This was a great touch and makes a big difference considering all the data you'd lose if the tracker had to be removed when being charged.

WHOOP band device
Please excuse my hairy arm

The app

Like we said in our introduction, fitness tracking apps are nothing new, but we found the WHOOP app to be pretty excellent. Firstly, it had just about everything you'd expect from this sort of app - information about sleep, activity, and diet. But what really impressed us what the depth of information the device was able to track. For instance, the data about our sleep was much more than just hours slept or depth of sleep. Features like 'sleep debt' gave us tips on exactly when we should try to get to bed and how much sleep we should be aiming to get for optimal performance.

One thing we will say is that a lot of this data was probably wasted on us because we aren't high-level athletes. Knowing your blood oxygen levels, skin temperature readings, and heart rate metrics can be interesting, but probably isn't necessary for your average person. But although there is a lot of data in the app, it's presented in a clear and simple manner where you can see an overall of everything at a glance on the homepage of the app.

We were also really surprised to see no step tracking in the app, something we were sure would be in there. But this omission really signifies who the WHOOP is for - it's for your average person looking to track steps and maybe a bit more, it's for people who are really into fitness and who are looking to optimise almost every aspect of their life.

WHOOP app

What are the downsides of the WHOOP band?

Probably the main downside of the WHOOP is definitely the price - even if you're willing to pay for a 2-year membership upfront, (£18 per month) you're still paying almost £500. You do get the band included in this price, but it's still a lot of money. Also, as we mentioned in our section about the app, there is so much data here that we really don't need access to. In fact, we'd go as far as saying that having access to this data does us more harm than good, because all of a sudden you're worrying about your skin temperature (something you probably never even considered before). Lastly, we know it's the same with almost all fitness tracking apps, and we know it's a comfortable band and the data is superb, but we do still find it a little irritating to have to keep the tracker with you 24/7. You don't always have to wear the band and could put the tracker in your pocket or something like that, but it is still a bit inconvenient, especially when you're sleeping as you basically need to wear the band in bed. However, we're also not too keen on what the alternative would be (definitely not keen on an implant).

One other thing we wanted to mention is that WHOOP didn't seem to really understand or accurately track strength training, and is definitely more suited to those who are mostly doing cardio exercise.

What do third-party reviews say?

We like to refer to third-party reviews when creating these types of guides as it's often really useful to see what other users think of the product or service that we're reviewing, and we were happy to see that there is an active and verified Trustpilot profile for the WHOOP band. Currently, the Trustpilot profile is sitting with a 'Bad' rating of 1.7 out of 5 ' from more than 250 reviews. This is actually one of the worst ratings of any verified Trustpilot profile that we've ever seen - usually the Trustpilot profiles that aren't verified have bad ratings because the brand isn't replying to anyone, but there are quite a few replies from the WHOOP team on this profile. Overall, reviewers seem really dissatisfied with the service from WHOOP and the quality of the band. There are some 5 star reviews scattered throughout, but it is overwhelmingly negative.

WHOOP Trustpilot

Anything else to mention?

We think that the only things left to mention are that you don't really want to lose your WHOOP, because you'll have to pay around £40 for a replacement and you'll lose some data, so it is worth looking after it. There is also a journal function in the app - you can list things which may impact your sleep or performance. You don't have to fill the journal in, but it can be useful. It'll also take a few days of wearing your WHOOP before getting any really useful data, so stick with it and don't chuck it in the bin after a day just because it isn't showing you anything useful yet.

 

So, is the WHOOP band worth buying?

In our opinion, it is absolutely worth buying a WHOOP band if you're a high-level athlete or someone looking to become one. However, for the average person, the nearly £30 per month subscription probably isn't worth it.

We were also very shocked by how bad the reviews were on the WHOOP Trustpilot, which suggests that a number of people have had issues with their WHOOP band devices.

But what do you think about the WHOOP band? Let us know in the comments if you have one or if you're planning to buy one! If you want to read something similar, check out our guide to the best calorie counting apps and the best Fitbit alternatives.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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