STRIIV PLAY REVIEW
Updated August 10, 2014
The Striiv Play tracks your steps and stairs climbed, calories burned, and more. But what makes it exceptional among fitness trackers is its fitness-based game, MyLand, in which you make progress via your real world exercise. Striiv Play is serious about, well, play!
I like to make a point of letting you know how I acquire each activity tracker I test. In this case, I bought the Striiv Play with my own hard-earned money; Striiv didn't give me the unit to test, or provide me with any kind of incentives that might bias this review. If and when I do receive a test unit from any company, I'll always be up-front about revealing that information in the event that it might bias what I think or what I share about the device.
My Experience with the Striiv Play
My Striiv Play arrived in mid April, 2014, and I used it until it died. I did buy it used, so I wasn't too surprised when it died just a few months later due to an issue with the device's primary button. Here's a quick breakdown of the experience in terms of likes and dislikes before I provide an overview of the devices features and characteristics.
The Striiv Play: What it is, How it Works
The Striiv Play fitness tracker was built with the iOS-lover in mind. Designers gave special attention to the app's look and feel to make sure it would offer a smooth on-device experience.
However, there are now two versions of the Striiv app: "Striiv Walkathon" (the older app) and "Striiv" (the newer app). Striiv had received many complaints from people experiencing bugs and crashing using the older app, and they just weren't able to figure out and fix all of the bugs that were causing these issues. They decided it would be easier to build a new, and more basic, app from the ground up to avoid the bugs that plagued their first app.
The new app has changed in terms of both design and features from the old app. Frankly, I prefer the many features of the old app and for that reason I continue to use it. I've never had problems with bugs or crashing.
Unfortunately, the old app is no longer available for download. But fortunately, Striiv is working on adding all the full features to their newer version of the app.
Here's what the old app looks like:
The Striiv's Got Game: MyLand Game
Yes, that's right: the Striiv Play app includes a built-in game that pushes you to be more active. I've enjoyed playing it, both via the Striiv Play and just using the standalone app without the device.
I wrote a series of blog posts on Striiv MyLand game strategy, including charts of what each plants and building earns and costs at each level. The link will take you to the most comprehensive post, which includes a list of Striiv Buddies you can add, as well as links to the related posts!
In addition to the game, the (old) app also includes other cool things:
People who use MyLand tend to embrace the idea of exercise as a game and claim it is addictive and motivating, inviting friends, family, and fellow Striiv users to compete with them. I've also found myself checking the MyLand game more than once a day and wanting to invite my friends and family to get Striivs and compete against me. But they can't get every fitness tracker I decide to test, so if you want to add me as a Striiv buddy, I have a list of readers who use Striiv and who want to be added as Striiv friends which you can find here (or, let me know if you'd like to be added to the list!).
Whether you have a Striiv Play, Striiv Band or Striiv Touch, you will all connect to the same app. The Striiv Smart Pedometer is entirely self-contained and does not connect to the app.
Sturdy and Wireless
The Striiv Play itself gathers and displays the core data that gadget lovers have come to expect of smart pedometers and fitness trackers: steps, distance traveled, stairs climbed, calories burned, time active, and time of day. It accomplishes this via 3-axis accelerometer, proprietary algorithms, and an altimeter.
It's a compact device made with plastic and metal, and it is water resistant. A super bright OLED display overcomes the problem that some other trackers have of being able to be read in bright sunlight.
The Striiv Play is among a coveted set of fitness trackers because it uses Bluetooth Low Energy to sync wirelessly to your iOS device, removing the interruption that plugging it in to sync manually might cause, and ensuring that your data is always up-to-date in the app. However, in practice, I found that often the Striiv Play needed to be "woken up" with a button press in order to connect to my phone. Don't expect it to always be syncing in the background the way a FitBit product might.
So what are the downsides? Aside from my gripes listed earlier, several users have complained about software glitches including problems syncing and problems counting steps and have griped about the battery life or problems with customer service. If I continue to have syncing issues, I'll soon be reaching out to customer service myself and can report back about the experience. UPDATE: I reached out around 11PM, and they got back to me the next morning! That's pretty dandy customer service, in my book. It looks like the issue, in my case, is not a sync issue but rather a problem with the button on the device that you use to wake up the screen and to trigger a sync. After a couple more weeks of use, the button has died and the device no longer works. (However, I still use the Striiv Walkathon app, which can count steps even without a paired device by using the accelerometer in your phone -- so still add me as a Striiv buddy if you want!)
However, even detractors do admit that when the Play works, it works well, and that the app is addictive. However, since coming out with the Play, Striiv has rolled out two new products worth checking out: the Striiv Touch and the Striiv Band.
As a bonus feature, you can connect your Striiv data to MyFitnessPal, a popular online fitness service, and track your calories burned against your food/calories eaten.
The conclusion? If you like playing games on your phone or find games motivating or addicting, the Striiv Play might be just what you need to get more steps in and become healthier! But before you spring for it, check out the Striiv Smart Pedometer, which offers the same motivational tools for potentially less hassle (though using the touch screen can be a bit trying at times).
How to Remove the Striiv Play Clip
A reader reached out to let me know that he was able to remove the offending nickel-plated clip from the Striiv Play. This is going to void your warranty -- guaranteed. But it will save you from a nickel allergic reaction. I followed his lead and did the same, and I've posted the instructions and a few picture below if you'd like to do so, too. However, there's no great way to close it back up sans clip. If you do this, it's at your own risk -- I'm not responsible for any equipment you may break or injuries you might cause yourself or others in the process!
However, I haven't yet figured out how to snap the case back together without the metal clip insert. Still, here's how to get it open:
Features & Added Benefits
The Striiv Play tracks steps, stairs climbed, calories burned, time of day, distance, and minutes of activity. Its wireless syncing and bright display are big perks, but the biggest differentiator between the Striiv Play and other fitness trackers is its focus on turning fitness into a game you can play with friends who also have the Striiv Play.
You can download the Striiv app for free to check it out (http://www.striiv.com/products/striivapp/) -- it even counts steps without needing to be paired with a device. You can link the app to your Striiv Play device later, if and when you buy one.
Hardware & Wearing
The Striiv Play weighs in at a slim 14 grams (.49 ounces). It is intended to be worn on the waist, clipped to the waistband or pockets of pant, but can also be slipped entirely into your pocket. It is water resistant. Be aware that the metal clip is nickel-plated, so those with a nickel allergy should either think twice, plan to wear it clip-out and screen-in, coat the clip in clear nail polish, or unscrew the device, remove the clip, and screw it back together.
Battery Life & Charging
The Striiv's fully charged lithium-ion battery lasts for up to 7 days, though active users average closer to 3 days of battery life. Recharges in 2 hours via a USB cable.
Your data syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.0 to your Bluetooth-enabled iOS device (check Striiv for compatible models). Requires the occasional button-press on the Play to wake up the device in order to sync.
You can view your data via select iOS devices: