Hidrate Spark review

This smart water bottle isn't nearly as stupid as you think it is

You already know you should drink more water, but the Spark makes it easy.
You already know you should drink more water, but the Spark makes it easy.
You already know you should drink more water, but the Spark makes it easy.

Highs

  • Actually gets you to drink more water
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Well-designed app
  • Fun design

Lows

  • Finicky lid
  • Sensor stick gets in the way of ice
  • A little pricey

DT Editors' Rating

Note: We’ve recieved a number of comments regarding connectivity issues, and Hidrate claims that these have been fixed in a software update. We were also inundated with comments regarding sub-par customer service and build quality issues. Based on that, we reached out to the company, and CEO Nadya Nguyen had this to say:

“We have quadrupled our support force over the past few weeks and loosened up our warranty policies, which will significantly improve customer support experience. With the rapid growth that we saw from 2015, we ended up shorter on support than we wanted to last year. However, we have significantly improved our customer support by expanding the team and also speeding up the processes for resolving customer issues and sending replacements if needed. Of course, this is still a work in progress, and we want you to know that we’re taking action.”

If you’re like me, you don’t drink enough water. Coffee? Sure. Orange juice? Yes, please. Beer? Depends, have I finished writing for the day? Okay, yeah I’ll have a beer.

That’s not for lack of knowledge, by the way. Studies show that drinking more water isn’t just good for your health, but it will make you feel a lot better, look a lot better, and be more productive. Hidrate knows this, and wants you (and me) to drink more water. That’s where the Hidrate Spark smart water bottle comes in.

I know what you’re thinking. A smart water bottle? Really? Is that necessary?

Before you read on, know this. Thanks to the Hidrate Spark, I drank way more water than I otherwise would have. In other words, no matter how good or bad the water bottle is technologically, it has accomplished its mission. So … how good is it?

Design

The Hidrate Spark is a standard looking water bottle, though perhaps a little sleeker than most. It features a simple single-color design, and would look at home in any sports bag. That said, it also fits right at home on my desk, although I wouldn’t take it to a fancy night out or anything.

Take off the lid and you’ll see a white stick that extends to the bottom of the bottle, which detects how much water you’ve had; the lid unscrews for refills. To take a drink, you push a button that flips open the cap, letting you sip.

As mentioned, there’s a white stick that extends down to the bottom of the bottle – it isn’t just for sensors, however. It also has a little light in it, which pulses every now and then to remind you that you need to be drinking more water. It also pulses during connectivity. It’s important to note that this sensor stick isn’t all good – if you want to put ice in your bottle they’ll need to be relatively small pieces: There has to be enough room for the sensor stick to make its way down the bottle. (Maybe it’s a chance to use all that nugget ice you’re making?) The ice needs to be small enough to fit between the sensor stick and the edge of the bottle, in other words, whereas the only limit to other containers is the bottle’s mouth.

It’s extremely easy to connect the Hidrate bottle to the app. Simply open the app, hit “Add Bottle,” and follow the instructions.

The whole thing is plastic, of course, which helps keep it nice and light while giving it a fun look – no, it’s not as sleek as an iPhone, but it’s also not meant to be. The lid features a button, which, when pressed, sends the lid flying open thanks to a spring. The lid takes some getting used to when closing it up – just make sure you hear it click. Once I thought the lid was closed only to knock it over and spill water all over my desk.

The app on the other hand is plenty sleek. The main interface shows your daily progress, and a swipe to the left reveals your progress from previous days. A menu bar along the bottom allows you to access information about your bottle, your profile and notifications, stats, and more. It’s extremely easy to use.

Performance

To connect the Hidrate bottle to the app, simply open the program, hit “Add Bottle,” and then follow the instructions, which mainly consist of holding your phone near the bottle.

I went through two water bottles during this review — the first was riddled with problems. After talking about the issues with Hidrate representatives, I was told that my bottle was defective and promptly sent a new one. Apparently there was a batch of defective bottles, so if yours doesn’t connect properly, shoot Hidrate a message.

The second time around I was pleasantly surprised. It’s annoying to remember to open the app each day before you start drinking water, but once you do the bottle connects quickly and easily. Start drinking and the app syncs relatively quickly, ensuring you know how much you’ve had at all times.

I’m harping on the app because honestly, without it the bottle wouldn’t be worth the $55 price. The app is what motivates you to drink throughout the day, and it offers a few cool features like the ability to add water to your total in case you drank from a glass like a normal person. This means you can strive for your goals without being tied to the bottle; if you wanted, you could simply stop using the bottle altogether while still knowing how much water you need to drink, as long as you remember to tell the app how much water you’re drinking.

Honestly, without the app, the bottle wouldn’t really be worth the $55 price tag.

Speaking of which, the app uses information like temperature, humidity, your weight and height, and your age to determine how much you need to drink. It generally only varies by a few ounces, but it’s still smart and gives the app a high-tech feel.

Of course, if would be pointless to get the bottle solely for the app. There are plenty of apps out there designed to help you track how much water you drink. Hydro Coach, for example, not only tracks how much straight water you’ve had, but can also track how much water is in other drinks, like juice, wine, and so on. Another such app for iOS is Waterlogged, which does the same thing. In other words, what you’re buying is a system. The water bottle alone is not worth $55. Nor is the app. Together, and if used often enough, $55 may not be so bad.

Conclusions

The DT Accessory Pack

Yes, $55 is a little steep for a water bottle, but if you’re someone who needs a push to make sure you drink enough water, then it may be worth it. If you drink plenty every day, there’s no need to shell out the cash, of course. But for those that don’t get anywhere near their recommended daily amount of water – which includes pretty much everyone, everywhere — this may be the bottle for you.

Emerging Tech

Trip to Neptune’s moon, Triton, could inform search for extraterrestrial life

NASA has proposed sending a craft to Neptune to study its largest moon, Triton. Studying Triton could offer clues to how liquid water is maintained on planets, which may indicate what to look for when searching for life beyond our planet.
Mobile

HMD Global admits Nokia 7 Plus handsets sent user data to China

Nokia could be in some hot water. According to recent reports, Nokia 7 models may be secretly sending data to China without the user knowing about it. Nokia says that the issue was a software bug and that it has been fixed.
Smart Home

Update your kitchen with the best refrigerators you can buy in 2019

There are tons of factors that go into buying a fridge, from size and capacity to color. It takes lots of testing and research, but we've chosen the best refrigerators to get you started, regardless of what you're looking for.
Deals

Amazon slices prices in half for AeroGardens smart indoor garden, today only

AeroGardens can grow up to six plants at one time. The plants grow in water, not soil, so you never have the mess of outdoor gardening in your clean home. This method allows the plants to grow five times faster than if they were planted in…
Deals

This Bowflex promo code will save you up to $1,000 on training equipment

The Bowflex HVT machine is designed to fit anyone's needs. Whether you're getting back into shape or you train every day, Bowflex's HVT, which stands for hybrid velocity training, combines both cardio and working out in one machine. Now you…
Gaming

Sony could use a robot to turn your PlayStation into a fitness machine

Sony submitted a patent application for a robotic device equipped with a camera to assist in your workout. The images included suggest that the device will work with your PlayStation console.
Outdoors

Yamaha’s Wabash ebike takes on gravel, single track, and more

The Wabash gravel ebike from Yamaha gives riders a versatile and powerful option for riding trails, pavement, mud, sand, dirt, and more, with plenty of range and power for all-day adventures.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Mobile

Even older Apple Watches could be effective at spotting heart conditions

The Apple Watch Series 4 is known for detecting heart conditions like atrial fibrillation thanks to having an electrocardiograph feature. It turns out that older Apple Watches could be effective at tracking AFib, too.
Health & Fitness

Under Armour HOVR is more than a running shoe, it’s a fitness tracker

Under Armour HOVR running shoes bring more to the table than just a comfortable fit. With UA's Record Sensor technology, you can track distance, duration, and even the path you take as you run.
Outdoors

Trek’s new bike helmet is 48 times safer than the one you’re wearing

Trek and Bontrager have taken the wraps off of a new cycling helmet that uses WaveCel technology to dramatically reduce head injuries by dispersing the impact in a way that is 48 times safer than current helmets.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Emerging Tech

Scientists have a way to turn off alcoholism: Blasting the brain with lasers

Researchers from Scripps Research have demonstrated that it is possible to reverse the desire to drink in alcohol-dependent rats by targeting a part of the brain using lasers. Here's how.