The world’s smartest smartwatch just got smarter. Intel-owned Basis — purveyors of what’s likely the most intelligent smartwatch on the market — has a new entry for the wearable tech category. But whatever you do, don’t call it a smartwatch.
Updated on 09-02-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added international release details and news of support for Runtastic
The Basis Peak has the looks and mind of a smartwatch, but it focuses on fitness. Basis says the Peak can track your heart rate and other fitness metrics with more accuracy than your average fitness band, and includes features most don’t, including continuous heart-rate monitoring, skin and ambient temperature sensors, sleep phase monitoring and more. It also has most normal smartwatch functions.
Cost and availability
The Basis Peak costs $200 and is available through a handful of retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, and REI. It’s also sold on the company’s website. Basis has also released the Peak in the UK — where it can be purchased through Amazon — and in Canada.
In September, Intel confirmed further international availability for the Peak. It’s priced at 230 euros in France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, with Spain to soon follow.
New Peak Titanium debuts for sleeker look
There’s no denying that the Peak has a sporty look, but now Basis has debuted a sleeker, more modern version of the Peak called Titanium. The $300 Titanium Peak has a case that’s made out of, you guessed it, titanium, and it comes with both a fancy leather strap and a silicone one for when you want to get sporty. Basis is also offering a bunch of leather straps in black, caramel, gray, pale pink, and tan for $50 a pop.
Runtastic compatibility and notifications
Following the announcement of its international availability, Intel also revealed the Basis Peak will integrate with Runtastic. The software gives the watch an extra fitness dimension, further utilizing the GPS, workout tracking, and heart rate monitor.
Those who already own a Basis Peak will get the Runtastic Pro app for free, and get a 40-percent discount on the premium membership plan. New owners will get the app with the watch. The offer begins on October 1, and is valid in most places where the Peak watch is sold.
Runtastic was recently purchased by Adidas, and the company already has its own range of fitness wearables.
Smartwatch style notifications for phone calls, texts, and calendar events are now available on the Basis Peak. To start receiving notifications on your watch, all you need to do is download the Peak firmware update number 1.8.15, upgrade the Basis Peak app to version 1.5.0, and activate notifications for the app on your smartphone. Once you’ve done so, you’ll feel a vibration and see an alert on your Basis Peak’s screen the next time you get a call, text, or alert.
Back in November, Basis opened up the Peak to third-party apps via Bluetooth GATT, a protocol that allows devices to share heart rate monitor data with other apps. Strava, RunKeeper, and Endomondo will now have access to the heart rate data collected by the Peak 24/7. It also now syncs with Apple Health and Google Fit. Although the app options are limited at this point, Basis says it’s keeping an open mind on the subject of third-party app integration, and will add more features in next month’s update.
A smartwatch with a focus on fitness
Digital Trends got a glimpse of the Peak a while back, when general manager Jef Holove swung through town to show of the last product in the pipeline prior to the Intel deal. It doesn’t look like a fitness band and falls more in line with standard smartwatch aesthetics — which is to say, it’s a touch clunky, arguably clunkier than most. The rectangular face features a square, high-contrast touchscreen made out of Gorilla Glass 3, so as to be durable and easy to read in any lighting conditions.
The casing is made from forged aluminum and is rated at 5 atmospheres, so you can swim with it strapped onto your wrist. Peak also comes with a customizable silicon strap and the watch module itself comes in two colors. The matte black module is paired with black and red-accented straps, while the brushed silver module features white and gray-accented straps. Additional straps are now available in five colors: Ember, Firefly, Vapor, Coral, and Onyx. The so-called “SportVent” straps cost $30 and ship in December.
The Peak may look like your standard smartwatch, but inside, it’s the ultimate fitness and sleep tracker. Basis packed five advanced sensors that measure heart rate, motion (via accelerometer), perspiration, and skin temperature into the watch. It automatically tracks your activity, using BodyIQ technology, which determines whether you are walking, running, biking, sleeping, or just waking up. Peak monitors your heart rate and can distinguish between different levels of activity.
Just like a sleep tracker, the Peak can detect different levels of sleep, from REM to deep or light sleep. It also recognizes when you suffer from toss-and-turn sleep or interruptions to determine the quality of your sleep. Basis created a feature called the Healthy Habits system, which is supposed to turn the insights gleaned from the data collected by Peak into real actions that you can take. The Peak will then give you suggestions and help you improve your lifestyle.
The Peak works with iOS and Android via an app. Basis says it will add more functionality to the smartwatch via a software update. Eventually, the device will be able to send the user notifications for emails, texts, and other alerts. Based on the company’s estimates, the Peak should get four day battery life. It charges via a cradle that connects to a power source via USB.
Updated on 05-19-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added news about the Basis Peak Titanium.
Updated on 01-28-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added news that the Basis Peak now has notifications for calls, texts, calendar alerts, and more.
Updated on 11-20-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added news that the Basis Peak now works with third-party apps and will get notifications soon.