The first in-depth review of an early production model of the Healbe GoBe is out from Engadget, and it’s … well, it’s not as bad as a lot of people expected.
The GoBe is likely the most controversial wearable to come down the pike. It had a hugely over-subscribed crowdfunding campaign, based on its claim that it could monitor caloric intake and glucose levels non-invasively and without user input. Scientists and, eventually, journalists widely derided those claims, and Healbe itself would only make them in person after reading a legalistic disclaimer.
It didn’t help that the ship date kept getting pushed back and production numbers kept getting trimmed. But now Engadget has a piece of nearly finished goods (apparently, there’s an issue with the battery and battery life). It turns out that the claims aren’t totally nonsense, but either are they spot on.
GoBe does, in fact, respond to what you eat and counts the calories. It does so, however, over the course of many hours and not particularly accurately. One would not call it a medical device. One even hesitates to call it useful.
You have to remember to push a button a few minutes before you eat or your calories won’t be counted correctly. If the battery runs out before the GoBe is finished analyzing your sweat for caloric intake, well, that data’s lost, too. As slick as the accompanying app seems to be, its reporting abilities are limited, and if you can’t do anything with the data you’ve collected, what’s the point?
One apparently wouldn’t call it attractive, either. It’s pretty bulky; the reviewer said that more than one friend asked if he was wearing a GPS tracker. Your fashionable friends would be appalled.
There is a theory floating around that innovators need to ship not perfect products but minimally acceptable products that can be iterated. Even if you buy that theory, it sounds like the Healbe GoBe just barely clears the bar of “minimally acceptable,” and then only for a very forgiving definition of “acceptable.”