With Black Friday just round the corner, now is the time to grab yourself a bargain on a range of fitness goodies.
Smartwatches and fitness trackers have become increasingly popular across even the most fair-weather of athletes, with a range of devices now available to track a number of vital statistics; from your heart rate zones to sleep patterns – even your stress levels.
Here at Cosmopolitan UK, we gave the newest offering from WHOOP, the WHOOP 4.0, a go. From its ease of use to battery life and functionality, we let you know whether the subscription-only device is worth forking out your hand-earned cash over; particularly as WHOOP is offering some tasty Black Friday deals.
WHOOP 4.0 review
Pros of a WHOOP 4.0 tracker
Founded in 2012 by Harvard smart cookie Will Ahmed, WHOOP is now on its fourth iteration and the newest tracker boasts its most in-depth metrics yet, designed to satisfy the most dedicated athletes. The tracker is small (33% smaller than its predecessor to be precise) and lightweight, and promises improved results. While it measures most of the basic stats you expect a fitness tracker to measure (calories burned etc), WHOOP instead focuses on ‘strain’ and ‘recovery’ data.
How does it do this? The tracker measures how you put your body under strain, be it from walking to more high-intensity exercise, and gives this a number out of 21. Then, as you sleep, the WHOOP tracker measures your recovery. After collating these two scores, the tracker advises how you should train the following day. It sounds complex, but you boil it down, the tracker isn’t too vastly different to an Apple Watch and its ring system.
Cons of a WHOOP 4.0 tracker
As the WHOOP 4.0 tracker doesn’t have a screen, all of your data is stored within its app. While some may welcome not having an extra screen to stare at, I personally wasn’t enamoured by having to check my phone every time I wanted to see my vitals after a work out, even if the app did give a more detailed rundown of each day.
The WHOOP 4.0 has a lightweight, adjustable design, with the strap made from a knitted fabric material – a marked difference to the plastic or silicon straps of most smart watches. As the WHOOP needs to be on fairly tightly to accurately take your readings, I found the strap to be a little itchy (the skin on my wrist became a little dry). The WHOOP 4.0 that we received was grey and, while other colours and WHOOP-wear technology options are now available, I found mine to look a little dull and unchic compared to other fitness trackers, such as the Oura ring or FitBit’s options.
WHOOP 4.0 UK Price
Unlike other smart devices, WHOOP works on a subscription system, so you don’t actually pay for the tracker in and of itself. From $30 / £27 per month, you get the new and improved tracker itself, access to the app, and all the features on an automatic renewal plan. If you stop paying, the tracker and the app will cease to work. The renewal plan also lasts for two years, meaning you pay a staggering £432 for a fitness tracker that may just stop functioning.
There is, however, a significant Black Friday / Cyber Monday discount offer on WHOOP devices and accessories. Running until 28 November, you can get 17% off 12-month memberships, reducing price from £229 down to £189, or 13% off 24-month memberships, seeing the price dwindle to £344. There is also up to 40% off on accessories and wearable apparel.
If you do decide that WHOOP isn’t for you after your subscription ends, the stats can be transferred to other fitness apps.
How to charge WHOOP 4.0 – and its battery life
While the WHOOP 4.0 tracker claims to have a five day battery life, in my experience, I found it was closer to three days. Instead of connecting the device to a charger, you had to charge up a battery pack, which you then attached to the WHOOP tracker to charge. It made wearing the watch quite clunky and cumbersome; it was quite irritating particularly when I found myself charging it more than I’d have liked to.
Is WHOOP 4.0 waterproof?
The WHOOP 4.0 is water resistant for up to 10 metres for two hours. Or, in simpler terms – you can shower in it, but you shouldn’t do lots of lengths in the swimming pool wearing it.
The fabric strap means water is absorbed when you do wear it in the shower or bath, leaving your wrist a little squelchy. Definitely not a suitable tracker for swimmers or diving enthusiasts.
WHOOP 4.0 vs Apple Watch – how do the two compare?
While they’re both leading fitness trackers in their own right, the Apple Watch and WHOOP serve vastly different purposes.
As there is no screen on a WHOOP 4.0, you either have to manually record a work-out on the app or hope the device detects activity. The app says it needs 15 minutes of “sustained, significant cardiovascular exertion” to kick in.
However, I didn’t find the WHOOP tracker hugely reliable at picking up my workouts. It was able to detect my short walk to the supermarket in the morning to pick up some milk, but not when I lifted weights in the gym (something I was working harder at, I assure you). It can be quite a faff having to pull out and fiddle with your phone to record an exercise, compared to an Apple Watch, that requires a few taps.
If you’re a dedicated athlete with a significant fitness goal in mind (running a marathon, perhaps), then the WHOOP 4.0 tracker is by far the superior device. It offers far more thorough statistics, meaning it can offer far deeper insight into your health, training and wellbeing.
However, if you’re more casual when it comes to exercise, the Apple Watch seems like a better fit. As well as providing a general overview of your fitness, it can also receive messages, emails, calls, enable alarms and a whole host of other functionalities that the WHOOP does not have.
Is WHOOP 4.0 worth the price?
Personally, as someone who does not have any significant fitness goals (I consider it an achievement to get up off the sofa), the hefty price tag the WHOOP 4.0 boasts would not be worth it, and I would instead recommend an Apple Watch or a FitBit for general, straightforward stats. However, if you want round-the-clock dedicated monitoring of your health to see yourself flourish in fitness, WHOOP may still be worth considering.