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Whoop 4: Company reveals new version of hyped heart-tracking wristband

·3-min read
 (Whoop)
(Whoop)

Whoop has released a new version of its unusual fitness tracker, promising increased accuracy and a decreased size.

The company’s small wristband – which works as an activity tracker, but without a screen – has been spotted on a number of cyclists, basketball players, golfers and other athletes in recent months, as part of sponsorships and agreements that have brought it to new prominence. The company has also garnered good reviews for allowing people to track how ready they are to work out, through the platform that is accessed on a connected phone.

Despite that very public backing and positive reviews, however, some questions have continued to be raised about the accuracy of its heartrate data, which is used to calculate the company’s key metrics, such as a score that aims to tell people exactly how recovered they are and ready for workouts.

Now Whoop has looked to address those problems with what it calls Whoop 4.0, an upgraded version of the band that is 33 per cent smaller. It has a new sensor array and algorithms, the company says, which not only allow it to measure the heart more accurately but also allow it to calculate blood oxygen and skin temperature.

It also has added features such as vibrations, which can be used in concert with its sleep tracking features to wake wearers up at the optimum time. Its charger – which slots on top of the band itself, so that it doesn’t need to be taken off to get more power – is now also waterproof.

At the same time, the company announced what it called “Whoop Body”. That takes the small sensor off the band and allows it to be placed anywhere to track its owner – with sports bras, leggings, shirts, arm sleeves, shorts and underwear, all of which have a slot to allow the sensor to be placed in.

Whoop had already offered different bands that allowed people to use different colours and materials, including ones that went on the arm as well as the wrist. But the new announcement offers a range of other clothing, as well as new and more traditional bands.

In addition to those changes to the Whoop’s sensor itself, the company will release a new version of the app – which is the only way to actually get information. It will offer a “health monitor” to track details including the new information from the band, such as blood oxygen and skin temperature, as well as the option to export it to send to coaches or doctors.

Unlike many other new tech products, there is no strict price for Whoop: the company charges a considerable monthly fee – $30 or £30 – for its service, and includes the band free with that. Anyone with at least six months left on their account will get the upgrade.

That is in large part because the company aims to offer a service that is not primarily based on the tracker itself, but through the phone app that calculates information that is passed on by the wristband. All of that data is used to gather a “strain score” to measure how hard people are working, a “recovery score” to work out how hard they might be able to work, and other features that aim to analyse the two.

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