My first impressions of the LEAF by Bellabeat were very positive. It’s a gorgeous looking personal tracker that could easily pass as a unique piece of jewelry. It comes in a few different color combinations. I received the silver with natural wood. My device came with a necklace chain as well. (Many people received a bracelet strap as well, but I did not.) It is quite a bit thicker and heavier than I expected, but when clipped in place or hung on the necklace it looks much more delicate. It’s a tracker that you don’t feel like you need to hide. It’s not obvious… just simply “smart jewelry.”

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When I first received the LEAF by Bellabeat I wore it as a necklace. I wanted to show it off! Unfortunately, it was often off by roughly a thousand steps in either direction compared to another tracking device and pedometer app on my phone that I used for comparison. I switched to wearing it as a clip on my bra or shirt and the numbers improved quite a bit. The LEAF smartphone app has been updated a couple of times since I received my LEAF and there have been some definite major improvements. At first it really only did some rudimentary tracking… basically a glorified pedometer that wasn’t very accurate… but updates have allowed the BEAT to now track activities (it knows when I do focused exercise) as well as steps. It also seems to have gotten better at tracking actual steps and has improved to a difference of about a hundred steps. That is pretty much on par with every tracker I’ve tried.

Update on February 12, 2015: They continue to update the app and I have noticed increased accuracy in the step tracking. They toyed around with a few option for step and activity tracking, but ultimately settled on a model that does a bit of both. The LEAF tracks actual prolonged activity toward a daily goal, but also keeps track of your steps, calorie burn, and walking distance. They’ve also added ways to track different types of activities. These improvements have been enough for me to justify raising my initial three-star rating to a four.

Update on August 15, 2016: The app has come so far in the time since I last updated! It still allows for activities to be tracked and records steps, but they have fleshed out these options with averages, calorie burn, and the ability to share your progress. It overall looks much more stylish too.

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Sleep tracking was another place I saw good improvements. It was already quite accurate to begin with, but they added a chance to verify the sleep and wake times. It seems to be getting better with determining when I actually go to sleep. You can also set the device to vibrate when you have been inactive for too long. There are times I expected it to go off, but it didn’t. Perhaps I moved more than I realized in that time?

Update on February 12, 2015: My sleep appears to be even more accurate now. It even catches the short times I get woken slightly for various reasons (my son, my husband, the cats, and odd noises) throughout the night.

Update on August 15, 2016: The sleep tracking feature is apparently being played with often. It has been a series of ups and downs as far as accuracy. The most recent update left me unable to track my sleep at all… it didn’t think I was wearing it to sleep.

The alarms are a great touch. You can set alarms for waking up, taking your birth control pill or vitamins, and other events. If you are a solid sleeper, I don’t think the vibration to wake will actually get you out of bed. It just doesn’t vibrate strongly enough. I personally reset mine to remind me it’s time to get my son up and that is working well for me. I set the other alarms to remind me of my morning and evening supplements. I have gotten so much better about taking them every day and it has noticeably improved how I’m feeling.

It doesn’t really “track” breathing in the way that I felt the advertising indicated, so I was a bit disappointed. From the descriptions, I almost expected it to somehow detect when my breathing patterns had changed due to stress and warn me to stop and take a breather. I do, however, like the breathing feature as it is. It uses guided breathing sessions that grow increasingly more challenging. I’ve come to look forward to my daily breathing sessions. If I’m having a stressful time, I go off by myself and go through one of the exercises and it has helped a lot in controlling my stress levels.

Update on August 15, 2016: The updates to “breathing” have become more of a meditation section. It still doesn’t do the stress tracking as I expected (they’re working on that according to recent updates), but the collection of guided meditations for numerous situations is amazing.  Each meditation is available in a 2 or 10 minute option. I’ve paid for apps that had less options! 

The menstrual tracking is a unique feature to the LEAF too. This is a really nice feature to have and I hope that they will expand on it. I would love to be able to delete my menstrual tracking app and keep it all in one place with my activity and sleep data. In line with having it all, I’d love to see built-in food tracking and/or the ability to sync activity and meals with popular food-tracking sites like MyFitnessPal and SparkPeople.

Update on August 15, 2016: My wishes were granted, for the most part. There could still be a few improvements to simplify tracking your cycle, but I have actually deleted my stand-alone menstrual tracker. The LEAF’s has been more accurate.

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I have come to appreciate the value of a battery-operated tracking device over one that needs to be recharged. A quick battery change instead of an hour on a charger means that I don’t lose valuable data. The battery is expected to last about six months.

I am currently rating this at three stars. (Update on February 12, 2015: Now 4 stars. See notes above.) I feel like it’s a solid device, but there is some room for improvement. I think they should take a few cues from their competitors… look at what people really love about those other devices and apps… and do it better. If they continue to make the positive improvements that I have already seen just in a few weeks’ worth of app updates, I anticipate that my rating will rise. There is potential for a solid five stars here. There is potential for the LEAF to rise to the top of the activity trackers.

Update on August 15, 2016: I have four different fitness trackers and it is the LEAF that I have solely used since I received it. It has been worth it to see the constant improvements made. I’m still keeping this at four-star because of the ups and downs with the app, but it’s on the four scale and on the verge of teetering over to a five.They have a new version coming soon and I am seriously considering an upgrade when the time comes. Good work, Bellabeat!

Pros: Beautiful jewelry-like appearance. Can be worn multiple ways. Constant positive updates to app to improve functionality. Tracks menstrual cycle. Battery-operated… no charging.

Cons: Wake up vibration alert too weak. Doesn’t really “track” breathing. Bulky design.

I received this at a discount in exchange for my opinion. As someone who relies on honest reviews to make purchases, I work hard to provide other consumers with a thorough, truthful, and unbiased opinion of my personal experiences.

Overall Rating

star4

LEAF by Bellabeat is the most beautiful way to gain control of your body and mind. It’s a smart piece of jewelry designed to track women’s health. The LEAF learns about you and provides quality insights and improvements to your daily routine to help you feel your best. By tracking your breathing, sleep, activity and monthly cycles through the LEAF app, you are able to regain control of your physical and emotional wellbeing. Made out of wood and hypoallergenic stainless steel, each LEAF is unique, just like the person wearing it. Its advanced technology is hidden inside the wood housing, giving it a soft natural appeal that isn’t found in other wearables. The LEAF doesn’t need to be charged. It’s powered by a replaceable battery that lasts up to 6 months.

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