- Posture detection definitely works
- Small and discrete
- Decent battery life
- Step counting pretty accurate
- No middle ground for posture training
- Needs tight fitting clothes
- App is very basic
- No sleep monitoring
Lumo BodyTech, the maker of the Lumo Back posture aid, is back for a second bite of the wearable cherry with the Lumo Lift – a square Misfit Shine-esque device that will not only stop you slouching, but also acts as an activity tracker; counting your steps, distance and calories.
But does the Lumo Lift do as its makers claim. Is this reviewer sitting straighter then even while writing this review?
Read on to find out…
Lumo Lift: Design and wearability
Attaching to your clothing using a lapel-style magnetic clasp, the Lumo Lift, like its predecessor (which required strapping around the lower back), uses an algorithm to detect posture and gives you vibration alerts if you should be sitting or standing a little taller. It tracks core position, upper body position and other nuances of posture.
The technology is built into the electroplated thermoset plastic tracker, which measure 44.5 x 25.4mm, is 12.7mm thick and weighs 11.5g. The visible part is the aluminium clasp that is just 2.5mm thick and weighs only a gram. So in total you're only looking at a device that weighs 12.5g; so it's not exactly going to be a strain on your back or make your clothing sag.
There are a range of colours; the tracker itself comes in black, white or silver and you can team this up with 10 different shades for the clasp – making it easy to match with your outfit. You can even, we're told, get your own strong magnet and fully personalise the clasp.
On the tracker, the clasp sits tight with the same-sized square button – the only physical control of the setup.
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Ideally you need to wear the Lift an inch or so below your collarbone and it works better if you have tight fitting clothes. Ladies could use a bra-strap; chaps – you better get yourselves down Abercrombie to pick up some muscle t-shirts, as we found it just didn't work as well with a regular fitted shirt. We also had issues with our bag strap inadvertently pushing the Lift's button, so it's a shame there's only one recommended position.
Lumo Lift: Posture aid
The Lumo needs to be told exactly what you consider good posture to be. It's easy enough to do that, simply pop it on and double tap the button (using the clasp to push it down). You'll feel three vibration buzzes and you're away. You can realign it at anytime using the same method, which is useful as sitting and standing postures are obviously quite different.
That's it. Your posture will be tracked during the day and, when you check on the Lumo Lift app (now available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone) you'll get a rating of just how well you're posture is performing, with a word to describe it (in our case, often not a nice one) and a cumulative time score based against your goal.
For a more intense posture training session you can initiate 'coaching' mode; whether that be for an hour or a whole day. Again, it's easy to setup with a long press of the button all that is needed.
In this mode the Lumo Lift will buzz everytime you move from your aligned position. And we mean every time. The Lumo Lift is a bully; a draconian, oppressive being that demands perfection. If your posture slips, it will buzz. Incessantly. As someone with pretty bad posture we found we couldn't go five seconds without a scolding in coaching mode.
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The trouble is there's no in-between. We would have liked posture reminders every five minutes or so. But without coaching mode off, there's just the app score to worry about (which you often forget about) and with it on, it was too intrusive.
Lumo Lift: Activity tracking
The app also records steps, distance and calories, using a mixture of the sensors on board and calculations based on the details you enter for your profile, such as size, sex, age and weight.
We were testing the Lumo Lift at that same time as the Garmin Vivosmart, a fitness tracker that we know had good distance tracking as we measured it against a GPS running watch.
With the Lift, over a week period, we only found discrepancies against the Vivosmart of around 5-10%, making it a fairly reliable basic activity tracker as well.
There's no sleep tracking on board, though – so if you're in the market for a wearable to help you with your zeds, the Lift isn't for you.
Lumo Lift: App
As mentioned, the app is iOS only and is quite basic. There are only a few displays and there's no analysis of either posture or your activities on board. You can simply choose to see your stats on a daily basis by swiping left or right, see basic graphs labelled 'Trends' or see a text-based hour-by-hour report.
Unlike other apps in this genre, there are no social aspects such as Facebook or Twitter updating, and there's no way of brining in third party services.
Lumo Lift: Battery life and charging
The battery is a lithium polymer one and you'll get five days of use on a full charge; a charge that goes from zero to full in under two hours.
To charge, you simply pop the tracker part of the Lift into the magnetic cradle, which is attached to a USB cable.
There's 32MB on board the Lumo Lift, which doesn't sound a great deal but that's enough to store four weeks worth of data if you don't get around to syncing it.
How we test