Brian Dipert couldn't resist Groupon advertising a "Mystery Box Deal featuring Jawbone, Skechers, Bowflex, And Garmin" and paid up the $39.99 asked. What he got became a victim of his curiosity.
Today's victim is the Skechers GOwalk Activity Monitor, sold (at least briefly) by a company mostly known as a shoe supplier; the fitness band is no longer mentioned on Sketcher's main website, and the "Performance" subsidiary's URL now just auto-redirects to the main site, as well. Customer reviews are, unsurprisingly, variable but predominantly disapproving. So I'm not even going to try turning it on and slapping it on my wrist; let's go straight to seeing what's inside.
I'll as-usual begin with some external packaging shots. The box actually came shipped inside a plastic bag. On the bag's underside was a sticker referencing this as a "Gen. 2" unit, whatever that means. Here are views of the packaging front and back sides (the other four sides were sufficiently bland that I didn't bother snapping photos).
Note from the backside list of features that this is a pretty basic activity (and sleep) monitor; no display, save for a single multi-color LED, and no pulse rate monitoring or other such niceties. As such, I expected to find three primary functions represented inside:
- an accelerometer to detect movement
- a Bluetooth transceiver to transfer data to a wirelessly tethered smartphone or other device, and
- a microcontroller to run things, along with memory (either volatile or nonvolatile ... what happens when the battery fails?) to temporarily store logged data prior to transfer
Here's the band out of the box (it comes in multiple colors; I happened to get white):
Here's a closeup of the backside label. I initially thought that the two metal contacts might be employed for galvanic sensing purposes; at a high level, to sense when the band is on someone's wrist (and when not, keep the band in an ultra-low-power consumption mode), and perhaps even for finer-grained amount-of-sweat measurement purposes. In a minute, you'll see (if you haven't already discerned) how wrong I was.
Before going any further, I decided to conclude my product packaging inspection. Underneath a flap was a mysterious (at least at first) lump of black plastic. It's the charger, of course! That's what those two earlier-mentioned metal contacts were for! Here's what it looks like uncoiled.
The rest of the tear down is presented here as a slide show.