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Ever wonder what it would be like to own one of Fitbit’s newest fitness trackers? Now, thanks to a new service, you can get a feel for wearable devices before you commit to buying one.
Lumoid, a startup that rents consumer camera equipment for low prices, is starting a try-before-you-buy program for fitness trackers and other wearables.
My box arrived on Friday. It was packed tight with five wristbands that founder Aarthi Ramamurthy chose for me at my request. In my particular package there was a Fitbit Charge, Garmin Vivosmart, Lifetrak Move C300, Withings Pulse 02, and Misfit Shine.
Lumoid lets you choose five different devices from a list of over 20 wearables. It sends them to you free of charge, and you get to play with them for a week before having to return them or make the decision to buy one. If you are dissatisfied with all the items you received or you’re just not ready to make a commitment, Lumoid charges you $20 for trying them out. Shipping (both to you and back to Lumoid) is included.
The new wearable program is very similar to Lumoid’s other service, which lets consumers rent camera equipment with the option to buy. If consumers decide to buy the camera they rented, the rental fee that they paid upfront is put towards the total purchase price.
Receiving the box of wearables gave me a little twinge of excitement, as new toys always do. Plus it gave me a chance to get a little more hands on with these wearable devices than I could in a store. Lumoid also rents out hard-to-get devices like Google Glass.
However, the program has its quirks. For one, the wearables don’t come with any instructions, so I had to look them up on my own. The data on the wearables was also very off. When I first put on the Lifetrak Move C300 it showed that I had already taken some 4,000 steps that day (go me!). I had to look up directions to reset the time and date so that the device would reset at the right time. But that also meant I had to wait until the next day to see how well the device tracked my fitness.
I had to do this for all the bands, which was a little annoying. I wish each one had come with an abbreviated set of instructions to help me get moving. That said, if you’re trying to figure out which wristband best suits your wardrobe and lifestyle, this program is for you.
But there is one thing more that sort of nags at me. Once I got to spend time with these wearables — and perhaps it was just the ones I got — it reminded me how wearable technology just isn’t quite there yet. But when it is, Lumoid will be a solid way to suss out whether a device is worth getting or not.
Lumoid graduated from Y Combinator in January of 2014.
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