Review: The Hidrate Spark 2.0 Smart Water Bottle

Review: The Hidrate Spark 2.0 Smart Water Bottle

We’re tracking all kinds of health data these days — workouts, steps, weight, sleep, water… you get the idea. I’ll go ahead and credit Fitbit for starting this craze. Fitbit’s premise was simple: clip a little gadget on your belt or wear it on your wrist and suddenly you have easy access to basic data about the way you’re moving (or not) throughout the day. I’m an Apple Watch wearer these days, but I’ll credit my original Fitbit Flex with getting me thinking about all this stuff. Why have these trackers become so popular? I think automation is the answer.

Sure, you could put pen to paper and take down a daily journal of your activity, but you’re not actually going to write down every single step you take. It doesn’t even matter how much Sting & The Police want you to. Yes, one distinct advantage of modern technology is that we’re being gifted more data about our lives than ever before. And the easier the data is to come by, the more we can do with it.

Side note: I studied vocal music in college, and one of the key tenets of our day-to-day was this: drink tons of water, avoid caffeine, repeat. Well, as soon as I graduated and ended up working in a more typical office setting, coffee happened to me. And as the years have gone by, I’m not drinking less coffee, but more. As a result, I’ve had some workdays in the last year where I don’t know if I drank a single drop of water until dinner. Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Not good.

Enter the Hidrate Spark 2.0.

For the last couple weeks I’ve been testing what I’d call the Fitbit of water tracking. Hidrate is a smart water bottle. It’s a 24-ounce water bottle with a soft outer coating — it’s oddly nice to hold — that contains a Bluetooth-enabled sensor stick. You drink your water, and it sends that data over to the Hidrate app on your smartphone. That’s it.

Now, us humans are easily distracted, but don’t fret: the sensor stick will glow (somewhat ominously) inside the bottle when you need to drink more water. Sure, your coworkers will wonder what the heck is going on, but it’ll make for a great mid-meeting conversation starter, right?

Hidrate syncs with Apple Health, Fitbit, MyFitnessPal and more to pull in your weight, height, and daily activity, which means that it can give you a suggested water goal that’s different every day. And Hidrate’s companion Apple Watch app will help you stay on track as well.

In short, Hidrate works just as advertised. The per-swig calculations are surprisingly precise, and I’m definitely drinking more water. However, I do think it’s worth bearing a couple of things in mind:

  • The sensor stick has to be affixed to the bottle cap just so, and you’ll need to take a few minutes with the instructions to get it right.
  • Hidrate’s sensor stick runs on two of these watch coin cell batteries, and there’s a certain weirdness about dangling some batteries in your water bottle. If you follow the directions, Hidrate makes it clear that the stick will be water tight, so I guess I’ll just have to trust that.
  • The fact that the bottle lights up is fun and helpful, but slightly on the gimmicky side. Push notifications from the app would be good enough, IMO.

Here in 2017 there is no shortage for premium water bottle options. Nalgene kicked it off 20 years ago with both style and durability. CamelBak took the reins somewhere along the way. And S’well & Hydro Flask are the new hotness (and coldness). In short, consumers are willing to pay more for a bottle that brings something new to the table (literally).

At $55, Hidrate Spark is too expensive to be the water bottle for everyone. But given the current fitness tracking craze, there must be a huge market for it nonetheless. What’s more, if used properly, Hidrate Spark should last for a long time, making it a better value than its retail price would suggest. One thing is for sure: if you want to drink more water and want a little help to get there, you’ll be happy with Hidrate Spark.

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