ERI smart wristband: Die young, stay beautiful

Just a few days ago we reported on the long-awaited arrival of the ERI smart wristband: A brave go-it-alone effort by a Chinese company to crack the market, supported by a $50,000-plus raise on a crowd-funding platform. Unfortunately, the ERI band sorely failed to live up to its promise, and our example actually stopped working after just two days. 

So far, there’s no response from ERI maker Digi-Care on how we can get a warranty replacement – or a refund, since the US $99 device they shipped was not even close to the “as advertised” band. The Indiegogo crowd-funding page is still up, and promises market-leading features such as being “extremely soft and thin” (at 7mm it’s certainly not extremely thin and the “nano silicon” band feels just like any other silicon band, and not soft to the touch like the prototype we saw last November in Shenzhen).

ERI from Dii-Care: A colorful but unfortunately wildly inaccurate mobile dashboard

ERI from Digi-Care: A colorful but unfortunately wildly inaccurate mobile dashboard

The ERI was supposed to be waterproof to the IPX67 standard, which means it is dust-tight (the 6) and waterproof for immersion of up to 1 meter for 30 minutes (the 7). Certainly more than the five-minute gentle swim that seems to have caused the demise of our ERI. Less than an hour later, it was dead-on-wrist, and had not responded to any attempts to bring it back to life (hard reset, overnight battery charge, drop kick …).

We’d already noticed quite a few glitches and asked Digi-Care to comment on a list of issues we’d detected. In brief, these were:

  • A wildly-inaccurate step counter (next to my Fitbit Flex, which I know is accurate – the ERI was logging at least 70% more)
  • An inaccurate temperature read-out that always appeared to be 6 or 7 degrees C too high
  • No sign of the geo-magnetic route tracking (“With our great algorithm, ERI runs its smart sensors to collect geomagnetic variation data of your activities route.”) or at least, the iPhone app doesn’t support this
  • No differentiation in the tracker between activities – such as walking, cycling, swimming
  • Battery life was promised at “more than half a month” but a leaflet included with the device said “7-10 days”
  • No use for the claimed altimeter – at least not as far as we could find, in the iPhone app

Digi-Care’s website promises a one-year warranty so our dead band is going all the way back to China. Meanwhile we are hoping to hear back from Digi-Care President Simon Xie and CTO Paul Xia with regard to our other concerns.

It’s yet another quality issue that has so far dogged early adopters of wearable technology, as WTW has previously reported.

PS we’re joking about the drop kick, although it was tempting …

/WTW

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