Kardiaband: Pay to play

Now our one-month premium trial has expired, the Kardiaband has lost some of its shine: What wasn’t clear from the start is that unless you have a paid, premium subscription, it is just a US $199 (EUR 219) silicon wristband.

New subscribers automatically get a month’s premium subscription services for free – including the option to take regular EKGs and keep these in a log, as well as even emailing the results to your doctor.

Luckily for us, our regular monitoring didn’t detect any urgent cardio problems, so we didn’t see the immediate need to pay for a $99 (EUR 99) annual subscription, or $9.99 (EUR 9.99) a month.

But – and this is a big BUT – when the premium test period is over, the Kardiaband doesn’t do anything. Accessing the app on Apple Watch is greeted by the message: This is a premium feature. You can become a premium member in the app on your phone.” There’s a ‘learn more’ button, and a blue close button, but neither seem to have any function.

Monetize at all costs?
We think AliveCor, the company behind the Kardiaband, is short-sighted in its quest to monetize the band. We appreciate that US FDA approval is expensive but we would also have preferred a 12-month premium sub baked into the price.

Of course, if you have any kind of cardio problems, then $99 a year is a no-brainer. It’s peace of mind and a lot less hassle than using an external device – that you have to find, prep, and use. The amazing convenience of the Kardiaband is appealing – as is its discreet appearance.

Meanwhile, cheapskates can use Cardiogram, which uses the built-in heart rate monitor in the Apple Watch to provide detailed metrics.

We still think Kardiaband is a breakthrough. But we would like the company to be more upfront about its licensing terms.


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