The Milestone Gravitate Activity is a fitness tracker for the budget, rather than the body, conscious. Costing around £59 (US$90, AU$115), it's not the cheapest on the market but it's at a price range that will pique the interest of those who are still debating whether they need a fitness tracker in their lives.
Having used the device for over a week, though, I do wish that a little bit more was spent on producing the band: it's fine and functional but ends up being a little, well, meh.
The biggest problem with fitness bands at the moment is that the majority of them need to use a mobile phone to work. Yes, they can carry data on them for a short time but to store and contextualise this data, you need to sync the band with an app on your mobile device, as is the case with the Milestone Gravitate Activity.
Having a mobile phone complete with fitness tracker app also means that you can compare and contrast the data from said fitness tracker. And that is when the inevitable crushing disappointment hits: data from fitness trackers just isn't that reliable.
But before I head into data disparity, here's a roundup of the Milestone Gravitate Activity's basic features.
Design, screen and battery life
The screen, such as it is, is a matrix of LED dots, not unlike the Fitbit Flex but displaying actual words. It was legible in all the lighting conditions I tried it in, and one of the nicer things about the tracker.
Given the simplicity of the device, you'd think it would offer decent battery life. Well, you'd be wrong.
The first time I plugged the Milestone Gravitate Activity in to be charged, I did it for the five hours that the instruction manual demanded. This seems like a long time to fuel a device that's mostly just LED and sensor, although once the initial charge is out of the way, just three hours of juicing is recommended.
Once charged, the band is meant to last a whole week, but I never reached those heady heights. Instead, I had to charge it up every two days - that was after using both the step counter and the sleep tracker.
The device comes in two sizes: small/medium and medium/large and woe is you if you get the wrong one. This is because the strap of the latest Milestone doesn't really move. It's been moulded in a cylindrical fashion and all you can actually do is slip the thing on rather than attach it as it has no actual strap. Though there is an inch gap between the ends of the device which offers up a little bit of stretch for those with, er, bigger wrists.
This means it is a touch uncomfortable to wear. At no time when wearing the device did it feel like it was snug and secure, it just felt like it was hanging there, and it jiggled up and down when I ran. And running is something you want to do when you wear a fitness band.
The Milestone Gravity Activity comes in three colours: grey, yellow and pink. I tried out the yellow version and while this colour did nothing for how the tracker worked, it did look decent. The trim on the underside of the band is yellow and the one button on the device is also yellow.
The only other design flourish of note is that on one end, the rubber finish gives way to a plastic lid. This lid houses the charge slot for the device. Flip off the lid, which is really fiddly and definitely requires nails and you have a USB connector. This can be connected straight into your computer to charge, though you have to be quite dextrous to get it into the slot. It's a lot easier to use the USB adaptor that comes in the pack.
Simplicity is the key to setting up the latest Milestone. Thankfully, there is both an Android and a iOS app so that's the majority of the mobile population covered. I needed to download this app, then sync the band with it. This was all pretty simple.
It was a little bit of a slog inputting my profile details (5 foot 10, thanks for asking) but that's the case with all fitness apps. Once a fitness goal was added (10,000 steps as I didn't want to strain myself too much) I was ready to sync.
This was easier than expected. I pressed the button on the band for five seconds which gave the band that syncing feeling. I didn't have Bluetooth on but the app asked to turn it on for me once I pressed the Milestone symbol in the top corner of the app. It then synchronised date, time and the few steps I had already achieved that day. After that, I and the band were ready for our fitness odyssey. Unfortunately things from here on in didn't go that well.
For starters, the app doesn't contextualise your fitness data in any way, it just offers up graphs and lets you get on with it. It also doesn't link with any other app. It's basic.
I found that bog-standard step counting worked okay. It wasn't perfect, but it was as good as most step counters. Buoyed by this, I decided to give the Milestone Gravitate Activity a proper test: a brisk 5km run.
This run was tracked on my phone by GPS, took 30 minutes 51 seconds (I had to stop for traffic numerous times, don't judge) and when I finished my band informed me I had ran a total of 3.44km in 5305 steps. Not great.
A second run three days later edged closer to the 4km mark but this was just too far off of the mark for me to take the data seriously.
My third run, well that didn't track at all because when I synced the data with the app, there was some miscommunication and no data transferred across which was rather unhelpful. Considering the band is meant to house three days of data, it's strange that it just disappeared.
Sleep tracking didn't exactly fair well, either. To enable sleep tracking I had to double tap the device, so it went into sleep mode. So far so simple.
When I had a particularly restless night's sleep (it may have had something to do with having to wear a bracelet akin to being electronically tagged by the police) it tracked that I had a consistently light sleep throughout the night from 11:30pm to 5:30am that next morning. Which was funny because I actually slept until 6:45 that morning.
What's annoying is that, despite the data fluctuations, information is nicely displayed on the band's app. You can view graphs of your fitness, find out how many times you have reached your goal and see all of your activities over the course of a day, week, month or year. But if you don't trust the data that is being tracked then what's the point of having the fitness band?
This isn't to say that the latest milestone is completely flawed. It does have some nice touches to it. There's the ability to set an alarm which wakes you up with vibrations - I tried this and it was quite a nice way to get woken up. Like a cat purring at you, rather than your alarm shouting at you.
It won't win any design awards, but the Milestone Activity tracker offers up a decent app to log your runs and sleep. It also manages to keep its on-screen messages simple and effective. Being able to switch to sleep mode with two presses of the solitary button on the device is a nice flourish, too.
The design is chunky and akin to wearing a police tag, which means you won't want to wear the Milestone Gravitate Activity all of the time. Given it has been designed to track all activity and your sleep patterns, this is a definite flaw. The data I mined from the band was sketchy at best, so don't go expecting super-precise tracking. Battery life never reached the five-day peak that was promised, either.
If you are in the market for a cheap-ish and functional activity tracker, then the Milestone could well be for you. I actually did want to keep using it after our tests but unfortunately our review unit gave up the ghost not long after the majority of this review was written. While I wait patiently for it to come back to life, you could do no worse than checking out our Best Fitness Band guide, as there are better trackers around for a similar price.