Wear now, buy later

A new try-before-you-buy service is changing the way we shop for wearable tech.

Everyone is talking about wearable tech(especially with the impending arrival of the Apple Watch...more on that later), but which one is actually worth buying? With so many gadgets on the market, it’s difficult to figure out which one is right for you.
Lumoid, the company known for allowing customers to test pricey DSLR cameras before buying them, has a solution by offering a similar service for wearables.

The try-before-you-buy program works like this: You choose up to five items to test at home for a week. Then, you either buy the piece of gear you liked best or return all the items if you decide against making a purchase (you're then charged a rental fee of $25). With the goal of improved optimized sleep, we decided to test five sleep trackers from the site.

Lumoid divides its offerings into the following categories: Sleep tracking devices, fitness devices and smartwatches. To be honest, though, the gadgets all mostly do the same things like track steps, monitor your heart rate and track sleep. We chose to try out the Jawbone UP24, Fitbit Flex, Fitbit One, Striiv Fusion and Withings Pulse O2, and the box of gadgets arrived right away.

Since the functions of these devices are all pretty similar, testing them is really about deciding which has the best design, the easiest software and feels good while wearing. For instance, the Jawbone UP24 and the Fitbit Flex both look sleek around your wrist, but we found the Jawbone was a better fit. And compared to all the devices we tried, the Stiiv Fusion won for syncing with a smartphone in the simplest way.

Even though you’re encouraged to try five devices, it's better to opt for around three initial gadgets. Five is a lot to test in a week; it gets overwhelming. You can’t really try each device for much more than one day and the set up for each accessory is also a commitment.

And if you're curious about the Apple Watch, April will be an especially good time to give the program a spin. That’s when Apple launches its highly anticipated timepiece, so Lumoid just announced its Apple Watch rental program (starting at $45 instead of $25).

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