Review: HydrateSpark PRO

In the last couple of months I am discovering that app controlled devices are everywhere. But an app controlled water bottle that claims to help you to ensure that you’re drinking the proper amount of water that your body requires is a new one for me. However that’s what I am reviewing today. Meet the HydrateSpark PRO smart water bottle. Here’s what you get in the box:

You get the bottle (which comes in 17, 21, and 24 ounce sizes. I got the 21 ounce version) a box with the charging cable and instructions, and a piece of paper that declares HydrateSpark’s love for happy customers. The bottle is made of stainless steel vacuum insulated material, keeping drinks cold up to 24 hours (hot drinks are not advised by the company) and lightweight but shatter and odour resistant plastic. You also get the choice between a lid with a straw and a lid that allow you to chug your water. I got the latter. It feels solid and well constructed.

Let’s take a look at the charging cable:

It’s a USB-A cable that is unique to this set up. Or put another way, if you lose or break it, you’re going back to HydrateSpark to get a new one. It attaches magnetically to the bottom of the water bottle which HydrateSpark calls the sensor puck once you unscrew the bottom from the rest of the water bottle:

And it glows slowly when it is charging as seen in this video:

Once it is fully charged, it will have a solid green light. That took me about three hours to get it fully charged and it lasts 10 to 14 days between charges. Once it’s charged, that’s where we get down to business. My wife volunteered to the the guinea pig for this review as she isn’t good at keeping herself hydrated. For example, she used our Withings Scale which among other things, measures hydration levels, to get a sense of how much water was in her body on the morning that we started doing this review. The number was 44%. Which is below the 50% that Withings says is “normal” for most humans. Thus underscoring why she was the perfect test subject for this review. The company cites a number of clinical studies to show why consuming water on a regular basis has positive health benefits. And she recognizes that she needs to better on that front.

Thus I installed the HydrateSpark app on her iPhone 13 (also available on Android) and then went through the process to pair it via Bluetooth, and calibrate it by putting it on a flat surface while empty, and then filling it up and putting it on a flat surface as that is how it figures out how much water you drank. My wife tried to use it as intended by drinking some water. Except that it didn’t work. As in nothing was automatically recorded. So after looking through the online help we decided to unpair it and go through the pairing and calibration process again. This time it did work as intended. As in every time you took a drink from the bottle, it records how much you drank every time you place it on a flat surface. More on the accuracy of that in a bit. I should also note that there’s an Apple Watch app that helps you to keep track of this information as well. Should you lose the bottle, the app can also tell you where the last location was that it connected via Bluetooth. There’s also a gamification aspect as it will give you awards for things like using the app three days in a row for example. Here’s an example:

You can see what trophies that my wife got. And anything that is locked is the next target for you to achieve. One thing that caught my attention is that you can see how many plastic bottles that you’ve saved. Which shows the environmental impact that you’re having. You can also compete with friends who also use the app. Overall, my wife found the gamification aspect to be very engaging as it helps her to ensure that her water consumption is on point.

As part of the setup process, it takes into account your sex, weight, age, and activity levels to come up with a goal in terms of how much water that you should be drinking. In my wife’s case that’s 3.5 bottles a day for the first day she used it. Which is a lot. Now to save you some effort, the app can pull the data it needs from Apple Health if you have it entered there, and it can record how much you are drinking in Apple Health. Which is great for Apple Health users like my wife and I. It also supports this list of apps as well. And if you start to slack off in terms of drinking water, the app can prompt you to do so. And the prompts are kind of funny and humorous at times. But they are also supportive as well as they are designed to get you to drink water as often as possible. All of those reminders can be customized from this page:

Plus as an extra party trick, the bottom of the bottle can glow in a multitude of colors that you can customize when you need to take a sip.

In terms of accuracy, we performed testing over several days and the HydrateSpark PRO is pretty accurate in terms of measuring how much you drink as long as you calibrate it daily. Failure to do so results is completely inaccurate measurements of how much water you are drinking. And the fact that you have to calibrate it daily may turn off some users as it can become a bit of a chore. Especially since the wizard makes you pick the size of bottle and walk through the process of calibration as if it is a new bottle. That’s a bit of a pain that HydrateSpark should be able to fix seeing as when you set up the bottle, they know what size you have. Thus they could streamline this process. Though on the flip side I will note that you can manually add water consumption to the app if it is inaccurate or you had a drink from something other than this bottle.

If I did have a gripe, it would be about one aspect of the app. At a macro level knowing what your daily target happens be is simple based on this screenshot:

In this screen shot above the goal looks simple. My wife has drank her way to 31% of her goal and she has 2.5 bottles to go. But see the dot on the 9 o’clock position of the circle? If you click on it give you another goal. Here’s a close up look at that.

And it also moves around the circle on its own and it allows you to set your own target. But why is does this exist in addition to the other target? My wife and I could not figure that out. For the record, there is this FAQ that does sort of explain how the daily target is calculated. But it didn’t help us to explain what this is. And I think it needs to be crystal clear if people are going to properly leverage this tech to help people stay hydrated.

So, does this work? Well, after the first three days of using it, the amount of water in my wife’s body went up from 44% to 46%. Still not the 50% that it should be, but it’s headed in the right direction. And she’s hitting her daily water consumption goals based on this screenshot:

The confetti that appears when you hit your target for the day is a nice touch.

Let’s get down to the price. The HydrateSpark PRO retails for $69.99 USD with free shipping. It’s not exactly cheap. But as far as my wife is concerned, the health benefits outweigh the cost of this smart water bottle. And though you have to expend some effort in terms of remembering to calibrate it every day, she considers this a win. And seeing as she has a health sciences background, I’ll buy into that as I just fix computers for a living and health is her area of expertise. So my advice would be that if you want to move the needle in terms of your health, the HydrateSpark PRO is worth a look.

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