In all places I look, individuals and devices are yelling at me to hydrate. On social media, the algorithm bombards me with health and wonder influencers who say I ought to drink a gallon of water a day. (Glowing pores and skin! Shed that final cussed 5 kilos! Extra vitality!) The varied smartwatches I check all have these hydration widgets for monitoring my day by day water consumption. Not too way back, I had a “sensible” water bottle that flashed hourly rainbow LED lights as a reminder to drink up. Most lately, I’ve been sporting this little pod on my bicep. It, too, tells me to hydrate — however in a method that’s surprisingly helpful. The $129 Nix Hydration Biosensor is a pod-and-patch combo that alerts endurance athletes when they need to hydrate throughout a exercise. It claims to present customized hydration suggestions, in addition to calculate your particular person electrolyte loss relying on sure elements like climate and sweat charge. It’s overkill. Hydration doesn’t have to be this costly or sophisticated. However for knowledge nerds and endurance athletes, the Nix sensor does supply some sensible steering that, for some, could be well worth the worth.Nix Hydration Biosensor$129The GoodTakes guesswork out of hydration strategiesConvenient charging caseCompares hydration merchandise primarily based in your needsTells you when to drink throughout exerciseIntegrates with Apple Watch and Garmin smartwatchesThe BadSingle-use patchesRefills value $25 for 4 patchesOccasional Bluetooth issuesNeeds telephone for stay updatesNot but Android compatibleHow we charge and evaluate productsEasier to make use of than Gatorade’s sweat patchesA few months in the past, I examined the Gatorade Good Gx bottle and the Gx Sweat Patch. It was one other gadget-patch combo that claimed to learn your sweat within the identify of extra clever hydration, however I wasn’t a fan. Not solely did it really feel like a car to promote me extra Gatorade, the sweat patch by no means labored for me. It left me cautious that the Nix sensor would even be a tool that was higher in idea than execution. However whereas the merchandise are related, Nix delivers a greater general expertise.The Nix sensor has two parts: a reusable sensor pod and single-use patches. The patches are made from a latex-free adhesive that’s comfy to put on. It jogs my memory of KT Tape in that it’s versatile sufficient to maneuver with you however sticky sufficient to not slide off your pores and skin whenever you begin sweating. The patches are small (2.75in diameter), and I didn’t have any problem becoming it on my bicep. Earlier than a exercise, all it’s important to do is align the pod with the grooves within the patch’s sensor attachment and twist till it locks in place. The patches have an attachment the place you clip within the Nix sensor pod. Then you definately peel off the backing and slap it in your bicep.The again of the sensor pod. To lock or unlock it from both the charging case or patch, you align the grooves and twist.Whereas the sensor and patch had been straightforward sufficient to put on, the massive check was whether or not it’d have the ability to learn my sweat, particularly since I’m testing this within the winter. Not solely do I sweat much less in winter, however I’m not a type of robotic runners who can log 10 miles within the freezing wind in nothing however a T-shirt and shorts. Other than sweat detection, I used to be curious to see whether or not the sensor would catch on my lengthy sleeves or if sporting a number of layers would trigger any points. Apparently, my bicep is sweatier than my forearm, and it made a distinction. In response to Nix, the bicep is without doubt one of the greatest locations to estimate your complete bodily fluid and electrolyte loss whereas delivering person expertise. (Gatorade’s patches go on the forearm, and neither patch is validated for different elements of the physique.) On three out of 4 check runs, the Nix sensor was simply in a position to get a studying. I’ll get into my botched run beneath, however I guarantee you it wasn’t as a result of it couldn’t detect sweat. As for my sleeves, I didn’t have any issues aside from after I needed to reconnect the sensor after already placing on my shirt. All meaning is, in winter, you’ve obtained to watch out to ensure every thing’s linked earlier than you head out.Nix additionally makes it simpler to add and sync knowledge. It mainly works like several smartwatch or health tracker. While you’re finished with the exercise, you finish it within the app, await Bluetooth to do its factor, and voilá. Information seems. (Syncing can take a sizzling second, however that’s common.) You are able to do this with the patch on or off, too. Conversely, Gatorade makes you snap an image of the patch, and the entire system depends on analyzing the sweat-activated ink sample on a used patch, which, in the event you’re not sweaty sufficient, received’t work. Even if you’re sweaty sufficient, typically you’ll must retake the photograph as nicely. One other factor I appreciated was the charging case. It might sound too large, given the dimensions of the pod, however I truly like that. I’ve used and misplaced loads of foot pods and different small wearables with small circumstances. That is large enough to simply discover, whether or not it’s on a nightstand or stashed in a bag. Plus, the lid has a slot the place you possibly can stick a patch for comfort. And since it’s a charging case, you don’t actually have to fret in regards to the battery. The sensor pod lasts 36 hours on a single cost, however as long as you’re placing it again within the case whenever you’re finished, you received’t have to fret about it for a number of months.This charging case might sound large given the how small the sensor pod is, nevertheless it additionally makes it more durable to lose.Nix additionally supplies real-time hydration alerts. This was a hit-or-miss function for me because the alerts principally come from the Nix app in your telephone. If I had the Nix app open and on display, the alerts had been extra noticeable. If I made a decision to have considered one of my many different health apps open, I tended to overlook them completely. You possibly can decide to get them in your Apple Watch or sure Garmin smartwatches, however once more, I’ve personalized my exercise views to point out me precisely what I need to see, so this wasn’t my favourite possibility. Plus, the app warns that it will probably take about 25 minutes earlier than there’s sufficient sweat for the sensor to learn, nevertheless it might additionally take a bit longer. Throughout one check, I didn’t see any related knowledge till 35 minutes into the run and always checking took me out of the zone. I like distraction-free working, so I most popular reviewing my knowledge after a exercise after which making use of what I discovered to the subsequent. However, on the danger of dogpiling on Gatorade, at the very least you will have the choice for real-time alerts if you need them.Connectivity might be betterWhile the Nix sensor wipes the ground with Gatorade’s sweat patch, there are some downsides. For me, the most important one is connectivity. Whereas I didn’t have a lot bother with the sensor’s Bluetooth throughout setup, it crapped out on me twice throughout testing. A kind of occasions was fairly minor. I’d already completed an hour-long run after I seen the sensor had misplaced connection to my telephone. As a result of I used to be dwelling, I used to be in a position to take the pod out of the patch and reinsert it earlier than getting within the bathe. All the pieces reconnected, downside solved. I used to be additionally nonetheless in a position to add my knowledge.The second time was my botched check run. I had put a completely charged pod right into a patch, accurately positioned it on my bicep, obtained dressed, laced up my footwear, began up all my different wearables, and… forgot to hit begin within the Nix app. (It was early, and I’m not a morning particular person.) I didn’t discover my goof till midway by way of a 105-minute future. I attempted to begin a belated exercise — some knowledge is healthier than no knowledge, proper? — however the pod wouldn’t connect with my telephone. This was regardless of the actual fact I might see the Nix was on, and if LED indicator lights are to be believed, working. I attempted twiddling with the sensor, locked and unlocked the sensor by way of my sleeve, turned my telephone on and off, after which tried turning the pod on and off. No luck. I attempted the entire rigamarole a number of extra occasions later within the run, simply in case it was my location. Nada. It wouldn’t reconnect to my telephone till I used to be again dwelling. At that time, I attempted to see if it might add my sweat knowledge however no luck there, both.I made a foolish mistake, however not an implausible oneThat royally sucked. I missed out on precious long-run knowledge, and lengthy runs are when hydration is most essential! Even worse, these are single-use patches, and I’d wasted one. It prices $25 for a refill pack of 4, which means every patch is $6.25. Human error performed a big position on this, however higher connectivity might’ve at the very least saved the state of affairs. I made a foolish mistake, however not an implausible one.I get why the sweat patches are single-use. Adhesives by no means stick fairly as nicely after the primary time. Plus, you’d have to clean off previous sweat for correct knowledge, and adhesives break down with water and cleaning soap. However understanding this doesn’t cease these patches from feeling wasteful — each monetarily and environmentally. Nix does have a partnership with Terracycle, so you possibly can at the very least recycle used patches without spending a dime. I admire the choice, however I needed to root by way of Nix’s FAQs to even discover out about it, and the entire course of requires a bunch of additional steps. Individuals are lazy, and I’ve a sense most used Nix patches will find yourself in a landfill anyway.The sensor has a inexperienced LED indicator gentle so when it’s on and dealing. Relying in your exercise clothes, you may also have the ability to see it by way of your sleeves.Whereas I’m airing my gripes, it’s a bummer that the Nix sensor doesn’t help exercise sorts exterior of indoor/outside working and biking. You don’t actually need granular hydration knowledge for yoga, pumping iron on the health club, or a brief HIIT exercise, nevertheless it’d be good for lengthy hikes, different kinds of strenuous cardio, or outside sports activities. Hopefully, Nix will add help for extra exercise sorts down the road.I used to be additionally disenchanted to see Nix is iOS-only in the meanwhile. The corporate says that Android compatibility is slated for this month (February 2023), nevertheless it wasn’t out there after I was testing the system.Information match for Kind A athletesTo get correct outcomes, Nix recommends a sweaty run or biking session that lasts at the very least 45 minutes. When you efficiently log a exercise, the app spits out a abstract that features the train, whether or not it was indoors or outdoor, and what you used to hydrate. You’ll additionally see temperature, humidity, dew level, photo voltaic load, wind, and altitude. As for hydration metrics, the app will let you know how a lot fluid and electrolytes you misplaced throughout the exercise, in addition to your sweat composition (aka, how salty your sweat is). There’s additionally a extra basic sweat profile that aggregates knowledge from a number of exercises. There you possibly can see your estimated sweat charge, electrolyte loss charge, sweat composition, and Nix Index, a proprietary rating that’s meant to point out how sweaty a specific exercise was for you. I like how one can additionally stick a patch within the prime of the charging case’s lid.Once I advised my partner about this, they gave me a withering look. It’s the identical one they provide me at any time when I clarify a brand new doodad I’m testing and the info it tracks. It’s derision incarnate. You see, my partner and I are polar opposites on the subject of health knowledge. My partner is a type of naturally gifted athletes who handle to run just like the wind on 4 hours of sleep and a half-eaten protein bar. They solely begrudgingly use an Apple Watch to stream music as a result of they’ll’t be bothered with offline playlists. They’ve by no means as soon as reviewed their exercise stats. This sensor isn’t for easy-going Kind B athletes like my partner. It’s for individuals like me, the Kind A doofuses that use color-coded spreadsheets for coaching logs and set out their exercise garments the night time earlier than. The nerds who search for and examine a number of coaching plans and vitality goo diet labels earlier than selecting one. Those who look within the mirror and assume, “I, a quantified sicko, could be optimized for max efficiency.”1/3The app is pretty easy, however I discovered the hydration beverage chart useful.I’m absolutely conscious that I don’t want Nix to run a well-hydrated 13.1 miles. I’ve run loads of races earlier than I ever tried Nix and have at all times crossed the end line in a single piece. However I additionally know I can do higher. I admire understanding I sweat about 7.8 ounces of fluid and 365mg of electrolytes per hour within the winter. I like understanding I ought to use a sports activities drink with roughly 47mg of electrolytes per ounce. You are able to do the maths your self, nevertheless it’s a headache. Sports activities drink corporations don’t make it straightforward to determine and examine electrolyte ranges, and advertising tends to concentrate on carbs as an alternative. That’s why it’s cool that there’s a useful chart proper on this app I can reference that lets me examine electrolyte ranges of well-liked sports activities drink manufacturers. Seems Liquid IV is the one that almost all carefully matches my electrolyte wants. It’s not arduous proof, however anecdotally, my coaching has improved since I coincidentally made the change from Maurtens a number of months in the past. I’ll one hundred pc use this info after I’m making ready my subsequent future.The underside line is it helps me plan my runs, which in flip alleviates my nervousness about finishing mentioned runs to my ridiculous and arbitrary requirements. If planning helps you are feeling extra assured a few run or a biking session, then there are a number of situations the place I can see the Nix sensor being a worthy funding.The sensor pod isn’t that thick, both, so it match comfortably underneath my lengthy sleeve tech shirts. Simply make sure that every thing’s linked and able to go earlier than you step out the door.For instance, in the event you’re a triathlete who often races in all types of climates. The Nix might be useful in fine-tuning your hydration technique everytime you practice in an unfamiliar atmosphere. Or, in the event you’re notably warmth delicate, this would possibly aid you enhance summer time mileage safely. Individuals simply beginning to deal with longer distances might additionally profit. Personally, I’d have appreciated a place to begin after I was new to hydration and fueling methods. However paying $130 for a sensor and $25 for patch refills is so much, particularly because you’re not going to be sporting a patch for each exercise. For most individuals, that is best as a benchmark device that you simply get away when the climate, your atmosphere, or your coaching regimens change. A little bit additional to present you a slight edge. That’s the factor about devices like these. They’re not important. They’re a “good to have” if, and provided that, the expense is smart. In the event you’re offered on the concept of hydration patches and attempting to resolve between this and Gatorade Gx patches — simply go together with Nix. It’s dearer up entrance, however in the long term, you get 4 patches in a $25 refill in comparison with two. It’s additionally extra thoughtfully designed, works reliably, and offers you extra actionable knowledge. It’s what Gatorade was attempting to do, however higher. Conform to Proceed: Nix Hydration BiosensorEvery sensible system now requires you to conform to a sequence of phrases and circumstances earlier than you should utilize it — contracts that nobody truly reads. It’s not possible for us to learn and analyze each single considered one of these agreements. However we began counting precisely what number of occasions it’s important to hit “agree” to make use of gadgets once we evaluate them since these are agreements most individuals don’t learn and positively can’t negotiate.To make use of Nix Hydration Biosensor, you will need to pair it with an iPhone. That features the telephone’s Phrases of Service, privateness coverage, and some other permissions you grant. In the event you select to combine it along with your Apple Watch or Garmin smartwatch, you’re additionally agreeing to the phrases and privateness insurance policies of these corporations and their companion apps. There are additionally non-obligatory permissions for the Nix app, resembling location, Bluetooth, notifications, and mobile knowledge.By establishing Nix Hydration Biosensor, you’re agreeing to:Closing Tally: One obligatory settlement and several other non-obligatory permissions.