Smart Blood Pressure Comparison: iHealth Ease Vs. Accutension

First off, please allow me to say that I really greatly value a company that interacts with their users & works to be communicative.  Junfeng Zhao of Accuntension has been nothing but a wonderfully customer oriented & involved founder & I sincerely appreciate that.

There was a bit of a learning curve with this device for me.

Mr. Zhao has worked diligently & taken every ounce of constructive feedback I have given on this device from when I received it. He is heavily vested in making this device workable for everyone & educating people on the importance of accuracy in blood pressure monitoring but also the value in taking your own using the same method doctors use.

I really love that his device, Accutension, has a two-fold purpose.   The first purpose is a standalone blood pressure kit, but the other purpose is checking the accuracy & algorithm of another device.

My comparison focuses on the first part (using it as a standalone kit).   As a matter of preference, I don’t think I’ll be using it as my primary kit & I’ll explain why shortly. I know it will come in useful for checking the accuracy of my primary kit if it starts giving off abnormal readings.

I had mentioned earlier that I had backed the MobiCuff by Safe heart many moons ago but had no idea of when it would arrive, as the iphone version is still being developed.  I do like Safe heart‘s products. Their oximeters are affordable & reliable.

I will admit I got tired of waiting for the MobiCuff to arrive.  So when I saw the Accutension on Indiegogo, I backed it.  I knew it would get use.

The founder & I were communicating on social media one day. After hearing my story he decided to refund my pledge on Indiegogo & send me a free device.

I really thought this was very nice of him to do & quite unexpected so I was very excited to try it out.

Now, as a matter of preference, it’s not that this device doesn’t work. In fact, I think it’s wonderful.  It’s definitely practical. It’s just not what I need right now.

My problem is I’m just not coordinated enough to get it to take good readings no matter where I position myself or how diligent I am in following the directions. It’s a matter of me doing something wrong in a very subtle but yet obvious way. This is why I’m just frustrated enough to not want to use it as my primary device right now.

This is not Junfeng’s fault.

This video he sent me was extremely helpful. He sent it after I told him I was having trouble & that I was holding off on this review until I had given a full & honest effort to try the device out.

Even with that video to assist, I know there’s some simple & dumb error I’m making that I can’t quite pin down yet.

He also had sent me various troubleshooting messages & emails when I explained to him the problems I was having (even after reading the instructions more thoroughly each time).

Some of it was user error on my part initially. There were adapters included for older phones. The first time I tried to assemble it, I put it together wrong because I was trying to use them all even when I didn’t need the adapters.

At first, I also did not realize there were two apps in the App store. One is dedicated to checking the algorithms of another device. The other app is just for using it as a standalone kit. I downloaded only one of them & that happened to be the one for not taking readings.

Those were solvable, but I still couldn’t quite get it in the right ballpark even with Junfeng’s help & the updated video he sent.

I’m just that klutzy. I get an abnormally high read every time I take it. Even when I’m following all the steps & after viewing the video.

I’m sure for people with a healthcare background (like a nurse) after they viewed the the video, they’d find it’s pretty intuitive & simple to use.

Just be sure to use the Accutension Stetho app to check the algorithms. Use the Accutension app to take the blood pressure readings themselves.  (The apps do work well. I was able to get the bp readings to write to HealthKit.)

Out of curiosity (because I was so frustrated with getting a good baseline reading),  I wanted to see how this stacked up to a newer wireless blood pressure monitor to compare.

[I need a blood pressure device not only because I’m a transplant patient but because I do have stage 1 chronic kidney disease as a result of complications from Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC).  I have failed in being as diligent with blood pressure readings before now because there wasn’t an easy,  inexpensive, or accurate way for me to take & track them without it being time consuming.  A smart device will help with these issues & will take on increasing importance after transplant because the immunosuppressants & other drugs will be hard on my kidneys.  This is why I’m so anal about finding a good device (plus having one as a back-up for travel or work or storing in another place to use if & when I need it.)]

I saw that iHealth had a model that was even lower in price slightly than the MobiCuff & it was just released so it’s their newest model. It’s called the iHealth Ease.

It writes directly to Apple’s HealthKit through the my iHealth My Vitals app.

[It should be noted that this app will also set up & connect to other iHealth devices like their glucose meters & oximeters, which is a nice feature to have one app controlling & integrating with several different devices.]

I had never tried any iHealth products before & a few of the early devices had mixed reviews. In spite of that, as far as blood pressure units went, they seemed to have a lower price point & better reviews on their older model blood pressure monitors than Omron’s newest connected or bluetooth blood pressure monitors (even after an Aetna member discount).

I saw the description & figured it was worth a try.

They don’t call it the ease for nothing.  The iHealth Ease has a very simple set-up & relatively fast charge. Operation for me was foolproof.  I just pressed the button on the device & then on the app & took a read.

[Though I did follow the instructions the first time to make sure I set it up to synch with the app correctly but I only needed them the first time].

The readings are very close in comparison to the readings I have gotten on days I’ve had doctor’s visits, so I was happy with the accuracy.

It’s bulkier to carry than the Accutension though & it didn’t come with a case, so I had to find a fairly big cosmetic case to keep it in to store.  It is meant for a home device & not a portable solution obviously, but if one had to pack it away, they could.

To compare, I’ve done slideshows unboxing both devices.

First, the Accutension.

Some of them are close-ups of the instructions which were helpful & detailed & impressive because it really teaches you why a good reading is important.  It also shows you where each component is supposed to be placed.  There’s another photo of the pouch which is handy to keep it in. Also the top of the box. The box it came in was sturdy yet still relatively small & the pouch slides right in.  The components are all well made & comfortable to grip & use.

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The next is the iHealth Ease.  There’s a few of the box, which was significantly bigger & bulkier. I got rid of it because it took up too much space.  Then there are the components. Basically, the cuff has an end you stick into one side of the dock & then the usb goes into the back of the dock & in your computer to charge. The device will retain a charge for awhile once it’s actually fully charged.  The cuff is a standard cuff & easy to adjust & wear, much like the Accutension cuff.

That globe-like sphere is the device dock. It has a button you push to power on & off & the color indicates whether it’s charged or not (green for charged, red for not) & then I just opened the app after downloading & hit the start button.  That was it.  It took the reading & then deflated the cuff automatically.

[It will also take the reading without you placing the phone on the dock. I did this once purely by accident.]

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For a butterfingers like me, the Accutension is a device I play with to strive to use effectively one day.  The iHealth Ease is my fast cheat for a quick & accurate read. But it’s also nice to know if the reads go a little wonky with it, I can test out the algorithm with the Accutension Stetho app & make sure the device isn’t acting up.

I don’t think I went wrong with either one.  It’s just a matter of preference.

(Then if that rogue MobiCuff ever arrives one day, I at least have things to benchmark it against as a frame of reference).

(DISCLAIMER: I was sent a refund on my Indiegogo pledge from Accutension. The founder heard about my intended use for the device & refunded my pledge because he wished to donate to me.   The iHealth Ease I ordered directly from their website.   I thought doing a comparison might be a useful way to share information with others who might be interested or needing such devices for their own personal health issues. This analysis in no way constitutes medical advice or product endorsement.  I try to keep the devices I select for personal use, profiling, & reviewing in an affordable price range. Often $50 or less where possible. (The accuntension kit was slightly over that price range with shipping but not over by much).  If a device is more expensive than the $50 I make that clear & try to point out the device’s practicality & uniqueness in assisting me with my personal health tracking.)

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One thought on “Smart Blood Pressure Comparison: iHealth Ease Vs. Accutension

  1. Pingback: Building A New Routine | AS I LIVE & BREATHE

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