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Whoop 4.0 band review: A game-changing fitness tracker for achieving your goals

We took the latest model for a spin and were seriously impressed

Lydia Willgress
Thursday 02 December 2021 16:24
<p>We tested it in the gym, running, cycling and swimming, and compared it to its competitors </p>

We tested it in the gym, running, cycling and swimming, and compared it to its competitors

Whoop’s coveted tracker needs little introduction. Seen on the wrists of sports stars including LeBron James, Rory McIlroy and Tom Daley, it’s one of the hottest fitness wearables right now.

But what makes it stand out from the crowd? Unlike others on the market, this tracker doesn’t just pay attention to your workouts, it also collects physiological data continuously. This helps you keep track of the impact of your everyday life so you can make well-informed decisions about your recovery and training. It’s a holistic approach that has caused waves in the smart fitness tech world, transforming how many people train.

Whoop’s wearables have now reached an entirely new audience outside of professional sport, with users ranging from the Navy Seals to Fortune 500 CEOs. And it’s been upgraded, with the launch of the Whoop 4.0 and Whoop body – the brand’s “most innovative product” ever.

So does the new strap set our pulses racing, or is this more of a resting heart rate update? We take a detailed look at the new features to see if the latest version lives up to the hype.

Read more:

How we tested

We wore the 4.0 for two weeks, testing it in the gym, running, cycling and swimming. We tried it as a standalone fitness tracker alongside other trackers and third party apps to measure it against its competitors.

Whoop 4.0: £30 per month, Whoop.com

The Whoop 4.0 uses data to calculate your optimal strain score

How does Whoop work?

Whoop describes itself as a “human performance company”. Its strap works by using your heart rate and some pretty intelligent algorithms to give you easy to digest data in three key areas – strain, recovery and sleep.

The key is the app, which analyses this data and gives you a score out of 21 every day for each of the three. So, why does it do this?

Let’s first look at strain. Whoop measures strain so you know just how hard you’ve been working – and not just in the gym. It is designed to capture all effort, so your workouts are included alongside everyday activities, from your commute to looking after your kids.

It uses this data, alongside your sleep and recovery stats, to work out your optimal strain score so you can shape your training accordingly.

What about recovery? This is the function that, in our view, is the product’s biggest USP. Whoop uses heart rate variability (HRV) – or the variation in time between each heartbeat – to work out how ready your body is to perform. It gives you an insight into how much petrol you have in the tank, so you can see when you’re running low and may want to change your approach to training.

And finally, there’s sleep (in our view, the best part of training effectively). Whoop tracks your slumbers and then tells you what your optimal strain and recovery is. So you’ll know if you’re well-rested or if you need to take it easy.

How’s Whoop 4.0 different?

The brand says the 4.0 is 33 per cent smaller than its predecessor, with upgraded sensors so it can more accurately detect your heart rate – the metric from which Whoop gets the vast majority of its data.

The smaller size is slightly more comfortable but there’s another reason it’s been slimmed down – the launch of the brand’s new clothing range, Whoop body. The range has pockets specially sized for the new unit, which means you can now wear your 4.0 somewhere other than on your wrist.

Arguably, this is a good development because many sports scientists say that the wrist is not the optimal place to measure heart rate. Now, you can use the range to store your 4.0 on your torso, waist or calf.

The strap feels a lot softer than previous options

Or, if you want to follow Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley’s advice and fancy something a little different: “You can just slip the 4.0 device into your boxers and you’ll get all the same data and information.”

The recharging pod is also much smaller and waterproof up to 1m – so it doesn’t matter if you accidentally jump in the shower with it on. Even with the decrease in size, the 4.0 still has the same five-day battery life as its predecessor, the 3.0.

There’s also an alarm, which can wake you up with a gentle vibration, either at the set time you decide or after the recommended amount of sleep that the app says you need that day according to your lifestyle.

An additional feature of the 4.0 is that it measures skin temperature, with a sensor that sits directly above your skin, and your blood oxygen saturation, with low levels potentially indicating health problems.

Does it look good?

We love the new superknit bands (£44, Whoop.com), which feel a lot softer than the previous straps. They come in a range of colours, with different coloured buckles now too. Black seems to be the default among most users, but we loved the ice band, with a metallic blue strap that really stood out.

There’s also a new slider system, which makes it easier than ever to swap your 4.0 between different bands.

How much does it cost?

For existing users, the new unit is free of charge. You can upgrade easily through your app and simply wait for it to arrive in the post.

If you’re new to Whoop, there’s one thing to keep in mind. You don’t buy Whoop; you become a member. The brand’s subscription model requires users to sign up for at least six months at £30 per month – with the price decreasing if you subscribe for longer. Once you’re signed up, the strap comes free.

It’s a financial commitment, but with more features and data than ever before we think it’s worth it. If you want to give Whoop body a go too, garments range from £49 to £94.

The verdict: Whoop 4.0

The new Whoop unit is a genuine improvement, most obviously due to the size reduction – and we liked the new alarm too.

What sets Whoop apart, though, is the level of data. Dozens of products can track your training but the recovery and sleep scores can really help you improve your health and fitness. (Spoiler alert: you probably aren’t sleeping enough.)

Whoop has done a good job of creating a community so whatever your fitness you’ll fit straight in. But really this is a game-changer if you have a goal in mind or train regularly – you’ll be fitter and faster in no time.

Whoop 4.0 fitness tracker

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on fitness trackers and other tech offers, try the links below:

Want to learn more about how the original and new model compare? Read our review of the OG Whoop fitness tracker

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