WHOOP 3.0 Strap Review: I Think I’ve Found My Favorite Fitness Tracker!

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The Lowdown

The premise of the WHOOP 3.0 Strap lies in the companion app. After the initial setup, what you’ll notice is all of your activity is broken down into three categories: Strain, Recovery, and Sleep, which is dictated by your normal routine during the day. As I try to become healthier, I can open the app and see how I’ve maneuvered through my day and get a true to form depiction of what I’ve done matters the most.

Overall
3.5

Pros

  • The WHOOP metrics, including sleep, heart-rate, and activity tracking, are more detailed and seem superior to other fitness trackers I’ve used
  • Multiple strap personalization options available when ordering
  • The WHOOP 3.0 Strap looks good and doesn’t clash with my Apple Watch, but can also stand alone
  • An Onyx WHOOP 3.0 Strap is included with every subscription

Cons

  • Very limited third-party pairing aside from Strava
  • No Apple Health integration
  • WHOOP has to be used continuously for a few weeks for the most accurate data
  • The WHOOP 3.0 Strap is entirely dependent on the (expensive) paid subscription service to function
WHOOP 3.0 Strap Review: I Think I've Found My Favorite Fitness Tracker! Listen to this article

During the pandemic, I let myself go a little bit. With gyms closed, bikes on backorder, and a newborn, I found it very hard to do something as simple as exercise. But recently, I’ve been introduced to the WHOOP 3.0 Strap, and I feel like I’m finally getting this health thing right. 

WHOOP 3.0 Strap

After years of using the Apple Watch to track my steps, heart rate, and more, I was presented with the opportunity to review the WHOOP 3.0 Strap. I’ve seen ads for it, with Patrick Mahomes promoting how great of a tracker it is, so I was super excited to see how it compared to my Apple Watch Series 6.

Before I talk about the experience of using the WHOOP 3.0 Strap and the WHOOP app, I need to clarify that using the WHOOP system is a bit of an investment.

The WHOOP 3.0 Strap requires a $30 per month WHOOP membership (billed month-to-month for a minimum of six months) that promises continuous 24/7 tracking of the most accurate and granular metrics of your day. With the purchase of a WHOOP membership, the company gives you an Onyx WHOOP 3.0 Strap, which seems fair since you’ll be paying up to $360 per year for fitness tracking at their monthly rate.

If you commit and go all in, there are also discounts of $24 per month for an annual membership ($288 upfront) or $18 per month for an 18-month membership ($324 upfront) available.

WHOOP 3.0 Strap Review: I Think I've Found My Favorite Fitness Tracker!

If you decide that you want a band in any color other than the default Onyx, it will cost extra. There is no screen on the WHOOP 3.0 Strap, but all generated information is available in the companion WHOOP app.

Having to access all the data from the app might be frustrating for people who are used to using their fitness tracker as a watch or who like to check progress as they go, but if you’re ok with a minimalist solution, you get used to the lack of a screen very quickly.

The WHOOP 3.0 Strap has 5-day battery life, and it blends in nicely on my right wrist, making it a good complement to the Apple Watch on my left. Often I find myself forgetting I have it on, as it has become a part of my daily (and nightly) attire — all the while tracking everything I do, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. 

The premise of the WHOOP 3.0 Strap lies in the companion app. After the initial setup, what you’ll notice is all of your activity is broken down into three categories: Strain, Recovery, and Sleep, which is dictated by your normal routine during the day. As I try to become healthier, I can open the app and see how I’ve maneuvered through my day and get a true to form depiction of what I’ve done matters the most. 

WHOOP 3.0 Strap

My initial impression of the WHOOP 3.0 Strap on my wrist is, “Wow, this is light. With no display or way to do anything without looking at your smartphones, the WHOOP band clasps to your wrist by lifting the flap at the front to close and use. The WHOOP 3.0 Strap pairs to your phone via Bluetooth, just like any other device.

I’ve received many comments that it just looks like a fashion bracelet and not like a “fitness tracker.” Still, if you want something a little bit flashier, there are pretty cool wristbands available in an assortment of ProKnit colors that you can swap out as you see fit. 

When I compare my Apple Watch workouts to my WHOOP 3.0 Strap’s tracking of the same workout, I find that not only is the built-in heart rate sensor more accurate on the WHOOP, but it’s also more consistent. This is because WHOOP utilizes continuous monitoring, while the Apple Watch measures in segments based on variations in your beats per minute.

All heart rate monitors have some variability, and the Apple Watch has been especially sensitive to placement to get an accurate measurement in my experience. The WHOOP is on a different level because continuously monitoring your heart rate means it captures every bit of data it can out of every beat. This allows you to optimize and track everything, including the way you sleep. 

The WHOOP app does not integrate with Apple Health, but that did not bother me because the WHOOP data presented in their app is incredibly useful. It shows me how much I actually burned each day, how well or poorly I’ve slept, and my recovery. But it takes time and consistent use of the WHOOP for everything to be completely comprehensive. 

The initial setup of the WHOOP requires about a month for the app to really get to know you. The first two weeks, it’s constantly monitoring your movements, your heart rate, your workouts, your sleep — all of that.

I connected WHOOP to my Strava app, and it showed me how to best incorporate recovery into my routine. The WHOOP app could see how much effort went into a bike ride, and it could recommend the appropriate recovery and rest time, rather than me going by guesswork or pushing too hard because I thought I should.

I’m not the best athlete in the world, but I put a lot of pressure on myself to get as fit as possible when I work out. I will push myself to my limits in regards to heart rate, distance; you name it.  WHOOP made sure to tell me daily that I shouldn’t. 

WHOOP 3.0 Strap

My fascination quickly grew with recovery periods. I soon realized that working out 5-6 days a week wasn’t as good for me as I felt it was post-workout. There are so many components to getting in shape that I didn’t consider, including my sleep patterns, the number of calories burned, and the physical strain I put my body through.

High strain can ultimately end in injury, and I was warned more than twice by the WHOOP app that while I was exceeding the goals I set for myself at setup,  I also needed to take full advantage of more than my typical 5 hours of sleep each night to give my body the rest it rightfully earned. 

After thirty days of continuous updates, a few hiccups where the app didn’t capture my data, and with amazing troubleshooting with the reps over at WHOOP, I noticed that not only did my behaviors change, but my overall insight on my health did as well.

I started going to bed before 11 pm and waking up before 7 am; my body felt rejuvenated. I’ve found myself going from biking 6-7 miles for a casual ride to 12-14 as an average. The WHOOP 3.0 Strap now feels like it belongs on my wrist. So when I take it off for showers, it goes straight to the charger to keep it topped off and ready to go.

WHOOP 3.0 Strap Review: I Think I've Found My Favorite Fitness Tracker!

Then I learned a trick. The WHOOP 3.0 Strap comes with a charger that most might leave on their nightstand. But what I realized the first time I went out of town for a few days is that my WHOOP could actually be attached to the removable charger and charge on the go  — mind blown.

It resembles a portable battery charger with an integrated cable for your phone. Recharging this way was practical and made sense, and ever since then, if I know that I’m going out of town, I just attach the charger to the WHOOP, so I never leave it behind. 

WHOOP 3.0 Strap

Do I look absolutely ridiculous wearing an Apple Watch on my left and the WHOOP 3.0 Strap on my right? Possibly. But the WHOOP has more accurate heart-rate sensing, and it offers a deeper dive into my overall activities and health.

If Apple ever allows syncing to WHOOP and back to the Apple Health app, I could eliminate the need for wearing the Apple Watch in circumstances where I don’t need anything other than the cellular service for listening to podcasts or, truthfully, checking the time. 

WHOOP’s Sleep tracking, for me, has been wild. As someone who’d never cared about how I slept until receiving the WHOOP 3.0 Strap, it has been fascinating to dissect the peaks and valleys of my time spent between falling asleep and waking up. I can see when I was in a deep sleep, measure how my heart rate changed during a dream, and learn how often I woke up or moved around in the middle of the night.

These metrics may not seem that important to you, but if you’ve ever wondered how a night on the town drinking, then going to bed impacts your sleep, the WHOOP 3.0 Strap will humble you quickly. Then it will ask you what you did the next day, analyze the results, and tell you about your body’s reaction, so you know that you’ll need to get x-amount of rest to be your cheerful self again. 

WHOOP app

Since WHOOP is always passively tracking, I don’t need to launch an app to start a workout; it can sense when I am biking, running, or exercising automatically. The WHOOP’s calibration period learned my trends over a few weeks, and then it was able to pick up any activity I did. It will even break down how your workouts compare to previous ones.

For all of my riding activities, I tend to use Strava, which can connect to WHOOP for automatic tracking. I really wish that WHOOP could integrate with other third-parties like Apple HealthKit and MyFitnessPal, but having Strava linked is a huge plus!

WHOOP 3.0 Strap

There are so many elements to the WHOOP 3.0 Strap and the WHOOP app that I’m still learning, like the HRV (heart rate variability) measurements and how to properly insert items into your daily diary so you can look back at them later and compare notes.

I’ve learned that things like drinking bourbon in moderation can impact my anxiety levels and sleep metrics if I drank it too close to bedtime. Measurements like this have helped me better understand the holistic approach to my health above and beyond just counting calories and basic activity. The data the WHOOP 3.0 Strap supplies is user-friendly and very helpful.

If it weren’t for the up to $30 a month subscription, it would be a no-brainer to recommend WHOOP to everyone. It’s a bit of an adjustment to think of it as free hardware with an ongoing cost. If you re-frame it as a fitness cost akin to a gym membership, $30 isn’t too expensive, but it does mean paying more over time instead of the one-time upfront cost you would incur with an Apple Watch, Withings device, or a Fitbit. Even so, the WHOOP 3.0 Strap and app will be useful for people who live a very active lifestyle, or even just your average Greg, who’s attempting to rid himself of his “Dad Bod.”

The Onyx WHOOP 3.0 Strap is included with the WHOOP membership, which sells for $30 per month (billed month-to-month for a minimum of six months), $24 per month for an annual membership ($288 upfront), or $18 per month for an 18-month membership ($324 upfront).  WHOOP is available directly from the manufacturer.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample and membership

What I Like: The WHOOP metrics, including sleep, heart-rate, and activity tracking, are more detailed and seem superior to other fitness trackers I’ve used; Multiple strap personalization options available when ordering; The WHOOP 3.0 Strap looks good and doesn’t clash with my Apple Watch, but can also stand alone; 3.5

What Needs Improvement: Very limited third-party pairing aside from Strava; No Apple Health integration; WHOOP has to be used continuously for a few weeks for the most accurate data; The WHOOP 3.0 Strap is entirely dependent on the (expensive) paid subscription service to function

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About the Author

Greg Alston
Diehard Apple fanboy, and lover of all things tech. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Greg enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and friends, live sporting events, good bourbon, Tetris, and pizza. In that order.