Comfortable to wear
Makes data points easy to understand
Slow companion app
What is the Whoop 4.0?
The Whoop 4.0 is a fitness tracker that aims to help you optimize your exercise and recovery time. It tracks health metrics like your pulse, heart rate variability, and blood oxygen levels, as well as sleep data like the time spent in each sleep stage, efficiency (the amount of time in bed you actually spend asleep), and respiratory rate. It offers automatic activity and sleep tracking, as well as manual tracking of over 80 workouts and recovery activities, such as massages or ice baths.
To help users better understand the information it records, Whoop turns your health data into three scores to indicate your “strain,” sleep, and recovery levels. The strain score is measured on a scale from zero to 21 and is calculated based on the amount of time spent in an elevated heart rate zone—the more time you spend in an elevated zone, the higher your score. Whoop’s sleep and recovery scores range from 0% to 100% and, similar to the strain score, the more rested and relaxed you are, the higher your scores.
The roughly one-inch wide screenless tracker attaches to a nylon and elastane band, which comes in 50 colors with various hardware finishes. Instead of charging the tracker directly, the Whoop includes a detachable battery pack, which fully charges in about two hours, that you can slide on top of your tracker for about an hour to recharge whenever the battery runs low (I found that this happens about every four or five days) so you don’t have to worry about forgetting the Whoop in the charger and miss tracking a workout or night’s rest.
How much does the Whoop 4.0 cost?
Unlike other fitness trackers, the main expense of using the Whoop 4.0 is the monthly membership fee to use its companion app. The subscription costs $360 a year if you pay monthly at $30, $300 for one year if you pay up front (or $25 a month), or $480 for two years ($240 a year or $20 a month). The basic black wearable is included with Whoop’s subscription fees, though different color straps will cost you an additional $49 to $99.
What we like about the Whoop 4.0
The insights into overall health
I enjoyed getting insight into my fitness, sleep, and recovery with Whoop, and thought the calculated scores accurately reflected my energy levels for the day. Seeing my strain scores go up with regular exercise kept me motivated, and noticing when my recovery score was lower helped me decide when to take active recovery or rest days.
Whoop makes it easy to see how everyday habits contribute to your body’s strain, sleep, and recovery. In addition to giving you scores, Whoop has an in-app journal where you can record your daily habits. You can select from over 100 activities and goals, such as whether or not you had caffeine, used CBD, or consumed dairy. The app will prompt you every day to record whether you performed those activities or not. I chose to record whether or not I drank alcohol, did any meditation, or experienced any stress. Logging these activities allowed me to examine how they affected my energy levels and decide if I wanted to prioritize making healthier habits.
The helpful sleep coach
Wearing the Whoop helped me get better sleep. I set a daily wake-up time in the app and told Whoop whether I wanted to hit my “peak” and get all of the sleep recommended, “perform” and get 85% of the sleep recommended, or “get by” with 70% of the sleep recommended. You can change your answers day-to-day, though I typically aimed to get peak or performance level ZZZ’s.
Whoop calculates how much sleep you need based on recent strain and sleep patterns and prompts you to wind down at night. I found these reminders helpful, as I’m not one for watching the clock and typically wait until I start to feel tired before heading to bed.
Its comfortable design
The Whoop is wider than some other fitness trackers I’ve worn, which I was worried would make the tracker feel bulky, but it was surprisingly comfortable. The cloth band is soft and just stretchy enough to feel secure on my wrist but not overwhelmingly taut. I also appreciated that it doesn’t have a screen, which could be a big plus for someone who avoids blue light at night.
I’m also a fan of the portable charger. Though it’s not the end of the world if you forget to wear your fitness tracker for a day or two, I’m particularly prone to forgetting mine in the charger, and get annoyed when I miss gathering data on a night’s sleep.
What we don’t like about the Whoop 4.0
The app can be slow to load
Whoop’s app was intuitive to use, but slow to refresh. I don’t usually leave apps open on my phone, and when it comes to fitness trackers, I usually only open the companion apps once in the morning to see how I slept and once or twice later on in the day to review any workouts I completed or steps taken. Typically this isn’t an issue and the tracker syncs within a minute, but it took several minutes and several refreshes to sync the Whoop tracker with the app, which was a pain to wait for.
The ongoing cost to use it
Whoop’s subscription model makes it more expensive to use long term than some other fitness trackers. Getting the included basic black band and the most cost-effective 24-month subscription comes to $480 for those two years of use. Our favorite fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 5, costs $150. Combine that with an $80 annual subscription to Fitbit Premium (which isn’t required to use the Charge 5) and you’ll spend $310 over the same two-year time period. Although I enjoyed using the Whoop 4.0, I’m not convinced it offers anything special enough to justify the higher cost.
How does Whoop compare to Fitbit?
Fitbit is arguably the name in health tracking wearables and, indeed, it makes several of the best fitness trackers we’ve tested. Whoop tracks many of the same attributes, though its tracker doesn’t function as a wrist watch or smartwatch like Fitbit’s devices do, so if you want that functionality in something you’re wearing all the time, you’ll have to pass on Whoop.
With Whoop, you won’t pay for the device itself, though you can pay for a different colored wrist band or Whoop Body accessory. But as mentioned, you’ll pay a subscription fee to use the app, from $20 to $30 a month (based on how much you pay in advance). With Fitbit you pay for the tracker up front—our favorite, the Charge 5, costs $150, while the top-of-the-line Fitbit Sense costs $300 for the basic unit. You also have the option to sign up for Fitbit Premium for an additional $9.99 per month (or $79.99 per year if you pay up front) to get even more out of your tracker.
Whoop’s sleep, strain, and recovery scores are comparable to Fitbit Premium’s “readiness” score, which takes recent exercise and sleep patterns into account and gives you a number from one to 100 that indicates how much movement or rest you should aim for. You can view your heart rate and sleep data with Fitbit’s free version of the app, but will only be able to view the readiness score with Fitbit Premium.
Both Whoop and Fitbit Premium summarize your data to help you see what areas have improved or declined over time, a helpful feature you won’t get with Fitbit’s free subscription. Additionally, both offer sleep programming to help you build better bedtime habits. However, Fitbit Premium also offers workouts and exercise programs, something Whoop currently does not.
Is the Whoop 4.0 worth it?
Maybe, if you don’t mind the ongoing expense
The Whoop 4.0 is a product I would love to continue using. It’s comfortable to wear and seamless to integrate into my daily routine. I especially enjoyed using the journal and seeing how certain activities impacted my strain, sleep, and recovery scores.
But the Whoop 4.0 is expensive, and its features aren’t exactly unique. Though I found the journal prompts helpful, you could keep track of this information yourself with a pen and paper or in the notes app on your phone. You may not get exact recovery percentages based on your heart rate variability and sleep phases, but you can still record the same end result: How well-rested you feel and how much energy you have throughout the day. Finally, while I didn’t mind that this wrist wearable lacks a screen and the usual watch-like functions, if you’re someone who wants to see the time at a glance from a device on your arm, you won’t get that with Whoop.
If it’s important to see information like exercise recovery quantified based on real data points, you’ll love the Whoop and all the details it can give you. But more casual exercisers can probably skip this high-end tracker—and its high-end price tag.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Staff Writer, Health and Fitness
Esther is a writer at Reviewed covering all things health and fitness.
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