the Aura Strap 2 Review

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Aura strap 2 review boxesAura Strap 2 Review

 

TL;DR Review – Aura Strap 2 replaces any Apple Watch strap and its clever, built-in body composition sensors track hydration, fat, muscle and more.

The Aura Strap 2 is a sleek design that makes your Apple Watch the most sensor-packed on the planet by putting neat tech that’s usually on smart bathroom scales into a handy strap. Athletes & dieters alike will be interested in tracking hydration, fat and muscle plus other body composition metrics.

Here’s a summary review of the Aura Strap 2, with more details further below. If you’ve come for a discount then current discounts are all automatically applied at checkout with this link to Aura’s site.

Buy from Aura: from $149

Verdict: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Dieters & Biohackers get a handy boost to the body composition tracking capabilities of your Apple Watch
  • Price - 90%
    90%
  • Apparent Accuracy - 80%
    80%
  • Build Quality & Design - 85%
    85%
  • Features, Including App - 90%
    90%
  • Openness & Compatability - 95%
    95%
88%

Summary

The Aura Strap 2 is an easy-to-use body composition sensor for any Apple Watch that offers the same kinds of insights you get from smart bathroom scales. The bonus is that you get it in a handy wrist-based format.  Fat, hydration, muscle and other body composition metrics were broadly in line with what I might expect from my Garmin Index S2 smart scales and the subsequent recommendations and guidance for your body composition goals are a bonus and easy to understand.

The base price for the free-for-life strap is reasonable however I don’t see the value for most people in the features offered with the optional Aura Plus subscription. You get 6-months of that free in any case.

Aura Strap 2 is definitely geared more towards dieters and bio hackers. Athletes might, however, get some benefit from fat, muscle and hydration trends

 

Order Aura Strap 2 discount specifications

Pros

  • Easy to take a reading
  • Simple-to-understand app for Watch and iPhone
  • Broad diet strategies for your goal body type rather than pushing weight loss

Cons

  • Free 6-month subscription to pro features perhaps not worth extending
  • The silicone strap was not for me but did the job.
  • I had to re-take 1 in 5 readings

History: What’s New in AURA Strap 2 compared to Aura Strap 1

Aura Strap 2 is a significantly revamped, next-level product. Faster. More Compact. More Accurate.

  • Changes to the sensor include a new architecture to boost accuracy. The company claims that 20x more data points deliver clinical-grade accuracy. Unsuccessful measurements are virtually eliminated with the new sensor design. That’s all packed into a discrete sensor housing that is 20% slimmer and 5% narrower.
  • The time taken to make a reading is improved to about 20 seconds and the results are more reliably and quickly transferred from the sensor on the strap to the watch. The transfer is now by Bluetooth rather than the previous subsonic audio method.
  • A tiny LED has been added to the sensor to reassure you it’s working.
  • The strap and its material have changed from a single adjustable boucle, velcro-like strap to a silicone loop. Aura Strap 2 has every size in the box.
  • The app adds monthly reports, fitness goals, personalised workout plans and a biogram (more on that later)

 

Other than the strap, you can see the two models look very similar even though they are quite different products under the hood.

Aura also makes a standalone Band which does not require you to own the Apple Watch. The band was released alongside the first generation Aura Apple Watch Strap and has NOT been refreshed for generation 2. I haven’t reviewed it.

Aura 2 – In the box

The Aura Strap is presented well in a quality box with decent packaging. Apart from the mandatory documentation that you’ll never read is the sensor plus 4 different strap sizes. You can mix and match the straps to get half sizes too if you think about it.

Aura strap 2 box, contents and AW6

 

 

Aura 2 Setup

Aura strap 2 pick reviewThe large strap size comes already attached to the sensor. It’s fairly small (!) so don’t worry that the only smaller size appears to be Medium. In reality, I reckon large is medium, and medium is small! If you buy Aura to fit the 40mm/41mm Apple Watch then XS and S strap sizes are included.

Changing the strap length is easy and obvious but only once you have figured out how to prise open the sensor with the supplied guitar pick. That’s how you access the battery too.

Aura strap 2 change battery or strap review

 

 

Next, you’ll need to download the app and ensure the companion app is installed on your Apple Watch. The app installation gives some prompts to tweak a few settings like display timeout but my watch already had everything just as Aura needed it.

You then give the Aura app some fitness goals linked to your desired body type and, importantly, flag up if you are an athlete or not as this adjusts the way the body composition readings are calibrated.

Taking your first reading with Aura Strap 2

Aura use Body Impedance Analysis, or BIA. This involves the inner electrode pads on the strap sending a tiny electrical impulse around your body for the outer electrode pad to receive. For this to work properly you must get good contact on the electrode pads and ensure that the electrical impulse can’t take any shortcuts – ie your hands can’t touch each other and your arms and elbows should not touch your body.

Keep still and make contact with the fleshy part of your palm like this…

Aura Strap Take A Reading Hand Positions

It’s NOT easy the first time

The reading takes just over 20 seconds and a nice graphic on the watch shows your progress and gives tips or messages if your hands or elbows are in the wrong place. I achieved an 80% success rate in taking readings, although I was using a beta version of the Apple Watch software.

check out this video which shows the pretty graphic as I take a reading

Aura Strap 2.0 Take a Reading

 

Aura Strap Accuracy

The manufacturers claim the AURA Strap 2 to have 95% compared to a DEXA-scan, the gold standard of BIA measurement

Image|Aura, Links to more info on research at auradevices.io

 

 

My Accuracy Tests

For some comparison tests, I used an old Tanita RD953 scale and a newish Garmin Index S2 smart scale. Even using those two comparator devices poses problems right from the start. Aura sends its electrical signal down one arm across the chest and down the other arm, whereas Garmin does a similar thing but its loop is from one foot to the other via your core. Finally, Tanita does a combination of readings with a sensor on each of the feet and hands.

Bearing in mind that I’m definitely significantly both musclier and ‘fatter’ on my legs than my upper body and that the readings might reflect that, let’s see what I found.

  • Hydration: Aura had me more hydrated than Garmin which in turn showed greater hydration than Tanita. Despite that, the Aura reading is in the middle or lower middle of what Aura says to be the average range for the population. There were noticeable variations in the hydration level reported by Aura when there should be ie if I had been diligently taking more water/isotonic drinks than normal or if I was dehydrated after a sweaty, summer 90-minute run.
  • Fat: Aura’s fat readings are significantly lower than Garmin/Tanita. If correct, my explanation would be that my fat tends to be on my stomach and legs. So as Aura is taking readings from a skinny area of my body the discrepancy is plausible
  • Muscle Mass: Aura reports my lean muscle mass to be significantly higher than the skeletal muscle mass that Garmin reports.

Take Out: I’ve no idea from my tests if any of the sensors on any of the devices are correct. Aura would refer me to the results of their more scientific tests. The consistency of the fat/muscle readings I saw from Aura and the expected variations in hydration it also showed could all be plausible.

Aura Strap 2.0 – What You See on the Watch

Other than automatically taking a reading and some explanatory notes to the data, the other information on the watch is the result of the latest scan.

The latest results are simple numbers and the Biogram shows your progress toward your ideal body type compared to the wider population.

Aura also gives you the option to set their watch face and that makes use of the complications which you are free to use on any Apple Watch watchface. The complications available are the latest results for water, muscle and fat.

 

 

The Aura Strap 2.0 Smartphone App

You will mainly use the smartphone app to review your progress over the month and check your latest readings on the biogram.

Aura Plus users get more details like exercise & diet recommendations, suggested workouts, and deeper analyses.

 

Aura Body Type and Goals

Hey, it looks like I’m athletic and have reached 96% of my goal…thank you Aura!

My body type is determined by Aura, whereas I set my own goal within the app which is to gain muscle. Aura gives me various generic strategies to achieve that goal like ‘do more weights and eat more protein‘.

However, the main purpose of Body Type and Goals are to determine and monitor how you progress.

 

The Biogram

The Aura Biogram is a cool tool to graphically show your progress toward your body composition goal.

Each quadrant represents the extent of both your water content and lean, soft tissue content. The image below shows me being more inclined towards more soft tissues and more water.

Your latest reading is the circular dot and the more that moves away from the green centre circle, the more extreme your measurement. The majority of the population have readings in the green circle and each concentric circle around that represents a move of 25% away from the average.

As time passes, your progress from one reading to the next becomes a track on the biogram. Hopefully heading towards your goal.

 

 

Aura 2.0 Guest Mode

I liked this! The chance to prove to any friends or anyone at the gym that you are the musclier, the most hydrated, or whatever!

On the smartphone app, simply go to Settings>Guest Measurement and let someone else take a reading whilst wearing your watch. The results aren’t stored and the accuracy might be improved if they wear the watch for about 5 minutes prior to taking a reading.

Aura 2.0 – Share a scan

You can share scan results on your social media. Regularly sharing your progress can motivate people to keep up with their program due to the social accountability it brings.

Sync Health Info On Your Phone

You have full control over what information the Aura app can read from your phone or write to it. Using the normal sync to Apple Health, you might want to enable everything except, perhaps, the ability of Aura to write your weight to the phone.

My primary source of weight is from smart scales so I didn’t want inadvertently make changes t that with Aura. If you add manual weight readings to your iPhone then the Aura app is as good a place as any to add them.

 

 

Aura Plus – The Subscription

The subscription service is not so useful if you use other apps to guide your workouts. Maybe it’s useful to subscribe to if you don’t use other fitness apps.

Here’s what you get with the Plus subscription.

  • Deep analysis of body composition
  • Fitness goal tracking
  • Monthly fitness & nutrition reports
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Workout plan and videos

AURA Plus costs $9.99pcm or $79.99pa. AURA Strap 2 users receive a free six-month trial of AURA Plus if bought from the links in this review.

You can activate the subscription on day 1 and then immediately cancel the subscription that would otherwise start 6 months later. The Plus features work for the entire 6 months if you do that.

 

Aura Plus Workouts

These are a nice set of workouts with each workout comprising multiple guided exercises.

Workouts are chosen based on your experience level and the part of the body you want to focus on. You are guided through multiple exercises with very short, explanatory videos to show the correct technique.

 

Aura For Athletes

As an athlete, my ideal format of product in this space would be a continuous hydration sensor that gave notifications live during workouts. Aura is not that.

Aura is very much more a health and wellness tool that will probably be mostly of interest to dieters or people simply interested to understand more about their bodies. As a relatively accurate product, however, athletes still might glean some insights from the longer-term trends and perhaps also some insights into their hydration state when it is hot or perhaps when tapering & preparing for a race

Aura Strap 2.0 – Technical Specs

 

  • Supports Apple Watch Series 3 to Series 7 and HealthKit Companion app for Apple Watch
  • Stainless steel contacts work with hairy and/or dry hands
  • Uses Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis to measure the percentage of fat, muscle, protein, bones, and water in your body.
  • 6-month battery life from a replaceable CR1632 coin battery (included)
  • High water resistance – WR-50, which is suitable for swimming.
  • LED indicator to show the current status
  • Upgradeable firmware via the app
  • BLE 4.2+ connectivity to iPhone

Note: Aura strap is currently being tested to work on WatchOS 9 meaning it will work for the new watches Apple release in September 2022 provided the size of strap is physically unchanged. The software WILL work.

 

Aura Strap 2 FAQ

Q: Are straps from the Strap 1 interchangeable
A: No. I did try.
Q: Is Aura Strap 2 worth it?
A: If you want fairly accurate fat, hydration, muscle and other body composition metrics then Aura Strap 2 is a good call. Alternatives like smart scales are restrictive and similarly costly. The gold standard DEXA scan is a one-off and very expensive lab-based alternative.
Q: What does Aura measure?
A: AURA Strap 2 measures your body composition and hydration level on your Apple Watch.
Q: Does it work with my Apple Watch?
A: Yes Aura works with any Watch from Apple Watches Series 3 to Series 7, and with 38/40/41 and 42/44/45 mm Watch sizes.
Q: Does it measure hydration?
A: Yes, Aura measures your hydration state b using bioimpedance analysis.
Q: Does AURA Strap 2 fit my wrist?
A: Yes it will fit pretty much ll wrist sizes. The 41mm Apple Watch strap set includes XS, S, M, and L loop sizes and for the 45mm Apple Watch there are M, L, XL, and XXL loop sizes.
Q: Is Aura Strap waterproof?
A: Yes, AURA Strap is water resistant to WR50 meaning you can wash your hands or swim with it
Q: What is the composition of AURA Strap 2’s electrodes?
A: The electrodes on each side of the Aura strap are made from medical stainless steel which contains nickel.
Q: How long is the Aura battery life?
A: AURA Strap 2 works for up to 6 months using a standard, replaceable round coin battery (CR1632).
Q: Can I use AURA Strap 2 with a pacemaker?
A: No, do not use the Aura device with a pacemaker.
Q: Which conditions or illnesses can be detected with AURA Strap 2?
A: Aura strap 2 does not detect medical conditions or illnesses.
Q: How does Aura Strap 2 connect with Apple Watch? Is it secure?
A: Aura Strap 2 uses Bluetooth Low Energy v4.2 to transfer encrypted measurement data.
Q: What strap colours are available
A: There are currently these 4 colours available

 

Aura Strap 2 Reviews on Reddit, Amazon and Trustpilot

The second-generation strap is not available on Amazon. Reviews there of the first generation strap were mediocre mostly due to the unreliability of the audible method (non-Bluetooth) method of data transfer to the Watch.

Early reviews on Reddit of the Aura strap are thin on the ground, mostly it’s people giving opinions about a product they don’t own. Those that have bought it seem to have opted for the convenience over a bathroom smart scale.

There is no coverage of the Aura Strap on Trustpilot.

Aura Strap 2 – Summary Review & Thoughts

This is a much improved produced from the first generation and almost every problem has either been significantly improved or completely rectified. The biggest issue for me is the strap material as I very much preferred the boucle/velcro type strap of the earlier model.

To me, the price of the Strap seems good but I’m less sure about the cost of the subscription unless there are aspects of the app that you can immerse yourself in over longer periods. Other than the workouts, available elsewhere, I just don’t see that ongoing level of value. You might of course.

Whilst the mechanics of taking a reading is mildly cumbersome, that very short inconvenience is offset by the ease at which you can get these readings anytime or anywhere. Smart bathroom scales might be an alternative but they are just a little less portable!

I like this product and will continue to use it, especially to check the progress of my day-to-day hydration changes and weekly muscle changes.

 

Order Aura Strap 2 discount specifications

Buy Aura Strap 2

Aura strap 2 works with all Apple Watches from Series 3 and is available in two sizes each accommodating 38/40/41mm and 42/44/45mm Watches.

Aura Strap 2 offers discounts and coupons from time to time which I publicise on this site. This link will always be to the discounted price if there is one available. At the time of writing, Aura was only available direct from the brand.

Latest Discount: $10 off with extra strap purchase

Buy here direct: auradevices.io

(rrp$149)

 

Order Aura Strap 2 discount specifications

 

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FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

4 thoughts on “the Aura Strap 2 Review

  1. When if the concept is super interesting, it’s mildly amusing to first read a complaint about Garmins inaccurate data and than a review wich guesstimates body composition.

    I still believe the Tanita concept is the most accurate at home way because it takes the most of the body into account. I would never trust any of the smart scales or other devices for the total number, but I think as long as they are consistent, they are helpful (if anyone can make a real life use of the data). My Index 1 for example does reflect hydration status the best in the normal weight because there is no water amount in Garmins system. This would be the one „smart“ data point wich I could mal a real life use of.

    How do you use the data or do you collect it to have it?

    1. Yes the Tanita method should be most accurate for a fuller body picture.

      to an extent i collect the data for the sake of collecting it. I’m interested to see where the hydration stuff goes and I’m going to soon be testing some continuous hydration sensors.

      I suspect that Aura’s estimate of my hydration levels is more accurate than garmin’s estimate of either My FTP or VO2max (bizarrely HRmax and LTHR seem about right, though I’ve recently given up looking and will soon revert back to the values that I know work)

      i think as i said above, I’ve always liked the idea of aura and was just intrigued by it. gen 2 convinced me to spend some time with it but what i really wanted was a continuous hydration monitor (I suspect you are the same?)

    2. Ah, collecting data for the sale of collecting it, I do the same.
      I wore the Core Sensor as Long as they gave it to me even if we knew it was not as helpful for firefighters as I hoped. Only to get that data.

      If you have something tracking hydration continuously and live on a Garmin device, I would like to read a lot about it. I’m one of that people who not only sweat a lot but also fast. I’ve ran into shifting my electrolyte levels literally while running, but also while cycling and climbing/hiking. My dream solution: I enter the electrolyte sublement into some datafield setting and it gives me smart alarms when to consume some. Let’s say a pimped Garmin smart hydration reminds.

    3. i have some thing coming up
      i think (but don’t know for sure yet) that the continuous hydration sensors HAVE to track the sodium (electrolyte) levels as well.
      we shall see.

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