Technology

A useless Smart Cup Launches To Track Your Hydration, But It Doesn’t Always Work

pryme-in-hand

Mark One, the company behind Vessyl, just launched a smart cup focused solely on hydration. It’s called Pryme, and is available starting today online and in Apple retail stores located in the U.S. and Canada for $99.

Pryme is a Bluetooth-enabled cup that tracks your hydration throughout the day. When you first set up Pryme, you input your height, age, weight and what time you usually go to bed and wake up. You can also sync Pryme with Apple Health app or Jawbone Up, or manually input activity data, so that your Pryme can better help you stay at your optimal hydration and let you know when you’re at your “Pryme.”

There are two ways to check your Pryme level: tilting the cup away from you (a line lights up to let you know if you’re at your Pryme or how far away you are from Pryme) or via the mobile app.

Ahead of today’s official launch date, I was able to try out the Pryme for a couple of weeks. I was really excited to try it because I’m notoriously bad at drinking enough water throughout day, but my experience with it has been less than ideal.

I’ve consistently experienced connectivity issues between the cup and the app on my iPhone. Sometimes the app wouldn’t recognize the cup, so I’d have to physically reset the cup in order for it to work. I had to do that at least 10 times over the last couple of weeks. It was pretty frustrating, so I ended up not using Pryme for about a week until last night.

I, once again, reset the cup and then connected it via Bluetooth to my phone. It worked fine until I woke up this morning and tilted the cup to look at my Pryme level. According to the cup, I was at my Pryme, even though I hadn’t had any water for the previous several hours. Sigh.

The launch of Pryme comes almost a year-and-a-half after Mark One launched a pre-order campaign for the Vessyl, in which it saw over $4 million in pre-orders. Last August, Mark One raised a $3 million seed round co-led by Felicis Ventures and Horizon Ventures. The Vessyl tracks liquid consumption throughout the day to monitor your overall nutrition, and can tell the difference between sodas, water, orange juice and other liquids. The target retail date was sometime in 2015, but just a couple of months after Mark One closed the $3 million seed round, the company notified its early backers in October that it decided to delay the launch date of the Vessyl.

Unlike Vessyl, Mark One is confident about the reliability, accuracy and consistency of the Pryme device. I’d imagine it’s easier to ensure the quality of the sensor when all it has to do is track volume, rather than volume plus beverage type, sugar, caffeine, calories, etc.

“The hardest part about Vessyl is the consistency of the sensor,” Mark One VP of Brand and Marketing Nic Barnes told me. “So, [Pryme] has sensors in it, but it’s not the same sensor.”

As a consolation, Mark One is giving all of its early Vessyl backers a Pryme cup for free. While Vessyl tracks calories, sugars, caffeine and other nutritional elements of drinks, Pryme is about hydration.

“With Pryme, it’s not about what you’re drinking, but it’s about hydration,” Dr. Hanson Lenyoun, director of health at Mark One, said. “With hydration, it doesn’t really matter what you’re drinking because everything hydrates you, except for alcohol.”

Right now, Pryme is a beautifully designed cup that holds water, but it requires too much troubleshooting and resetting of the device for me to feel comfortable recommending this product to anyone. That being said, fixing those issues may be as simple as updating the app in App Store, so I’ll let you know if my experience gets any better once the new software update gets pushed out.

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