Is A "Smart" Water Bottle Really Worth $55?

Photo: Courtesy Hidrate.
There is no doubt about it: Hydration is important. Water is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty, and all that. But lacking the constant access to H2O that a merman has, sometimes you get busy and forget to drink...or you grab an IV of sugary caffeine instead.

So, we were curious when we heard about the Hidrate Spark water bottle. Like everything else these days, it's Bluetooth-connected, so it shares data (your water-drinking habit) with an app on your phone. But while you can grab a perfectly excellent glass for less than a buck from Goodwill, or a quality water canteen for $10 or $20, the Spark costs a whopping $55.

Seriously? I can drink glasses of water. And I can count. I can just use the free Fitbit app.

But we wanted to give this fancy bottle a shot; maybe it would help us reach a higher plane of hydration? We assessed the Hidrate Spark in five key areas.

Design: 8/10

The Hydrate Spark looks more dapper than your average Klean Kanteen — especially next to a yoga mat. It comes in a handful of translucent hues (my review unit was teal), and the effect of the diamond-shaped faceting around its body gives the bottle a slight jewel-like appearance. The only downside: the cap, which feels cheap.

Does It Drink: 9/10

Yes. When you press the circle on the cap, the lid boings open, thanks to a spring at the back, which is kind of fun. Then, you can sip from its protuberant spout. When you try to close the lid back down, though, it's kind of finicky.
Photo: Courtesy Hidrate.

The App: 9/10

Hidrate’s app is both zen-like and slightly addictive. After setting it up with personal information, such as my height, weight, age, and activity level (perhaps the better for estimating how much water I should be consuming each day?), I set to hydrating.

I drank three ounces of water with the app open at my side, and seemingly instantaneously, the screen changed. It sounds dumb, but it was surprisingly cool to see the app react to my sips so quickly. As I drank, little dots filled in a circle-shaped progress bar. I may not ever win a Pulitzer or an Olympic medal, I thought to myself, but damn, I can win at drinking water. And win I did.

Long-Term Viability: 5/10

Well, that day at least. While my heart was filled with a hydration-fueled fire at first, I then forgot about the Spark for a few days and went back to a glass like a normal person.

Value: 1/10

For $55, it's not worth it. The large bottle size is good for not having to run to the water fountain every five minutes, and the app is great. The bottle itself is supposed to glow when it's time to hydrate, but either the glow was too subtle for me to notice, or it actually didn't glow at all. (Maybe I did something wrong in the settings, but I couldn't figure it out.) When this thing is only $30, give me a call.
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