I’ve been using the Digimon Vital Bracelet for a couple of weeks, and I’ve got some things to say about the experience. Make sure you check out my initial impressions for some context that I won’t be repeating in this update.
If you buy the Vital Bracelet, get a screen protector. I was incredibly careful and still managed to get some notable scratches after the first few days. I didn’t expect to get gorilla glass with this toy, but I did expect something a bit sturdier for something meant to encourage fitness. You can get reasonably priced screen protectors on Amazon, but I’ve been using tape. It won’t protect the face from serious impacts, but it will help mitigate the scratches. If you want this device to last you a while, I recommend investing in some added protection.
I have a smartwatch that I use to track vitals, so I wore two watches for about a week before I was told I couldn’t. You are going to notice how cheap the bands feel, but that feeling goes away after a bit of use. They work well enough, and you don’t have to worry about them coming randomly undone. You can buy nicer sturdier bands on eBay, but I can’t vouch for the quality. As a fitness tracker, it’s not accurate. The watch does a good enough job to track your vitals for the game, but I wouldn’t rely on it for an accurate assessment. There is a specific market for this game, and if you like vpets and enjoy the IPs, it’s a fine watch with a cute little character you can interact with. The design is subtle and won’t look out of place if you decide to take it around people.
After a week, I removed the bands and carried them around like a key chain. I put a piece of clear tape over the sensor to trick the device into thinking it was still reading my vitals. This setup isn’t as accurate as wearing it as a watch, but the difference is negligible. If you have the means and want to spend a bit extra, you can find special cases online that do the same and provide a bit more protection. I haven’t looked into these options too deeply, but I’ve seen some cool stuff. Always make sure you read the reviews and buy from reputable sources.
I love most of the experience with the Vital Bracelet so far. It might be a symptom of the novelty, but I’ve found it easier to convince myself to be more active. I understand this alone won’t make me fit, but I have been a lot more active since. This only works for me because I love Digimon, and there is a meaningful incentive. If you aren’t a fan of Digimon or any of the available IPs, you won’t get the same kind of drive from something like this.
The worst part of this whole experience is the official companion app. The app is slow, clunky, and buggy. I was able to upload my first Digimon to test things out, but I haven’t been able to get her back. I know there are workarounds and an update I’ll need to look into, but it is frustrating to have a portion of this game not work out of the box. Before getting the Vital Bracelet, I saw a lot of user frustration online surrounding the app’s performance. I brushed it off as gamers being resistant to change, but there is some truth to how terrible this app is. It doesn’t work, and when it does, it is frustratingly slow. If Bandai wants the Vital Bracelet to be successful, they need to work on making this app more seamless and smooth. At the moment, the app is the biggest barrier to entry, and I find it hard to recommend it to people who aren’t that invested in Digimon.
That said, I am still hopeful about the Vital Bracelet’s future. There seems to be a healthy population of people who play the game regularly despite the app’s flaws. Bandai recently dropped an update that people seem to be happy about, and there are some workarounds I need to look into to set Jellymon free. That said, it is hard to recommend a game that isn’t exactly polished. I don’t mean to say that to discourage you from buying a Vital Bracelet. If you like Digimon or any of the supported IPs, it’s a cute thing to collect. There are enough forums and discords out there to make this product usable, but it is frustrating to buy something that isn’t perfectly usable out of the box.
If you want to buy the watch, the BE is the latest edition. You can get them on Amazon without a Dim in Black and White. The VV version does include a dim if you don’t mind the red. Your other option is to have them imported from Japan through either eBay or a trusted online retailer. I’ve seen Zenintcg thrown around a bit, but I haven’t bought from them. Always make your own research.