Whether you're a fitness buff or you just want to keep better tabs on your health, all you need is your iPhone or iPad and one little accessory. The $119 Zensorium Tinke is a compact device that plugs into your iOS device and measures heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen levels and stress levels. Even better, this clever device does all of the above in about a minute. The Tinke app then stores your data, so you can see how you've fared over time. Find out what else we liked about this tool designed for those who like to keep tabs on their wellness and want to do better.
The Tinke is one of the most basic accessories we've seen. It measures just 1.6 x 1.25 x 0.3 inches and weighs 0.38 ounces. The Tinke has a 30-pin iOS connector on one end and two small sensors on one of its flat sides. The gadget is coated in a soft-touch rubber and comes in light blue, black, white or pink. As of now, there's no Lightning connector for the iPhone 5, but the company says it will make one available in a few months.
The Tinke is powered by your iPhone, so there's no battery to replace or recharge. Another nice touch is a small slot on the bottom, so you don't lose the end cap when the device is plugged into your iPhone.
After installing the free app, you can either sign in as a guest or create a free account. The latter requires entering not only an email address, but also a phone number to which the app can send a confirmation code. Tinke then asks for your age and gender, as well as skin tone, which the app says is needed to take more accurate readings.
Tinke's iOS app is very clean; the home screen shows your health stats at a glance, with navigation buttons at the bottom to start new scans, see your stats over time and message friends.
The home screen also includes factoids, some of which can be a little disgusting. For example, one tells you "the average human body contains enough fats to make 7 bars of soap."
Performance and Vita Score
After placing our thumb on the sensor, it took less than a minute for the Tinke to record our measurements: breaths per minute, heartbeats per minute and blood oxygen level.
Our heart rate was about 95 beats per minute (the app says from 60-80 is optimal, but we were slightly under the weather); we then measured our heart rate using the Mio Alpha sports watch, and found the numbers to be the same.
The Tinke showed our pulse oxygen level at 98 percent (it should be from 95 to 100 percent); we also tested this with the Masimo iSp02 Pulse Oximeter, and recorded similar results.
Finally, the Tinke recorded us as taking 16 breaths per minute, which falls in the middle of the 12-20 breaths it says is optimal.
An algorithm then combined all three numbers to come up with our "Vita" score, a number that Zensorium says gives an overall picture of a person's health. Our Vita score of 59 (out of 99), was slightly above average.
The next day, when we were feeling slightly better, we again took our measurements. This time, we took 18 breaths per minute, our heart rate was 77 beats per minute, and our blood oxygen level was 100 percent. As a result, our Vita score rose to 69.
Like the HeartMath Inner Balance accessory, Tinke can also measure your "Zen," which is to say your stress levels, by recording your heart rate variability. In this mode, five circles pulse on the screen at different rates, and the app tells you to concentrate on one that matches your breathing. Our initial Zen score was 49 out of a possible 99, which is decent. The app suggests methods for further calming down, but lacks the coaching of the Inner Balance app.
The Tinke app also shows your data over time and how you compare to worldwide statistics. If you're particularly proud of your results, you can share them with other Tinke users, or on Facebook.
The app also awards badges for completing certain tasks, from making a post to taking a measurement in the morning.
Small, simple and easy to use, the $119 Zensorium Tinke not only quickly and accurately measures your heart rate, respiratory rate and blood oxygen level, it does so in a tiny package. The device could also help you cut down on stress when used with the companion app. Compared to the Masimo iSp02 Pulse Oximeter, the Tinke is much more portable. It also saves your data, so you can see how you're doing over time. This accessory is ideal for those who want to check their health on the go.