The WHOOP Strap 3.0 is a versatile and well designed wearable let down by an expensive subscription model.

Our verdict: 7/10 stars

★★★★★★★☆☆☆

What I liked:

  • Looks great
  • Simple and intuitive app
  • Good for contact sports (with optional accessories)
  • Customisable
  • Innovative charger

What I didn’t like:

  • Expensive
  • Automatic exercise feature is hit and miss
  • No airplane mode

The Whoop Strap 3.0 burst onto the wearable scene in May 2019. It certainly has its work cut out for it, with difficult competition from the new Oura ring, the Biostrap and even more mainstream wearables like the Fitbit Charge 3.

Unlike mainstream wearables, the WHOOP is aimed more at athletes. It keeps it simple by measuring three key metrics: recovery, strain (your daily cardio load) and sleep. Also unlike competing products, WHOOP charges a monthly fee instead of one upfront fee. 

Whoop has introduced some new changes with the 3.0 strap which are discussed in the review below. These include: WHOOP Whoop has introduced some new changes with the 3.0 strap which are discussed in the review below. These include:

  • Improved battery life
  • The “strain” coach
  • Heart rate broadcasting to BLE-compatible apps and workout machines 

I personally bought the WHOOP 3.0 because it seemed like one of the few wearables that could be safely and comfortably used in contact sports like jiu jitsu (more on my experiences with this below).

Table of contents

First impressions, design and unboxing

The WHOOP Strap 3.0 comes in a simple black box and includes the following:

  • The main unit and Proknit band
  • The charging module with detachable USB-A cable
  • A small clip bag

The strap uses a clasp mechanism to lock into place on your wrist. Setting up the band was easy, as is swapping or removing bands.

The contents of the WHOOP Strap 3.0 box

The strap has a simple style, and while it doesn’t have the same wow factor as a brand new Oura ring, it drew plenty of attention from colleagues and friends.

I also purchased the Hydroband for swimming and backup band duties, the Technica bicep band, and the padded bicep sleeve to wear the tracker during jiu jitsu. 

The WHOOP bicep sleeve, Technica bicep band and Hydroband.

The styling of the different items is consistent and clearly a lot of thought has gone into the design of all the WHOOP products and accessories.

WHOOP has a large number of different bands for sale on its store so there’s a higher element of customisation with it versus many other wearables.

Using the strap: Strain, recovery and sleep tracking

The WHOOP Strap 3.0 has three major data outputs: sleep, recovery and strain.

Sleep

Sleep tracking using the WHOOP Strap 3.0 is simple. After waking up, you’ll be presented with a short questionnaire about what you did the night before.

According to WHOOP, the answers to these questions are not used to refine your data. Instead they are used by WHOOP to improve your experience and also to give you suggestions based on your answers.

Once you answer the questionnaire, you’re then presented with a percentage score showing how much sleep you got during the night versus how much you needed.

Post-sleep questions, sleep overview and sleep breakdown.

If you want more data you can also see:

  • Your light, REM and deep sleep throughout the night
  • How long you were actually in bed
  • How many sleep disturbances you had
  • Your sleep efficiency score

Recovery

Recovery works similarly to the Oura’s readiness score. It’s a percentage score out of 100, and is calculated using your heart rate variability, resting heart rate and your sleep.

Similar to the sleep score, upon waking you’ll be asked a few quick questions.

Recovery questions and overview screen.

Strain

WHOOP defines “strain” as a summary of your cardiovascular system strain during workouts and throughout the day. 

The strap and app automatically flags workouts if they’re of a high enough intensity. This worked for me some of the time. The strap registered the sparring portions of my jiu jitsu classes, but not my weights routine. My weights routine is a short 40 minute workout which is still heavy and moderate intensity for me so this was disappointing. I had to manually log these in similar to what I do with my Oura ring. 

Sometimes it incorrectly flagged random periods where my heart rate was elevated, even though I was doing nothing, and then asked me to log an activity.

Once the app flags an activity, you can process it and fine tune the time you were working out, plus select the activity you were doing from 50 different options. There’s a great selection of activities available including meditation and even less known sports like AFL (Australian Rules Football).

Accuracy and technology

It’s difficult to measure how accurate the WHOOP Strap 3.0 is without comparing it to professional equipment. Still, there were discrepancies compared to my Oura ring (which admittedly has almost a year of data to draw from).

One night during my sleep I developed a cold. As a result my sleep quality was terrible and I was constantly waking up because my nose was blocked. Upon waking I felt exhausted. Look at the difference between what the WHOOP Strap told me versus my Oura ring regarding my recovery and exercise readiness:

WHOOP VS Oura tracking of a cold part 1

I dug further into my data. Both wearables showed me being in bed for 8 hours, but the WHOOP added about 50 minutes to my time asleep and almost 10% efficiency to the quality of my sleep. I certainly didn’t feel like I slept for almost 7 hours with a high level of efficiency.

WHOOP VS Oura tracking of a cold part 2

One other nitpicky note I have about WHOOP is the lack of transparency around the product. The website is devoid of any details about the actual technology used in the product such as the sensors. I feel this should be shared with customers similar to how Oura does

Using the WHOOP app

The WHOOP app is fast and pleasant to use. The design is sleek, simple and responsive even on my ageing Samsung Galaxy S8. 

The profile panel gives you an excellent 30 day summary of your activities, strain, recovery and sleep. You can see from the prominence the app places on activities and strain that it’s aimed at athletes.

The overview panel shows your main metrics for the day, including any activities you’ve done. It’s uncluttered and much better than apps like the Oura ring.

WHOOP profile and overview screens.

There are other useful extras in the app too. You can easily get a real-time heart rate read out using the “Strap Status” function for example, and you can also manually add activities for other parts of the day. 

WHOOP real time heart rate.

There’s also a sleep coach which tells you what time to get to bed to get your recommended sleep hours for the day, as well as a strain coach which will guide you through a workout to reach your target for the day.

The strain coach can also be turned off to allow you to simply track activities like meditating. This is a great way to use the WHOOP to track your heart rate during a meditation session.

Tracking meditation with the WHOOP

Less useful is the WHOOP Snap+ feature. This is basically a set of data overlays that you can add to a photo or video. Maybe this is a useful feature for someone who wants to send their coach daily stats, but I found it less useful and a little gimmicky.

A new feature of the 3.0 is the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology which allows you to link with certain machines and apps. According to WHOOP, this includes machines and apps such as:

  • Peloton bikes
  • Wahoo bike computers
  • Concept2 ergometers
  • Strava 
  • TrainerRoad

Using the Strap’s HR Broadcast feature you can link your WHOOP Strap with the machine or app and see your heart rate data displayed.

Using the WHOOP Strap 3.0 in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

I find the WHOOP strap performed well in jiu jitsu using the bicep sleeve. In both gi and no-gi sparring rounds the sleeve only moved slightly, and was never in the way even during particularly intensive movements (read: me getting savagely armbarred by higher belts).

How the WHOOP is embedded into the bicep sleeve
Wearing the WHOOP bicep sleeve under a no gi rashguard

It was very interesting to finally see my heart rate during BJJ sparring rounds. You can see below how my heart rate was low during drilling at the start of the class, and then peaked at 167 during my wrestling rounds.

A breakdown of my jiu jitsu class using the WHOOP Strap 3.0.

Wearing the strap everyday

The WHOOP Strap has a removable and adjustable band so it’s fairly comfortable throughout the day and when sleeping. The new Proknit band and the hydroband were both comfortable for extended use.

I found that the clasp was pretty stiff compared to the band, so when trying to open it I would sometimes just loosen the band while the clasp remained shut.

The WHOOP Strap 3.0 with Proknit band

One advantage of the WHOOP over a wearable like the Oura ring is that your fingers are free when doing exercises like deadlifts, an admittedly small issue for myself but one that others might care about. 

One downside which may be important to some is the WHOOP Strap 3.0’s lack of airplane mode. I personally like to put my Oura ring into airplane mode while sleeping, and it’s a shame the WHOOP doesn’t include a feature like this. 

Battery life and charging

The new WHOOP Strap 3.0 has a claimed battery life of five days versus the older straps two days, which I confirmed during testing.

The real star of the show regarding the WHOOP Strap 3.0’s battery is the charging method. 

The charging module is first connected to a computer via USB. Once charged up, you disconnect the module and then slide it on top of your strap. This will then charge it up without you needing to take it off. This is a great idea and allows you to go about your day while your strap charges. 

The WHOOP Strap 3.0 with charger slotted on top

WHOOP claims the battery charges within 90 minutes and I found it to be a little faster than this.

WHOOP Strap 3.0 pricing: the weak link

WHOOP charges a monthly fee to use the WHOOP Strap 3.0 and accompanying app. You can either pay this monthly or prepay and get a small discount. For most users I see this being the biggest hurdle. 

Let’s say you wanted to keep and use the WHOOP Strap 3.0 for three years. Over that time you’d pay the following:

ProductPricePrice over 3 years
WHOOP Strap 3.0 Monthly membership$30 USD per month$1080 USD
WHOOP Strap 3.0 – 12 month membership$288 USD$864 USD
WHOOP Strap 3.0 – 18 month membership$324 USD$648 USD
Oura Ring$299 USD$299 USD
Biostrap$175 USD$175 USD
Biostrap with leg sensor$250 USD$250 USD

As you can see above, the cost of the WHOOP Strap 3.0 compared to other wearables like the Oura ring or Biostrap and the WHOOP Strap is significantly higher.

A note for Australians buying the WHOOP Strap 3.0

At the time of writing, WHOOP was not selling the strap in Australia. I got my strap sent to Australia using a third party shipping service, but in the time taken to write this review, WHOOP released pricing for Australians wanting to buy a strap. 

Here’s the above table in Australian prices, with shipping to a Sydney metropolitan address.

ProductPriceShippingPrice over 3 years
WHOOP Strap 3.0 – 6 Month prepaid membership$210 AUD$20 AUD$1280 AUD
WHOOP Strap 3.0 – 12 Month prepaid membership$336 AUD$20 AUD$1028 AUD
WHOOP Strap 3.0 – 18 Month prepaid membership$378 AUD$20 AUD$776 AUD
Oura Ring$436 AUD approx ($299 USD)$22 AUD$458 AUD
Biostrap$256 AUD ($175 USD)$40 AUD$296 AUD
Biostrap with leg sensor$365 AUD ($250 USD)$40 AUD$405 AUD

*USD to AUD currency conversion as of 7/9/19 

WHOOP Strap 3.0 Review verdict: 7 out of 10 stars

The WHOOP Strap 3.0 is a competent wearable with an excellent app and charger. It’s easy to use and setup, is customisable and is great for wearing during contact sports such as jiu jitsu. 

On the other hand, the pricing model means it’s significantly more expensive than other comparable products given the features. The accuracy of the data also didn’t feel as robust as the Oura ring.


Do you have a WHOOP Strap 3.0? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Let us know below.

Author

10 Comments

  1. Kevin Robertson Reply

    Hey Marc,
    Came across your page and reviews while research Oura and Whoop, can’t decide between the two. Like yourself, I train BJJ and weight training and was interested in seeing data analytics during training & sparring. More interested in the recovery time and sleep which is new to me, other than me just guessing and pushing myself..lol

    Looking forward to seeing anyone elses replies on these products.

    Keep up the good work Marc

    Cheers
    Kev

    • Marc Reply

      Hi Kevin,
      thanks for the comment!

      Both wearables are useful but neither are perfect so the decision will depend on your individual preferences.

      If you’re interested in seeing your heart rate during sparring then the Whoop strap could be a good option. It definitely still needs some improvement though (there’s no jiu jitsu profile so the closest exercise profile is wrestling), it’s more expensive in the long term, and requires the bicep sleeve to use in BJJ.

      On the other hand, if you’re happy with more “approximate” data, the Oura can still be useful. You’ll just need to manually log the exercise, and if your BJJ class is broken up into drilling and sparring sections like mine you can just break the class up into two activities in the app. Another reader mentioned he still wears the Oura ring during BJJ class and uses an arthritis glove to cover it which sounds like an interesting idea but I’m yet to try!

      I might write/record a better side-by-side comparison of the two wearables showing a regular week and the data each wearable provides for anyone finding it difficult to make the choice.

      Hope this helps,
      Marc.

  2. Marc,

    Excellent review of the Whoop and the Oura. I have been trying to decide between the two. I compete in Crossfit and would benefit from the ‘Strain’ measurement of the Whoop and the ability to use the strap or bicep sleeve to get through just about any Crossfit workout. With the Oura, I would prefer the ring for sleep I think and would just have to remove it for most CF workouts and manually enter the workout…which is not that big of deal. Like you, I findthe pricing of the Whoop the biggest drawback…pay forever…and the fact that I would have to basically wear two watches all the time..normal watch and the strap. I would likely still opt for the Whoop if the Strain and Recovery scores were significantly more useful in managing my training/preventing overtraining than the Oura would be. However it was very interesting that when you were sick the Oura identified it right correctly, but the Whoop thought you were ready for the Crossfit Games. I saw on the Oura site their reference to an independent, scientific study comparing their ring to polysomnography (sleep lab). Oura was accurate for total sleep time but 15-20% off on the type of sleep, Deep vs REM. This study was done with the first gen Oura. Perhaps their latest product is more advanced and more accurate. In other advice you have on which one to purchase for someone like myself…Crossfit competitor? Thanks.

    • Marc Reply

      Hi Allen! Thanks for stopping by. That’s very interesting information regarding the Oura sleep tracking study.

      That’s also a great point – if you’re already wearing a regular watch/smartwatch then buying the Whoop Strap means your wrists will be pretty busy!

      My hope is that soon another wearable comes along which has the versatility of the Whoop without the subscription fee. FYI the next wearable I hope to review is the Biostrap. This is very interesting in that it’s a wrist-style wearable with an additional shoe sensor to measure foot movements and a one-off fee – you may want to check that out too!

      Generally speaking though it’s hard to go wrong with either the Oura or the Whoop, and industry competition is heating up so I’d assume we’ll see even better options coming out in the next few years. The Whoop has a slightly better app in my opinion and it’s easier to measure the intensity of your workouts versus the Oura. Plus I also like how it tells me how much sleep I need to aim for each night. On the other hand the Oura is more comfortable, cheaper and better to sleep with.

      Unfortunately there’s no one clear best wearable for athletes (yet)!

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help, let us know what you choose and how it goes for you!

      Cheers,
      Marc.

      • Marc,

        Thanks for the detailed reply and advice. Since my most immediate need is a device to mange my sleep/recovery vs effort/strain
        to prevent overtraining, I have decided to go with the Whoop. Given the promise of even better training wearables in the near future, I will just opt for 6-12 month subscription, assuming that I will move on to something better by then and only have paid about half of the price of the Oura.

        • Marc Reply

          That’s great Allen. You will not be disappointed.

          Let us know what you think about it when you start using it, and thanks again for the chat!

          Cheers,
          Marc.

  3. Hi Marc, I already have Oura and Apple Watch they work great but was thinking of purchasing the whoop for Bjj tracking- to see where I need to improve. I think it’s the only one out there that will enable tracking during Bjj but the comments I read on their social media recently are terrible – app not working, band can’t connect, no customer service reply’s. Did any of this occur to you? Best

    • Marc Reply

      Hi Matt, thanks for stopping by!

      I personally haven’t had any problems at all with my strap or the app, but it’s disappointing if the complaints are true. My app has been working fine (actually better than my Oura app all things considered), and the band has been connected.

      Sorry I couldn’t help more!

      Cheers,
      Marc.

  4. Damien Hatfield Reply

    Thanks Marc for a very useful review. I have the Whoop 3 and the Oura Ring. When I first received the ring I was very pleased. Compact, no additional wrist real estate. I was concerned with the sleep results. I have a Garmin Fenix 6 which I love for SUP and Ocean Swimming. GPS maps are fantastic. The Garmin Sleep results are not great. The REM on the Oura Ring has always been very low which surprised me. I started wearing the Whoop and Oura Ring, getting widely different REM readings. The ring was low versus similar good REM readings from the Whoop and Garmin. So I’m trying to working which one to continue with. I have emailed Oura’s tech support, so I will await their response.

    • Marc Reply

      Hi Damien! Thanks for the comment.

      I have continued to find discrepancies between the Whoop and Oura in terms of sleep tracking so I’m very interested in what you find. For example last night I’m seeing an extra hour of REM sleep in the Whoop compared to the Oura. Please update us on what you find out from Oura. I will also start to do some research!

      Cheers,
      Marc.

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