Boredom comes in many flavours. Waiting for trains that have been delayed yet again by damp leaves or suicidal cows on the line are boring. Watching the end of documentary on geese farming in Essex while you wait for that new comedy to come on the TV is boring. Impatiently waiting your turn in a dank, dripping, seedy Bangkok bordello is boring.
But with the new Bayer Contour blood glucose meter I’ve found a brand new flavour of boring.
Up front the Contour is a perfectly fine meter – it tests your blood and spits out a result, which is I guess what we’re all after in a meter; but the Contour seems to do it without the slightest interesting feature to raise it up above the morass of other meters currently available on the market that fight for the attention of the pancreatically-challenged populace.
Looks-wise Contour is okay, it’s certainly not as sexy as the funky Nano, but it’ll do. I guess. It’s similar in a way to those Toyota Corollas which come in that hideous watery light-blue that seem to be driven exclusively by old age pensioners. It’s not entirely offensive to the eye but it hardly sets the world on fire with an eruption of thrilling colour and design.
In terms of features, the Contour has everything you would expect from a modern meter. On the plus side, it has a reasonable memory for your results and it doesn’t need to be calibrated with each new set of strips which is always a welcome addition.
On the minus side at 0.6μL the Contour needs quite a large sample size which is a bad thing as I prefer to keep my blood in me rather than smeared all over multitudinous test strips. The test time of five seconds is also relatively sluggish but just about acceptable.
Perhaps a redeeming feature is that the Contour can be used in two modes – what I like to call “Idiot Mode” and “Clever Mode”. Idiot Mode does nothing but take your blood and spew out a reading which I suppose is handy if you can’t be bothered faffing about with extra features and functions. However, the “Clever Mode” where you can turn on pre and post meal markers and note unusual readings isn’t really all that clever in that these are functions common to pretty much every meter out there; but at least you have the option to turn them off. Clever Mode also includes an alarm which can remind you to do a test after a meal – again mildly handy for the negligent diabetic.
The Contour generally performs as well as any other meter when it comes to using it in the pitch dark – in other words not very well, meaning you have to turn on the bedside light and wake up your slumbering wife – though I did find the smooth buttons harder than some to use.
So all in all, the Contour is certainly not a bad meter – it does most things reasonably well – but with other meters out there that offer so much more this meter’s going to be confined to the boring bottom of my boring spares drawer.
Sample size – 2/5
0.6µL, hmm somewhat vampiric
Test time – 3/5
5 seconds – slightly sluggish, but acceptable
Test strip calibration – 5/5
No calibration needed. Yay!
Test strip slurpiness – 4/5
Yum, nice n’slurpy
Memory – 4/5
Sexiness – 2/5
Dull as a train spotter at Reading station
Beeping – 5/5
Can thankfully be turned off
4am test – 2/5
Smooth buttons difficult to find in pitch darkness, backlight is fine but no light on the test strip
Grand total – 27/40