A gnomish review of an innovative device.
What’s in the box?
The device comes in the standard sort of meter packaging, a windowed box which displays the meter. Inside is the meter, of course, a separately packaged test cassette, a lancet cassette for the FastClix finger stabbing device, and half a rainforest.
Actually, the half a rainforest is mainly made up of an excellent handbook (239 pages) that tells you all you need to know about setting up your meter for the first time (practically nothing), and starting to use it. The rest of it consists of a quick reference guide, a card you can send off to get the carry case of your choice, a welcome pack containing registration cards and a card to hand to your GP or DSN, so you can change your repeat prescription to cassettes and FastClix cartridges.
All very glossy, well presented, and pretty comprehensive, such a pity all my communications with Roche are via the internet, but at least it’s all recyclable.
When you finally get down to looking at the meter itself, apart from the fact that it’s big and black with a snazzy silver fascia, the first thing to strike you is the slider that covers the test area, rather than an open slot for inserting strips. Not only does this protect the innards of the meter from pocket and bag fluff (possibly even belly button fluff, but we won’t go there!), opening it will switch the meter on and move a test patch into place ready to test.
There are still the usual three buttons on the face of the meter, but these are more to do with menu selection than testing. In this respect the device bears much more resemblance to a mobile phone than its predecessors do as all the settings are accessed by a simple menu system.
There are many settings to play with too, results can be flagged, reminders set, and target ranges set, plus display brightness as well as the usual time and date settings. None of this is beyond the capabilities of anyone that can use a cell phone, but it is a step up from the average meter.
On the other hand, you can ignore all the bells and whistles, just drop in a cassette, and trot off into the sunset. It’s a nice piece of kit with the feel of quality one would expect from Roche products.
Setting up couldn’t be easier, open the slider, open the cassette door, and drop in the cassette. Close the door and the slider and you’re ready to test. Pop the lancet cartridge in the finger stabber and you’re loaded for bear! Time and date are preset, so there’s no need to change them.
Open the slider, just be a little bit careful not to snag the tape, the meter switches on, checks the display, announces the number of tests available, and moves a test patch into position before telling you it’s ready, all this is remarkably quick. Inflict the usual gratuitous violence on your selected finger, and touch the patch on the cassette to the resultant gob of gore, uptake by the tape is almost instantaneous.
In five seconds or less you’ll have a result. Close the slider, and the meter will switch off after displaying the result, telling you how many tests you have left, and winding the used test patch into the cassette. Job Done!
I have to add, that this meter takes all the fiddlyness out of testing, it’s just a case of set the finger stabber, switch on, test, switch off. You can probably do it almost as quickly as you read my description.
For the Geeks
Downloading data couldn’t be simpler; all you need is an infra-red connection. Users of the Roche software (Accu-Chek Compass or Accu-Chek 360°) will have one anyway. If you just have an infra- red connection and no software, this meter can export the data as a comma separated (CSV) file that can be imported into a spreadsheet or word processor. This file includes the download date, download time, and the serial number of the meter.
This is a really good piece of kit, whilst it might not be the meter of choice for some of us that like our meters to be small and sexy, (like Tim) I like it.
It’s a natural step up from the ease of use of the Accu-Chek Compact Plus. Fifty tests on a cassette, six lancets in a cartridge, and no need to touch a single test strip or a lancet. Add to that the fact that both items can be dumped in the household rubbish after use, and you begin to realise testing can’t get any easier or quicker than this.
I have no hesitation in recommending the Accu-Chek Mobile to everyone. (My cheque from Roche is in the post they tell me? [You wish – Tim])
Sample size: > 5/5
Test time: > 4/5
5 seconds (approximately)
Test strip calibration: > 5/5
None required, the cassette has an RFI chip that calibrates the meter automatically.
Test strip slurpiness: > 5/5
Mega slurpy, almost instantaneous vampiric uptake.
Memory: > 5/ 5
500 tests with averages available for 7, 14, and 30 days. It is also possible to set up to ten reminder times
Sexiness: > 2/5
About as sexy as a house brick, perhaps ‘butch’ would be a better description. 2
Beeping: > 4/5
4am test: > 3/5
There is no backlight, but the figures are very high contrast, bright fluorescent yellow on black. Whether ‘tis is enough to protect the device from fits of hypoglycaemic rage remains to be seen.
Overall: An excellent meter, the one all new meters will have to look up to! 33/40