Review – Accu-Chek Mobile

By | 12 January, 2011
An Accu-Chek Mobile blood glucose testing meter, yesterday

An Accu-Chek Mobile blood glucose testing meter, yesterday

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.

The Meter

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.

Setup

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.

Use

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.

Conclusion

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])

Results

Sample size: > 5/5
0.3µl (approximately)

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
Switchable

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

53 thoughts on “Review – Accu-Chek Mobile

  1. Stephen

    Great review there, I especially like the slurpiness rating!
    I’m afraid it’s still too much of a brick for me to consider, but I can see the “all in one” appeal for some diabetics 🙂

    Reply
  2. Tim

    Thanks for the review Terry – not sure what went wrong with the picture at the top. I’ll see if I can fix it!

    Reply
  3. lizz

    Well, due to my high number of tests a day, they sent me one free and I’ve been using it for a little while. I HATED it on sight… so to put the obverse opinion:

    It’s heavy. Heavier than a brick. Oh all right, not as heavy as a brick, but a LOT heavier than my insulin pump and mobile phone. In a small handbag, that’s heavy.

    It makes a noise comparable to a motor bike starting. Oh all right, not quite that bad, but while everyone is talking in hushed tones in a restaurant as dinner is about to be served, it makes everyone in the immediate vicinity AND beyond look round. Way worse than the old Minimed loud clicking as it delivered your pre-meal dose. I try very hard not to draw attention to myself as my pump is kept hanging from my bra. If I am about to fish around in my boob region I’d rather no-one was already watching me suspiciously because I’ve made inappropriately mechanical winding noises.

    I can see that it is handy to have the whole kit in one piece, and out in town I did tests quite easily from my handbag in public without having to juggle so much. Where it came into its own was in the car – doing a test in your lap going along is never easy, and I always drop something, and often lose the finger pricker before putting everything back in my bag.

    BUT and this is a big but (not unlike mine), I can see that when the time comes to change the cartridge, which involves removing the tight case, opening up the back, opening up a foil bag and putting it in the correct way round, before shutting it etc, will be tricky if my blood sugar is low. I can see this is something i will dread. I don’t want anything else to dread.

    Maybe I’ll keep it to use in the car?

    Reply
    1. Tim

      @lizz – I couldn’t agree with you more on all your points. I tried this meter out a wee while ago and hated it (and I hated its preprocessor) mainly because it’s too big and chunky. I like small, sexy and discrete meters, not hulking Goliaths.

      However, this is a community site and I was happy for Terry to do his review, however revoltingly misguided it is! (No offence, Terry. I think we’ll continue to clash about this meter 😀 )

      Reply
  4. Annette A

    Its interesting how different this new-ish (I think – or at least current) offering is so very different from the meter that is newer-ish that I have to use with my pump (Accu-chek Spirit Combo – comes with a meter that is the remote/brains for the pump) – smilar ish age, but oh-so different technology – the spirit combo is totally silent (doesnt have any motor thingy in it, as is strip based), is quite a bit smaller (and I guess lighter), but other than that seems to have very similar capabilities (on the blood testing front, that is).
    I liked my old Accuchek Aviva nano cos it was little. I can live with my current one cos I have to, although I’d like it to be littler (I understand why it isnt – it needs more buttons for a start). I just dont think I’d want to get used to the tape thing. I like strips. (As opposed to tape stuff, that is.)
    @lizz – why not just keep it in the car? I have a nano in my car, one in my desk drawer, and one spare at home, just in case I lose my bells and whistles one (I can operate the pump without, in case of need.)

    Reply
  5. Hairy Gnome Post author

    Well, the comments so far are no more than I expected from a bunch of Luddites like you lot! Yes, it may be a tad noisy, but who cares! I’m not going to apologise for being diabetic, and if this beast attracts attention there are more victims to upset as I stick the needle in; I love to watch their faces!

    @Tim – sadly my friend, it’s not me that’s misguided, but you that has been terribly misled. You’ve been sucked into believing that small is beautiful. I’m sure you’re more than happy driving a Tata instead of a Rolls Royce. 😀 (As we are both gentlemen, I know we can agree to disagree whilst still hurling insults at each other! ;)) Whilst writing the article I thought of you, and the words flogging, and, dead horse, came to mind! 🙂

    @lizz – I can understand that as a lady you would prefer a meter that is wimpish and limp wristed, but far from being heavy the ACM (I can’t be a***d to write Accu-Chek Mobile every time) is nicely weighted and reassuring, and easier to find in your handbag. So, if you’re off with the fairies there’s something with a reassuring bulk you can hold on to. Not only that, but with fifty tests on a cassette, the likelihood of having to change the cassette whilst in fairyland is so much more remote; it’s also much better than trying to plug in those tiny test strips. It also occurs to me, that if you were in a situation where you felt you could be at risk of having to change cassettes when hypo, you would probably discard the last couple of tests on the cassette and pre-emptively load a new one, but then, I’m a man, so practicality is second nature. 😀 (Gnomey ducks for cover instinctively!)

    @annette – your current meter is designed to interact with your pump, so it’s bound to be different, but there’s no reason it couldn’t use similar technology and make life easier. Maybe it will catch up one day. The best thing about the tape is that it will happily test from a blood sample that is so small any other meter would ignore it completely. My fingers are quite callused, and occasionally I only get a tiny drop of gore; it’s amazing to see the ACM’s tape slurp it up, spread it out and immediately start the test. So much better than repeatedly stabbing one’s fingers don’t you think? Just as a matter of interest, if you’re using a zillion meters, how do you record all your results? Do you keep a diary with you?

    Reply
  6. Annette A

    Oh I dont use them all, I just have them there as ‘in case’. In fact, I’ve never had to use them, but I like a bit of a security blanket (in a similar way, I always carry a spare infusion set just in case, and loads of food just in case, and a notebook to jot things down (such as blood tests in case I’ve done them), and…and…and…And this is why my handbag would be more accurately called a very large holdall.

    Reply
  7. Annette A

    Oh, and mine is newer technology than yours, so they obviously tried yours, discovered how many people thought so little of it 🙂 and went back to the strips. Yours is just an aberration on the way to perfection…(Hey, why can’t I join in the mud-slinging too?)

    Reply
  8. Cecile

    @teloz: Pah! It’s a rip-off (and I’m not referring to the sliding codpiece :D). A 50-test cassette will cost me the same as 2.5 pots of Bayer TS strips…no wonder you’re sucking the NHS dry 😉

    Reply
  9. lizz

    I have girded my inconsiderable loins Teloz for a fisticuffs. I take comfort in the fact (as you mention it being easier to find in your handbag than a conventional less weighty meter) that you can’t be THAT masculine, and therefore I may win.

    I do a lot of tests because I am brittle and hypo all over the place. I feel quite sure you’d only have to glance my way brandishing your wildly whirring meter in glee before shooting insulin out of a machine gun into your arm (so much more reassuring to feel the pain! You know it’s gone in when it comes out the other side!) and I’d drop extremely quickly. And have to spend ten minutes or so with my head inside my bag wildly searching for all the elements of my ethereal and almost invisible blood testing gear before passing out.

    I can see your point. But pre-emptive is not in my nature. I’m more post-emptive.

    Reply
  10. Rohan

    I love the sound of that meter! I don’t tend to carry one around with me, unless it’s in a bag (a bad habit probably, as it means I don’t test before a meal when out in public usually)

    But the tech sounds great! And 50 tests before putting on my techy-head to replace a cartridge? PERFECT! Far better than fiddling around with test trips all the time. I think I would possibly start testing more if I had one of those… Maybe I’ll look into it at some point. But not until I know where the hell I’m going to be living for the next 18 months!

    Oh, and the tiny blood quantities are great too – I HATE having to re-prick various fingers, especially when I’m cold and hypo – my personal worst situation for testing…

    Reply
  11. Tim

    Rohan – you don’t carry a BG meter around with you? Blimey! I always have one on me and, like Annette, have spares secreted about the place. This has resulted in diabetes getting me into trendy manbags. I now get why (some) women go gooey about handbags so much!

    Reply
  12. Alison

    Rohan – I rarely carry a meter around with me either. If I’m out for the whole day I probably will, but otherwise I generally don’t. This was the same even before I had CGM.

    And I can’t be doing with all this have one meter for the car, one for your bag, one for Tuesdays and one for Easter business. That means remembering to order a million different brands of test strip. I do have a spare meter, but its always the same brand as my main meter, more than one type is one complexity too far and also an unneccessary increase in diabetes junk levels.

    @ckoei Cost is the other reason I avoid meters like this. I don’t like finger stabbers that automatically change the lancet each time, it gives the drugs companies a licence to print money. I like to be the one who decides when I’ll change stuff, not them. I remember the good old days when my parents used to sit cutting each test strip into 3 so that you got 3 tests out of each strip – cheaper and importantly, much less blood required!

    Reply
  13. Annette A

    Hey, I used to cut my test strips up as well. Until I got a meter, that put an end to that habit…That was BM strips, I think.
    And all my meters are the same make at least – so they take the same strip type in each.
    My finger stabber (which I think is pretty much the same as the one attached to @teloz ‘s meter) doesnt change it automatically – you are supposed to ‘click’ it round to a new one each time, giving 6 in all. But you dont have to – you can just not twiddle it, and do as many stabs from each as you chose, giving you 6 times lots per drum, should you so wish. (Which can be 5 and 1 lot of several cos I’ve forgotten to bring a new drum along…but not often cos I dont care how much it costs, I want to have feeling in my fingertips, which I dont have in all of them due to scartissue due to reuse of lancets).

    Reply
    1. Diana Maynard

      What would be interesting would be to compare this to a Bayer Ascensia Breeze meter, which has all the same functionality (though only has a disc of 10 strips at a time). I’ve used one for years (formerly called Esprit). The only real difference is that the stabber isn’t attached to the meter, which is good because you can mix and match with your own preferred stabber. And it’s a lot easier to replace the disc of strips with a new one in the Breeze, by the sound of it.

      Reply
  14. Tim

    Hi Diana – welcome to Shoot Up! I’m pretty sure I tried the Ascensia Breeze ages ago and hated it, but I have no recollection why. Some BG meter reviewer I am!

    My preferred stabber comes from a Wavesence Jazz – it’s tiny and, in my view, all stabbers are much of a muchness. When it comes down to it you’re still shoving a bit of steel in your finger. It’s going to hurt no mater what you do!

    Oh, here’s a link to said meter if anyone wants to see it: http://www.bayerdiabetes.com/sections/ourproducts/meters/breeze2

    Reply
    1. Diana Maynard

      I think you’re very wrong about all stabbers being equal. Far from it, they’re actually very different. Of course, different people have different preferences. For me (and many people) the Softclix is much gentler than many. It’s all to do with the mechanism (the very first stabbers, called Autolet, used to work like a guillotine, and would rattle around when they hit your skin, making a huge jagged hole. The smoother the action, the less painful. Compare how painful injecting yourself 30 years ago with the old fashioned glass and metal syringes with their huge needles used to be, to today’s needles that you can barely feel.

      I hate the Bayer stabbers because although they’re small, they hurt a lot more than ones like the Softclix. Contrary to its name, on the other hand, the SoftTouch is not at all a soft touch (not sure if they still make that one). Haven’t tried the Jazz though.

      Reply
  15. lizz

    Mine was bright yellow. My Autolet that is. It felt like bliss rather than sticking a sharp into your fingers. I’ve tried lots and the best have always been the Accu-chek ones. I have to admit the one on the new machine is very unpainful. It hasn’t hurt me yet.

    Reply
  16. Diana Maynard

    Ah, I think the yellow ones were the newer ones, not the originals (which were the worst). The original one was a round, disk shaped device that held a long lancet. We always referred to it as the guillotine because it looked like one. You triggered it with a button on the side, and the lancet would drop down really fast about a quarter of the way around the device and prick your finger that was placed underneath a platform that had a hole in the center for the lancet to go through. The way to alter the depth was by inserting a different platform which was thinner or thicker. You then had to physically pull the lancet holder back up to reset the device. Horrible!

    Reply
  17. Annette A

    Yes, I had one of those – mine was dark blue. We were never told you could alter the depth though – just given the platforms on offer and told to get on with it…
    And you had to check the lancets before use – on occasion, they weren’t made properly, and the sharp bit sticking out of the plastic body hadnt been properly inserted into the body, so was several times longer than normal. So when you shot it into your finger, it went in far further than normal (major pain), and on one memorable occasion, stuck in (very major pain). (I checked every lancet before use after that one until I changed lancet type.)
    I took great delight in dismantling mine when I got a new stabber. 🙂

    Reply
  18. Annette A

    No, I didnt have a slider either. And on occasion (again), the platform would shear off at the base, leaving a lump of plastic inside the body (which had to be prised out, usually with the end of a lancet).
    Those lancets are the new style as well – the older ones were shorter plastic, but thus much harder to insert into the guillotine bit.
    To be honest, it wouldnt have won many awards for usability, but it was a damn site better than stabbing the lancets in by hand.

    Reply
  19. lizz

    I think I must have been lucky, or more gentle than you lot. No breakages… but I do remember the noise as the lancet swung into action and sort of bounced out of your finger again. Because I am very short sighted I used to spot the blades with faults, or bits sticking out.

    Did anyone have the original ‘brick’ blood testing machine, where you had to shoot the blood off the stick with a little bottle of water before putting it in the machine?

    Or even the original blue huge pump in the early 80s? I did. But my Consultant didn’t understand the concept and kept me on Ultratard at the same time. I used to get prolonged disabling hypos, and have to eat almost constantly. Still, I stuck with it for a year until the last hypo which landed me in hospital, and I became allergic to all the tapes on my stomach… now pushing the metal needle into your stomach for the pump, that I really did dread.

    Reply
  20. lizz

    Yes!

    Oh, I think it was the right thing to reject the early pump. You couldn’t control the dose as it went in, it just gave you an amount all the time, and set boluses before each meal. So in fact it wasn’t a lot different to four injections a day – but when the very first pumps were brought out, 4 injections a day were not being used. The pumps were HUGE and SO heavy, and there was no carry case or anything, you had to find your own way of fixing it to yourself – I made my own case. Mine was a Mill Hill pump.
    http://www.dlife.com/diabetes-forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=10964&start=0&view=print

    Reply
  21. lizz

    Just found the measurement – seven and a half inches. And you couldn’t disconnect it.

    Reply
    1. Hairy Gnome Post author

      I must not reply to this post! I must not reply to this post! I must not reply to this post! I must not reply to this post! I must not reply to this post! I must not reply to this post! I must not reply to this post! I must not reply to this post! I must not reply to this post! I must not reply to this post! …

      Reply
  22. Alison

    That picture of the Autolet brings back horrible memories, the noise they made as they fired was especially grim.

    Reply
  23. Rohan

    Hmmm, seems a bit off topic now, but – @Tim and @Alison – I do take a meter to work with me, or any time I’m taking a bag anyway, but my hypo awareness is pretty good, and I usually blag meals reasonably well. Taking a meter along for anything else seems like far too much hassle to me, though I may try it when I get back into climbing as I used to have phantom hypos a lot last time I was climbing on a regular basis…

    You can probably tell my control is somewhat less than perfect 😛

    I will also join @tim in being incredibly grateful that I was diagnosed AFTER all the cool tech was invented!

    Reply
  24. lizz

    Lol! Not yet… she is being socially trained, to ignore other people etc. This has been extremely hard because the first thing people want to do is touch her. I have a routine I have to go through at blood testing time which is meant to associate the smell of me with low blood sugar with a high quality treat she doesn’t get at any other time, but she hasn’t alerted in the day yet. She has however alerted to v high and low blood sugar at night.

    Reply
    1. Cecile

      She’s useless at detecting hypos, but she’s such a Staff for my foot – neuropathy doesn’t stand a chance!

      Reply
  25. Tim

    @teloz – apparently it’s why midges love diabetics – all that sweet blood. Certainly when I’m in the Highlands in the summer I get eaten alive by the bloody things, but I don’t think this is unusual in the Highlands in summer…! (Don’t let this put you off visiting the Scottish Highlands – they’re amazing! /tourist board plug)

    Reply
  26. Hairy Gnome Post author

    @Tim – I’ve visited Scotland many times, and love both the country and the people. I don’t think the midges have a discriminatory scale in their chitinous little bodies, they’ll eat anything! I’m sure they’re trying to grow up to be piranhas! 🙂

    Reply
  27. lizz

    Oi Teloz, pirhanas have a very hard time without you spreading lies about them! They are delightful little things. Far less aggressive than mosquitoes. Fishist!

    Reply
  28. Tim

    Is it only on Shoot Up that discussions about diabetes go quite so off-topic? 😉

    Reply

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