Bayer Contour USB

by MatBlack

bayer contour usbPlasma-calibrated results
Sample size: 0.6L
Processing time: 5 secs
Memory: 2,000 tests
Operating temp range: 5-45 degrees C
Averages: 7, 14, 30 day

Initial Impressions
The unit arrives in some slick packaging with a clear bubble so that the meter can be seen from the outside, the unit itself is not much larger than an older style USB memory stick with a total of 4 buttons. The box contains 25 sticks a wallet a Microlet 2 for making holes in yourself, extra lancets and a bottle of control solution plus a lot of documentation explaining the features of the kit, most specifically the software that it provides for your computer.

The Meter
The meter itself feels very solid with a matt black plastic case which makes it discreet and also easy to hold. One of the first things you notice is that the case does not have a hatch or screws; this is a sealed unit and as such has a rechargeable battery which charges when you plug the meter into your computer or the optional wall charger. Anyone who is familiar with computers and USB accessories is likely to feel comfortable with this meter and its design.

The front of the unit contains an OLED colour screen which is backlit, that means you can use this unit in the dark, it even has a light in the stick port so that you can locate where to put your test strip in the dark should you want to test at night and avoid waking a partner or avoid having to wake up too much by getting out of bed and switching the lights on.

There are three buttons on the front of the meter which allow you to navigate the menu system and a single on/ off button on the side of the unit which also acts as a home button should you get lost in the menu system (unlikely) it will return you to the ‘home’ screen.

A cap is provided to protect the business end with the USB conector although there is a good chance this will get dropped and end up under a computer desk, however you only need to take it off when you connect the meter to a PC.

In Use
The meter can be switched on in one of two ways, by placing a strip into it or by using the on/ off button. The quickest way to test is to place a strip in the meter which switches on instantly and asks for a sample. Once a sample has been taken the meter asks you to select one of three ‘tags’ for the reading either; before meal, after meal or no tag, after this has been done the meter displays the reading.

Some people may object to having to add a tag to the reading before it is displayed but I find it to be a useful reminder; if I don’t know what the reading refers to I may have trouble understanding my results a few days later when I look at them on my computer. Once testing has finished the meter gives you an option to add a standard note to the reading such as; not feeling well, the time after a meal and various others.

Lastly you can set a reminder to test again, so if you are testing before a meal you can ask the unit to remind you that you need to test again in two hours (you can set the time you want), it will do this by beeping, which is audible even if it is in its wallet but not so loud as to be annoying. At any point after finishing the test you can pull out the strip and the meter will turn itself off.

Looking at Results and Other Features
Outside of testing the unit can be switched on using the on/ off button on the side, three options are available;
Logbook – this allows you to scroll through your results along with the tag you gave them and any notes you added, this is useful for checking your progress or reminding yourself of an earlier reading.
Trends – The displays your target bg levels (this can be customised to suit you) then a 14 day before meal average and a 14 day after meal average and a total average of results over the last 14 days, useful to show your doctor your progress.
Setup – This menu allows a number of changes to be made on the unit. You can set a reminder, change the date and time and choose whether the unit beeps at you to confirm your commands (I switched this off very quickly). You can also change your target for readings and the language the systems menus are displayed in.

Meter Conclusion
All in all this is nice kit, if you have any tendencies towards the geeky, a general interest in technology or you want the ability to move your results quickly on to a PC you’ll probably like this meter.

PC Software
I’m not going to go into massive detail about the PC software which comes with the Bayer USB, if you are interested you can see screen shots and find out more here

However I will say that I am finding the software very useful to see trends in my readings and I can see myself using it a lot. One massive bonus is that the software itself does not need to be installed and is held on the meter, hence if you are at a different and want to have a look at your readings you simply put the meter into a computer and you can run GlucoFacts from the meter.

This meter also gives you 500mb of space to use for your own personal files, so if you have a presentation to give at work or photos to show someone you can keep them on the meter.

Bayer test strips for this meter are self contained and do not need a chip changed for each batch, they seem effective and I haven’t had an error yet, like all the strips I’ve seen they aren’t cheap but they aren’t as expensive as some, I’ve just ordered 100 for £25 on Ebay.

Microlet 2
The lancet which comes with the unit is OK, pretty painless and comes with loads of replacement needles although the action feels a little bit flimsy.

All in all I find this is be a good meter, admittedly I’ve only tried one other but I wanted a unit which allowed me easy access to my results and which didn’t feel like a piece of medical equipment and the Bayer USB fits the bill.


Other meter reviews:
One-Touch Ultra 2; Abbott Optium Xceed