(Click on the above opening image to see the video review)

“Do you want to check your blood sugar?”

“Sure!” my friend enthusiastically responded.

I was not expecting his answer as nobody is usually excited about pricking their finger with a needle. I had just finished opening and setting up the iBGStar, which is the recently released iPhone/iPod Touch-based glucometer by Sanofi US. With its sleek black packaging and Apple-inspired, surprisingly thin form factor, the iBGStar attaches to the iPhone via the dock connector and commands a sense of “coolness” not commonly found on medical devices.

As physicians, we have long bemoaned the lack of patient compliance with home glucose monitoring systems, and the iBGStar might be able to reverse this by utilizing the “cool factor” of the iPhone.

Hardware: Beautifully Unobtrusive

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I’ll be honest, I did not have high expectations when I first was assigned to review the iBGStar. I expected yet another clunky, poorly-conceived iPhone health peripheral that would be little more than an interesting concept. However, when I first laid eyes on the black packaging that stood out from all of its boring competitors, I got the sense that this might be a different experience.

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After opening the box and laying out the glucometer, I was genuinely surprised by its small size and light weight. It is approximately the width and thickness of the iPhone, and about as tall as 80% of the iPhone’s bottom strip (where the home button is).

More impressive is the fact that the peripheral feels weightless: it does not change the overall weight of the phone, and more importantly does not feel as if would loosen itself too easily from the dock connector. Its silver edge and black screen makes it blend in aesthetically with both the white and black varieties of the iPhone.

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The iBGStar has a screen on the front surface, and a single button on the right edge of the screen. It also features two ports at the bottom: the left port is for a micro-USB charging cable, and the right port is where one inserts the special iBGStar test strips.

It also comes with a convenient carrying case, capable of housing all the starter pack of peripherals: 10 lancets, 10 test strips, a lancing device with optional attachment for alternative sites (palm), and a control bottle. Filed in the ‘small details that go a long way’ category is the inclusion of a dock connector cover that feels more secure because it extends to wrap around the back of the peripheral.

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