Buying a fitness tracker or smartwatch is a big commitment not everyone's ready to make. A new service from Lumoid might be able to help.
The company is offering a rental program for wearables that lets you try up to five devices at a time. You can then buy any of the devices from Lumoid for the regular retail price, or pay a $20 rental fee if you decide not to keep any of them. (There are no shipping fees involved on the customer's end.)
Currently, Lumoid offers 16 wearable devices for rental, including the Fitbit Charge, Pebble smartwatch, Samsung Gear Fit and Jawbone UP24. Unfortunately there are no Android Wear devices for now. The retail prices appear to be the same as they are elsewhere, with no markup on Lumoid's end.
When you want to keep a device, you don't actually hang onto it. Instead, you send all of your rentals back, indicating which one you want, and Lumoid sends back a brand-new version. That way, you don't end up paying full price for a used product.
This isn't Lumoid's first venture into device rentals. The company got its start renting camera equipment--with the option to use some of the rental price as a purchase credit--and has dabbled in renting Google Glass and drones.
Why this matters: No matter how many glowing reviews a wearable device receives, it's not going to work if you don't like the way it looks and feels. While Lumoid's seven-day window is on the stingy side--it's barely enough time to evaluate one wearable, let alone five of them--at least it gives you a way to try on multiple devices in the comfort of your own home. Just make sure you can commit to at least one of them first.