(Not) Only from Apple: Smart drinking bottle in the test

The HidrateSpark Steel is a good example of how smart technology can improve your health.

You probably know the problem: you have a lot to do and you forget to drink the two to three liters of water per day recommended by doctors. Fortunately, in the age of smartphones and smart watches, there are now also smart bottles. Apple sells such a smart bottle – the HidrateSpark Steel is (allegedly) only available from Apple and promises to remind the user to drink enough with an LED light. For a perfect overview, the bottle also tracks how much you drink at the same time. But does it work? Do you actually drink more with a smart bottle? And what does “Apple only?” actually mean. We did the test.

Buy HidrateSpark Steel from Amazon from 79.99 euros

Setting up the bottle

After the battery of the so-called sensor puck has been charged and then screwed into the bottom of the bottle, the bottle is ready for use. This is paired with the iPhone via Bluetooth: You can use the “Hidrate” app to give the bottle a name, calibrate the sensor and select one of eight different colors for the ring to light up to remind you to drink. You can also set how often the bottle should light up per day, up to twelve light intervals are possible and this in three different “glow types”: low, medium and high.

Unfortunately, the app is only available in English, but the individual options are very easy to understand. Because the Hidrate app syncs with Apple’s Health app, the bottle automatically knows how active you are during the day and calculates your personal hydration goal. Regardless of how high you set your daily hydration goal, you can turn on the app settings to have the bottle glow periodically regardless of progress, which I would definitely recommend.

Surprisingly effective

Who would have thought that a little colorful light could help you drink more! After a week of practical testing, I found that I was definitely not drinking enough before, while at the same time I was able to reach my daily goal of 2.5 liters a day. The HidrateSpark is most effective when placed right next to the desk so you can really see the glow. Push notifications on the iPhone or on the Apple Watch also remind you to drink with motivating messages. Corresponding complications on the Apple Watch or widgets on the iPhone also ensure that you always have your drinking goal in mind.

Even better than the LED light itself is the sensor puck, which tracks how much you’ve drunk and forwards the information to your watch and phone with a few seconds’ delay. Previously, of course, there was already the option of manually tracking the liquid intake, but this required that the user had conscientiously entered every glass drunk in an app by hand. The fact that the bottle automatically records this and documents it in a history in the app is really worth every penny for forgetful drinkers!

Buy HidrateSpark Steel from Amazon from 79.99 euros

Only at Apple? Confusion about exclusivity

Looking at Apple’s website, the HidrateSpark Steel is sold with an “Apple Only” notice. Apple charges 84.95 euros for it, but you can also find the same bottle from other providers, such as on Amazon from 79.99 euros, which is also available there in a smaller size. When we asked the nearest Apple Store, none of the employees could give us an explanation for this. Fact is: The statement “Apple only” is wrong.


Even if the HidrateSpark Steel is generally convincing, there are a few points of criticism:

01 Wobbly design

The sensor puck, which is screwed into the bottle, causes the bottle to have a slightly wobbly position. She doesn’t fall over at the slightest touch, but she could stand more firmly.

02 battery

The battery lasts at least a week and a half depending on usage and frequency of the light reminder, but you shouldn’t charge the battery overnight in the bedroom. The puck glows extremely brightly during the charging process, which can be quite annoying. Unfortunately, the app does not give you any precise information about how much battery charge the bottle still has. Here you have to be content with a minimalist battery display.

03 “Purge” feature

Assuming that you not only drink from your Hidrate bottle, but also drink such a glass of water as well, you can add this manually via the app. The opposite is not possible, i.e. if you empty the bottle of liquid, the bottle initially believes that you have drunk the corresponding amount and adds this information to your daily goal. Unfortunately, you cannot withdraw any amount of liquid from the tracker afterwards.

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