Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Roche sent us a new gadget!

About a month ago, a gentleman from Roche approached me and asked me to view a collection of videos that they had on Facebook and YouTube. They were testimonials from six Canadians living with diabetes who had tried out their new glucometer, the AccuCheck Mobile. The videos were interesting accounts of people, young and old, who were living their lives as normally as possible and testing using this new meter. 

Having lived by the motto that a child with diabetes is a child first and diabetes comes second, the videos did not offer us a lot but they were a great portrayal of life in general.  I had no problem sharing the videos both on my website and then my Facebook  page. I was however personally curious about this "strip-less" meter.  

Roche obviously knew that many of us who live with diabetes are gadget junkies because I was offered a meter to try out and see what we thought.  I love free and I really love free diabetes stuff so my son and I were eager to check this meter out.  

His first ever meter was a Roche meter.  I was not overly fussy about its accuracy and we eventually moved on to try other meters from different companies.  My son however always liked Roche.  When the AccuChek Compact came out, he was their biggest fan.  I still had reservations about its accuracy however and so we did not continue to use that one either. 

Before our new meter arrived, I decided to see if others had ever heard of this new meter and what the general consensus was.  People had heard of it and there were a variety of responses. Many did like the no strip feature (I was still trying to wrap my head around this).  Others liked that everything was kept together.  There was a group that had issues with accuracy and found that it had too many errors because blood blocked its sensor.  This had been a complaint of mine on the Compact as well. Blood on a glass that had to be cleaned often because a young boy liked to put enough blood on a test strip to feed a vampire for a week. I wondered how the Mobile would work for us but was not overly optimistic. 

It took a little while but we eventually got the meter.  Two hundred tests later, my son and I sat down and discussed our likes and dislikes about the new AccuChek Mobile. 

We both loved that fact that there are no test strips! It uses what appears to be a strip of paper (I know its not paper but that's what it looks like to me).  The blood is applied to it and a reading happens.  This is awesome! No test strips in the car, in the bed, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the garden, well you know the routine. 

My son loved the fact that it was self contained.  He loves just grabbing the meter and going.  For me, this means that I don't have to remind his to grab his meter, lancing devise and test strips. Its all there. 

He also thinks that all of the features are "cool".  You can note when the readings took place (before/after meals, etc).  It has a great memory display and gives you averages for days or overall. I am sure that there are a lot of other features that I have yet to figure out. There seems to be a lot in this meter.

We both liked the fact that readings were very easy to see. The brightly lit screen is definitely user friendly and at 3 am I really appreciate that. 

The fact that it uses AAA batteries is also a huge plus.  As frequent testers, battery life is not always what we would hope so knowing that we can throw a regular battery in there and go is fabulous!

There were a few problems that we did find though. 

We would love it if the test strip section also had a back light. 

We were disappointed to find out that our multi-clicks lancets did not fit this new meter's lancing device.  I have a box of 100 canisters that are no good to us to use with this one. 

Being more technologically challenged than my son, I found that it took me a bit to figure out how to turn the meter off. It turns out that there is a lengthy process you can go through moving through the onscreen menu or you can simply hold the big black button down for a second or two and it powers down. 

We also found it a bit noisy as it changes strips.  My son thinks that this is actually a positive but I am not so sure. 

A much bigger issue was the fact that we had randomly appearing "E3" errors.  We still have to look up to see what that error meant but at 3 am, when you get three of those errors in a row before a reading...well its annoying.  

He also had one test that appeared as 1.0mmol (18).  I asked why he was so low and then the next reading, just minutes later was 16 (290).  It turned out that the 1 was with no blood. It just decided that he had applied blood and guessed a reading.  My son said "I guess it guessed wrong!" Despite that error, I have not found the meter to be overly inaccurate.  It seems to be in keeping with how he feels as well as with readings on other meters. 

All in all, I personally would give this meter a three star rating out of five. It works well enough, takes a bit to get used to and the lancing device issue is annoying but it seems to be a good meter.  My son is a bit more generous. He loves this meter and is waiting for me to get more test strips for it.  He gave the meter a four star rating. He hates the random errors but the other features definitely make this a meter that he wants to keep using. I may have to see about getting a second one for school in the fall.


  1. Great review Barb!!! Unfortunately, it would not really work for us Ping users if we were using the remote/glucometer that goes with our pump...The stripless is HUGE!

  2. You have made some excellent points there. Used to do looking in regards subject and barely found any specific details on other websites, products great to end up being here, seriously, thanks.

  3. Hi Barb,

    Thank you so much for trying out the Mobile, and for taking the time to write this review.
    We are thrilled to read such detailed and honest feedback, and even more to learn that your son wants to keep using the Mobile!

    The Accu-Chek team

  4. I wish I could try this!!! I would LOVE no test strips! Thank you for the review!

  5. I really like this meter (in theory) quite a lot and when it works it works very well.

    Unfortunately I'm getting really really really fed up with the E3 Error messages. Just what is an E3 error anyway? The User Manual is very vague plus if your blood glucose value were that low you probably wouldn't even be able to test anyway. There is 100% no physical reason for in on my part. I also doubt it's environmental or because the cassettes are dated to expire in November 2012.

    We all need to rely on our meters to work properly at all times so that we know where we stand and so that we also know what insulin or medication we may need to take. Most of us probably can't afford to be using two systems, so it's very important that we can rely on our single system at all times.

    I intend to contact Accu-Chek Canada tomorrow to discuss this problem. I do know that they give excellent customer service so it will be interesting to see how they address it. However I do find it disturbing if Accu-Chek has released a product knowing that these (expensive) annoying problems exist.

    I hope they have a solution because I really don't want to take a step back to the Compact System.

    I'll post again after I've talked to them.
    Edward White, Bedford Nova Scotia