Monday, March 18, 2013

The iBGStar Glucose Meter

Apparently I’m a hard person to please when it comes to glucose meters.

It started with ye olde Bayer Contour Link. The one that links with my insulin pump that the nurse forced me to use while we spent months trying to get pump settings down. I hated that meter with a passion. It was big and bulky and ugly as fuck. It had no back light or strip light. Major fail. I got the VerioIQ many moons ago to test and review. It was pretty ‘n all but the disadvantages far outweighed the advantages. The number one thing being what I felt was shitty accuracy. The meter constantly gave me higher numbers than all my other meters. It lasted the bottle of 50 strips and went into storage.

Then there was the Mendor Discreet. Fuck that was a sweet meter. It only figures that the one meter I really liked I can’t have. I kindly had one sent to me from Findland but cannot get strips for it in North America.

The next meter in my line-up is the iBGStar. I did not get this meter given to me in exchange for a review. I "won" it in a draw at Slipstream and I nearly hit my head on the ceiling from being so excited. I really really wanted one.

Oh I held such high hopes for this meter! HIGH hopes! Hopes that were crushed to bits. This is the newest meter from Sanofi. It plugs into the iphone and uploads all sorts of nifty graphs. It’s TEENY TINY and uses black test strips. It is so stealth and sexy looking but just like many things in life, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover (unless it's like the bible or something).

+black strips (yes that’s a plus to me!)
+plugs into iphone
+graphs and data!

-No strip light (wtf?!)
-internal battery is shit
-it doesn’t look like it would hold up to Scully abuse

Firstly, any glucose meter being manufactured from now on should have a backlight and a strip light. FUCKING PERIOD! Seriously people!!

I didn’t like the Verio because the battery needed to be charged about every two weeks. With the iBGStar it’s like every week! Screw that. I’m not always good at remembering to do stuff like that even though you can charge it plugged into your iphone. I have an Otterbox on my iphone because I’m so clumsy. I have to take the case off to plug it in. Speaking of… the meter seems a little too dainty and exposed for someone like me who drops things and gets water and sweat on them. I’d probably end up breaking it.

More than anything else though, it’s the “accuracy” that is the MOST important to me and I didn’t feel like I had any good luck with this meter. I use “accuracy” in quotations because we all know meters are allowed to have up to a 20% discrepancy which in my mind is totally INACCURATE. I’m digressing though.

See results below, I may have gone a little far with the pictures.

That's an average of 0.8mmol/l (14mg/dl) higher. CONSISTENTLY. I did this a lot.

For the first week I did all my BG checks with both the iBGStar and my fail proof Freestyle. Maybe the freestyle is off, but it’s what I feel is the most comparable to how I actually feel. When I feel low and my Freestyle reads 3.3mmol/l (60mg/dl) I trust it. When I feel low and the iBGStar reads 5.6mmol/l (100mg/dl) I’m not going to ignore the low symptoms. I really tried. For like a month I used the iBGStar and eventually found myself subtracting at least 1mmol/l (18mg/dl) from every reading. It was becoming a habit and I knew that wasn’t right.

So… into the container of misfit glucose meters it goes. So sad.

The app for the ipone was super rad though, I'll give it that much.

Am I high maintenance? I don’t care if a meter has tagging abilities, I actually really hate that feature. I don’t care if it comes with fancy software or if you can input carbs and insulin. I want an indestructible meter with a screen and port light that is small and accurate. That’s all.

*crickets* ….. Anybody out there? ….. Bueller?.................. Bueller?


  1. I kind of love that there is nothing special about the Freestyle. It's tiny and it has a back light and strip light, and I change the batteries maybe 1-2x per year - boom - all my needs are met! It's pretty much impossible to improve on that.

  2. High maintenance? Naah, you just want something you can use and that works. Have you ever heard the term "You can't polish a turd?" That's my impression of some of these fancy meters: all kinds of pretty bells and whistles, but the damn thing doesn't do the job it's meant to do!

    Seriously, give Medtronic a call and ask for a free ContourLink USB. It's a pretty good meter, accurate, backlit, etc. and does everything you need from it. It also talks to the pump (which you no longer use, but...). You just might score a win.

    1. "You can't polish a turd." LOL - I'm remembering that!

  3. I dislike the Verio too..for some of the same reasons. I have a shoebox full of dead meters under my bed(I'm like a kid in a candy store when it comes to technology). Yeah, it lowered my a1c by always telling me I'm 100 when I'm really 70 but I'd far rather know that I'm low before I get to the stuffing everything in the pantry in my mouth phase.Back to the Freestyle for me.

  4. I think the best thing we can do is pick a meter and stick with it. I have found that comparing them to each other is just an exercise in frustration, but that each meter will be consistent with itself.

    ... and I hate to bring it up but I think all those results are within the 20% accuracy that is allowed (assuming that the actual result is somewhere within).

  5. Actually, the Canadian standards for meters are now 15%. 15% is the maximum discrepancy for any meter on the market compared to LAB values, not to other meters. So technically, if you compare 2 meters, you could have a difference of up to 30% from each other and still be getting accurate results from both. The best thing is just to pick a meter and stick with it.

  6. Dear Chris, thank you for trying the iBGStar in your quest to find the perfect meter for your needs, your comments are important to us. We are very sorry to read that the iBGStar has not been able to meet some of your expectations and we would really like the opportunity to address this with you directly. Please accept this invitation to contact our Consumer Care center where a member of our team will be happy to assist you:

    phone: 1-888-852-6887

    online contact form:

    Kind regards,


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