Review: Freestyle Insulinx

I have used quite a few different glucometers over the years. The one I use currently is the Freestyle Insulinx.

The picture at the right is not accurate, it is obviously touched-up. The screen is darker and hard to read unless you are in a bright area. A backlight is available ... the backlight is from the bottom and not as even as the picture shows. This meter is accurate and light ... I would think that it stands on its own merits without the touch-up. PS. There is also a great feature in that there is an available spot light at the test strip. It it quite helpful.

A friend recently gave me one with a 10 strip sampler pack. I wanted to try the unit out. I am insulin dependent and having a calculator to help determine mealtime insulin doses would be tremendously helpful.

I plan to keep using it for the time being.

The case included with the meter is a typical light duty ballistic nylon zip up. There is sufficient room for my Accu-Check Multiclix lancer, the meter, the test strip container, and a zip up mesh section for disinfecting wipes and other small accessories.

Setting up the meter is quite simple. It is not complex and will be easily understood by everyone. That is, for the basic functionality that is common to all glucometers. The Insulin Calculator setup is designed for health professionals only. The meter requires a code to access this portion of the setup (the code is mentioned on quite a few websites, forums and YouTube). If you access this part of the setup please be aware that if you choose to set this up yourself, any errors in your setup can have dramatic impact on the suggested insulin dosages. This is NOT trivial ... DIY Insulin Calculator setup is not recommended. That being said, I did my own after several hours of research. My research focused on the terminology used in the calculator portion of the setup. The setup I did is working for me. My recommendation, though, is that when you acquire this meter from the your provider, get them to set it up for you. Best to have professional medical input to avoid mistakes.

All Freestyle meters use the same type of strips – the Freestyle ZipWik tabs. These strips have the lowest requirement for blood droplet size: 0.3 uL ... this is roughly half what other meter test strips require. This means that you can set your lancer to a shorter depth, get a smaller drop of blood, and still get a valid test. Shorter lancet penetration also means lessened pain and less likelihood of the "tear out" that many lancers are known for. Tear-out happens when the lancer needle is not perfectly straight ... it could be wobbling or vibrating ... either way, the end result is less accurate penetration and more likely to get a tear out. The Freestyle meters all minimize this with a smaller blood droplet requirement.

I did try out the Freestyle lancing device ... I am so tempted to switch to this from the Multiclix. Only thing keeping me back is that I have over 400 lancets for the Multiclix. It is as pain-free as the Multiclix.

Manufacturer: Abbott Laboratories Limited
Known differences: The Insulin Calculator feature is not available in the USA.
Accuracy: From tests that I have done, it is the same or close to lab tests
Abbott Laboratories will have to make some changes to this unit to encourage user loyalty. The functionality is superb, the accuracy unquestioned. The screen, however, needs improvement. It is not strictly a question of higher resolution and adding color, the capacitive screen needs to have better touch response for smaller fingers (ie. youth, children) and be more responsive. As it is even my fingers (adult, male) have problems getting a response - even after pressing the menus/icons 3 or 4 times. The only other improvement I can suggest is after priming the test strip with the blood droplet, the next screen is to select the meal this test represents. This should not require two presses ... once you pick the meal, the meter should advance to the result screen (there is still a "back" key in case of a mistake).

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