First Impressions: Contour Next Link USB Meter

Friday at lunch, I came home to a surprise. Minimed shipped out the new Contour Next Link USB meter that they have available. I’ve been waiting for over a month for this little thing. Just so happened that Friday was also site change day, so I put away my Ping and pulled out my Revel so that I could do a run with the full experience.

First thoughts was that this little meter is sleek. It can easily fit into my “meter-case” section of my wallet (VERY important to me… because I LOVE that wallet!) Color screen is cool, and just the fact that the meter is now like the baby of the Contour Link and the CareLink USB device… it’s all-in-one. This same meter that you check your sugar with is used to upload your pump into CareLink. How cool is that? No extra dongle or wires to keep up with.

Setup was easy and just like any other meter – entering in the time, date, etc. No big deal. The screen is bright and, to me, easy to read. Charging it is simple. Just plug it into the charger that it comes with either directly or use the supplied cable to attach it if needed. I ran a few tests against the Verio IQ since I know a lot of people who use that meter, including myself. It tends to read much higher than other meters such at the OneTouch Ultra-family and a few others. And, truth be told, the Link was lower than the Verio, but it seemed to be a consistent amount:

Checking is simple – insert strip, apply blood, and wait. After this, you can tag before or after meal or choose not to have a tag at all. You have the option of including notes that include “Don’t feel right”, “Sick”, “Stress”, and “Activity”. You can even note how long after the your meal this test was.

The pros of this meter (to me) are that the strip goes in on the side. I hate a meter that has a bottom-loading strip. Sure, I could just turn the darn thing around, but still… for some reason, it’s a pain-in-the-butt to me. My hands shake when I try to do little things like lining up my finger to a strip end and it just makes more sense to put the strip on the side or top.

It’s small, compact, and yet still does a lot. It’s, as I said before, a marriage of the meter and upload dongle for the Minimed pump, so less stuff to have to keep up with. The strips for this meter are A LOT less and still fit the newer guidelines for accuracy. These, for 100, average about $75-80!! They’re even less than their prior strips, which were about $110 per 100. (whereas ones for like the Verio and iBG Star are more around the $140-150 range for 100. Trust me… I bought a 50 count bottle of iBG Star ones OUT OF POCKET and the ticket was $72. NOT COOL. I bought a 50 bottle of these and paid only $43.) Why buy them out of pocket? Well, because I like to have more than just 25 strips to test with to “try out” a meter, and I don’t want to go through the hassle of asking my doctor for a prescription for strips for a meter that I’m going to stop using in a week or so anyway. Which this one I may use anyway – Revel or not. I like it. More than the Verio because it’s just hard to get used to the higher numbers of the Verio when this one does read higher, but not as high. It’s sort of middle-ground.

I also like the Glucofacts software that’s on Bayer’s site. I’ve uploaded to it a couple of times and it’s pretty neat. Not perfect, but I like it a lot better than some out there. Oh, and the meter charges while you upload!

And this is where the “cons” I was speaking of in my last post comes in: There is a light around the strip port. But it’s not there to help you see where to put the strip in in the dark. It’s there to show you that the meter is charging. The light flashes as it’s being charged, and stops when it’s done. I think they could have done a better job at making it multi-functional. (ACTUALLY – The port-light can be activated before inserting the strip by double-tapping the power/menu button. Thank you for the comment, Emily!!!) The second “con” is that this meter is only available as a Minimed “Link” meter, not a stand-alone USB like the original Contour USB, and only available through Minimed. This is a great meter (in my opinion) and to be strictly for Minimed sucks because I think a lot of people could benefit from it functionally and cost-effectiveness if they were able to market it to more than just MM pumpers. There is the Contour Next EZ meter, but it’s the bottom-loading disk-shaped one. It is affordable at about $10-ish dollars, but it’s no USB with color screen, and you would have to have a special cable to upload it.

I think I might stick with this meter for a while. I really do like it. I like that I don’t have to use it with the MM pump (I can turn the Link function of it off), and if in a bind and Wal-Mart has an issue getting my strips as they’ve done in the past – I can pay out of pocket for another bottle of these easier than I could for ones for another meter.