Review: Freestyle Lite blood glucose meter

Freestyle LiteFREESTYLE Lite by Abbott Diabetes Care
This is the latest generation of the Freestyle meters. It offers some of the standard inclusions that you would expect in any modern meter today, 5 second tests, compatibility with alternate site, and more.

Size: 40 x 75 x 17 mm

Advantages: The Freestyle Lite features no calibration which I must admit is no big deal for me, although some people may find it convenient. It also has a bigger display, which I’ve heard is one of the shortcomings of the Papillon. This meter takes the smallest drop of blood I’ve ever seen in a meter, and I have actually never managed to under dose the strip, even when I’ve been convinced I would.

The meter also has backlight, which I was very indifferent about in all my other meters, but the fact that this one lights up the strip makes all the difference. Now I suddenly can test in the darkness of a cinema without having to worry about light. I must admit pricking your finger (or in my case your palm) in the dark takes a bit of getting use to, but is perfectly doable. Putting blood in the strip, however, would be impossible without the tiny but really effective light.

I’ve been downloading the data to my computer, using both the free software from Abbott and a piece of specialised software that I’ve been using for a while. It works great in both instances (how did I keep logs manually before this is now beyond me). It uses a special cable but the same as both the old Papillon (Freestyle Flash) and the Caresens.

Disadvantages: This meter is not perfect. For starters, it comes with the same butcher knife style pricker that I’ve seen in most Abbott meters (I’ve quickly solved this hiccup by substituting it with my trusty Softclix). The strip canister is smaller than other meters, which makes it a bit difficult to put your finger in to get a strip. I have to turn the container upside down, which can turn into a mess sometimes. The case is the same size to the Optium Xceed (and almost identical) which makes the point of being the smallest meter in the market a bit useless.

While the strips only use a very tiny drop of blood, it does not have a window to see your blood being “sucked” into the strip, which makes the wait for the confirmation sound a bit annoying. The strip also absorbs the blood from the side and not from the tip, which makes dosing awkward sometimes.

The main issue is that the results don’t seem to be comparable with any other meter I own. I’ve done a full side by side comparison (testing with two meters over 2 weeks) with both the Optium Xceed (Precision Xceed)  and the Accu-chek Performa (Aviva) and the number of the Freestyle seem to be higher by about 8% to 16% higher than the other two?

Verdict: This meter is a first class fully-featured meter. Like all others in the market it has its good and bad things and is up to you of wether it fits your requirements. Personally I have now replaced all my meters with this model.

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2 Responses to Review: Freestyle Lite blood glucose meter

  1. tmana says:

    Display: the Flash/Mini/Papillon and the Lite have the same size display, but the results numbers on the Lite are larger. For a physically larger diplay one would need to go to the Freedom series, which do not have backlights or port lights (strip lights).

    Freestyle meters have *the* smallest sample size on the market, 0.3 microliter. Most small-sample meters require 0.5 – 0.7 microliter. FWIW, I *have* had issues with insufficient blood for a reading on these, and accuracy issues if I don’t get enough uptake on the first try.

    I found the Freestyle Lite to read about 17% higher than the Freestyle Flash and about 4.5-7% higher than the average of several meter models (Freestyle Lite and Flash; One Touch Ultra2, UltraSmart, and UltraMini; Accu-Chek Aviva; Wavesense Keynote and Presto; Advocate Duo).

    I did a meter comparison last year (several posts on it over at TuDiabetes), and found that the Fla

  2. Donna Heathcote says:

    I have had problems with the optium xceed not working in the morning.
    I rang the suppliers and apparently it is too cold for the sensitive wee thing and I need to clamp it under my armpit for a while or take it to bed with me.
    I am still in mourning for my old gluco card, which was smaller,sucked the blood quickly off my finger and needed less of it, and wasn’t so sensitive.
    The government stopped subsidising the test strips in their infinate wisdom.
    Would be interested in trying this new one.
    How do I go about getting one?
    Cheers Donna

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