The Dario LC Blood Glucose Management System comprises a meter, lance and strip holder all in a plastic unit which is small enough to slip into a pocket. The meter plugs directly into your phone so you can use the accompanying app for a large clear display as you take a measurement and then analyse the data.
This is one of those products that makes you think, why aren't they all like this already? We say already as this feels ahead of the trend, not only with its all-in-one portability but with an app that far surpasses the competition. For anyone with poor sight, this is ideal as it turns your phone's large, clear and colorful display into the screen for your monitor. That's why it sits at the top of our guide to the best glucose meters (opens in new tab) in 2020.
You can go from a finger prick, to logging, to data analysis in seconds, all without even needing to carry a bag with you when out and about as this is pocket-friendly. Of course, being one unit, that does mean you need to use the same lance each time unless you carry spares - they won't fit in the unit.
The detailed app makes for a simple and clear way to log and analyse data which, should, help you to avoid slipping into highs or lows by better predicting your sugar levels. And if you do go hypo, there's a smart alert message sent to a designated person with your GPS location.
So is the Dario Blood Glucose Management System the best glucometer for you? Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Dario LC review: Design and portability
Results: Under six seconds
Blood sample size: 0.3 microliters
- Pocket friendly
- Built-in lance and strips
The Dario Blood Glucose Management System is super compact when you consider how much is packed into a pocket-friendly device. It also looks decent too with an orange, black and white finish, smooth rounded edges and easy access to everything.
The lance is spring loaded and pops out easily when you need it while the unit shape is large enough to be controlled when in use. The other end stashes your test strips in an organised alignment so you can quickly grab them as needed. The monitor itself slips into the side section and can be simply removed to attach to your phone for measurements.
The Dario monthly plans vary but the basic gets you the monitoring system with unlimited test strips, 100 lances and personalized diabetes programs. These include lifestyle changes, healthy eating and advanced tracking.
The Dario LC Blood Glucose Monitoring system is designed in iPhone and Android variants to suit the connectors of the varying phone types with a list of supported phone types shown on the company's website (opens in new tab).
The process couldn't be easier. Plug the monitor into your phone and open the app, slide in a strip, finger prick and apply blood, wait six seconds max and check out your results. A blood glucose value appears along with the option to log any details like dosing info, activity, tagging and so on.
Dario LC review: Memory and connectivity
- Plug and play
- Unlimited storage
Unlike traditional monitors, Dario uses your smartphone directly. This means the memory is massive so you don't need to put a limit on the amount of data recorded. If you have space on your phone's memory then you have room for more records, which only take up a tiny amount of room anyway relative to most modern phones' storage capacities.
Connecting the monitor is also super simple since it plugs directly into the phone's power port. This means the unit itself doesn't need a battery and will simply run off the power from your smartphone. So, yes, you will need to be sure you don't have a near dead phone when you head out the door or that will render the Dario useless. Having something like the OneTouch Verio Flex (opens in new tab) as a back-up is recommended, as it has superb battery life.
Dario LC review: App and software
- iPhone and Android compatible
- Hypo alert with GPS location
Once again Dario has not tried to go for a short name with its app called - deep breath - Dario Blood Glucose Tracker & Logbook for Diabetes. All pretty self explanatory then. This is for Android but on iOS it's more simply called Dario - Blood Glucose Tracker.
The app, at its most basic, is your interface for the glucose monitor that you plug into the phone. Add a blood sample, of just 0.3 microlitres and then within six seconds the app will display your number on screen. But it does a lot more as you can see averages for seven, 14 and 30 days as well as graph data which shows if your blood glucose has gone up or down since your last reading.
Essentially you'll get an automatic analysis of your condition right away each time you test. This depth of data is both reassuring and empowering, especially thanks to an HbA1c estimate also being included.
The logbook part of the app is also very helpful as this is where you can input important details like carb counting, physical activity and medication intake - all of which can be seen as factors affecting your scores over time.
You can share all your data with anyone including friends, family and potentially most importantly your doctor. This is a nice function but does send a link to the app so the other person must have it installed, meaning it can sometimes be easier just to send the number in a message yourself. But for doctors or spouses that have the app it's ideal as they get a rich amount of data.
But it's the special hypo alert we love. This will send an alert to anyone you nominate when you go hypo, this alert will include a GPS pinpoint of your location - ideal if you think you might pass out and need help. The text alert goes to someone from your contacts list and includes that GPS location as long as you have GPS turned on.
Dario LC review: Sampling and accuracy
- Within 5 points
- Affordable strips
The accuracy of the Dario LC is, of course FDA level - meaning it was always within 15% of true glucose levels for 95% of the time. When compared to other testers it was usually an impressive 5 points out at max, so very reliable then.
Despite this reliability Dario is still relatively new so you may not be able to get covered by your insurer which means you could have to pay out of pocket for testing strips yourself. That said, these are very affordable since they come as part of a yearly plan with unlimited supplies.
It's worth noting that it doesn't test Ketone, so you should look to something like the FORA 6 Connect (opens in new tab) for that dual-purpose.
Should you choose the Dario LC Blood Glucose Management System?
The Dario LC Blood Glucose Management System is not only cutting edge but is one of the best glucometers on the market right now. The complete package makes it easy to carry discreetly in a pocket with strips, lance and monitor all in one secure unit that's difficult to lose.
The supporting app is excellent, easy to use and detailed enough to help you progress. The addition of features like note taking when logging and auto messages sent with GPS location when hypo, are what help to set this ahead of the competition. Only the Contour Next One (opens in new tab) comes close in terms of tech features.
The strips are affordable and when combined with the meter require very little blood, making this a less painful process to still get a very accurate result. The lack of health insurance company (opens in new tab) support is a downside but with affordable packages giving unlimited strips, it's not too much of an issue. Dario is setting the bar high for blood glucose monitoring and it's time for the competition to catch up.