thing is light. When I first held the Asante Snap in my hands, I thought they
had handed me a mockup, like one of those hallow plastic husks they put under
glass at diabetes trade shows, not an actual unit. But this was the real deal,
and as insulin pumps go, it’s feather light. Fully loaded with a
week’s supply of insulin, it tips my Slater kitchen scale at a hair under three
ounces, fully 25% lighter than the Tandem t:slim.
In your pocket,
weight-wise, it feels like you forgot your pump. But it’s thicker than the
highly-pocketable t:slim, and longer to boot. Your diabetes educator might ask
you, “Is there a Snap in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”
thickness, and build quality, the Snap is reminiscent of a TV remote—which
doesn’t sound very impressive—because it isn’t. While light weight is good, I
confess that this thing feels cheap-ass in the hands. But you have to remember
that I’ve been pumping the Appleque t:Slim for over six months, so that’s
warped my expectations. The t:Slim is handsomely made, solid, sexy, and sports
a bright color-touch screen. If I had picked up the Snap with a Med-T Revel on
my belt, would I react differently?
screen is a blue-backlit LDC… which seems rather 90s to me. But for such a
small screen, the Snap is… well, a snap to read. All the letters and numbers
are big, and the resolution is sharp, even high-res compared to, say, the Med-T
pump’s rather cubic pixilated screens. So while the Snap screen falls far short
of modern sexy, it’s highly serviceable. A few years ago, it would have blown
the doors off of everyone.
But it’s not
a few years ago.
That said, I
don’t find that that backlight blinds me at night, and outside in direct
mile-high New Mexico sunlight it can be read just as clearly as it can be anywhere
else. You can’t say that about the t:Slim, which requires you to cup it in your
hands for shade if you’re using it out of doors. Bottom line, the Snap is as easy
to read as a Kindle.
although it shouldn’t matter, I think it’s a right-handed pump and I’m a lefty.
Every time I pull the damn thing out of my pocket, I’ve got it upside down. Oh…
wait a sec… I just figured out why I do that. The tubing exits the t:Slim on
the right-hand side, while it exits the Snap on the left-hand side. I’ve just gotten
into the habit of flipping the pump a certain way based on where the tubing is.
I need to re-train my hands. Never mind.
you hold the Snap, it feels a bit like a game controller (but I doubt that Diabetes: The Video Game will
become a best seller). If you hold the Snap in two hands, your thumbs fall comfortably
onto the buttons on either side of the screen, and can easily reach the three buttons
across the bottom.
I find I’m
all thumbs using this thing, but in a good way. Operating it is as easy as
texting with a pre-smart cell phone. We’ll talk more about this some other day,
but I’ve found that there are a number of operations—taking a correction bolus
for instance—that are easily done one-handed, but on the other hand(s), there are
some common functions that take waaaaaaaay too many button presses. Again, a
discussion worthy of its own post, so stay tuned.
The buttons themselves
are sweet. They take a little authority to press, reducing the risk of a butt
bolus (there’s an optional screen lock, but that adds extra steps between me
and my insulin so I’m not using it), but the buttons aren’t overly difficult to
engage either. All things being equal, I’d describe them as delightfully
springy. Sounds more like the description of a new laundry soap than in an
insulin pump, huh? Now available in
Delightfully Springy and Country Rain scents…
For now, I’m
carrying the pump in my pocket, as I already have the frickin’ CGM and a meter
case on my belt, and enough is enough. But the pump did come with two belt
cases. One is a handsomely made leather job, with a rotating belt clip for
vertical or horizontal wear, complete with the Asante logo deeply embossed into
the front. It has a magnetic closure and no window. That means it’s a slip-out
belt case; you cannot operate the pump in this case. With the pump in the case
it’s nearly identical in size to the Dexcom G4 in its own case, but nearly twice
as thick. I can’t see myself using it, even if nothing else were on my belt.
Plus, it doesn’t come in tan. (I’m going to keep harping on this until one of
these diabetes device companies gets me a case that matches my frickin’
The second Asante-supplied
case is a high-tech-looking gripper clip that holds the pump close to the body
and lets you operate the pump from your waist. I could see myself using this
one, and might test it out before we are through. Actually, I kinda wish Dex
would make one like this. Again, the clip rotates and I suppose it could be
used either as a belt clip or a dress pants pocket clip (to keep the pump from
dropping to the bottom of those sometimes overly-deep pockets). Like the pump,
however, this clip-case looks a hair flimsy. Well, that’s not quite fair. The
clip itself is military grade, no doubt about that, but the arms that hold the
pump to the clip look like they might snap off in a light breeze. I’ll have to
test it out in a light breeze, then I’ll report back.
were my first impressions, many of them aesthetic, and you need to remember that
I’ve been carrying the ultimate aesthetic pump in my pocket for half a year now.
And while good aesthetics are nice, they really aren’t the name of the game
here. I don’t want an ugly pump (and the Snap isn’t), but performance and ease
of use are the real deal makers and deal killers. Or should be. Yeah, I know of
a couple of kids who chose the Ping just because of how it looked. But if we
want the BEST pump we should really be looking at performance, ease of use, and
comes to pure looks, t:Slim has everyone beat. But as pretty as she is, she can
be a huge pain in the ass to use. She’s loaded down with safety and warning
screens to the point that many daily operations are slow, slow, slow.
Snap compare in this regard?
Tomorrow: The fastest gun in the west