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Precision Xtra Blood Glucose Meter Review

By on June 29, 2013

precision-xtra-glucose-meterIn a word, the Precision Xtra Blood Glucose Meter offers users versatility. It is one of the few meters that allow you to test both blood glucose AND ketone levels. This flexibility is excellent, especially for children and others who have more challenges managing their diabetes.

I originally reviewed this meter in 2009, but revisited it in 2012. Interestingly, I like it more now than I did back then. I really like the option of being able to test for ketones.

This option is especially useful if you are just getting a handle on your diabetes or otherwise tend to have extreme glucose readings.

Key Advantages

  • Dual Testing. As stated above, dual testing of glucose and ketone levels with one meter is very unique.
  • Simple Operation. The meter uses on screen icons to help guide users through testing. This is especially helpful for people who tend to be more visual in the way they learn.
  • Alternative Site Testing. This feature may seem redundant when looking at only Abbott glucose meters, but the number of AST sites possible with Abbott meters is truly remarkable compared to other manufacturers. The Precision Xtra allows AST on the finger, thumb base, forearm, and upper arm.
  • Fast Test Results. The glucose meter provides results in 5 seconds. The ketone test returns test results in 10 seconds.
  • Small Sample Size. As the saying goes, smaller blood sample, less pain. The glucose test requires only a 0.6 microliter sample. The ketone test requires a 1.5 microliter sample.
  • Kid Friendly. The Precision Xtra is a very forgiving meter. The test strips do not become contaminated if touched. This is great for kids who tend to be a little less precise than adults when it comes to being delicate with the test strips. Also, if you do not get enough blood on the strip the first time, you can usually reapply some additional blood.

Disadvantages

The disadvantages seem to come down to two issues.

  • Accuracy: First, some users complain of poor or at least inconsistent accuracy. Obviously, this is not good. After all, what’s the point of testing if you get the wrong result? We also note that other users do not report this issue and Abbott have not made any comments or press releases which would suggest this is a systemic problem.
  • Test Strips: The test strips tend to be very expensive. We have seen prices for 100 strips range from as much as $116 dollars to as little as $54 dollars. Also, the ketone testing requires different test strips which tend to be a little higher in price. Thus, it pays to shop around for your test strips.

Test Strips

The glucose testing component of the Precision Xtra requires you use Precision Glucose Test Strips. The ketone testing feature requires a different test strip called Precision Ketone Test Strips. Both sets of strips can be pricy, so check around to see what the best deal is.

To Compare the BEST prices on strips, check out our Test Strip Price Comparison page.

Bottom Line

The Precision Xtra is a well regarded meter. It offers unique functionality, including dual testing, along with advanced features like speedy test results and small sample sizes. The cost of running the meter on a day to day basis can be expensive, unless you are a good bargain shopper.

However, the meter can be forgiving as the test strips can take a little bit of abuse without altering test results. This feature is great, especially with children.

Regarding any accuracy concerns, it should be noted that the meter has been approved by the FDA, and there has been no recall of the product that we know of. Thus, claims to the contrary may be just individual difference amongst users.

Nonetheless, while we do not advocate spending extra money, we suggest that no matter what glucose meter you purchase you should also have a spare to check inconsistent results. The Precision Xtra is a great choice for those who want the flexibility of dual testing in one meter.

Other Considerations

The Precision Xtra owners’ manual and company website tend to be very good. Abbott’s customer service is available 24/7 and tended to be helpful during our calls to them.

As mentioned in our other Abbott glucose meter reviews, we did not enjoy being quizzed heavily for our contact information when we called to ask about their products. It took some initial fortitude to get passed this hump.

Abbott’s “Ask the Expert” program is staffed with Certified Diabetes Educator’s to answer any diabetes related questions. We also found the articles on diabetes to be helpful.

Like most other glucose meter companies, Abbott offers free data management software. Their version is called Co-Pilot. The software is free, but there is an addition $30 dollar (approximately) charge for the data cable.

Technical Information

Model
Precision Xtra
Auto. Shut Off 1 minutes
Battery Type One CR2032
Battery Life 1,000 Tests
Alternative Site Testing Yes
Memory Capacity 450 Tests
Storage Temp. -13 to 131 F
Operating Temp. 50 to 122 F
Result Range 20 to 500 mg/dL
Sample Size 0.6 microliter
Test Time 5 seconds
Weight (battery) 1.48 oz. (yes)
Size (Inches) 2.1 x 1.7 x 2.94
Backlit Display Yes
Warranty Lifetime
Coding Required Yes
Software Available Yes