One of WordPress’ slightly creepier features allows me to see that a whole bunch of people have been coming to my blog looking for reviews of Clue Plus – the paid-for version of a popular menstrual tracking app. I reviewed it when it was called ‘premium’ and still super expensive, but now that the new and improved version has been rolled out I thought I would update you all on how I found two months using it.
As mentioned, Clue has made its paid-for version much cheaper. In the UK it now only costs £0.83 a month if you buy a year at a time (£9.96), or £0.99 month-by-month, just a casual £33.03 cheaper than the original version – SO much more affordable. So what about the features, are they more interesting?
Yes and no. I’ll get to the main feature, forecasts, in a minute but first I want to talk about what else is new.
Sorry I couldn’t resist that picture placement… Other than the cheaper price and forecasts the only added feature on the paid-for version is that it now notifies you when your period or other menstrual symptoms are ‘out of normal range.’ This is pretty neat and it might help people take their problematic menstrual symptoms seriously, but it doesn’t (yet) consider other data you’ve inputted. For example, I got the alert below, but it didn’t take the fact I’d recently changed hormonal contraception into account and so a 22 day period threw my average off. But, I should add, this might be my fault for not taking advantage of the ‘exclude this cycle’ feature – which exists in the free version and is such a great idea.
The main feature of Clue Plus is ‘forecasts.’ When Plus was first released it said ‘know the future’ on its call-to-action button, which completely undermined the meaning of the word ‘forecast’ (estimate) but that was soon gone. Unlike when I first trialled forecasts under Clue Premium I actually got forecasts this time – progress! Unfortunately, notifications appeared sporadically and often in the evening, so I wasn’t sure if it was talking about today or tomorrow. They all come with one of several generic messages, meaning that if you get multiple forecasts one day things are likely to be repetitive, which ruins the great personalised feel Clue used to have. The cool thing about the forecasts feature is that it asks ‘did this happen today?’ and if you answer yes or no it will log it so you don’t have to.
As for the accuracy of the forecasts… I’m not convinced but I think other forces are at play (in my body, not at Clue), and it makes me wonder: is there any point in tracking your cycle when you’re on hormonal contraception? When I was off the pill it was really interesting and almost fun to track my cycle because I could see how my mood, motivation, exercise habits, libido and acne all varied across it and how certain things, like staying up all night or having a cold, impacted my cycle. It was also vital in helping me spot trends that led me to seek medical help. But on the pill, there’s far less variation or ‘excitement’ and I find myself using and needing Clue less and less. I do use its pill reminder feature but annoyingly it’s been glitchy lately.
There is one thing I’d love to see from Clue, that I *might* be willing to pay for, and that’s the ability to analyse two categories at the same time. I think this could really help people identify what’s causing pain or other symptoms.
So while Clue Plus is definitely an improvement on its last iteration, I’m not sure there’s much in it for someone on hormonal contraception like myself. I didn’t renew my membership but for now, at least, I still use the free version.