Ok everybody, my apologies for being offline for the last week or so. I just ended a very hectic, whirlwind European business trip and am finally home again.
Here's the net result of the G4 vs. the Libre in my opinion: the Libre wins hands down! The accuracy is downright amazing. Firstly, no calibration required. Insertion is quick, and it is up and running in an hour. The sensor is good for 14 days. The G4 only for 7 - officially, that is. We all know we can leave a G4 in and restart it for another 7 days. Not only that, but I'm 9 days in and the Libre sensor is still solidly stuck to my arm. I placed my G4 sensor right next to it and the edges started peeling up already. Had to use Skin-Tac on the G4 to get it to stick back down for the remaining second week.
I rarely see a deviation of more than 5pts vs the Libre and a finger prick with either my Freestyle Lite meter, or the Freestyle meter in my Omnipod PDM. The G4 can be off by as much as 20 points sometimes and needs to be calibrated daily. Not only that, the G4 is downright sluggish in indicating a quick rise or fall. The Libre is only a couple of minutes behind a finger stick in this situation. The one benefit that the G4 has here is that it displays the data constantly. With the Libre you need to swipe it over the sensor to get a reading. However, both will show trend lines and history. The Libre has a very nice and easy to navigate touch menu for settings and stats.
Both the Libre and the G4 have free, downloadable software that you can use to analyze and report historical data. However the Libre offers it for BOTH mac and PC. It's very cool and easy to use.
The Libre is currently only available to residents of the following countries: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. And it is currently only available by ordering it directly from Abbot under www.freestylelibre.com. They prevent people from ordering from outside these countries by only displaying pages to computers with IP addresses from the allowed countries. This is easily circumvented by using free, and very easy to use VPN software like CyberGhost (http://www.cyberghostvpn.com/en_us) which lets you spoof servers into thinking you're logging in from from the country of your choice. The French, Italian and Spanish models are available in mg/dL. The rest are mmol/L, like my UK model, and the German model is available in both. I have to say I've learned how to convert mmol/L to mg/dl pretty well since getting it. The other hurdle is that you have to have a shipping address in the country, because the country is hard coded in the "ship to" fields on the order page in each respective site.
Holger is correct. There seems to be a bit of a run on these. I guess I got lucky and got one of the first ones in the UK. I was also traveling through Germany and wanted to order one there, but got the same message as all the other country sites that states they have run out and will email you when they're available again. The good thing, however, is that if you've already successfully ordered a Libre, they will let you re-order sensors.
I really hope the FDA approves the Libre soon for the US. This is a quantum leap in convenience and accuracy. For those of you in Europe debating the out of pocket expense of a G4, as it seems they are not covered by insurance in many countries there, the Libre is a superior alternative. And if your insurance does not cover a Libre, it is still a much more economical alternative. The reader is 60 Euros, and the 2 week sensors are 60 Euros - competitive with the price of test strips. The UK site let's you order it without paying 20% sales tax (VAT) by simply checking a box declaring that you have diabetes. Amazing.
In conclusion, I think the only meaningful advantage the G4 has is the ability to alert for dangerous lows or highs. For those of you who are hypo-unaware or need that peace of mind while sleeping, for example, the Libre just cannot do that.
What I also find encouraging is that this can be one step closer to a very accurate closed-loop artificial pancreas system. If Abbot starts developing this technology further such that it can communicate with an insulin pump - which I can definitely imagine in the medium term, say 3-5 years, we can all look forward to very accurate and automated blood sugar control.
I hope this review helps. Feel free to follow up with any questions you might have.