I'm loving getting in shape, which honestly really turns in to a non-ending journey of “staying in shape” and new fitness technology helps keep me motivated. The TICRx is no exception to this rule since the band gave me a reason to hop on my bike and jog around the neighborhood so that I could put it through its paces. Plus the device, in combination with the company's software put me through MY paces… a good trade off.
On to the detail
We have here a fitness band, but not the currently popular faddish watch, step-tracker, heart rate monitor combinations.
This is a band that goes around your middle and while does a lot of that stuff (heart rate monitoring, step tracking), it's not a watch and I don't think it's meant to be kept on 24/7 to track your sleep patterns and your resting heart rate all day. No, this is for working out and not sitting on your backside.
The TICKR x retails for $99.99 which is not cheap and … it's not a watch – so what do you get for nearly one B.Franklin?
Here's a list of the features (pulled these from Amazon) my comments follow each one, in italics:
- Personalized Heart Rate Training – Workout efficiently – view real-time heart rate, training zones and calories burned on your smartphone or tablet with compatible training apps. Built in memory gives you the freedom to train without a phone, capturing data and syncing it to your phone later. the built in memory is cool, you don't actually have to have your phone on you to get the benefit of the tracking. I have a 6sPlus so it's not always great to lug it around. The heart rate monitoring seemed as accurate as other monitors worn at the same time. I use the JabraSport pulse and both devices were providing the same heart rate numbers with some slight variance due to what I would guess is timing of the measurement or of the information being sent back via bluetooth to the devices.
- Dual Technology – ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities allow TICKR to connect to smartphones and tablets, as well as GPS watches by Garmin, Polar, and more. TICKR works with iPhone 4S and later, and with select Android devices using Android 4.3. I tested with latest iPhone. No issues. Looks like it'll work with various GPS systems at the same time or separately. This seems pretty cool.
- Motion Analytics: Built-in accelerometer measures running form across three dimensions to help you improve your individual form and become a stronger runner. Treadmill mode tracks speed and distance while on the treadmill. During offline workouts, Doubletap feature creates placemarks in workout history – use it when you start or end your workout, to show breaks or lap splits and more. It is cool to be able to ‘book mark' portions of the workout and the accelerometer is a cool feature especially (for me) with the next bullet.
- Pair with the Wahoo 7 Minute Workout app for a high-intensity circuit workout and automatic rep counting or Wahoo Runfit app for personalized heart rate training, cross-training, and additional high intensity strength training. Works with over 50 Smartphone Apps including Nike+ Running, MapMyFitness, Runkeeper, RidewithGPS, and Apple Health. I think this is the coolest so far. A 7 minute workout may not get it done for everyone but the cool thing is that the device ‘knows' when I'm stable or having bad form like when doing a side plank. If you're wobbly, you don't get credit.
- Apple Watch Integration – Pair directly with the Apple Watch to track heart rate or sync heart rate data through the Wahoo 7 Minute Workout app or Wahoo RunFit app. –Did not test this feature.
Packaging – 4.5
I quite like the packaging, it just looks nice to me and the offsetting orange and blue color scheme works. I like that the front cover opens like a book and the subtle touch they added where it feels like there are magnets in the upper right and lower right corners that help to keep the cover closed. It makes me feel like they cared. See the gif for the unboxing. The only small suggestion i might have is possibly including more information about how best to have the device start reading heart beat and movement. Some troubleshooting steps would be nice to have.
Related tools – 5
Wahoo has several apps in the app sore that support the device
Plus, you need a phone or tablet to interface with the device obviously not included – (Andriod, iOS), and these programs may work with the Apple watch.
Also, it works with myFitnessPal (my favorite diet and exercise tracker)
Utility Value – 4
This small device has a ton of utility. There are a lot of options, many integrations as mentioned above. It's light weight and uses standard watch batteries. It accommodates for both stationary bikes and for the ones that actually move. The breadth of coverage, in terms of the amount of exercises it'll track seems like it would cover most people looking for in a fitness tracker – especially those who are running or biking. On the down side if you're heavy in to weights, I haven't been able to prove that it will count your specific exercises (but it'll still count your heart rate and other motion). I haven't bought the upgrade to 7 Minute work out to see if bench press or squats are included. I'd think it'd be possible but, not sure without further, albeit cheap, investment.
Ease of Use – 4.5
Really easy to use. Adjust strap and snap together. Hooking up bluetooth is simple, easy (speaking for iOS here, not tested on Android). The down side for me is – I'm not going to wear this 24/7. This will be for some type of ‘on purpose' workout. Grabbing it, snapping it together and linking to phone within 30 seconds to a minute is entirely doable and the only issue i experienced is getting the heart rate to read. I'm guessing that it is mainly a skin conductivity issue and would be interested to hear what others have experienced in this regard.
Likelihood of Reuse – 5 stars
Graphics and Sound – 4.5 stars
The apps are simple and effective and once connected to the TICKRx they work very well. I was really impressed with 7 Minute Workout and it's ability to ensure I was stable and doing the exercises at least mostly right.
Overall – 4.6
If you're willing to take a fitness band/strap vs one of the wrist based models, this seems to be a very good choice. It works well with the associated applications, it has great battery life and does not require you to be connected to a device throughout the workout. Very cool device overall.
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