Over Christmas and New Year we’re all bound to eat and drink, drink and be merry, which then leads to the inevitable post-Christmas healthy mindset and New Year’s resolutions to get fit.
Whilst it’s all worthwhile, going to the gym or hitting the streets for a run can be a little boring, especially if you’re on your lonesome. That’s where gadgets come in, and with a fast growing number of products on the market aimed at helping you get fit and making it fun, it’s becoming tricky to choose the best one.
Accessory maker Scosche does everything from cases to chargers and headphones for tablets, smartphones and satnavs, and now it’s expanding into fitness gadgets with the new RHYTHM. This is a smart pulse monitor armband that connects to your smartphone wirelessly to track your workout, and it’s pretty feature-packed.
The RHYTHM is a no-frills device when it comes to looks, with a grey neoprene wrist strap holding the device itself in place on your wrist or forearm. It comes in two colours; yellow and pink, neither of which fall into the subtle category, nor look quite as slick as Nike’s Fuelband+.
A plastic construction means it’s nice and light though, which is vital when exercising – nobody wants something big and clumpy stuck to their body. The strap is comfortable and stays put thanks to slightly sticky pads on the inside, and overall we didn’t find it to be itchy or a nuisance, even when working out for several hours. The RHYTHM comes with two lengths of strap – one for the wrist and one for the forearm – and as a side note we found using the forearm strap to be comfier and more accurate in terms of measuring our pulse, but more on that later.
The RHYTHM’s technology is simple and is housed in a small bump. Three grey rubber buttons punctuate the yellow casing, providing controls for Bluetooth pairing and volume increase and decrease. Each button is pretty shallow and as such is quite easy to press, which is welcome.
Setup and App
The RHYTHM itself is effectively a pulse monitor that sends data to your Android or iOS smartphone via Bluetooth. From here you can do plenty more with the device to make your workout more fun, but it’s all app-based. Setup is nice and easy; simply hold the central button for 10 seconds and wait for the LED to flash red/blue/red before searching and pairing using your smartphone.
Once paired you’ll need to head into the Play Store for Android or App Store for iPhone and search for Scosche RHYTHM to get the free download. With your phone and the RHYTHM paired and the app downloaded you’re ready to work out.
We found the app a little complex and confusing to start with, which is probably due to the sheer number of functions and features it offers. In its most simple form, the RHYTHM app allows you to view a live update of your pulse as you exercise, along with your resting heart rate and average pulse. It’s this information that allows you to use the app as a complete workout partner.
Using the app you can create customised workouts, map your runs, chart your fitness plans on a calendar and much more. The app also integrates any music found on your phone, which makes it nice and easy to change up your tunes without messing around with more than one app. The music player section isn’t as neat and smooth as most native Android media players, but it does the job.
Once you’ve got the hang of the app and its plethora of features – we have to admit, it took us longer than expected – you can share your results socially. Facebook and Twitter can be linked to the app, as can Runkeeper, which allows you to export your running data from RHYTHM. There’s also a PC-accessible personal dashboard which allows you to view even more data and download it, if you’re really serious about your plans to get fit.
The RHYTHM is a nifty little gadget that’s well designed and light, but lacks the “cool” factor found in Nike’s rivalling Fuelband+. We feel that the app tries to do too much without doing a few things well enough, so in theory a swift update could make this a top notch gadget and workout partner.