Wahoo Fitness is a company that makes fitness sensors and software that works with Apple iPhones. They make ANT+ and Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor straps and systems, waterproof bike mounts, and other accessories, all compatible with iPhones. Today we are reviewing the Wahoo Fitness Run/Gym Pack. The Fitness Run/Gym pack is a heart rate monitor strap using ANT+ technology that measures your heart rate, and sends the data from the heart rate monitor to the iPhone using the included dongle. The iPhone is used to display and log your workout. This product is designed to work with the 3G, 3GS, 4 and 4S iPhones. Before diving in, I thought I would show you what you get with your purchase. So here goes!
Here is the product box:
The contents of the box include the heart rate monitor strap, heart rate monitor transmitter, iPhone dongle, and instruction manual:
Here is a closeup of the heart rate monitor strap ANT+ transmitter. You can see that it has a user replaceable battery. The battery is a 3 volt CR2032:
The heart rate transmitter connects to the two ends of the heart rate monitor strap. The strap is soft, and has a wide range of adjustment for different sizes of people:
Here is a view of the complete heart rate monitor strap:
To use the device, snap one end of the strap to the HRM ANT+ transmitter, adjust the strap for your chest size, snap the strap to the other side, and you’re half way there. Next, you need to download an application. The device is compatible with over 83 iPhone apps. Your choices can be found here. Wahoo was very smart when they developed their products. They made their API public, which allowed third party app developers to make their software compatible with the Wahoo products. Therefore, many popular software applications are compatible with the Wahoo Fitness Run/Gym pack, including programs like RunKeeper, iMapMyRun, and Wahoo Fitness’ own program called, “Wahoo Fitness”. To test how well the product worked, I first needed to connect the ANT+ dongle to the 30 pin connector on the iPhone:
I chose to use Wahoo’s own program, the “Wahoo Fitness” program. The Wahoo Fitness app, and all of the compatible apps are downloaded from the iTunes store in the normal iTunes way. Once I downloaded the Wahoo Fitness app, I clicked on the icon, and it was up and running. I have included a few screens for you to get an idea how some of these programs work. After entering some personal information, like weight, height and date of birth, I was almost set:
Now the only thing left to do was to “add” the heart rate sensor to the program. Clicking “Add New” under the sensor heading added the Wahoo Fitness HRM sensor to my program. That was it! I was connected, and displaying heart rate information:
Here is a zoom in of the map screen (my house):
Here are some screen shots off of the Wahoo site, covering some of the capabilities of their app. Remember that this is not a review of the app; that will be covered in another blog post. But look at all of the data available! The data available is pretty extensive. Standard items like distance, heart rate, max and average heart rate, time, lap time, total workout time, and time in heart rate zones is all available. On the bike, bike speed and cadence are also available.
Here are some of the programs that you can share your workout data with:
Thoughts, Opinions and Summary:
Remember that this review is focused on the hardware, not any of the software apps. The apps will be covered in another review.
So what do I think of the hardware? I think the product is pretty cool! I will admit that when I first started looking at using a smartphone to the display and log a heart rate monitor data coming from an ANT+ or Bluetooth heart rate strap, I was somewhat skeptical. Now I’m sold. This is definitely a viable option, and one that I will use. I love it at the gym, or on a run where I am running and listening to music.
- The heart rate monitor fits and feels really good. I always wear the heart rate monitor strap at work all day to get a feel for comfort. It definitely passed the test.
- The iPhone is not waterproof, but Wahoo makes a water-resistant armband, and a water-resistant bike mount. If you get one of these, you don’t need to worry about rain.
- The heart rate connection was very good. I didn’t have any dropouts, and I was up and running quickly. My wife loves how easy it is to use and set up.
- There are a large number of apps that work with this hard wear. Wahoo Fitness claims 83 at this time.
- Most apps have a music feature that you can play music directly form the app. If you listen to music with your iPhone, you don’t need to carry any additional hardware. And an all in one device makes it less likely to forget it at home.
- All of the data that is based on GPS location information, such as speed and distance, is only as good as the GPS capabilities of the phone. Typically, the GPS in the phone is not as good as the GPS in a good GPS fitness watch. Even so, I was pretty amazed at the accuracy.
- You need to connect a dongle to the 30 pin connector on the bottom of the iPhone, so your iPhone is not as sleek as before. You can buy a Bluetooth version of the HRM strap that works with the 4S iPhone if this bothers you.
- If you get a new phone, and it’s not an iPhone, you are screwed.