The full package enables you to set training plans and receive verbal motivation based on target heart rate zones, record your route using the phone’s in-built GPS and then seamlessly publish your efforts on assorted social media sites.
At the moment I keep a manual record of runs and rowing sessions on one of my iPhone tracking logs but the actual data is scattered across an assortment of sites such as garmin connect, nike+ and concept2. I am attracted to the notion of linking my fitness gadgets to my iPhone, I like the idea of all my data and stats being held in one place and therefore easily accessible but unfortunately I don’t think the smartphone is ready for this level of integration yet.
The Scosche myTREK armband is a comfortable contraption that straps around your forearm and doesn’t require any additional wires or chest bands, the pulse is picked up from the sensor on your arm. Linking the Scosche myTrek to my iPhone via the bluetooth connection was easy and so was the set up of the myTrek app. The pulse picked up immediately and the beat and pattern appeared convincing while still at rest. When I moved around the pulse trace became quite erratic but the displayed pulse rate matched that recorded by my Garmin Forerunner.
My first exercise session was not very successful. I had the band attached and confirmed that the pulse was being picked up ok, then pressed the start workout button, wrapped the iPhone in the armband and strapped it out of sight under my t-shirt sleeve. At this point I’d wasted a good couple of minutes with pre-run faffing but the myTrek app was recording it all, or at least I thought it was.
Eventually the exercise got under way but I didn’t get any feedback and I couldn’t see anything as the iPhone was wrapped up and rather inconveniently placed on my upper arm.
When I stopped the run and checked the output I discovered that neither the GPS or pulse monitor had recorded anything – it was just a glorified stopwatch.
I really don’t know what happened but it does highlight a flaw in the design – it’s quite tricky to use a sports tracker without easily being able to view any of the stats while exercising.
I had more success on my second attempt and the voice over gave me enough indication to assure me that it was working – it beeped at me quite regularly to inform me that my heart rate was too high!
Overall I would have to say that I was not terribly impressed. If I wanted the option of verbal feedback on motivation to complete a specific training program then I would prefer to use the Adidas miCoach pacer option which is a beautifully executed device with an excellent website. If I was more interested in the data recording and GPS mapping functionality then I would go for the Garmin every time. Phone based GPS devices are too flawed, the GPS quality is rarely as good as you’ll find in a GPS specific watch and the phone battery is drained at an unacceptable rate. My current Garmin is the Forerunner 310XT but for the same price of the Scosche myTrek you could invest in the highly regarded Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS sports watch.
Where the Scosche myTrek scores highly is the social network aspect. It does make it extremely easy to share workouts to facebook and twitter and that is the joy of a networked device. The Nike+ sportband has social networking down to a fine art but you still have to connect the gadget to your computer first with the myTrek app you can complete your workout and tell the world within seconds.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with the Scosche myTrek – let me know if you’ve tried it out.