It’s August, and you’re either on vacation, or leaving soon. The problem? You just tried to fit into last year’s swimsuit and – worse – you did it in front of the mirror. While it might be a little too late to lose that belly before you hit the beach this summer, take steps now and you’ll be a slimline hottie in time for Christmas and New Year, ready to undo all that good work in a week or two.
To help you, here’s our list of the best fitness gadgets around.
Till January of this year, the Wahoo Key for iPhone ($80) dongle pwned fitness on the iPhone. Why? Because the tiny, ubiquitous dongle gives the iPhone access to dozens of ANT+ sensors, and more fitness apps than any other system — turning your iPhone into a fitness-tracking powerhouse.
Then in January, Wahoo one-upped itself and introduced the Wahoo Blue Bluetooth heart-rate strap, which completely bypasses ANT+ and instead communicates via low-energy Bluetooth v4.0. Does this mean the Key is obsolete? Not by a long shot.
Wahoo’s popular ANT+ Fisica dongle, which allows the iPhone to read signals from fitness gadgets like heart-rate monitors, pedometers and bike sensors, is probably most widely used fitness iPhone accessory since its release a little over a year ago. And today, Wahoo took the first step toward killing it.
Last week was just a little more sweet than bitter for Apple devotees who also happen to be fitness junkies. That’s because Abvio’s trio of fitness apps — Runmeter, Walkmeter and Cyclemeter (which we’ve raved about) — have been granted two big upgrades, namely iOS 5-style notifications, and something we’ve been waiting a long time for: the ability to gather data from ANT+ dongles like Wahoo’s Fisica.
Seems practically everyone has cottoned on to the idea that the iPhone makes for a stellar cycling computer — because hardware that turns the iPhone into a feature-packed riding companion keeps popping up. The latest is Velocomp’s iBike Dash series of app-enhanced hardware stashed inside their waterproof Phone Booth case that work with its free iBike app.
The unit starts out at $200 for the waterproof case with built-in ANT+ receiver and a speed sensor for your bike; $329 will bag you the Deluxe kit that adds a heart-rate strap, cadence sensor and supplemental battery for the iPhone. Velocomp also sells the Phone Booth case only — without the ANT+ electronics in it — for $50.
The waterproof case looks pretty rugged, but pricing strikes us as a tad steep compared with other kits out there from Wahoo, Digifit and New Potato Technologies (even though we were less-than-enthusiastic about the latter).
Need a last-minute stocking stuffer, or wondering how to keep that New Year’s resolution? Digifit is giving away its $80 ANT+ Digifit Connect — just download their free Digifit app, then pop for the $15 in-app upgrade (which allows the app to connect with the dongle).
The idea is pretty much the same as with the Wahoo Fisica dongle (also $80): Attach the Digifit Connect to an iPhone (or iPad or iPod) and it’ll communicate with any ANT+ heart-rate monitor, footpod, bicycle cadence or speed sensor; then workout data can be tracked and analyzed through the Digifit app, or download the data to one of several websites, like New Leaf Fitness.