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Review: Wahoo TICKR Run Heart Rate Monitor

Sections: iDevice Accessories, iDevice Apps, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Reviews

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If you’re looking to take your fitness more seriously, then you’re probably considering a heart rate monitor. The iPhone is a wonderful workout tracking device, but to really make sure you’re pushing yourself hard enough, you need a little bit more. Wahoo Fitness’s TICKR Run can track your heart rate, and it can do that “little bit more.”

The TICKR Run has an accelerometer, not unlike your iPhone, that can track things like overall efficiency of movement and cadence. The only real requirement is that your device supports BLE, or Bluetooth Low Energy, devices. That means if you have anything as new or newer than an iPhone 4s you’re good to go. You can use it with an Android device and even some GPS watches. If you’re truly adventurous, you can even use it with a newer iPad!

From first look, the Wahoo TICKR Run is a pretty standard hear rate monitor. That’s not a bad thing. Heart rate monitors aren’t (and frankly don’t need to be) very complicated. The included strap wraps around your back to connect on your chest, has adjustments to fit comfortably, and connects to the TICKR RUN with two snaps. These snaps actually turn the device on, which is a nice touch. So, when you put it on, it’s ready to go.

The TICKR Run will work with just about any of your fitness apps that support heart rate monitors, including Runkeeper, Strava, MapMyFitness, and many more. Usage is extremely simple. Like all BLE devices, you open up the app of your choice and pair the TICKR Run to the app. It’s really that simple. I tried it with RunKeeper and was very happy with how it set up and worked so easily. From here on out, all you need to do is put it on and go run.

tickrrun-2aBut to get the full use out of the TICKR Run, you’ll need to use Wahoo’s own Fitness app. That might be too much to ask if you’re really attached to your fitness app of choice. But if you really care about things like cadence or overall movement, you have to use the Wahoo app. Most heart rate monitors don’t have extra sensors, so other apps don’t support the extra features this sensor provides. The Wahoo Fitness app can track your runs like other fitness apps, but it’s honestly not my favorite. Thankfully, since there’s nothing stopping you from using more than one fitness app at a time, it really doesn’t need to be your favorite. Actually, the Wahoo Fitness app will share your workout data with other apps, like RunKeeper, Garmin Connect, MapMyFitness, etc. So your workout data can remain where you normally keep it.

The TICKR Run uses accelerometers and algorithms to estimate how much you move (unnecessarily) while running. It can also estimate your average ground contact time, oscillation distance (up and down movement), and your overall smoothness. You might be telling the ladies that you’re smooth, but this is how you prove it. And in case you’re worried, all of these measurements work on a treadmill too.

I love having more sensors and data to look at, but I don’t find the graphs this app spits out compelling enough to use on every run. I’ve been running for a while, however, so you might be more interested than I am. The smoothness metric is proprietary to Wahoo Fitness, so while I think its meaning is clear, it may not be obvious what value you should expect to achieve. Obviously, I want to shoot for the maximum smoothness, but I’d also like to run a four minute mile and be an astronaut. Again, you really have to decide for yourself if these metrics are useful. As far as I can tell, the algorithms do a decent job of estimating what they are trying to measure.

Even if you don’t use the TICKR Run to its fullest potential via the Wahoo Fitness app, it’s still a very capable heart rate monitor that will work with your app of choice. It fits well, can be adjusted easily, and doesn’t weigh much. The only problem I have with the device is that it uses a coin battery instead of a built in rechargeable. The battery is estimated to last up to twelve months, though, so it’s not a big deal.

Overall, I really like the Wahoo TICKR Run. It does exactly what you want it to by integrating easily with fitness apps, and it can possibly do more if you use the Wahoo Fitness app.

Appletell Rating:

Buy Wahoo Fitness TICKR Run Heart Rate Monitor

Provides: Heart Rate monitoring and running smoothness measurement
Developer: Wahoo Fitness
Minimum Requirements: BLE or ANT+ compatible device
Price: $79.99
Availability: Now

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