Wahoo Fitness last month launched in Singapore a new workout tracker, the TICKR X. In addition to tracking heart rate, the TICKR X also captures motion, intensity, and stride rate. TICKR X pairs with both Android and iOS smartphones. A particularly interesting feature is that TICKR X can also track workouts offline, that is, when unconnected to any smartphone.
Fitness gadgets are wonderful. They can help you keep track of your fitness regimen. For gadget people like me, they can be an exercise motivator. These gadgets make keeping fit more fun and less of a chore.
The Wahoo TICKR X is a chest strap style wearable. Like numerous other chest strap heart rate monitor, the TICKR X is encased in a waterproof and sweat-proof plastic module that plugs into buttons on the elastic chest strap. Electrode pads under the chest strap, on either side of the TICKR X, pick up and measure heart rate activity. The length of the elastic strap can be adjusted to suit the size of your torso.
You’ll have to be comfortable with chest straps though. Chest straps were common for heart rate monitors in the past, but many have moved into wrist straps and headphones these days. I think that chest straps, however, are more accurate, so as long as you’re comfortable with them, this is all good.
The Wahoo TICKR X runs on a CR2032 coin cell battery that’s rated to last one year.
The built-in motion sensor allows the Wahoo TICKR X to capture cadence and step rate, and the data is used to better monitor various types of workouts. For example, the companion smartphone app can track distance covered in indoor cycling and treadmill runs, even though you don’t actually move any real distance (or even get a GPS connection in the first place).
The Wahoo TICKR X supports both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+. For my review, I used only Bluetooth Smart.
The companion smartphone app, Wahoo Fitness, which as I mentioned earlier is available on both Android and iOS, has all the features you’d expect from any fitness tracking app. On the main page you see a summary of the current selected workout activity type, which is running as pictured in the screenshots above.
You can drill in to get more details about a specific workout. For running, you get details such as the duration, distance covered, calories burned, Nike Fuel count, heart rate graph, and a whole lot more graphs than you’d typically care about. Just so you know, that list of graphics include GPS pace, run cadence (steps per minute), ground contact time, smoothness (I’m not sure what that measures), vertical oscillation, GPS elevation, GPS grade, GPS climb, Nike Fuel rate, and calorie burn rate.
There’s also, as you’d expect, a GPS map of your running or cycling route, in case you want to keep track of where you’ve been.
The Wahoo Fitness app understands a few workout types:
- Indoor cycling
- Workout (I imagine just a generic exercise type)
- Stair climber
Data from the motion sensor in the Wahoo TICKR X is used to customise the information presented for the different types of workout.
During your workout, such as a run, the Wahoo TICKR X provides regular audio feedback on various metrics such as your cadence, pace, and heart rate.
You can double-tap on the Wahoo TICKR X to trigger a variety of actions, including control music as well as mark laps during a run. This is probably a lot more convenient than trying to do the same on your smartphone when you’re running.
Wahoo has yet another smartphone app, the 7 Minute Workout app. It’s designed specifically to guide you on that famed 7-minute workout routine. The app tells you what exercise comes up next, when to start, stop, and when to take a rest. During the workout, the app, through the embedded motion sensor, can help you with counting exercises such as push-ups and crunches.
A very big plus point, for me, about the Wahoo TICKR X is that it can work in offline mode. It can record up to 16 hours of workout data without being connected to a smartphone. If you prefer to run without carrying extra gadgets around, this is a pretty good solution. Just wear the TICKR X chest strap. When you get back to your smartphone later, fire up the Wahoo Fitness app, go to workout history, and hit refresh, to fetch any offline workout data from the TICKR X.
In offline mode, of course, you won’t get distance and speed data, since they depend on the smartphone’s GPS. For some people, it’s mostly just the heart rate and time information that they require.
Now, you can also track your swims without needing a smartphone on you.
(Some people may be thinking about heart rate monitors that pair with a watch, and that those don’t require a smartphone. Well, in that case, you’ll have to wear the watch. Admittedly, a watch is a lot more friendly to carry around than a smartphone while running, but it’s still something to carry around. Some folks, such as myself, prefer to carry as little things as possible.)
The Wahoo TICKR X is available at Epicentre and Big Box at a recommended retail price of S$139.90.
The Wahoo TICKR X is a really capable workout tracker. It comes in the form of a chest strap with heart rate monitor and motion sensor. A big bonus is that the device can work offline, without a smartphone.
- Detailed tracking data points
- Can work offline without smartphone
- Useful data even for treadmills and indoor cycling
- Good value
- Some people may dislike chest straps