TomTom GPS Sports Watches: Exercise and Technology – the Perfect Fit?

TomTom-GPS-Sports-Watch

I’m more active that you might expect for someone who edits a gadget website and spends all day and I love any chance I get to combine exercise and technology. I’ve tried many a pedometer the FitBit One being a current favourite) and I love my Withings wireless scales. But one of the coolest fitness I’ve used was the Nike Sportswatch powered by TomTom. So I was interested to hear that TomTom was coming out with a new product that “completely re-designs the GPS Sport Watch.”

TomTom-Running-Man

The new, ultra-slim (11.5 mm) TomTom Runner and TomTom Multi-Sport GPS sport watches feature an extra-large,high-resolution and high-contrast display, full-screen graphical training tools and the headline feature one-button control so it’s easy to access information without slowing down.

Swimming-Sports-Watch

“We know that most GPS watches on the market are too bulky and complicated to use while training. Runners and multi-sport athletes can now view their performance information at-a-glance, making it easier to achieve their fitness goals.”
Corinne Vigreux, managing director, TomTom Consumer.

GPS-Woman-Running

The new watches feature TomTom’s Graphical Training Partner – basically easy-to-read full-screen graphics so you can optimise your workouts with access to relevant information. There are graphical training modes: Run, Goal and Zone. The one button controls are great for navigating key stats (and also just for controlling your watch), especially when running, swimming or cycling (I hate fiddling with buttons in the rain or through cycling gloves). TomTom claim you can use the battery for up to 10 hours in GPS mode which is more than fine for my stamina levels.

TomTom-Cycling

Another great feature is the ability to accurately track indoor runs using built-in sensors to count strides, so your treadmill runs aren’t “lost”. Rather than locking your data down to a proprietary platform you can sync, analyse and share stats on popular running sites and community platforms, including the TomTom MySports website, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, TrainingPeaks and MyFitnessPal. Long-lasting battery: Up to 10-hour battery life (GPS Mode)

The TomTom Runner and TomTom Multi-Sport will be available in Summer 2013. For more information head to TomTom.

Scosche boomBottle: Rugged Outdoor Speakers

boomBottle

Fresh water’s all well and good but what if you’re cycling, hiking or camping and want a fresh beat. Well you’re probably in the 1987, which was the last time when anyone used the term “fresh beat” unironically (and incidentally when the Simpsons was first aired). But on the off-chance you’re not a time traveller with a bad haircut and an “Eat My Shorts” tshirt you might just be interested in the Scosche Industries boomBottle, an omni-directional portable bluetooth speaker.

If you’re a tech jouralist you might be thinking that the last thing the world needs is year another portable bluetooth speaker. And you’d be right. They’re jostling for number one place for most boring thing to land in my inbox, next to iPhone cases and fashion headphones. Fortunately Scosche are award-winning innovators and know how to bring something new to the party. We got a chance to play with one at a recent London press show and liked both what we heard and saw.

boomBottle-Pool

The boomBottle fits in most water bottle cages and is great if you’re sharing your tunes with the rest of the neighbourhood. Well great for you. I’m sure your neighbours might very well object. Dual 40mm drivers produce rich, deep audio with amplified acoustics that overcome loud environments (like London press shows). The integrated passive subwoofer features a ported enclosure for enhanced bass performance.

Of course it’s a dangerous world out there and the last thing you want is for your baby to be damanged by the elements. The boomBottle has IP4X-rated splash proof casing to protect from unexpected weather, sweat and other moisture. There are large rubberised buttons that you can operate, even when wearing gloves. The shock-proof TPU exterior can withstand drops and vibrations (I gave it a tiny bit of a fling and it seemed fine). All the charging and audio ports are safely hidden behind a secure flap so you don’t have to worry about mud creeping into an AUX port.

boomBottle

The boomBOTTLE’s built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 10 hours of continuous playback on a single charge. The bluetooth has wireless range of 33 feet so unless it should work even on the largest Penny Farthings.

Like almost every modern Bluetooth speaker, there’s a built-in microphone, for use as a speakerphone, capable of delivering echo-free phone conversations and interacting with Siri or the Android equivalent. There’s also 3.5mm auxiliary input if you hold no truck with this new-fangled Bluetooth business.

The boomBOTTLE will be available from April priced at £120. For further information visit Scosche.

Jabra ACTIVE headset: Making keep fit a little more fun

Let’s face it, nearly all of us are sports enthusiasts in early January. But what cuts the serious from those on an exercising whim, is that the latter’s impulse has almost always been vanquished come February. This is where the Jabra ACTIVE may step in, or may at least thwart the inevitable from occurring for a couple more months.

Jabra-Active

This rugged, splash-proof, crystal-clear sound producing corded headset is the perfect accessory to aid you in your New Year fitness quest. You may feel like keeling over and giving up, but the motivational tunes blasting out into your eardrums or the pep talk from a personal trainer via a mobile phone, will give you the motivation to keep going.

A headsets’ tendency to fall out of a jogger’s ear can be quite off-putting to say the least, but with these ergonomically designed earphones that ‘lock’ into the ear, means surreptitiously tip-toeing the streets in fear of losing you headphones can be replaced by sheer pounding and vigour.

If your excuse to not doing any exercise is fear of missing that all important phone call, then your excuse has just been annihilated, as the Jabra ACTIVE’s control box allows you to easily switch from music to chat, ensuring you never miss an important call. If one song isn’t proving too inspiring, the ACTIVE’s control box also allows for simple track skipping, enabling you to instantly boost a workout with a more uplifting tune.

The Jabra ACTIVE headset is compatible with most phones including Blackberry, Motorola, Apple and LG. An adaptor is included in the box, guaranteeing compatibility with Sony Eriksson, Samsung and Nokia.
Being available in white, black or yellow and costing just £39.99, the Jabra ACTIVE new corded headset could be a great gift for all those fashion-conscious exercising fanatics in your life – even if their fitness venture doesn’t make the spring.

Altec Lansing MUXZ range headphone review

Altec Lansing, makers of the first iPod dock and all round audio experts have dived headfirst into the world of headphones with interesting results. We had a play with their new MUXZ range.

Altec-Lansig

At the low end there are 3 bargain basement £19.99 fashion earphones – the Mesh, XX and XY. The chromosome pairs, are as the name suggests, tailored to appeal to masculine or feminine users and to outrage gender theory academics. The Mesh a gender neutral bass heavy pair completes the trilogy.

The £29.99 Core has inline voice controls and the £49.99 Extras have enhanced bass and full Apple compliant inline controls.

The top of the line pair, however are the MUXZ Ultra which look … well a little bizarre. As you can see from the image above they have a chunky barrel design to them and poke out of the ears a little. The wire also pops out a little bit in an odd little loop. This isn’t just difference for difference sake, and the quirky design is supposed to alleviate cable strain – which can be fatal for some headphones. All this is of course, secondary to the sound, which is fantastic – which at £99.99 it would have to be.

The balanced armature drivers provide excellent well-defined audio – it’s not bass heavy and if anything is quite restrained on the bass front. The supplied rubber tips should fit most ear types to provide and snug fit, which is when the background noise cancellation really kicks in. My standard bass heavy test tunes sounded a little muted, but other more varied sounds fared excellently. This review is a day late as I got side-tracked listening to Bitches Brew on the Ultras then enthusiastically raving about how good it sounded to any poor soul who would listen.

There are also inline iPhone controls, which are a little on the large side, but easy to grab on to without looking when answering calls or skipping a track.

From the cheap and cheerful Meshes to the quite swanky Ultras the Altec Lansing headphone range managed to impress at a range of price points.
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UPDATE

The Muzx Ultras price has dropped to £79.99, and the Muzx Extras to £39.99. They will be available 15th October from all the usual retailers including Apple, DSGi and Amazon.