Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hardware Review: Garmin ANT+ Adapter for iPhone

For those of you looking to take off the pounds for the swimsuit season, Garmin has a great iPhone-compatible solution to track your workouts and keep you accountable.

First, the Garmin Fit™ App for iPhone allows you to track your workouts in real time like many other apps. The real magic comes in with Garmin’s ANT+ Adapter for iPhone ($49.95) which allows you to interact with other fitness devices via a standard similar to Bluetooth. Garmin’s own heart rate monitor ($60.00) and Foot Pod ($69.99) interact with the ANT+ adapter and feed real time data into the Garmin Fit™ iPhone app, showing not just the distance you did, but how hard you worked out and how many calories you burned, so you can adjust your workouts accordingly. The app allows you to track your improvements and lets you strive for a bit harder, faster, or stronger workout. A third monitoring device made by Garmin and compatible with the iPhone hardware and software solution, the Speed/Cadence Bike Sensor, I didn’t test since I tried the Garmin solutions on internal gym fitness equipment.

Although it’s easiest to buy all your products from one place, the fact that the ANT+ adapter uses an established standard means you can interchange the Garmin Fit app and monitoring product as well as mix and match devices and apps that comply with ANT+. Standards are always easier to work with than proprietary solutions. Many gym devices already support ANT+ so you may not even need additional equipment besides the adapter.

While I am by no means a runner or fitness guru, the combination of the hardware and software gave me the data I needed in a way to understand it in order to improve my workouts and increase my cardiovascular fitness while losing weight.

Before I got the Garmin solution, I used a separate heart rate monitor with a watch. This was very difficult to use because any tracking required me to type the information into another application and that data was only a summary. I couldn’t see exactly how long I was at my target rate or adjust my workouts to exceed my goals.

The quality app combined with the Garmin fitness solution is an excellent combination for anyone looking to monitor their workouts a bit closer to maximize effectiveness.

Pros: Easy to use affordable equipment for monitoring your workouts to maximize effectiveness

Cons: You still have to work out!

Four out of Five Dogcows

Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right