For the past few weeks I’ve been testing a new fitness tech idea called Hexoskin, a workout shirt with sensors built in that came to life after raising $109,000 on Indiegogo.
Wrist trackers, while comfortable, are notoriously inaccurate when it comes to heart-rate tracking. That’s fine if you’re just trying to get a general idea of how many calories you burned in a single workout, but not good for serious training.
Heart rate monitors that strap around your chest are far more accurate, but are less comfortable particularly for long training sessions or vigorous sports.
A comfy workout shirt with the sensors built in? Brilliant!
First thing I liked, the shirt was comfy! I wore it for a whole day of skiing, quite happily. The included shelf bra wasn't enough support for high-impact exercise like running. But a running bra fit underneath and the sensors still worked well.
The Hexoskin works with an app on your phone or smartwatch. The phone app was easy to read during a workout and offered up a lot of data.
The app lets you track an insane list of activities from Australian Football through Yoga and even something called 'Zombie.' Plus it has a 'fitness test' setting which I loved.
My biggest gripe: this shirt's Bluetooth was flaky with my phone. For one workout, it would pair. For the next, after many minutes of trying, it wouldn't. The Bluetooth connection was also a drain on my phone's battery, an iPhone 6s, for long workouts lasting more than three hours.
The upside is that the shirt's power pack records the workout data, so if your phone dies, you don't lose it. It can be manually synced later via a computer cable. And the shirt works with the Apple Watch and a wide variety of fitness watches. The shirt + a workout watch is an ideal combination.
Plus the app is compatible with popular fitness tracking apps like Strava, Runkeeper, Runtastic, Endomondo, and MapMyRun.
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