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08 August 2017

smart skipping ropes to running watches

The Silo Smart Rope is an advanced skipping rope that reports to a smartphone app and uses lights to display the user’s programs in midair.

HOW many times did you jump? How many miles did you cover? And did you take enough steps today?

All of these questions can be answered by the new generation of fitness technology that is both highly wearable and smartly designed.

It can come in unusual forms (meet the smart skipping rope) or improve on a classic design (like the new TomTom running watch) and we rounded up and reviewed five of the best new examples.

Silo Smart Rope

4 out of 5 stars / $129 / hardtofind.com.au

The Silo Smart Rope is an advanced skipping rope that reports to a smartphone app and uses lights to display the user's programs in midair.

The Silo Smart Rope is an advanced skipping rope that reports to a smartphone app and uses lights to display the user’s programs in midair.Source:Supplied

ADDING technology to a skipping rope seems outlandish … until you try one. Silo’s Smart Rope records your every jump and transfers vital health information to a connected Apple or Google smartphone. Its app will also recommend how many jumps you should make each day, based on your measurements and age, and suggests interval training and teaming up with friends for skipping battles. But by far its smartest addition is a strip of lights that displays your jumping tally in midair as you skip, keeping you motivated and looking straight ahead. This display can move out of sight if you move the handles around between jumps, but it’s a handy yet unexpected fitness creation and delivers a seriously heart-pumping workout.

TomTom Runner 3 Cardio + Music

4 out of 5 stars / $349 / tomtom.com

The TomTom Runner 3 features GPS tracking, multi-sport mode, a built-in heart-rate monitor, and will stream music to wireless headphones.

The TomTom Runner 3 features GPS tracking, multi-sport mode, a built-in heart-rate monitor, and will stream music to wireless headphones.Source:Supplied

TomTom’s latest exercise buddy is designed to keep you tracked, monitored, and entertained when you’re running free of a smartphone. The fitness-focused smartwatch features a wrist-based heart-rate monitor, a GPS chip to accurately track your path, multi-sport modes to track exercises including cycling, swimming, or even indoor gym workouts, and a host of training modes, letting you race against your past pace or try intervals sessions. It’s also designed to keep you adequately distracted, thanks to 3GB dedicated to music storage, which you can stream to wireless headphones. Given its modest size (for a running watch), the Runner 3 can also be used as an everyday fitness tracker, monitoring your steps and sleep. On the downside, its four-way navigation button can prove difficult, as can connecting it to a smartphone, its menu system is not always intuitive, and it won’t deliver notifications from your smartphone.

Nokia Steel

3.5 out of 5 / $230 / harveynorman.com.au

The Nokia Steel smartwatch looks like a classic timepiece.

The Nokia Steel smartwatch looks like a classic timepiece.Source:Supplied

Surely the most elegant fitness watch on the market, the Nokia Steel looks like a classic analog wristwatch. Its body appears even more delicate and refined in person, with a stainless steel case, chrome analog hands, and a plain black silicone strap with traditional buckle. Despite its looks, this watch has sensors to track sleep stages, 10 sports including table tennis, and your every step. It displays progress towards your daily step goal on a secondary dial on its face but all other information is transferred to the Nokia Health Mate app. Plus, it does all of this using a standard watch battery, which Nokia promises will keep ticking for eight months. It doesn’t record as much information as its peers — there are no incline or heart-rate measurements here — and most of its data can only be accessed from within its app.

Belkin Active Pro

4 out of 5 stars / $80 / belkin.com/au

The Belkin Active Pro Backpack is designed for cyclists.

The Belkin Active Pro Backpack is designed for cyclists.Source:Supplied

Proof bags are so much better when they’re designed for a specific audience is this smart backpack from Belkin. The cyclist-friendly creation offers a slender profile, reflective strips at the front as well as a loop for hanging a light, space for water bottles on either side, and three zipped stash spots on its exterior. Its main compartment features dedicated pockets for a tablet and a laptop, as well as plenty of space for extras, while a hidden zipped area on its back panel will let riders keep their most valuable extras secure. It water-resisting nylon finish isn’t particularly luxurious, but this backpack is pleasingly practical.

Apple Watch Nike Sport Band

4.5 out of 5 / $79 / apple.com/au

The Apple Watch Nike Sports Band features perforations for breathability that also serve as part of its closure.

The Apple Watch Nike Sports Band features perforations for breathability that also serve as part of its closure.Source:Supplied

The holy design of this Nike-branded Apple Watch band is smart for two reasons. First, the holes let your wrist breathe a little, preventing unsightly sweat rashes. Second, the holes provide a way to latch the band, with the extra tucking inside the strap. The fluoroelastomer material — also known as synthetic rubber — is also highly sweat resistant, and the band features a smooth plastic interior and a matt-finish outside for a more fashionable look. The only downside? If you get a watch tan, it might look a bit dappled.

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