Seems like there’s a recent ruckus centering around the new Nike + iPod Sport Kit; apparently, everyone wants in on the Apple branding, so I expect we’ll see more iPod "add-ons" in the future. Don’t get blinded by the brand, however; there are plenty of alternatives to these value-adds. Take the Adeo device from Motion Lingo, for example. I was lucky enough to get a review unit from the fine folks at Motion Lingo and I wouldn’t trade this for 3 Nike + iPod Sport Kits! Besides what would I do with three of ’em anyway? ;)
Follow along as I take you through Adeo, which I think is a much better choice than the recent Apple & Nike offering for most people…
First of all: what is the Adeo? At it’s core, this is a small GPS device for various workouts that is compatible with PCs and Macs. Size-wise, it’s roughly 20% wider than a iPod nano and about twice as thick; see the pictures for comparison.
The size per Motion Lingo is 3-inches x 2-inches and a tick more than half an inch thick. On the top is an antenna nub for the GPS features and there are two headphone jacks. Yes, I said two headphone jacks. More on the reason why later.
Inside there is a rechargeable LiON battery that fully charges in about six hours. Charging is done via the USB port on the bottom of the device next to the power button, and a USB cable is included. You’ll be connecting the Adeo to your PC or Mac to program it for workouts and more importantly, to capture and record your workout data.
On the right side are three soft buttons, each of which has different features depending on the mode the Adeo is in. Essentially, the top button acts a Select action, the middle button is a Scroll action and the bottom button is a Back button. On the left side are two additional buttons; one to Start or Stop your workout and one for Lap splits.
So what’s with the two headphone jacks? Glad you asked! Like the Nike Sport Kit for the iPod, the Adeo itself doesn’t actually play any music and we all love to listen to music when we work out, right? Motion Lingo came up with a simple but effective solution by essentially making the Adeo a pass-through music player. Simply take your iPod, Sansa, Zen, or *insert audio device name here* and use the included audio cable to connect it to the first headphone jack on the Adeo. Plug your headphones into the Adeo’s other jack and BAM! You’ve got your digital audio music pumping in your ears while you’re pumping weights or pounding out the paces.
Alright, so I can hear my music THROUGH the Adeo. What’s the big deal? Just like the Nike alternative, you get audible feedback over your music. The difference is that you can get much more feedback and you have more control over it. Aside from the basics of pace, calories and distance, the Adeo with its GPS functionality offers audible updates of:
- Total Distance
- Elapsed Time
- Average Pace
- Current Pace
- Peak Pace
- Distance and Pace for a particular segment of your workout
- Time of Day
- Current Elevation
- Total Calories
- Calories per Hour
- Battery Status
Additionally, you can program custom workouts via the included MotionTrak software; you runners will just
hate LOVE the Interval workouts you can program.
To help tote along the Adeo and your MP3 player of choice, Motion Lingo includes an adjustable belt that holds both devices. At the risk of giving TMI here: my waist is a svelte 28-inches so I was immediately concerned about the carrier. More often than not, items like this end up around my ankles within a half mile. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the carrier could easily be adjusted to accommodate my size. I found it comfortable and there was little to no jostling of my devices.
So how is the GPS? Well, a few years back I purchased a Garmin Forerunner to help me train for marathons. That wrist-worn GPS device caught a pretty good signal, but I often had gaps in my training data when running under a canopy of trees for more than 100 meters. I also had to let the Forerunner sit for about 15 minutes the first time I used it, so that it could find at least three satellites. Not so with the Adeo. In less than three minutes, the device proclaimed to my ears that it had found nine satellite! Additionally, I ran the exact same routes I used to run with the Garmin device, under the same sets of trees where the road was covered and not once did I lose any data. Granted, your experience could vary depending on conditions, but I was very impressed.
What about the data? Ah, that’s the best part. Upon returning from a running workout, I just connected the Adeo to my PC where I had previously installed the MotionTrak software. The data was quickly uploaded and I was treated to a variety of information; some of which you won’t get from the Nike alternative. Here’s a screen shot of the high level data. The only info I entered myself was the workout description and notes. The Adeo and the GPS added the rest including the exact time and date of my run:
You can see that the key data is easily available and there are two graphs: one for the workout and one for your shoes. I didn’t use the Shoe Log function, but if I had, MotionTrak would maintain the mileage on my shoes based on my workouts. It’s recommended to change your running shoes every 300 miles or so on average.
Let’s click that Expand button under the top graph. When you do that, you get a nice large graph of your speed during the workout, which can very useful.
See the tab above the graph? Click that and you’ll get something that the Nike can’t offer with its lack of GPS: your elevation over the course of the workout. Hmm, perhaps I should run that course the OTHER way:
The real kicker for me was then visit the Motion Lingo website to see my workout on-line. Once you set up an account, your Adeo workout data can be automatically uploaded to the web so you can view it, share it, whatever you want. Not only was the same data there, but I was shocked to see my workout route automatically superimposed on a Google Map! Here’s a clip from the Motion Lingo site with a short loop I recently ran:
The superimposed route is sometimes off the road a little on the map, but for a consumer-grade GPS device, I’m fairly impressed with this integration.
So is the Adeo better than the iPod + Nike Sport Kit? It would be unfair for me to answer that question simply because I haven’t used the Apple offering. However, I’d be more inclined to purchase the Adeo for several reasons:
1. The Adeo is a GPS device, not an accelerometer; I’d expect the precision of the Adeo to be higher.
2. Due to GPS, the Adeo can provide information on elevation.
3. Although folks are already hacking the Apple offering to work with different shoes, it is designed to work with a specific pair of shoes that are roughly $100. The Adeo will work with any shoes.
4. The MotionTrak software appears to offer more with the detailed graphs and charts. Additionally, the software has an integrated weather function to help you plan workouts for indoors and outdoors.
5. The current Apple / Nike device only works with the Apple iPod nano. The Adeo will work with any digital audio player that uses a standard headphone jack.
The Motion Lingo Adeo is available direct from the company’s website for a price of $149.99. Granted, the Nike + iPod Sport Kit is much less at $29, but you do need the $100 shoes OR the ability to adjust other pairs of shoes. Additional voices are available for purchase at $4.99.
As a former marathon runner and current cyclist and recreational runner, I can see a huge benefit for many people like me using this device. If you’re at all interested in increasing and monitoring your fitness level, the Adeo is definitely worth a look.
As always with reviews, if you have specific questions, just leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them until I return the unit.
Update: seems like another mainstream media outlet is mesmerized by the words "Apple" and "Nike"; when are these guys going to get out from behind the desk and join the wide world of mobile tech? ;)