The phone can deliver a commentary as you progress during a workout, for example telling you when to run hard and when to run easy. This is based around criteria you have given the handset about your goals together with measurements it takes from the heart rate monitor and stride sensor.
The first time you use the phone you do an ‘assessment run' that gives the phone a base level from which to work when providing its coaching. And, when you've finished a run, info can be uploaded to the miCoach website where you can monitor progress towards to set goals.
The system is certainly more sophisticated than any I've seen on a mobile phone before, but it is limited. It can't do things like record elevation or provide separate timers for interval training (as the latest Ironman from Timex can), and it's a very bitty system with plenty to strap onto yourself before you start a run. And I loathe the huge arm-band for the phone itself.
No matter how dedicated you might be to your fitness goals, you aren't going to be running all the time, and the miCoach has to function as a standard mobile too. So in this respect, how does it fare?
Well, it's a tri-band handset with GPRS, and it's sensibly light, considering it's dual use, at just 80g. It's also a slider and with the number pad hidden it measures 101.5mm tall, 45mm wide and 14.5mm thick.
The general design is not unattractive. Almost entirely black, there is a grip friendly texturing on the back and on the navigation pad. The latter helps when tapping at it with sweaty fingers, and the extra large size of the navigation pad helps in this respect too.
The front fascia has shortcut buttons for music management and a workout menu as well as the usual Call, End, cancel and softmenu shortcuts.
On the music management front the usual playlists are also joined by preconfigured song groups for ‘stride', ‘tempo', and 'motivational' music (all suited to different types of training), as well as recently played and most played tracks. Podcasts can be accessed from the music menu and you can access the built in FM radio from here, too, which is very welcome. On the downside, internal storage is limited to 1GB and there is no memory expansion facility.