Review Price free/subscription
Samsung SGH-F110 miCoach
I can't understand why people like to listen to music when they are running. For me one of the great things about running is being in an outdoors environment.
I run off road whenever possible, and so have wildlife to look at. Road runners get pavements and cars which is far duller, and maybe for them music is a welcome distraction - though I'm not sure about the safety aspect of running in a bubble.
On the other hand I always run with some sort of GPS system. I like regular alerts at km or mile markers, to know my current speed, and to record overall info on distance travelled, average speed etc after a run. My current setup is a Timex Ironman watch with separate GPS antenna strapped to my arm, and a heart rate monitor too if I want to use that.
The new miCoach from Samsung is an attempt to capitalise on the current trend for fitness gadgetry. It is not the first phone to offer extras for those interested in fitness. See, for example, Nokia's 5500 Sport which I reviewed way back at the tail end of 2006.
But the miCoach, which is co-branded by adidas, comes with a bundle of kit and pretensions to be a fully fledged coaching system.
In the overly large box you get: the phone itself, a heart rate monitor and a stride sensor as well as the obligatory armband for the phone. The heart rate monitor goes around your chest, and isn't much different to others I've used. It is powered by a flat round battery and sends information to the phone by Bluetooth. The stride sensor is also powered by a flat round battery and sends info to the phone by Bluetooth. It threads through the laces of one of your running shoes and sits there as you run.
Now, the stride sensor is the piece of the puzzle that measures distance travelled. On my couple of test runs it seemed to be more accurate than the system used on Nokia's 5500 Sport, which relies on a standardised stride length.
Off-roaders in particular tend to find that standard stride lengths just don't work for totting up distance travelled, and the miCoach stride sensor may well be more appropriate for that kind of running. However, I think I still prefer a GPS for total accuracy.