capsule review

Review: Adeo Fitness Trainer

At a Glance
  • MotionLingo Adeo Fitness Trainer

    Macworld Rating

The Nike + iPod Sport Kit isn’t the only accessory that looks to integrate your iPod into your workout routine. For people who want some Global Positioning Satellite functionality in a workout device—as well as an accessory that works with more than just an iPod nano—MotionLingo offers the Adeo Fitness Trainer (

). The GPS receiver features an audio interface that’s designed to work with iPods and other MP3 players to track your outdoor workouts for a variety of sports, such as running, walking, cycling, skiing, and hiking.

The Adeo lacks a screen but provides audio feedback on distance travelled, speed (current, workout average, fastest pace), time, elevation, and calories burned. The unit itself is lightweight at 2.1 ounces and a sleek 3-inches long by 2-inches wide by a little more than half an inch thick; it connects to your iPod— any iPod—via a standard minijack-to-minijack stereo audio cable.

The Adeo is designed for those who like the geographic-tracking features of a traditional GPS system but don’t want, or need, mapping or navigational capabilities while on the go. Unlike other GPS receivers, you can’t store waypoints, and you can’t see where you’ve been or see where you might go while you’re on the move. It’s not until you get back to your Mac or PC and connect to the MotionLingo Web site that you can view your course, transposed onto a Google map. This data is uploaded from the Adeo to a USB port on your computer, which also charges the unit while connected. My informal tests indicated that that the Adeo can run 4 to 6 hours on a charge, as advertised.

Adeo Fitness Trainer

My testing involved two Adeo units. The first provided such strange data that I sent a detailed note to MotionLingo’s tech support people. Within two hours a company representative contacted me by phone—unaware that I was a product reviewer—and told me that my online data suggested a defective unit. The second unit performed much better. But the rep did volunteer that, “Trees are not kind to GPS”; our subsequent tests, described below, indicated that to be true, even with a properly functioning unit.

Tracking your workout

The Adeo’s MotionTrak desktop software, bundled with the GPS, enables you to customize the updates you receive during your workout—information on total distance, elapsed time, average and current pace, and so on. This information is provided to you, through your headphones, at pre-set intervals during your workout or at the press of a button. You can choose whether time, distance, or your custom goals trigger the update, and how frequently you want regular updates. The software is easy to understand and configure, works with both Macs and PCs, and displays much of the kind of detailed workout data you would expect from a GPS.

Use the MotionTrak desktop software to chart your workout information.

You can also keep track of your workouts on the Web by registering for the free MotionLingo Web site. This Web interface is rich, providing room for notes, tracking shoe use (a thoughtful addition for a device likely to be used by serious exercisers), weather information, and a map of your workout.

Putting Adeo to use

Unfortunately, starting a workout with the Adeo can be a hassle. You wear the unit on a bulky MotionPak waist belt, securing the Adeo in one pocket on the belt and your iPod in a second pocket. Each pocket is snug, but you can’t access your music player without removing it. I had to wait between 20 seconds and several minutes to obtain a GPS signal—a frustrating delay if you want to just get going.

I also found the Adeo’s six-button interface confusing to operate, even after I’d used it a dozen times. Because the icons beside each button are small and indecipherable, I found myself referring to the “Quick Start” guide more often for this product than any other I’ve used. And the actual buttons don’t give good tactile feedback—there’s no “click” feeling to let you know you’ve actually pressed a button.

During my testing, the quality of the Adeo’s satellite reception depended greatly on where I happened to be running. In one tree-heavy neighborhood, the Adeo usually grabbed between three and nine satellite signals, but dropped them frequently. The results of these runs were, in the best-case scenarios, workout maps (the GPS data displayed on a Google Map within an account on the Motion Lingo Web site) that traced my courses accurately, but measured them inaccurately—off by at least 10 percent. More frequently in these conditions, my workout data was so compromised by the frequent pauses as to be useless. On the other hand, in open areas—town streets with only small scattered trees and buildings no more than three stories high—the Adeo’s accuracy was excellent.

The lowdown

The Adeo may appeal to runners, hikers, and bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts who work out in open areas and don’t require a sophisticated GPS with a visual interface. You can get accurate data, including split times and elevations, if your course has few obstructions. And there’s no discernible loss of quality in MP3 audio when it passes through the Adeo. However, some users may be put off by the clumsy interface and spotty GPS performance.

[ Jeff Merron is a freelance writer and senior Web site editor for 108 Magazine. ]

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Sleek and lightweight
    • Easy to configure and to track data with desktop and Web software
    • Inexpensive relative to most GPS systems

    Cons

    • Clumsy hardware interface
    • Bulky belt required for use with MP3 player
    • Works poorly in neighborhoods with lots of trees and tall buildings
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