The pandemic was a major turning point for connected home fitness, and for good reason. However, one of the biggest hurdles for consumers was cost: There are $US4,000 (A$5,383) treadmills, $US2,000 (A$2,691) bikes, and $US3,000 (A$4,037) home gyms, not to mention monthly subscription costs and the amount of space these gadgets can take up in the home. But Tempo — maker of one of the said expensive home gyms — is now launching the Tempo Move, a new product that’s way more affordable and accessible for small homes.
The $US395 (A$531) Tempo Move is a surprisingly affordable for a connected fitness product, with a $US39 (A$52) monthly subscription. It’s a modular home gym that looks more like a sleek piece of West Elm furniture, perhaps a nightstand or subwoofer (if you get the black version). When I first saw the Tempo Move in person, Tempo CEO and co-founder Moawia Eldeeb challenged me to guess where the system was in the demo space — and reader, I honestly had no idea until it was pointed out to me.
Tempo’s pricey existing home gym, the Tempo Studio, puts LiDAR and artificial intelligence in an easel-shaped cabinet with a touchscreen display that streams workout classes. The Studio’s 3D motion sensor can analyse your form as you move and encourage you to make adjustments. The Tempo Move has some of same tech as the Studio, but miniaturizes the processing unit into a puck-sized, modular Core that can either sit atop the Move console itself, an open surface, or even be taken on the go.
There’s no LiDAR sensor in the Core, so instead, the Move relies on the TrueDepth camera in the iPhone XS/XR or later. (In the future, Tempo says it’ll utilise the LiDAR scanner on the iPhone 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max so those with newer phones can use the Move.) You plug your iPhone into the Core, which then connects to your TV via an HDMI cable. From there, you can watch your classes on the screen, while your phone gives you real-time feedback about your reps and form.
That does, however, mean the Move is limited to iOS users — at least at launch. According to Eldeeb, that’s because some Android phones are capable of LiDAR and similar camera tech, but it’s a more fragmented ecosystem at the moment. However, Eldeeb didn’t rule out the Move coming to Android users down the line.
The Tempo Move comes with 23 kg of weight plates and dumbbells. You get four 0 kg plates, four 1 kg plates, and four 2 kg plates. (Additional plates can be bought separately.) The console itself also serves as storage. There’s a compartment up top to store the dumbbells, and the fabric cover also opens to reveal a rack with several weights. The dumbbells are also “smart” in that they’re adjustable and there’s a sensor attachment that detects what weight you’re using based on the colour. The dumbbells also “spin” when you lift them, to reduce torque and strain on your wrists. In a demo, I was pretty impressed when a trainer switched up the weights and the change was immediately reflected on the screen.
Tempo’s classes are similar to the ones you get from Peloton. There’s a mix of live and on-demand classes with a leaderboard, and classes span strength training, HIIT, yoga, and cardio. Tempo says that barbell and kettlebell classes will be added to the roster in 2022. But perhaps one of the more unique things about the Tempo Move is that you don’t have to listen to the pre-set playlist if you don’t want to. Instead, you can play your own playlists from Apple Music, Spotify, and other services on your phone and the system will automatically mute Tempo’s music.
I tried out part of a session for myself and it was legit. I watched as it accurately counted my reps in real-time, and felt called out when it noted I was leaning back during a few of my overhead presses. In person, the Move console itself felt well-constructed and I was impressed with how much thought went into making something that was both functional and attractive. I also appreciated how secure the dumbbells felt. I’ve had a few dicey experiences with adjustable dumbbells — a pin once came unlatched during a chest press and trust me, it hurt. Mostly, I dug the size. Many times, testing fitness tech involves playing apartment Tetris, but I wouldn’t have to drastically alter my living room setup with something like the Move. As a bonus, I could very easily see the black version blending in with the rest of my decor.
But perhaps the most impressive thing is the price. While $US395 (A$531) is still expensive, it’s a fraction of what a Tonal or Peloton would cost you. It’s also less expensive than some dumbbell racks, which can cost as much as a thousand smackeroos. The JaxJox KettleBell Connect I tested last year costs $US230 (A$309), and its DumbbellConnect is $US450 (A$605). On average, adjustable dumbbells also cost anywhere between $US100 (A$134)-$US350 (A$471), so that’s pretty reasonable — especially given the high-tech elements. Price is often one of the most inhibiting factors when it comes to at-home fitness, so it’s nice to see a company try to make it less egregious. Hopefully, more will follow suit.
The Tempo Move is available starting today for $US395 (A$531), and comes in black and a wood-coloured neutral option. It’s expected to ship in December.