Samsung F110 miCoach (Adidas) in-depth review -

Look and feel

The Samsung miCoach is a lightweight slider phone with a robust plastic casing and a patterned grip-finish on the rear casing and around the joypad, designed to assist your grip as you build up a sweat.

 

At 80g and similar in size to an iPod Mini, the phone is a good weight and shape to be held comfortably while you’re running. It also tucks comfortably into one of those little Velcro arm straps. A volume control on the right-hand side of the phone is similarly grip-friendly and the important key functions are clearly signposted with relevant icons like a runner and a music symbol.

 

All in all, the phone is as attractive as it needs to be. The Samsung branding is clear yet relatively subtle, and the phone feels sturdy enough to survive being dropped as you take the steps of your local municipal building two at a time as you reach the crescendo of your workout.

 

Features

Although many of the features, like the camera and data speeds, are bog standard, the phone’s fitness function is first rate.

 

Samsung’s miCoach can be set to monitor a workout that suits your needs, whether you’re a serious athlete or a part-time jogger. And not only do you get running commentary on the progress of your workout at the press of a button, you can even choose the type of voice that delivers your stats. On top of that, the excellent music player is beautifully integrated with the phone’s fitness function.

 

Ease of use

With two well signposted keys providing instant access to the Workout and Music functions and an easy icon-based main menu, the miCoach is an easy phone to get around.

 

It’s also very easy to access and control the fitness and music functions while you’re mid-run with single or double key presses usually doing the trick.

 

Performance

Putting the phone’s average camera and web browsing abilities to one side, the Samsung miCoach is an excellent fitness-tracking tool.

Everything about the phone just works. It’s simple to set up and, once you’ve done so, provides very accurate data. The music player is great too and integrates beautifully with the phone’s fitness function.

 

Battery life

Although the miCoach is designed to offer low battery consumption, the battery is quite weak with only 150 minutes’ talktime and 250 minutes’ standby. Compared to the 500+ minutes that most Sony Ericsson phones offer, this is a little disappointing.

 

 Samsung F110 miCoach (Adidas) Review -
4

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:52:04 PM

10

out of 10

Performance

8

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

6

out of 5

Features

4

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

As well as identifying an unserved niche market, Samsung has delivered a superb fitness accessory.

Cons:

Although the miCoach is designed to offer low battery consumption, the battery is quite weak, and the camera and data speeds are bog standard.

Samsung is such a prolific mobile phone manufacturer these days that you’d need Derren Brown-like memory powers to recall even a quarter of the handsets it has launched in the past 12 months.

 

Fortunately, the new Samsung F110 miCoach is not a phone that anyone will forget in a hurry, because it is arguably the first of its kind on the market.

 

While other phones tend to target mass markets with popular features like music players, cameras and fast internet download speeds, the Samsung miCoach − the result of a partnership with German sportswear giant Adidas − is designed specifically for runners, joggers and keep-fit fans.

 

This distinguishes it from earlier ‘active’ devices like the Nokia 5500 and 5140, which loosely made a play for the extreme sports crowd simply because they were robust enough to withstand being dropped in a cave or rock pool.

 

Here’s where Samsung has been shrewd with the miCoach. By targeting runners and keep-fit fans, the manufacturer is certain to gain interest from serious athletes, regular gym visitors and joggers, and those of us simply looking to lose a few pounds after a period of inactivity or over indulgence.

 

Ultimately, we’re talking about a potential market of well over two million in the UK.

 

Samsung and Adidas

Samsung’s first canny move was teaming up with Adidas, a globally recognised sports brand, which immediately imbues the phone with connotations of sportiness before you even pick it up.

 

Canny move number two was the decision to package the phone with some serious fitness kit, including a heart monitor, a stride counter and a fitness software suite.

 

This is a device designed to let you keep track of your heartbeat and stride pattern while you’re running, thanks to a box full of straps and accessories. It also gives runners the ultimate (steroid-free) tonic while they’re out pounding the tarmac and running machine − motivational music. Whether it’s Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger or Kenny Rogers’ Coward of the County, everyone has a song that gives a rush of adrenalin when you’re looking to make those hard yards, and the miCoach lets you store these to your favourites, so you can access them with a single click just when you need them.

 

So, we know the phone is sportily branded, comes with a range of accessories and has a couple of neat music flourishes which could give you the impetus to go once more around the block. But just how well does the miCoach perform when tested?

 

Samsung miCoach – look and feel

If you’re looking for a phone with fashion appeal or with a great camera or music player, there are numerous options available which beat the Samsung miCoach. This phone’s killer application is its fitness-related applications and that’s exactly how it should be judged.

 

Unlike most handsets, it’s difficult to compare the miCoach with competitors’ devices because there’s nothing else quite like it out there. Nike offers a watch that can monitor your heartbeat, but it can’t make phone calls, so has no place in Mobile Choice.

 

The Samsung miCoach is a lightweight slider phone with

a robust plastic casing and a patterned grip finish on the rear casing and around the joypad, designed to assist grips as you

build up a sweat.

 

Similar in size to an iPod Mini, the phone is a good weight and shape to be held comfortably while you’re running and also tucks comfortably into one of those little Velcro arm straps.

 

A volume control on the right-hand side of the phone is also grip friendly and the important key functions are easy to find with relevant icons like a runner and a music symbol. And it’s these two functions that we concentrate on in this review, as it’s as a fitness device/music player that the miCoach should really excel.

 

All in all, the phone is as attractive as it needs to be. The Samsung branding is clear yet relatively subtle, and the phone feels sturdy enough to survive being dropped as you take the steps of your local municipal building two at a time as you reach the crescendo of your workout.

 

Samsung miCoach – environmentally unfriendly

There is one aspect of the miCoach’s packaging that is less than impressive, however, and that’s the packaging. In an age where smart businesses are cutting down on packaging to lower their carbon footprint, the Samsung miCoach arrives in a box big enough to house an Adidas sweatshirt. We know because we tried. What’s more, the phone resides in its own separate box along with the charger. The surplus packaging is designed to accommodate two accessories: the heart monitor and stride counter, which is very excessive.

 

Samsung miCoach – monitoring fitness levels

As we’ve just mentioned, the miCoach comes boxed with a heart-rate monitor and a stride counter, both of which connect by Bluetooth to the miCoach to enable you to keep track of your performance and fitness levels.

 

The heart-rate monitor transmits heart-rate data to the phone, so it’s an essential part of the package. The monitor comes attached to an elastic strap, which wraps around your upper torso so that the monitor sits snugly at the centre of your sternum with the Adidas logo facing upwards. As we discovered over a few frantic minutes in the local park, it can sometimes take a little while for the monitor to pick up your heartbeat, so you’ll have to keep adjusting it slightly.

 

Samsung recommends wearing the monitor against bare skin and also moistening the electrodes before exercising.

 

Samsung miCoach – personal trainer

As you may have gathered, the miCoach isn’t just a phone playing at being a fitness-monitoring tool. It really does cut the mustard and it’s easy to set up and very easy to use, while being educational and motivational.

 

It’s educational because most of us who run don’t really know what we’re doing in terms of warming up and pacing ourselves. Many of us will just slip on a pair of (often ill-fitting) trainers, open the front door and set off like a bat out of hell, only to find that you hit the wall about 200 yards down the high street.

 

With the miCoach, once you’ve loaded your settings and workout plan, you’ll be sent off at a pace that best suits your needs and helps ensure that you raise and drop your pace at the appropriate time, depending on whether you want to get fit, burn calories or enter the London Marathon.

 

It’s motivational because, at any point during the run, the phone can tell you the distance you’ve covered, how fast you’re running and how many calories you’ve burnt.

 

And should you need a little help from Queen, Kings of Leon or Prince, you’ve got the music player.

 

Samsung miCoach – music

As music is such a motivation for runners, the music player is the other key feature on the miCoach. And, while the player on the device may not be a market beater for performance or storage capacity, it has still integrated very well with the fitness aspects of the phone.

 

The phone’s music player, which is accessed directly via the music key, can be used like a regular music player, with tracks stored as playlists, artists, albums and genres. It can also be used as a running aid, with songs sorted by tempo (slow, medium and fast) and stride, which have a rhythm that makes running easier (songs can be downloaded from www.micoach.com).

 

And you can also store your  own favourite motivational songs, which are then accessed by pressing and holding the OK button during a workout. It’s a great music player with decent headphones, and is a real perk even if you never go for another run in your life.

 

Samsung miCoach – the verdict

As for the rest of the phone, it’s fairly bog standard. There’s a two-megapixel camera with a video player and recorder, EDGE speeds for web browsing, and Bluetooth, FM radio and email. And that’s about it.

 

However, what makes this phone great is the fact that it does what it says it will on its exceptionally large box. This is a fabulous fitness-monitoring tool that also happens to be a phone and, as such, it should be a gold medal winner.

 

Creating a workout plan with the Samsung miCoach


1. Press the Workout button (the running man icon), select Settings from the menu carousel and then Body Units and enter all of your personal information and save.
2. Choose Workout from the menu carousel and then Create Workout.
3. Select a goal category (Time, Distance, Pace, etc) and then a goal.
4. Scroll down to the second option in the list and select a Workout intensity level with Power the highest and Energy the lowest.
5. Give your workout a name, e.g. Huw’s mini marathon.

Scheduling a workout plan and check workout results


The workout plan on your calendar charts your exercise plans, reviews your workout results and calculates the total number of steps taken in a day.
1. Press the Workout button and select Calendar from the carousel menu.
2. Select a date.
3. Choose Options and then Schedule Workout.
4. Specify information about your Workout plan and save.

Start a workout


1. Attach the heart-rate monitor and the stride sensor to your trainers.
2. Press the Workout button and choose Workout profile. If it’s your first time, you can select an Assessment run to assess your fitness level.
3. Press Yes if you want to listen to music during your workout and select a music file.
4. The phone will then attempt to detect the heart monitor and stride counter by Bluetooth. Choose Yes to connect them.
5. During the workout you can press the Workout button to pause or resume.
6. You can also view your workout progress with the soft keys to monitor time, distance, calories burnt, heart rate, pace and step count. And for instant feedback during your workout, just tap the phone twice.
7. When you’ve finished your workout, press and hold the Workout button to see your results.
8. You can also rate the difficulty of your workout.
9. You can also send your results to the Adidas website and view your results on a PC screen.