Kinematix Tune wearable running companion – review
Introducing the new Kinematix Tune, a wearable activity tracker designed specifically for those who want to get the most out of their run.
The Tune offers something a little different to the wearable technology market; it’s an in-shoe running companion that goes beyond measuring the basic stats, to help serious runners get the most out of each workout.
While other wearables on the market can be used to track a run, using multiple sensors and algorithms to measure your speed, heart rate and basic fitness stats, Tune goes further.
Tune is an in-shoe monitoring device that links to your phone – yes, it’s another one of those trackers which necessitate your having to have a phone with you while you go on a run – to provide real-time analysis of how your workout is progressing. While it may not be ideal to have to take a phone with you, what this wearable lacks in practicality it makes up for in functionality.
The complete Tune package comprises two sensor insoles which fit underneath your shoe’s regular insole; these are linked to two electronic side clips equipped with accelerometers that store data collected from the sensors.
The insole sensors measure each foot’s ground-contact and heel-contact time separately, as well as cadence or stride-rate, while the accelerometer provides information on speed and angle of each leg’s front and back swing.
During a workout the information from the insoles and clips is sent to an app downloaded onto a phone or smartwatch, the data is relayed in real time via headphones and analysed at end of the workout to create a personal statistical profile.
So how does Tune differ from other wearable on the market? The in-shoe sensors are a first among fitness trackers, and mean that the device can not only analyse your workout, but will also give you tips to improve your technique.
By monitoring both feet at the same time the Tune allows for the detection of asymmetries between the left and right feet – if you are running more on one side than the other, this little guy will not only be able to tell, but will also help to improve your running style using customised workout routines based on your data.
Yes, while it is largely a running tracker, the Tune also inspires you to take some time do engage in other workouts – all designed to help improve your fitness and avoid injury on the track.
It does take a little while for the Tune to get to know you as a runner though, and so for the first four weeks the in-app training programme gives generic activities to complete over the course of the seven says – squats, side lifts, and tiptoed lunges are just a few of the activities you can expect to be treated to. Once you have completed a month of generic exercises, and committed to a couple of runs a week, the app will then offer personalised training advice.
If you’ve got a weak left knee, or are a bit heal heavy on your right foot, the Tune will have clocked this during your weekly runs – it will then, in theory, offer personalised fitness advice to help address these weaknesses. Exercises to help strengthen your left knee, or if you are guilty of high-impact running, extra tiptoe lunges to help, quite literally, keep you on your toes.
It also allows you to develop a personalised running plan based on the analysis of your personal profile and the evolving patterns detected during runs and training. The overall theme here is - the better your running technique is, the better your results are, and with fewer injuries.
How do we rate it? Pretty high, actually, but nothing is ever perfect.
I have a couple of issues with the overall design of the device – the Tune review guide specifically says it is designed to fit any size or style of running shoe. While this technically seems correct, I will say I found the side clips a little uncomfortable – curiously, only on the one side, but slightly uncomfortable nonetheless. It could be a one-off, or maybe I am little sensitive, but I think this is something to bear in mind before investing in one of the devices.
I also had one or two teething problems.
The first time I took my Tune out for a spin I didn’t properly read the instructions, I had assumed that I could go for a run, then come home and download the data onto my phone. No such luck, as I pointed out before you need to have your phone on you. So other than being good for my overall wellbeing, my very first 2.5km run was a complete waste of time.
Then there was trying to run with my phone in my hand, or placed in a horribly uncomfortable money belt just below my heaving rib cage; this didn’t go so well either. Eventually I invested in one of those fancy armband phone holders that seem to be all the rage among fitness fanatics and I got on much better.
The weekly exercises were a nice addition to running, too. It serves as a bit of an incentive to work out, as the app gives you a goal of how many exercises need to be completed in any given week. The app comes complete with handy video demonstrations of each exercise, which help to ensures that you keep proper form and avoid injury.
To be clear, this obviously isn’t a wearable for someone who doesn’t want to go out for a run – there’s no daily activity count or sleep tracker – it’s a running companion, pure and simple. Unless you want to analyse a run or a walk, it doesn’t have much to offer. If you enjoy running, and want to help build your strength, or incorporate more serious running into your exercise routine then this could well be the wearable for you.