It looks like the early smartwatches have been split into two camps. On one hand, we have watches like the Galaxy Gear and Pebble that aim, with varying degrees of success, to put basic smartphone features on your wrist. Then we have wearable fitness trackers that are gradually sprouting screens and becoming more like those straightforward smartwatches. Today Adidas added to that list with one of the smartest fitness watches to date, the miCoach Smart Run.
The miCoach Smart Run is obviously designed for the serious runner. We're looking at features like a heart monitor, the ability to play MP3s, and even a virtual coach shouting at you (or perhaps speaking politely) through your connected Bluetooth headset.
The Adidas watch also, of course, tracks the basic stuff, like speed, distance, and route, courtesy of built-in accelerometer and GPS. Like most smartwatches, it gives your wrist a gentle vibration to let you know to look at its 1.45-in. color touchscreen. Unlike most other smartwatches, though, it's a standalone device, and doesn't require a constant smartphone connection to be useful.
Adidas is pitching the watch as your go-to accessory for interval training. Much like that pesky treadmill at the gym, the miCoach Smart Run breaks your workout down into four color-coded zones. Doing green zone speed during the red zone part of your workout? The watch will vibrate or speak to you (if you're toting that Bluetooth headset) to tell you to put on the brakes.
In terms of hardware, that 1.45-in. screen has a pretty low resolution, at 184 x 184 (just 179 pixels per inch). The watch weighs 79 g (2.8 oz), and is pretty beefy, at 15.6 mm thick. It has a stainless steel face and a silicone strap. Adidas estimates a mere four hours of "training mode" battery life, though that supposedly extends to eight hours if you adjust the data computing to once every five seconds.
This definitely looks like being one of the most advanced wearable fitness trackers, but we'd also expect to see many more devices like this within the next year. Another factor to consider is whether you'll eventually be buying a more general-purpose smartwatch. Current offerings from Samsung, Sony, and others include some fitness tracking apps, and the next round will likely add more advanced sensors and software.
The Adidas miCoach Smart Run will be available this November for US$399.