The Gadget Q&A
Power up your workouts
With summer on the way, it's workout season — here are some high-tech suggestions to facilitate your fitness plans.
Get your swim on while enjoying your tunes with H20Friendly's iPod Nano. (H20Friendly photo)
Swimmers have more choices than ever for underwater music players, but two of the best options out there are the Waterproof iPod Shuffle from H2OFriendly ($139.99; h2ofriendly.com and the Finis SwiMP3.1G ($149.99; finisinc.com click on "Equipment")
The Waterproof iPod Shuffle is what it says it is: a 2 gigabyte iPod Shuffle that holds about 500 songs and has been made waterproof. The lightweight gadget clips onto your swimwear and, like all 4th-generation iPod Shuffle, can use the free VoiceOver Kit that lets you speak your request to search for your next song, so you can pause in the water after your second lap and call for a power tune to get you through your next three laps. Comes with a one-year waterproof guarantee. A kit with waterproof earphones and strap is available for $169.99.
The Finis SwimP3.1G is a 1 gigabyte music player that holds about 250 songs and clips onto your goggles. Unlike most underwater music players, it has earphones built in. But the earphones don't slip into your ear; they rest on the side of your head. As a result, the music sounds louder and clearer underwater to me than music through in-ear earphones, and there's no ear fatigue.
Motion Traxx Radio app for Android phones ($2.99; Android App Market). Get a non-stop high-energy soundtrack for your workouts that keeps you motivated and moving. You get a selection of music podcasts that you can download to your phone's microSD card.
Nike + GPS for iOS4 devices the iPhone and for iPod Touch ($1.99; iTunes App Store). Use your phone's GPS receiver to track the distance of your workout, and when you need an extra kick, dial up your favorite PowerSong to motivate you. And it's fun sharing your results with friends at nikeplusactive.com.
FOR THE REST OF US
Heart rate monitoring apps (Free; Android and iPhone). These free apps work in the same way; while the app is running, press your finger to the phone's camera. It will gauge your pulse by reading the amount of light coming through your finger (Afterward, wipe your camera lenses with a dry, soft, lint-free cloth — or the hem of your T-shirt, if that's all that's handy). Now when you're walking the dog or working in the yard, you'll know your pulse rate and whether you should pick up the pace.
Have a question about your computer, cellphone, camera or any gadget? Let us know! E-mail Eric Gwinn at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you could be featured in an upcoming Gadget Q&A column.