A while back, I was offered an opportunity to take a look at Tigra’s Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor ($99.95); an optical heart rate sensor that tracks cycling cadence and functions as a foot pod!
Usually you’d have to cough up a small fortune to purchase all three devices but Tigra Sport clearly wants to give consumers the best bang for your buck.
You might not have heard of Tigra Sport because the company is more well known for making accessories such as arms bands and bike mounts for smart phone devices.
I had the Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor for a while now and here’s what I have to say. The Tro 3-in-one fitness sensor was provided in return for an objective review.
- Chest-strap free heart rate readings
- Measures candence and functions as a foot pod
- Syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth Smart
- Removable soft silicone shell
- 2 sizes of velcro straps included
- IP68 waterproof
- Powered by PerformTek
- 8 hours of continuous use per charge
- Works with any Bluetooth Smart Ready devices on Android and iOS
- Full functions supported with Tigra Fit iPhone app
- Uncomfortable to wear on lower limb
- Silicon shell is twice the size of the core tracker, making the tracker unecessarily big
- Not ANT+ enabled
LOOK AND FEEL
Now because the hardware’s optical heart rate sensors are powered by PerformTek Precision Biometrics which is owned by Valencell, its closest competitor would be the Scosche Rhythm + which also adopts Valencell’s technology.The Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor is sizeable in appearance and features a removeable core unit which slips into a silicon casing. Two velcro straps with ventilation holes are provided for fit.
The device is then worn either on the inner side of the biceps or the inner side of the leg, near the calf region according to the company’s own HR tests versus a HR chest strap.
The user guide video and pictures on the packaging shows the device being worn on the inside of the ankle; an area with less muscles compared to the calf.
A seperate piece of instructions within the packaging suggests the best locations to wear the Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor is on the inside of the forearm and calf.The charging cradle clips around the Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor and connects to any standard USB port. Battery life is rated at 8 hours of continuous usage and it’s about right.
A single button on the side of the Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor switches the device on or off. Detection and connection to iOS or Android devices was seamless. I used an Iphone 5S and Google Nexus 5 for this review. The Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor is also IP68 certifed.Like the Scosche Rhythm+, Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor features optical heart rate sensors emitting light of different wavelengths so you see the yellow and green lights versus what the green only you regularly see on other devices.
The only difference between the 2 devices, other than size, is the fact that one has ANT+ while the other functions as a foot pod and measures cycling cadence.
Heart Rate Measurements
As with all fitness devices with optical heart rate sensors, I’d compare the readings against that of the Polar H7 chest strap heart rate monitor. So here goes.
I wore the Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor on the inside of the arms around the fore arm region and went about a slow 10.5km/hr jog. Not only was I interested in the HR results, I was also keen to see how the foot pod functions would appear.
There were a few periods of inconsistencies over the 15 minutes run but nothing too alarming. The readings did look better after warming up. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Valencell backed product.
Next, the Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor was worn on the inside of the lower leg, near the ankles, and I went about my usual body weight circuit exercises.
Readings were pretty decent and should suffice for most users who are keen to get a close estimate of their HR during exercise without wearing a chest strap HR monitor.
I’m more forgiving with optical heart rate sensors when it comes to strength or circuit training that involves a lot of muscle contractions on the limbs where the sensors are usually placed; this will in turn cause a less than optimum reading.
Cadence and foot pod functions
When connected to commpatible apps like Strava, Polar Beat, Tigra Fit and even MapMyFitness, the user can tap on the foot pod and cadence meter capabilities of the Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor.
If you refer to the screen grab of my workout session with the Tigra Trio 3-in-one fitness sensors, you’d see that besides HR and pace, there’s also cadence measurements. There’s probably an incidence of cadence lock at about 14 minutes when the HR spiked to hit cadence levels.Depending on the mobile app, I was also able to calibrate the foot pod for more accurate distance measurements when running indoors.The Tigra Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor can also be used as a cadence meter when strapped to the lower limb. In my case, I used this feature on Strava mobile app. The readings were compared against that of the spin bike meter and it’s accurate.
The core tracker isn’t big and I wondered if Tigra could have shipped a sleeker or smaller case for the tracker. The silicon case is twice the size of the actual tracker.
But I appreciated the design to keep the sole button on the side rather than the front. For those who’ve used the Scosche Rhythm+, you’d know the frustration of how easily the device switched on by accident.Tigra has a mobile app that was deigned for use with the Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor. While it packed a lot of information, the UI didn’t appeal to me and I was more comfortable using apps I was familiar with.The screen grab above was taken from the Tigra Fit mobile app from the App Store. Connecting the Tigra Sport Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor to mobile devices was a breeze. I used Polar Beat and Strava mobile app for this review and both picked up the sensor easily.
TIGRA TRIO 3-IN-ONE FITNESS SENSOR IN A NUTSHELL
The size of the Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor also meant you will feel it after prolonged usage. I definitely felt it on the inside of my legs since I wasn’t used to it but wearing it on the inside of my upper arms was fine.
The device does have notable features with HR monitoring backed by PerformTek. It remains to be seen how Tigra’s device will compete against fitness trackers which already calculate HR and cadence with all day activity tracking and smart notifications. It’s a brutal market these days.
The Tigra Trio 3-in-one fitness sensor is available at $99.95 from Amazon where there’s usually a small discount, great return policy, and free delivery depending on where you reside. In return your purchase helps to offset the costs associated with the running of this site. Thanks for reading!