Last year Under Armour and HTC announced that they would partner up to make connected hardware. This year at CES we’re seeing some of the results of that partnership: the two companies just announced an entire kit of fitness hardware.
Called the HealthBox, the kit includes a new activity-tracking wristband, a scale that wirelessly sends your weight data to the UA Record app, and a new heart rate monitoring chest strap. The entire box of devices sells for $400, and include subscriptions to Under Armour’s premium fitness apps, but the items are also shipping individually for between $80 and $180 dollars.
Not included in the box are a new pair of Under Armour activity-tracking sneakers, as well as wireless headphones made in collaboration with JBL.
We’ve spent some time with the UA Band over the past several days and have an extensive first look on that here. But the tl;dr is that it’s a $180 activity tracking wristband with optical heart rate sensors that also records a variety of different workouts. Expected battery life is around five to seven days.
The compact, Bluetooth-equipped heart rate strap that comes in the HealthBox also offers pretty standard functionality. That costs $80. And the new, $180 UA Scale scale measures your weight and body fat percentage, and then wirelessly sends it to the UA Record health and fitness app. I’ve had the scale at home for a few weeks, and while this isn’t a full review, it has its quirks. It always recognizes when different members of the household are weighing it, but initial weigh-ins are sometimes inaccurate, and its round shape means you can’t stick it in a corner somewhere.
That’s the stuff inside the box, which will start shipping January 22. Separately from the HealthBox, Under Armour is shipping its first connected footwear, the Speedform Gemini 2 sneakers. The $150 kicks are equipped with a sensor in the right shoe for tracking distance during runs. The sneaker stores data for up to five runs, and connects with Under Armour’s MapMyRun app to share the data there.
The idea behind the sneakers is to offer people the option to go running untethered — no tracker, no smartphone, and your run will still be recorded. The sneakers are lightweight and surprisingly comfortable. I’ve been wearing them consistently and almost like them more for comfort than I do for the untethered-running option. In terms of battery life, Under Armour says that the shoe pod’s battery should outlast the life of the shoe. The sneakers ship at the end of February.
And, lastly, Under Armour and HTC have teamed up with JBL to make two new pairs of Bluetooth sport headphones. Both pairs have a twist-lock design for a comfortable, secure fit, with a three-button mic and music control for both iPhone and Android. But the headphones launching initially (also, $180) are standard Bluetooth sport headphones, and a pair shipping later this year include heart rate tracking technology. Those will cost $250.
It’s definitely worth noting that none of these products are completely new innovations. We’ve seen plenty of fitness wristbands, connected scales, and sneaker sensors before, and we won’t be able to say for sure whether Under Armour/HTC’s products are better until we’ve had the chance to review them in full.
But the difference, in this case, is the combination of products and the different software applications they share to. Under Armour over the past couple of years has been building up a suite of popular health and fitness apps, including MapMyRun, Endomondo, MyFitnessPal and UA Record, and says that there are more than 157 million users across all of its apps now. The endgame is not to sell commodity hardware; it's to get people on Under Armour's platform so that they're there when the real innovation happens.