A gadget in a new category designed to help you view your data safely while in motion.
There are quite a few nit picky things that are mentioned at the bottom of the review that we think would help this product really excel.
A creative new product that has tons of potential.
It is always exciting to come across an innovative product in the endurance sports world. Let's be honest, we already have gadgets for just about everything. Well, the folks at 4iiii Innovations have developed a new gadget category. The Sportiiiis Heads Up display leverages the rapidly growing ANT+ protocol (hint, hint Polar) to offer you an alternate and safe way to monitor your effort while riding and running.
4iiii has managed to cram a lot of technology and features into a very compact and light package.
The Sportiiiis are roughly 5 inches long which pairs up perfectly with most sunglasses and weigh in at a hefty 6.6 grams.
To get started using the Sportiiiis, you simply need to charge the device as well as download the software from the 4iiii website. (Mac and Windows compatible)
We have seen some "not so good" software packaged with some of the latest gadgets, but it is apparent that 4iiii spent some time on the software as well. Which is a good thing, because this is where you customize and configure all the settings.
First, some basic info to setup your profile.
You simply slide the bars to adjust your speed / cadence / heart rate / power zones depending on what sensors you have paired the device with.
From this screen, you basically have control over the entire functionality of the Sportiiiis.
The power filtering is a nice option.
This is where you adjust the sensitivity for the TipTap technology which we will go into more detail about. However, we did find that the default settings seemed to work the best.
Choose the volume and frequency of the audible Auto Annouce. You even get to choose if you prefer a male or female telling you how weak (or strong) you are during your workouts.
Once the device is setup via the software, you choose your favorite pair of shades and install the mounting clip. As shown below, it simply attaches with 2 very small zip ties.
The bottom of the device that slides in and out of the clip.
The Sportiiiis slide on and off the clip so that you can charge the device without locking down your glasses.
One unique feature of the Sportiiiis is the lack of buttons, switches, etc. The entire device is operated by their own patented TipTap technology. To turn the device on, you simply place your finger on the red button and hold it for ~ 2s, and you will hear the audible queue "Power On" and vice-versa to power off the unit.
The red circle in the picture above is the speaker which if positioned correctly on your glasses, should be right about at your ear.
We tried the unit on several pairs of glasses. One thing we did notice is that most of our glasses tend to wrap tightly, leaving little room for the LED beam to be positioned between the glasses and our eye. But, we did try it both ways during testing.
The beam is super flexible and can be twisted and turned to just about any shape you need.
The TipTap technology is pretty cool, but it does take some getting used to as most of us are accustomed to buttons, etc. If you want your instant power and are between the audible cues you have configured, you simply "tap" once on the device and it will give you that audible reading. You "tap" it twice to navigate between sensors, such as going from power to speed.
We think this new category of "Heads Up" technology that focuses on safety as well as an easier way to "see" your data is a great idea, we feel that this product can use a little refining. Some of our thoughts are below:
The LED range makes for a good system for monitoring a steady ride, but it can get complicated for interval rides where you might need 2,3, or even 4 zones, the lights can get quite confusing.
Depending on the lens of your glasses, polarized, and other options, we found that the reflection of the LEDs can sometimes appear a different color than it actually is. On most polarized glasses we found it very hard to see the lights.
Since the device is made to mount on glasses, we would like to see it scaled down a bit more. It definitely seems possible with the rapid development of downsizing of chips, etc.
It would be nice to be able to communicate with the device via an ANT+ dongle instead of having to plug it into a USB cord.
Now, with all of that said, we still think that Sportiiiis is a good product, but as with most of the first products in a new category, it could use some refinements.
TriBomb Bottom Line
A definite step forward in being able to keep your "eyes on the prize" so to speak, but we feel like a bit more tweaking is in order for this to be a real game changer in the way we display our data.