Tempo Move review – iPhone-powered fitness for great value, with an even better design!

Tempo Move Review

I’ve been testing out the new Tempo Move Home Gym, which utilizes the tech on your iPhone to deliver you an at-home personal training experience, for a few weeks now. The Tempo Move costs just $395 USD and includes a high-quality set of adjustable dumbbells, Olympic-style plates, and one of the most well-designed fitness storage containers I have seen. Let’s discuss if this home fitness package could be the perfect fit for your home.

Tempo Move – Video review

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With an initial cost of $395, the Tempo Move is the first connected fitness device that I have seen at this price point to provide such a high-quality, well-designed package.

The ‘core’ is what holds your iPhone upright so that the front-facing camera can be used with the Tempo Move app to provide workout feedback, in addition to connecting everything to your tv or external monitor. In addition to this, the ‘core’ was smartly designed to be completely removable from the weight storage.

  • The weight storage cabinet comes in both light and dark options.
  • The cover on the front is held magnetically in place, which allows you to open it from either side to access the weights and clips. 
  • Accessible from the top is additional storage where the two dumbbells are held. 
  • Also on top is where the Tempo Move ‘core’ sits.

This also allows you to place the Tempo Move weight storage anywhere in your room, because you can still keep the ‘core’ on top of your entertainment center. Tempo also provides a circular wood piece to put in place of the ‘core’ to make everything look as nice as possible.

What is (and is not) included with the Tempo Move

The Tempo Move includes:

  • The weight storage cabinet (2′ H x 1.6′ W x 1.6′ D)
  • 7.5lb Olympic style dumbbells (2x)
  • 5lb Olympic weight plates (4x)
  • 2.5lb Olympic weight plates (4x)
  • 1.25lb Olympic weight plates (4x)
  • Weight collars (4x)
  • HDMI cable

The weights included are enough to add up to 25lbs per dumbbell, which will be plenty of weight for many people to get started. That said, there is room in the Tempo Move to allow for their 10lb weight plates if you need them. A set of 4x 10lb Olympic-style plates can be purchased for $145 from Tempo’s website (I just used mine that came with the Tempo Studio).

By the way, the collars that are included here have been significantly improved over those that were previously included with the Tempo Studio. Not that those were bad, but these just slide and clip on a lot more easily – which can really improve your experience since most workouts require you to change weights several times.

The dumbbell/collar/weight set which is included here is easily worth over $300 on its own. So paired with the weight storage cabinet, the Tempo Move package is a good value on its own before even considering the additional functionality that is included with the tech.

Feature overview

All the weights included here are very colorful and bright to help the Tempo Move use the camera on your iPhone to:

  1. Scan your weights to automatically record how much weight you use for each set.
  2. Count and record the number of reps you complete.
  3. Monitor your form and provide real-time feedback. 

So let’s discuss each of these features a little bit more in depth. 

Automatic weight scanning

The scanning of the weights is very cool and happens quickly while you are completing each set. I found this to work very accurately, as long as I was in a well-lit room. However, the Tempo Move does seem to struggle a bit in lower light situations, specifically when trying to register the optional 10lb plates.  

Tempo has stated that they are working on being able to utilize the LIDAR that is included in some of the newer phones. Once they have that integration included, this should help resolve these low-light issues.

There is one other issue that comes along with automatic weight scanning – you are now pretty much unable to take Tempo classes with your own weights. To be fair, this will only be an issue for a small number of users who plan on using dumbbells heavier than 45lbs. But if you are one of them, you should be aware of this limitation when ordering the Tempo Move. 

Automatic rep counting

Automatic rep counting here seems to be pretty spot-on, even in those lower-light situations. I actually have never encountered a single missed rep while testing the Tempo Move so far. The only exception to this was when my kid was sitting on the sofa behind me. It seems that if someone else is within the camera while you work out, the Tempo Move starts having issues registering what is going on.

Realtime form feedback

Finally, we have automatic movement assessment and real-time form feedback, I have yet to see any device pull this off in a meaningful way yet, and Tempo, unfortunately, has not changed my mind. I mentioned this in my previous review of the Tempo Studio, but the form feedback currently is not in a great spot.

The feedback is limited to just a handful of movement faults, and in some cases, is just straight-up wrong. For example, the Tempo Move is absolutely determined that I am always squatting on my toes… even when I have my toes completely off of the ground. Other movement faults that I tested (like short depth squats or lifting with a rounded back) are not registered at all. I mostly wish at this point that there was a way to turn form feedback off until it sees significant improvement.

Future proof

The good news, and why I am so optimistic about the future of Tempo, is that all of these issues are not inherent in the actual product. They just require incremental software improvements and, unlike the vast majority of connected fitness devices, the Tempo Move may also be completely future-proof. As long as you plan to continue upgrading your phone every few years, then you should never need to buy a new version of the Tempo Move to be able to access the latest tech.

Even in just the past few months, Tempo has added support for the Apple Watch, allowing it to be used as a heart rate monitor, in addition to being able to pause your class if you need more time to change weights between sets.

When I think about value, I think about:

  • How long a piece of equipment will last before needing to be repaired or have issues
  • How much value does the device continue to have should you choose to ever cancel the attached membership subscription.

Here is where the Tempo Move really shines against the competition. The Olympic dumbbells and plates here are built to last and can easily handle 20 or more years of use.

Just as importantly, if you do not want to commit to subscribing to Tempo’s membership for those 20 years, most of the value is still maintained. You still have a great set of adjustable dumbbells, a nice weight storage cabinet, and you can still even hook up your phone to the television using the ‘core.’

I cannot think of any other connected fitness device that retains this much value without requiring a membership.

Tempo Move membership

The Tempo Membership costs $39 USD per month and includes hundreds of classes ranging from strength, conditioning, boxing, yoga, and mobility. I write “hundreds of classes” rather than thousands because the vast majority of the current Tempo Library is not included. Unfortunately, most classes were not filmed with the Tempo Move in mind and thus cannot be transferred over to the new format.

Really this is only a minor short-term concern since, with new classes added daily, it will not take very long before the Tempo Move has as many classes and programs as you could ever want. But right now it is missing a lot of the classes and programs that I feel are some of the best. Specifically, the barbell and kettlebell training are not yet available (although the company has said it is working on releasing it soon).

As Tempo builds the library back up, includes the ability to take live classes, and enables barbell training I feel the value of owning the Tempo Move will continue to grow substantially over time.

Tempo classes

The classes on Tempo are what make this all work. Forget the tech. Forget the high-quality equipment. The classes and coaches who run them are what should make the Tempo Move a must-buy for many.

The Tempo classes offer what I have previously referred to as “real training”. I do not say that to be dismissive of other programs and I understand that all workouts can be considered real training. But what I mean by this phrase is that the training you get with Tempo is what you would also expect to see from a legitimate strength and conditioning or fitness facility. I cannot say the same thing about most connected fitness strength classes.

It is simple really: Programs that include progressive overload from class to class, coaches allowing for adequate rest time between sets depending on the needs and goals of the workout, rep, set, and movements combinations that make sense from an exercise science perspective. These are all evident in Tempo making its membership feel like taking a class from a real expert at home.

Final thoughts

The Tempo Move is not just my favorite new connected fitness tech of 2021, it has the potential to positively disrupt the entire home fitness industry with an over-the-top value proposition, the ability to be future-proof, and the fact that this is still a great product even without a membership.

Buy Tempo Move Here

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