Tempo Core review – a great home fitness entry point for iPhone owners

The Tempo Core is designed to provide the “core” of what is needed for a great home fitness routine. At just $245, the Tempo Core is one of the lowest price points available for a connected fitness product. The low price is enabled by removing all of the extras that come with other Tempo products and keeping only that which is essential. Read below for our in-depth review:

Tempo Core review [Video]

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What is included with the Tempo Core

The Tempo Core includes:

  • The Core
  • 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 

As with other Tempo products, like the Tempo Studio and Tempo Move, everything included is of very high quality and built to last for a very long time.

The weights included allow for up to 25 pounds per dumbbell, which will be enough for most to get started with. Alternatively, there is a more expensive Tempo Core Plus package, which includes a set of four more ten-pound plates and a workout mat. This $175 addition allows the dumbbells to reach 45 pounds each.

The Core is a circular disk where you must plug in an iPhone (XR or later). Android phones currently do not work here, though support for this is in development. The Core then connects via HDMI to a TV or display where you will be able to see the classes, rep counts, and form feedback.

How does the Tempo Core work?

In order to take a class on Tempo, you must plug an Apple iPhone into the Core. The Core serves two purposes: connecting your iPhone to a TV and holding your iPhone upright so the camera can be used to track your reps, weight, and provide form feedback.

The automatic rep tracking is well done and very accurate for most movements. Not only that, but with the included “smart weights,” Tempos is also able to automatically track and record the weight that you use.

The weights aren’t actually smart, but because they use specific coloring, the camera on the iPhone is able to detect them and determine the weight being used. It is a smart system that is accurate and works well. The only times the Tempo Core can struggle with this is in very low lighting.

Tempo also uses the camera on the iPhone to provide real-time form feedback. While the feedback is limited to several faults on a handful of movements, it has become more useful over the last year. Features like the squat depth tracker, and time per movement are well done and provide data that is useful to see while working out.


Being future-proof is one of the biggest reasons I was a fan of the Tempo Move (and now Tempo Core). With fitness tech developing so rapidly, many connected fitness products may only last a few years before becoming obsolete.

For example, Peloton has stated they expect their bikes to need more advanced monitors installed in three to five years – and they said that over four years ago.

Because the Tempo Core utilizes the tech on the iPhone, it will also be future-proof, so long as you continue to upgrade your phone. Not only that, but most of the value of the Tempo Core is in its high-quality dumbbells and weights. So should you not want to continue with the Tempo membership, you still have a great product (and you can even use the Core to connect other fitness programs to your TV).

Tempo Core membership and classes

Forget the tech. Forget the high-quality equipment. Forget the future-proofing. What makes the Tempo Core special are the classes that come with the Tempo membership.

The Tempo membership starts at $39 per month but is as low as $30 per month with a two-year commitment. This is half the price of Tonal, who recently increased their membership price to $60 per month.

The Tempo numerous classes and programs range from bodybuilding, functional strength training, HIIT, Pilates, boxing, yoga, and mobility. The coaches are excellent and offer what I have continued to refer to as “real training.” I don’t mean to be dismissive of other programs… I understand that all workouts can be considered real training. However, most connected fitness programs tend to be very random and are not structured in a logical way.

With Tempo, I feel like I am taking a class at a legitimate strength and conditioning facility – with reps, movement pairings, progressions, and rest that make sense relative to up-to-date strength protocols. These are real coaches. No actors. And the difference is noticeable.

Using your own weights

The one downside to the Tempo Core is that you can only use the included dumbbells. Tempo still tracks reps when using your own weights. However, since there is no easy way to manually change the weights recorded, all of your metrics will be off.

This is a shame because with the Tempo Studio, there is a way to manually change weights so I can easily use my own dumbbells and barbells if I would like to.

Since Tempo already has an integration with the Apple Watch, I wish you could manually change your weights with the watch app. This would allow those like me to use more weights than what comes with the Tempo Core. It would also allow Tempo to sell just the Core itself, which would be cheaper and more attractive for the many people who already own dumbbells.

Final thoughts

The Tempo Move was my favorite new connected fitness device in 2021. While the Tempo Core doesn’t change much, it does create a nice lower-priced entry point for new members. The quality of everything here is top notch, the classes and coaches are excellent, and the product is very much future-proof.

The Tempo Core is a great entry point for those looking to create a home fitness routine. I highly recommend it.

Buy Tempo Core here

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