With all the talk about the national obesity crisis and how little Americans move during the day, pedometers have become quite the trend. They are a great way to monitor general daily activity that can help pump up what we do and how much we do -- motivating, cajoling, nagging with their step numbers in plain view.
Until now, pedometers were little gadgets you clipped on your waist. Sometimes thick, sometimes thinner, sometimes black, sometimes colors or metallic, sometimes big or small, round or square. But no matter what they were devices you clipped to your waistband.
With its thin, card-sized, smooth-faced ThinQ pedometers, Sportline has a true breakthrough. No longer are you forced to clip to your waist, but can stash it in a pant or shirt pocket and no one will be the wiser.
It's an ID-sized card that's about 6 mm thick (despite the package claim of being 3 mm). It's totally smooth with touch-sensor buttons to control its lineup of features -- steps, calories, miles, time and chronograph.
We used it simultaneously with a traditional waist-clip pedometer for comparison and found that it measured steps relatively well with a few caveats: If you are wearing looser pants or sweat pants where the pockets hang freely and move around a bit, the pedometer, of course, swings around with the pocket and perceives that movement as more steps, inflating the number. If you try to wear it on a lanyard on your neck, as one suggested application in the manual, it really inflates the steps because of the swing of the lanyard. It also must hang vertically and not nest horizontally or flat to allow the mechanism to swing and measure steps. Best way we found was tucked inside a pant or shirt pocket that held it more snugly and maintained a vertical position. That allowed it to measure true steps and steps alone.
Just like many other pedometers, it won't register steps until you reach five, thereby trying to eliminate general jiggling or movement such as around an office that isn't really a step. Distance will, of course, only be moderately accurate unless you set your stride length; otherwise, it will guesstimate using the approximate formula of 2,000 steps being about a mile.
Nicely, the smooth face meant the buttons didn't get pressed inadvertently during wear although sometimes the reset button seemed a little finicky.
And, OK, call us dumb, but we like the fact that it comes in colors (orange, lime green and blue), that it's simple to setup and use, and that the digits are large and easy-to-read at a glance.
We like this product despite the above caveats because of the way it breaks away from the traditional. If you want laboratory exactness, you won't get it. No pedometer can truly give you that. But if you want to get a general idea of how much you move and don't want something clipped to your waist (and have a pocket to put it in), this may be for you.
SNEWS® Rating: 3.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $30
For more information:www.sportline.com