Samsung miCoach Review

8
Introduction and Design
WARNING

This is not a typical PhoneArena review. One of our review professionals decided to experiment and use a different approach for describing the way this particular device, influenced his life. The main character is fictional and is intended to make your stay on PhoneArena more fun. We encourage any comments or suggestions. Enjoy!


Introduction:


All persons and events portrayed in the report are fictional and only the italic text is real data.

Name: Mike Spencer
Age: 28
Occupation: super secret agent
Company: FFI
Hobbies: running, reading reviews in phoneArena.com

Design:

6:30 AM

The sun had just risen over the horizon, a few minutes ago and was bringing a little gift of beauty and calamity to the big city. Indolently caressing every window, it was trying to remind the people of the beginning of the new day.

It gently seduced the blinds of my bedroom, kissed the rectangular black box (with dimensions 4.0 x 1.8 x 0.6 inches (101.5 x 45 x 14.5 mm)), lying on my nightstand and in this very moment, it blinked. The two-inch display with a resolution of 176 x 220 pixels became alive and 262k colors became a part of the morning. Finally, the alarm clock of my Samsung miCoach slider, made in partnership with adidas, politely tried to push me out of the bed. I reached, took it in my hand, for a hundredth time astonished at its incredible lightness (only 2.8 oz (80 grams)) and sat in the bed, in such a way as not to let the sun light fall directly on its screen. This is one of the few things that I hate about this phone. Even at maximum brightness, the screen is unusable in broad daylight.




You can compare the Samsung miCoach to many other phones, using PhoneArena'sVisual Size Compare tool.

Still sleepy, I looked at the buttons under the display. There are a total of 7 – two standard soft ones, call/end, clear and two shortcuts. The first one leads to the music player and the second one gives me access to the top-secret miCoach menu. Between those two, there is a D-pad with a confirmation button, which could be also used as play/pause for the music player. The keys lack relief, but are large and easy to press, except the Clear. Fortunately, I needed the left soft button, in order to stop the annoying alarm. I easily hit the target and used the convenient bulge under the adidas logo to push the slider up.

I ran my fingers across the canyons of the keyboard. Without purpose, I pressed few of the large buttons and they pushed back, especially the ones in the lower part, closer to the round edge. I had an important mission before me, and I still couldn’t get the thoughts in my head. They floated in a circle around the asymmetrical colors of my phone.

Its right side is white and that’s where the camera button is positioned. The upper part of the phone, including the inside of the slider when it’s opened is white as well. The charger/data/headset connector and the volume rocker are located on the other side. The last one is rugged so it doesn’t slip while I press it with my sweaty hands. It's the same story with the navigation pad and the back of the phone. That’s where the 2-megapixel camera and the speaker are residing. The battery lid has my favorite Samsung and adidas logos.


I think it’s time to stop playing with the phone and get to work. I get a quick shower to refresh my head and start dressing up. Before I button up my shirt, I have to put the Heart Rate (HR) sensor around my chest. That’s not such an easy task, since the part that goes in the front is solid (it houses a 3V changeable battery), and the other half is elastic, but doesn’t extend much. It’s pretty tight around my chest, which is somewhat annoying. Since I have a body of a Greek god, I have no problem with that, but for overweight guys and the ladies putting it on could be a real challenge and I’m sure they will not feel comfortable.

I get in my sweat suit, which I hope will make me unnoticeable in the city. I’m planning on getting the entire miCoach equip, which includes a shirt, shorts, and shoes. These clothes have special pockets for the phone, but I don’t have time now…

I put my sneakers on and attach the stride sensor, which counts my steps. It clips easily to any kind of sport shoes and not only to my preferred adidas branded runners. The sensor is powered by a battery, which is claimed to last 10 months if used regularly. Therefore, I attach it firmly between my laces, but what if I didn’t have laces and some kind of Velcro shoes instead...?

I won’t be needing the special poach, which let’s me attach the phone to my arm since it’s going to limit my movements. All I need to do is to plug in the adapter to the 3.5 mm jack and the headphones. The ones that come in the box, have good quality, but fall off very often and that’s annoying.

With this outfit, I feel ready for a hectic day. While I’m walking out of my apartment, I’m happy because I not only have such a super-light and beautiful sports phone, but a whole system, which to help me stay fit.



Samsung miCoach 360 Degrees View



Interface:

7:10 AM

I’m on the street and the fresh morning air fills my lungs. I look at my miCoach. The homescreen is taken up from a built-in pedometer, which operates without any additional sensors, but the data it provides is not precise, since it marks movement even when I move the phone from hand to hand and I’m standing still. Naturally, there is an option for a dynamic background, which changes, according to the time zone. If I pick this alternative though, there won’t be any information about distance walked on the screen, which is not acceptable for my mission.

I am very happy that I can configure the navigational button. By default, LEFT goes to “create a message”, RIGHT opens the music player, DOWN gives you access to the calendar and UP takes you to “my menu”. The latter can be additionally configured by entering it and choosing the last option. The other four offer fast access to the messages, alarms, file folder, and the calendar. I didn’t waste my time to configure them so they don’t match the rest of the shortcuts, but if a wanted to, I could‘ve had everything “at a finger’s touch”. Only the soft buttons’ functionality cannot be changed; the right one leads you to the phonebook and the left one to the main menu.


The main menu is almost similar to most of the latest Samsung phones and is a 3x4 grid with extremely clean icons. I like the “Spartan” design, but I would have liked to have the option to change it via themes. Here, they only modify the background color and that’s why I prefer to use the black and white theme.

Phonebook:

I open the phonebook, where I can store up to 1000 contacts with 2 numbers each and an e-mail. Also, I can add a picture, a ringtone and associate them with groups, which unfortunately, cannot be personalized, except by giving them a name. Searching through the contacts is done only by the first letter, which is quite inconvenient.

That’s why, I quickly close the phonebook and dial 0100 738 from the keyboard. The contacts or numbers that start with these digits, visualize on the screen instantaneously. Once again, the search is not done by the whole number and I have to enter the first few numbers. This is not that hard, since I don’t have many friends, whose number starts with 0100 738738 334.

I call HQ, but I get no answer. I give it another try and no success. They must be really busy if no one is available to receive a call from one of their top agents to be.

I open the call register, which is divided in tabs containing the last calls made, missed or accepted. This may sound strange, but according to the log, nobody has called me in the last three days.

Organizer:

I look at the calendar as well. It can be viewed by month, week, or a day, but all three are telling me that today is The Day. It is not by coincidence that I have set up a reminder and a task with all the possible alarms (5) activated too. To make sure everything goes smooth, I have even synchronized the time with the World Clock. It is wonderful that the phone has so many reminders and all of them can be found in the applications menu (except the alarms and the calendar). These are very handy, considering the memory problem I have, but please don’t mention that to the boss.






Messages:

Apparently, they have really forgotten about me. My pride is hurt and I decide to bring myself in the spotlight. That’s right, I’m gonna send them a message. Not only that, but I’ll send them an MMS with a picture of me. Yep, the miCoach lets me do that. It even has a function to send an SOS to up to five numbers when I’m in trouble. I hope this function won’t be needed today.

I think I should configure the e-mail client, which has support for POP3 and IMAP4. This is easily done, by following the step-by-step instructions, but I would rather have it automatically find the settings to the biggest mail servers. Now I’m gonna send them a letter too!

Fabricating angry messages was easy, but typing them was a real pain in the…fingers. I felt as though Samsung didn’t think athletes like me enjoyed texting. Oh, they were wrong!

7:27 AM

miCoach:

I decided to use up the negative energy for running. That always helps. Therefore, I pressed the shortcut to the special miCoach menu, which makes the phone different from all other products on the market. The first thing I did when I got the miCoach phone, was to indicate my preferred units for mass and distance. Aside from that, I entered my personal info (sex, DOB, weight, maximum pulse). I did also setup/choose the ringtone for incoming call and message as well as the voice, which would guide me, during my training. I picked the English-speaking female, even though I had always felt attracted to the French, Italian, and German.


The speaker is an important element of the system, since it notifies me of training duration, distance, calories burnt, tempo, paces made, and pulse. The phone does that when something important happens or if tapped twice on the display. On top of that, if there are preset goals, the voice helps me achieve them (tempo, distance).

Actually, the best way to plan a long-term training is via the website miCoach.com. I entered all the data (like in the phone) and information about the frequency of my sport activities. Based on them, was determined my fitness level .Then, I was offered two options, to build my own training schedule or to set the goal. The second one gives me a few choices:

  • to learn how to run (I already know how to do that, of course)
  • to get in shape and to keep it
  • to lose weight
  • to run a specific distance
  • to improve my performance

After choosing a goal, the site offers a training schedule planned based on my availability and the data I previously entered. The intensity also depends on that data. When I was finished with the procedure, I had to sync the phone with the site via the miCoach Synchronizer. Unfortunately, the adidas device does not automatically remind me of the training sessions, scheduled for the day. Moreover, the plan can be seen only in the special miCoach calendar and not in the regular one.

Another function the site has, is to help me keep track of the goals achieved. Usually, after every run, I upload the miCoach data and look at my results in the form of a graph.


Since I hadn’t any training for today, I pressed the start icon and looked at the options available. I didn’t like the free run, which sounded like I had to run for my freedom; the assessment run I didn’t need, since I knew my stats.

As far as could see, I needed to “create a training session”.This function actually is the same as the „self-propelled” seen on the site and is used for building onetime sessions. The goals and the times here are set by the individual or in this case, me. I can set various limits: time, distance (1, 3, 5, 10, 15 km and half or entire marathon (42 km)), tempo, calories burnt. In addition, the “interval” option lets me include some short-term exercises, such as sprint, mixed with breaks, building the cardio strength, legs, and explosivity. These functions are very helpful when I need to get in perfect shape.

I decided that a could go for an entire marathon. I had to wait for some time before the sensors became operational, so I made a few quick steps. Once I heard the confirmation signal in my headset a sped up. The beautiful morning saw me take off at record marathon speed.

Five minutes later, I nearly collapsed, leaning on a wall, all out of breath.

Connectivity:

7:35 AM

I was trying to get on my feet for about 15 minutes. Maybe I pushed myself too hard or it could have been the Chinese I had last night. Or, possibly foreign agents have injected me with some poisonous mixture. I should check with FFI for info on any foreign organizations having their activities in the area.

One of the advantages of Samsung miCoach is that it is a global, quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) phone. Unfortunately, there is only GPRS/EDGE support, which kind of makes browsing through web sites a painful experience.

I entered the secret web address and the page of the agency started loading slowly. Its home page is quite heavy, similar to another super agency’s (phonearena.com), but I was still surprised when almost at the very end of the process a „not enough memory” sign appeared. I had to use the alternative Google.com, where I got more than 1 900 000 results, none of which, good for me. At least I found out that the browser is very good at defining the size of the page viewed (small, medium, large),and gives me the options of pan zooming (called page pilot and not to be confused with stone temple pilots) and landscape view.

Just as a precaution, I activated a search for Bluetooth devices in the area. I did not find a single suspicious one (like Bin Laden’s iPhone, for example), which meant that I was to blame. Unfortunately, there was no way to automatically send the data from my last run to miCoach.com. I needed a computer, which to connect the phone to, using the already mentioned application, available for download from the site.



Multimedia:

7:45 AM

After I calmed down, I got up and quietly walked down the street. I felt the need for some music and decided to take advantage of the 1 GB storage for audio, video and image files. Even though there was no memory card slot, the adidas phone could be defined as a good music player.


I pressed the dedicated shortcut, although the same function is accessible from the miCoach menu and is even automatically offered to be activated during training mode. The player is very easy to use and has many options for sorting the songs. There’s even a special “tempo” category included where the phone the phone automatically takes the songs with faster rhythm and includes them here. I’m able to make a list of the titles that motivate me or to sort them by an artist, genre, album or composer.

On top of that, I have an FM radio. It’s a bit annoying that when the “virtual coach” option is activated, the voice of the speaker interrupts the music very often.

I didn’t even think to upload videos on the phone. It only supports MPEG4 and H.263 and it can’t open videos with high resolution. That was what made me listen to my favorite tunes instead.

Camera:

10:39 AM

While I was walking down the busy streets, I was nicely surprised. A person, looking like the target of the mission, appeared at about 6 feet from me. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my spy micro camera and I was not able to take a picture of the individual and send it to HQ for confirmation. Then I remembered my Samsung miCoach. I pulled it out and started the camera up.



It was only a 2-megapixel one, but fast and with many settings. I could choose a shooting mode, resolution, white balance, and ISO sensitivity. There also were a bunch of effects (black-white, negative, sepia, embros,scratch, antique) and frames available for use. I didn’t need them for the moment, but they gave me the opportunity to add an artistic touch to the pictures I took, in no way making them professional. They would have been of good use if I needed to snap a picture of a loved one, but this wasn’t the case. I didn’t really like this guy.



I quickly sent an MMS with the picture of the supposed target to HQ and was about to record his astonished expression in a video with a maximum resolution of 176 x 144, when my phone rang...



Performance:

It was the boss. For the clueless, his words were these:
“What are these images you’re sending me, you moron! Run to 5th Avenue and 104th! There’s a package for you! You’re 15 minutes late already, you dumb…”

At last! The real target was noticed and I could begin my mission. The fight on the phone was actually a secret code, in case anybody was listening.

I was impressed by the good quality of the voice I heard in the receiver. Although a little monotonous and sharp, it was perfectly understandable. I apologized politely, not to raise suspicion in the nearby pedestrians and confirmed that I was headed to the address. I hope the boss did identify my words right, since I’d noticed that when speaking with the miCoach, on the other end of the line my voice sounded very sharp and sometimes people couldn’t understand me.

In contrast to my voice, the quality of the music sound is very good, even without a headset.I played a motivating song and I ran. Luckily, the phone’s battery had a good life, providing approximately 5 and a half hours of talk-time and music listening. It was rather strange that the manufacturer had indicated only 2 and a half hours.

Conclusion:

11:24 AM

After my boss called, I felt like the Flash. I got to the address, took the “package” (a big box containing my silenced machine gun) and headed towards the apartment of the terrorist, wanted in 12 different countries. He was my final target...

11:30 AM

I walked out of the apartment building, counting a fat stack of cash, the grin on my face from ear to ear. Not only I terminated the target, but I recovered the stolen goods too. What a wonderful end to my first real mission.
Err, something started moving in my head, as if my conscience was falling in a black hole...HELP!

11:32 AM

Phew, I finally managed to replace him. My name is Mike Spencer and today is my first day as a food delivery guy. I was lucky to get this job with my fake medical certificates. There are not that many companies who will willingly hire a person with a heavy form of schizophrenia. Judging by the notes and the pictures in my Samsung miCoach, you have probably met my other half, the spy one. He is a hardcore 007 and Mission Impossible fan, but other than that is a good guy.

In reality, we both share the same passion. We love to run, and miCoach is a wonderful assistant in this activity. It not only can teach you to run, but it helps you keep up with the progress you make. The device has everything a mid-class phone needs, but is only worth the money if you are hooked like me…us. The system is a unique combination of three things – a phone, a music player, and an interactive personal trainer. The alternative solutions on the market, such as Garmin’s Forerunner line, are based on GPS tracking. This makes them suitable for various sport activities, but they can’t give you an advice while you are exercising. On top of that, in order to see my results I will have to pay a monthly fee, meanwhile, membership at miCoach.com is free. The rival web sites don’t let me make my own schedule and set goals. They don’t assist you, but only track you. If I use them I will have to carry a separate music player plus a phone, which I don’t think is very convenient.

Oh yeah, and do order from my company, FFI (Fast Food International). I’d run to you with pleasure.



Pros

  • Convenient miCoach site
  • Lightweight and nice design

Cons

  • Uncomfortable HR sensor
  • There is no automatic training schedule remainder

PhoneArena Rating:

8.5

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