Performing Enhancing Audio Research, or PEAR for short. While the name won’t tell you what exactly this product is for, a quick reveal of the box’ contents quickly show which market this product is for. Eschewing all of the marketing speak, think of PEAR Training Intelligence as a runner’s kit that contains three items: a Bluetooth heart rate monitor, a pair of in-ear stereo headphones and an iOS application. What exactly makes PEAR an “Intelligent Trainer”? It relies heavily on the concept that in order to create an effective running program, the runner’s heart rate needs to be in-tune and calibrated with the training program. Training based on one’s heart rate monitor is one of the oldest and most reliable way athlete trains, and while PEAR isn’t the first to offer a heart rate based training kit, they claim that theirs is the easiest to use for both beginner and heavy runners alike.
Made specifically for use with iOS powered devices, the PEAR heart-rate monitor uses the low-power Bluetooth 4.0 standard which makes the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 perfect companions. The iPhone 4 and older models, which has Bluetooth 3.0, won’t work with the PEAR heart rate monitor. The PEAR heart rate monitor is simple to operate; just moisten the contact points of the strap, attach the heart rate monitor to the strap and then wrap it around your chest. Accuracy of the PEAR heart rate monitor is spot-on as I was able to compare it with my own Garmin branded heart-rate monitor, both had roughly the same result during a typical running session.
The in-ear headphones sound quite good and are on-par with earphones priced in the Php 2,000 to Php 2,500 price range. Sound is rich with a more neutral sounding bass which is a huge plus for me as I’m not a fan of earphones that have too much bass. Also, runners typically listen to audio books during training and having an earphone that specialises in clarity rather than bass is a huge plus as spoken words sounds better on non-bassy sound. The in-ear headphones also has a three-button mic which is MFI (Made for iPod) certified, being MFI certified means that the three-button mic works perfectly with all iOS devices.
The PEAR iOS app is the heart of PEAR’s Training Intelligence system. On my first time using the PEAR system, the PEAR app asked me to create a user profile which included my weight and height, I then proceeded to do what PEAR calls a “Calibration” run which would give the app an idea how fit I am. The calibration run only took 20 minutes and involves audio queues prompting me to do intervals of running and walking. After calibration, I was then prompted to select a training method (beginner, intermediate, etc.). Whichever training method is chosen, the pace of each run will be tailor-fit based on whatever my heart rate was during the calibration run. In essence, the PEAR app was the one that was setting my heart rate zones. In addition to the heart rate, the PEAR app also uses the GPS of the iPhone to track speed and distance which it also factors in formulating a good training pace.
I admit, I’m not one to do a bunch of research on running and training, I’m lazy that way. I appreciate how PEAR was able to create a training for me in just a short 20 minute training session, makes me wish I already had this when I started running a year ago. I feel the heart rate based training and the audio queues from the PEAR app was a great help during the times that I used it. I didn’t have to think of anything, just strap on the PEAR heart rate monitor, plug-in the headphones, fire-up the app and start running.
The PEAR app is a free download and the way it can get you up and running, no matter what fitness level you are, is a huge convenience. But what made the PEAR app really compelling for me was the large number of other training programs that I can download for it. From stretching exercises, bike training, 10k races to a full blown marathon, the PEAR app has an almost complete selection of different training methods to choose from. Half of the downloadable trainings are free while some can be downloaded for a fee. Honestly, I found some of the paid training program a tad too expensive (price ranges from $19.99 to $49.99), fortunately, the free training programs are plentiful and are actually quite good that I was happy with using the free ones. Although, there were a couple of paid ones that piqued my interest; the “Busy Person’s Half Marathon” which was being sold for $19.99 in particular seemed interesting. The only complaint I have about the PEAR iOS app is that it is still not optimised for the bigger screen of the iPhone 5. It still works fine on the iPhone 5, but it’s just weird using an app that doesn’t go full screen on the iPhone 5.
Take note though, while the PEAR app is free, the app won’t run if it doesn’t detect the PEAR heart rate monitor connected to it. I tried using other brands of Bluetooth heart rate monitor but I was unable to make it work with the PEAR app. On the other hand, the PEAR Bluetooth heart rate monitor worked with other iOS running application like Endomondo.
The means to a healthy life is exercise, and unfortunately, most people nowadays are too busy with work and travel to do any regularly exercise. This is where the PEAR Training Intelligence system comes in; while it offers a quick way for people to get into an effective training regimen, it also offers other modules for the more extreme and serious people who are ready to take the their training to the next level. Priced at Php 4,450, the PEAR Intelligence Training Kit is a good buy considering you’re getting a Bluetooth enabled heart rate monitor, decent in-ear headphones with mic and an awesome iOS app. That’s not even counting all of the health benefit one can potentially get just by training regularly using PEAR.
All Beyond the Box, Digital Hub, Digital Walker, Toby’s and Runnr outlets
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