Samsung miCoach (F110) mobile phone - First Look review

Given up your January "I'm going to run more" resolution?

Thought so, and so has Samsung, which is why it has launched a new fitness focused-phone called the miCoach. But will it work? Will it have enough to offer something different to the Nike + iPod system? Pocket-lint was given access to the handset ahead of the global announcement to find out.

Called the miCoach (or F110 if you are getting technical), the stylish quad-band slider handset offers a dedicated fitness button to the right of the d-pad that, once connected to the heart rate monitor and a step counter - called a foot pod - that come in the box, gives you information about your heart rate, distance covered and time running when out on a run.

But rather than just record information to download to a computer later, the phone, through the headphones, gives you information on the fly by tapping the screen with two fingers.

Measuring your heartbeat, the phone will also tell you if you are running too fast or too slow, based on the fitness programme you have selected.

In practice and it is as easy as it sounds with you having to complete a quick assessment run so the software can work out how hard to push you in training, and that the distance pedometer is correct - after all, we all have different stride lengths.

In-run, and the phone comes with sports headphones, so they don't fall out, and the information is relayed to them upon a tap of the screen.

Information is clear to hear as music from the 1GB built-in MP3 player is interrupted when you tap. If you want to look, everything is displayed clearly on the screen and it is easy to see even when you are running.

The only caveat to this is that the screen's brightness could cause you problems if it's a sunny day. It not only smudges easily, but also isn't that bright, probably a battery saving issue.

Samsung say you will also be able to select music to fit the tempo of your running so you don't get soft melodies when you're at full speed, although on the version of the phone we tried this feature wasn't yet available.

Away from the phone and syncing it to a PC allows you access to the company's miCoach software (see link below). Although it's completely browser based the syncing software supplied by Samsung isn't Apple friendly, so a PC will be needed.

Once uploaded to your account you can track your progress, see how you've done and share your stats with other runners.

It is here the Adidas partnership comes into play and you get over 220 training programmes that focus on anything from loosing weight to running a marathon, all based around that assessment run you do at the beginning.

Rather than just tell you when to run, the software also looks at the speed you run and will show how you fared on a multitude of graphs.

Verdict

As a concept we love it. In-run and it the miCoach system is easy to use and will offer anyone looking for a helping hand in training for a race or merely just loosing weight.

The phone, as a phone, is straightforward but feature-packed with the 2 megapixel camera, 1GB MP3 player, microSD card slot for further expansion, Bluetooth 2.0 and quad-band connectivity.

So what's the catch? Well as a phone there isn't one, but it would have been great for those already happy with their phone to be able to get this without the phone element.

Unfortunately, Samsung say there are no plans at the moment to make that happen, but in reality if that's all we've got to complain about that's not bad going.

Expect this to sell like hot cakes to the fitness fraternity when it hits the shops in April.