Peloton continues to take steps beyond cardio exercise with Guide, a set-top camera ($295) that brings strength training to the lineup. It’s joined by a new all-inclusive $39 monthly subscription (with a $24 introductory offer) that adds motion-tracking strength and core-focused classes to the range of yoga and bodyweight workouts. that already exist in Peloton’s digital service at $12 per month.
The Guide unit itself looks a lot like the Facebook Portal TV or your old Xbox Kinect. It has a versatile magnetic stand that can be placed on a flat surface or unfolded to lock around your TV’s frame, which should make it fairly easy to position where it can capture your workouts. It uses a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, which is enough pixels to deliver a 4K video feed of yourself. It can be plugged into any HDMI port and comes with Peloton’s recently launched heart rate monitor and a remote control for navigating menus and adjusting your TV’s volume.
Typically, your video feed will be on screen next to the Peloton trainer, so you can track and adjust your form as needed. But you can minimize yourself so it’s easier to see the trainer’s movements, if you prefer.
When you start a Movement Tracker supported workout (they’re labeled with the Peloton water drop icon to make them easier to find) you’ll see a wealth of information about what that particular workout will cover, both in terms of the muscles targeted and the exercises involved. Peloton tries to bridge a gap between regular gym goers and those of us who don’t know the difference between a hammer curl and a bicep curl. (To be honest, they’re only slightly different.)
You can preview exercises, including a quick video animation of the movement, and even see which muscle groups will feel the burn. I found a lot of it useless, but it mostly stayed away – what I wanted. I know how to do a plank, thank you.
We’ll dive deeper into the Guide soon, but let’s get into the crucial part of Peloton’s new addition, this follow-up. With a single camera, and no LIDAR or infrared, it does a great job of framing you during your workout and tracking your movements in space.
The main selling point of the Guide is that it checks your form for you. Now, I may have been too optimistic in hoping for tougher love from the Guide. I took a few HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout classes, both in person and through Zoom calls during the time of the pandemic, and I fondly remember that the trainer told me to raise my hips or retract my shoulder blades more when they did. catch me slacking off. The guide only controls your movement in the broadest sense to ensure that you follow the instructor. It won’t tell you what you’re doing wrong – or how to fix it.
However, compared to group training with a human trainer, Peloton’s tracking system still monitors you, not the others in the class. When live classes arrive in the coming months, this could all work out a bit better – the interactions with the coaches are what many Peloton enthusiasts swear by. Perhaps this could possibly offer the best of both worlds, with human interaction and guidance combined with the Guide’s more constant vigilance.
As you track exercises, the motion tracking icon fills in. Once I had completed the movement obligations, I heard a “ping” when I moved on to the next exercise. I went through three different classes, and apparently my form was pretty decent 19 out of 20 times. pretty good. I never considered myself a gym person, but I had several bouts of exercise booms. Finally, I seemed way ahead of the crowd that Peloton seems to be throwing this device at. To be honest, I wanted heavier weights and harder workouts during my demo.
The Peloton Guide is another device trying to introduce a connected camera into your home, which comes with its own privacy issues. You may be able to take comfort in the fact that Peloton says nothing is downloaded because the processing is done entirely on the device. Additionally, there’s a cover you can slide over the camera lens and mic mute switches on the back. But like Note that there is a somewhat concerning section in the terms and conditions where Peloton says it may use your biometric data (including facial scans) in the future. It could be as trivial as identifying separate users in the same household, or something else.
The company plans to add the ability to share your tracking data to speed up improvements and eliminate bugs, like those data-sharing requests you receive with voice assistants. On that note, Peloton has added a basic voice assistant, in beta, to the Guide, allowing you to pause, cancel, or control your workout when the included remote isn’t nearby or one of your children collapses during your Basic Training. It’s not the most attentive assistant, though, and I’d have to bark my controls and increasingly messy volumes to get it to work.
I appreciate the depth of data and personalization that Peloton has crammed into the Guide. During a workout, the backing track was a bit too loud for me, and despite a passing knowledge of Peloton’s software, I was able to find an audio mix option, mid-workout, and crank up the vocal levels. of the instructor. This attention to detail is rarely found in fitness videos and software. My time with the Guide was brief, but Peloton will need to make sure the Guide offers enough to justify the initial outlay and an even more expensive subscription. Can he convince existing Peloton subscribers to pay more?
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.