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Are NordicTrack’s latest smart dumbbells as smart as they look?


NordicTrack is not new to the world of adjustable dumbbells. But it’s smart iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells, released earlier this year, have a unique feature: they are voice controlled. By connecting the dumbbells to your Alexa device, you can instantly change the weights with a simple command.

Traditionally, adjustable dumbbells have dials on the side that you have to adjust manually, so I was excited to try smart dumbbells, as they are still a relatively new concept in the fitness world. Having recently tested various adjustable dumbbellsI had a clear idea of ​​what to look for when choosing a good pair and how the iSelect compares to its more mainstream competition.

So, do the NordicTrack iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells live up to expectations? Read on to learn more about how they work and whether they’re worth it.

To like

  • The square shape makes them easy to hold
  • You can change the weight with a digital dial
  • Customize your weight programs via the iSelect app

Do not like

  • Can be bulky for some exercises, such as overhead presses
  • Wi-Fi and Alexa at dumbbells can be an issue, depending on proximity
  • The voice command function may be late
  • You need to buy an Alexa device separately if you don’t have one

How we tested

Adjustable dumbbells are convenient because they save space while giving you multiple sets of weights at once. Nordictrack has stepped it up by adding smart technology to its latest version of adjustable dumbbells. During the tests, I looked at several aspects:

  • Ease of use: We tested how easy it was to change weights using the voice command option as well as the manual dial.
  • Materials: We looked at the quality and durability of the materials that make up the dumbbells, as well as the stand they sit on.
  • Comfort: We observed how comfortable the dumbbells were to hold, as well as the design of their handle. Additionally, we looked at how the dumbbells held up during certain exercises and whether they felt secure even at the heaviest weight.
  • Weight scale: We judged whether the NordicTrack iSelect offered a decent weight range to replace various dumbbell sets.
  • Smart features: Since this is a smart dumbbell, we looked at the versatility of the smart features and their ability to compete with the competition.

Read more: Best Adjustable Dumbbells For Home Weight Training

Cost and what’s included

Generally, adjustable dumbbells can cost you between $200 and $500 or more, depending on the weight range and brand. The iSelect adjustable dumbbells cost $599, or you can choose one of two payment plans: $50 per month for one year or $16 per month for 39 months.

The dumbbells weigh between 5 and 50 pounds, which is standard for most adjustable dumbbells. This set comes with a tray that needs to be plugged into an outlet in a room where you’ll have a decent Wi-Fi connection as well as an Alexa device. The tray also has a tablet holder that you can attach if you plan to stream your workouts from a tablet or smartphone.

If you don’t have a Alexa device, you may find it disappointing that it is not included in your order. While the Alexa isn’t usually too expensive, it’s still an added expense you’re probably not looking to pay after shelling out $600 for the dumbbells.

Along with your iSelect purchase, you’ll receive a free 30-day iFit Family Membership, which gives you access to many live and on-demand programs. workout class directly through the iFit app. After the trial, you have the option to keep the subscription for $39 per month. I should note that an iFit subscription is not required to continue using the dumbbells.

How iSelect dumbbells work

An example command asking Alexa to change the weight of the dumbbell.

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

Before we get into the setup process, some good news: you don’t necessarily need an Alexa device to use these dumbbells. The iSelect adjustable dumbbells have the ability to change the weight manually using a digital dial knob that sits on top of the rack. I found this to be my favorite way to change the weight anyway, as it changes quickly with just a twist of a dial. However, if you want to use the voice control option, you will need an Alexa device. To do this, you’ll need to follow the instructions that came with the order to set up the dumbbells through your Amazon account, which is also linked to your Alexa device.

This can be tedious, as you need to make sure that wherever you choose to put your dumbbells, you not only have access to a power outlet, but also a good Wi-Fi connection and an Alexa device nearby. This can be a problem for anyone who doesn’t have their Wi-Fi or Alexa set up in the same space. If Wi-Fi or Alexa is too far from your dumbbell setup, the voice command option can still be used, but the connection may be spotty. I set it up in my living room, which has the best Wi-Fi in my house as well as an Alexa.


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Once you’ve run the tests to make sure your Alexa device can connect to your dumbbells, you’re ready to start using them.

You’ll also want to download the iSelect app (available for iOS or Android), which will let you set up your own custom weights. This was my favorite feature when using the weights because through the app I was able to customize the weights for 15 different exercises such as bicep curls, deadlifts, squats and bent rows .

To use the voice command option, you need to say things like “Alexa, change the weight to 40 pounds” or “Alexa, reduce the weight by five pounds.” If you choose to use the custom weights option, you can say commands like “Alexa, set the weight to the bicep curl,” and the dumbbells automatically change to the weight you programmed for the bicep curls.

When I first tried the voice command option, I found that there was a lag of about 6 seconds between the command and the weight change. Once the machine warmed up, the dumbbells received commands a few seconds faster. There were still times when it looked like Alexa would get confused and not follow through with the command.

Space required

What I liked about the setup of these dumbbells is that even though the rack seems bulkier than other adjustable dumbbell racks, it fit easily into my apartment. These dumbbells measure 7.28 inches by 7.28 inches, so they take up minimal space. This makes them ideal whether you live in an apartment or a house as they don’t require a lot of space.

Training programs available

Are NordicTrack’s latest smart dumbbells as smart as they look?

Romanian deadlifts were easy to do, thanks to the square shape of the dumbbells.

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

While you don’t have to be an iFit member to use the dumbbells, it’s a good option to have if you want to try weight training classes. I have personally used the dumbbells with my own strength training program and found them to work well with the exercises I was doing. The shape of these dumbbells made them more comfortable to hold in front of my body when doing Romanian deadlifts, goblet squats, and front squats compared to other adjustable dumbbells I’ve used in the past. I appreciated that you weren’t locked into a program to use these smart weights and that you could use them however you wanted.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages:

  • The square shape of the dumbbells is more suitable for exercise than the traditional adjustable round dumbbells.
  • These dumbbells are comfortable to hold for most exercises.
  • Have options to use both voice control and a manual dial to adjust the weight.
  • The ability to customize your weights via the iSelect app.

The inconvenients:

  • The price is a bit high compared to other adjustable dumbbells.
  • The “smart” aspect isn’t as versatile as I would have liked (it doesn’t count reps or correct form).
  • There is a slight rattling noise that appears as the weight gets heavier.
  • The Alexa voice command option does not always work well.

Comparison of other smart dumbbells

With the rise of smart home gyms, it’s only a matter of time before other fitness brands jump in and start making unique smart gym equipment. Although there aren’t many, brands other than NordicTrack that currently offer smart dumbbells include JaxJox, Mirror, and Tempo Move. Compared to these, the NordicTrack iSelect adjustable dumbbells look less impressive as the others have smarter features. For example, the JaxJox dumbbells can track your reps and sets while the Mirror and Tempo Move dumbbells can correct your form during a class using sensors and AI technology, although you have to own the whole system. smart home gym.

While I liked being able to customize my weights, I wish the NordicTrack iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells offered a bit more with its smart features. For example, it would have been great if the weights or the iSelect app could determine when it was time for me to increase the weights if they detected that I was using them regularly. After all, if I’m going to use smart dumbbells, I’d like them to challenge me.

Final Verdict: Should You Buy?

Any fitness equipment of this nature is going to be an investment. It all depends on your budget and the features you want (including smart capabilities).

The NordicTrack iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells are a solid pair of dumbbells, priced on par with their competitors, and they get the job done during strength training, with a big advantage being their square shape, which is different from traditional dumbbells. But as “smart” dumbbells, they’re no match for the competition – they only have one smart feature, Alexa voice control, and it’s spotty at times. If you don’t mind the lack of smarts and are primarily looking for a great adjustable dumbbell, these might still be a worthwhile purchase for you. But if you’re hoping for the latest smart fitness gadgets, you better look elsewhere.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

CNET

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