Review of Sony Ericsson XP111 Fitness Experience Pack

Published by RunningPoint on Friday, 23 Sep 2011 15:51 EDT

When we were contacted about Sony Ericsson sending us (free of charge) their new XP111 Fitness Experience Pack for Android based devices and a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro Android based smart phone to pair it with, we were very excited. We had some good response with Ronald's running app reviews and really wanted to move into reviewing some running gear other than shoes. Thank you Sony Ericsson for giving us the chance to get our “foot in the door”.

When the package arrived, I went straight for the Xperia X10 Mini Pro since phones take some time and effort to set up and charge before they can be used. I found the setup to be very simple and the phone is remarkably small yet powerful. The screen is bright and responsive and the user interface is very simple and streamlined. The slide out keyboard is a must with a screen so small and it is conveniently laid out and easy to type on. I would be more than happy to carry this phone on a daily basis, and it serves as a great platform to use while running since it is so tiny.

Next, I opened the XP111 Fitness Experience Pack and found the heart of the system, the LiveView display. Along with the LiveView display the Fitness Experience Pack includes a wrist strap to allow the LiveView display to be worn on your wrist, a clip which allows the LiveView display to be clipped to any part of your clothing, and an arm band to put the phone in while you run.

I charged the LiveView and then set off on the adventure of getting the phone to communicate with it. I need to take this chance to admit to everyone reading that I have never owned a smart phone before the Xperia X10 Mini Pro, I have never operated an Android based device, and I have never paired anything with Bluetooth other than my Wii remotes. When I pulled the instructions that Sony Ericsson out to start the process, I was amazed at just how simple and straightforward the whole process is. First, I had to download SportyPal Pro from the Android Market. Currently, the only running app the LiveView display is compatible with is SportyPal Pro and a 1 year subscription is included in the purchase price of the XP111 Fitness Experience Pack. The setup on the phone was easy and registering and inputting the voucher on the SportyPal website was also simple.

Next, the instructions told me to return to the Android Market and to search for and download the LiveWare manager. When the download was finished, it was time to pair the LiveView with the phone. This was very simple and just entailed turning on the LiveView and turning on the Bluetooth function on the phone. They found each other with no issues so I could move on to the next step, installing the LiveView application. Sony Ericsson has made this so simple that anyone can do it, all you have to do is press the select button on the LiveView and the phone gives you a pop-up that takes you to the Android Market and straight to the LiveView application. All you have to do is click install. The final step in this process is to use the LiveWare manager to search for the SportyPal Pro plugin so that the LiveView and SportyPal can communicate. This whole process took very little time and was not at all complicated or confusing, even for a first time Android user.

Finally, I was ready to put all this technology to use. I started the SportyPal app on the phone, turned the screen off, and placed the phone in the provided armband. I found the arm band & the phone combo to be quite comfortable since the phone is so small and lightweight. I hardly noticed it there at all, and in the past I have not really enjoyed running with an arm band. I chose to wear the LiveView on my wrist like a GPS watch and found that it was a very natural way to operate it. I don't think that I would feel secure putting the LiveView in the included clip and clipping it to my clothing due to a fear that it would fall off and I wouldn't notice.

I started SportyPal Pro using the LiveView and I was off for my standard 5k run. Until Sony Ericsson offered to send me the XP111 Fitness Experience Pack and the Xperia X10 Mini Pro, I had not been tracking my runs with any method other than looking at the clock before I left and then again when I returned. I honestly had some reservations that I was going to become a time and pace addict using these products, but what I found pleasantly surprised me. I found the extra information to be a fun way that I could challenge myself. It is so nice to glance down at my wrist and see different stats. It allows me to be more consistent and more informed. The interface is very natural and I appreciated not having to press some strange combination of buttons just to see the information I wanted to see.

When I finished my run, all I had to do was look down to my wrist and stop SportyPal Pro from tracking my progress. I was able to analyze my run on the spot and even go ahead an upload it to SportyPal's website. It even gave me the option to share my workout of Facebook and Twitter (which I did not use). I was amazed that I could analyze and share my run before I had even caught my breath.

One aspect that I wanted to wait until the end of the review to mention is that the LiveView display can actually control your phone and alert you to things such as new text messages, emails, and social networking (Facebook & Twitter) updates. I did not test these functions, but felt it should be included in the review that the LiveView display is a multi-function device and Sony Ericsson markets it as a “phone remote”.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with the ease of setup, installation, and the ease of use of both the XP111 Fitness Experience Pack and the Xperia X10 Mini Pro phone. I think Sony Ericsson has made a great alternative to a GPS watch for anyone who owns an Android based smartphone and doesn't mind strapping it to their arm and running with it. I personally appreciate using any device I have to the fullest extent and can see no reason why I would need a GPS watch when I can just go buy the XP111 Fitness Experience Pack at a considerable savings. Well done Sony Ericsson!!



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