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Health & Fitness

SmartRope Review

Does your jump rope need to be ‘smarter’?

Black Tangram Factory SmartRope for physical exercise and fitness. Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

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  1. Product image of Tangram SmartRope

    Tangram SmartRope

    Pros

    • Feels durable

    • Offers helpful workout tracking features

    Cons

    • LED display is difficult to read

    • Discourages proper form

Jumping rope is a great way to get your heart pumping and improve coordination during a full body workout. And while any jump rope is fine if you want gear that can deliver a quick hit of cardio anywhere, the Tangram Factory SmartRope promises to give your next workout a futuristic, technical edge.The section of the rope that meets the pavement is packed with LED lights that enable it to project statistics like number of jumps and workout duration before your eyes as you hop. But is this smart rope really any better than any “dumb” jump rope you can buy? Because of its finicky display and design that encourages poor form, unfortunately not.

What is the Tangram Factory SmartRope?

Person using the Tangram Factory SmartRope to exercise indoors.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

With the Tangram Factory SmartRope you can track your health data with the help of the Smart Gym mobile app.

At first glance, the SmartRope looks like any basic rubber jump rope you might find lying around a gym floor or your basement. But once you start using it, its high-tech features are revealed, most notably its “smart” LED display. These LED lights are located in the center of the rope and project your workout statistics midair in front of you, so (in theory) you can see your jumps taken, calories burned, and time spent exercising in real time. These statistics are also recorded and stored on a phone-based app that connects to the rope, so you can review the data when you finish your session.

The SmartRope’s handles are designed to make your workouts more comfortable, and are packed with features that you can’t see. Each one contains ball bearings to aid in rotation as you hold your hands steady, allowing the rope—which is attached at a 45-degree angle—to spin more smoothly.

It's no surprise that you’ll pay a price for the SmartRope’s high-tech features. While a basic jump rope from Amazon costs less than $10, the SmartRope will run you $80. This is on par with other high-end jump ropes (yes, that’s a thing), such as the weighted jump ropes from Crossrope. Its “Get Lean” set, which includes a ¼- and ½-pound rope and a smart feature that counts your jumps, costs $120.

What I like about the SmartRope

It’s a high quality jump rope

I was impressed with how sturdy the plastic rope was and how smooth each jump felt.

If you’re like me, the last time you jumped rope may have been as a kid, using a rope made of rubber cord with hollow plastic handles. Based on aesthetics alone, the SmartRope’s design is a major upgrade. The plastic rope itself feels dense and durable, like it’s made to withstand years of frequent use. The handles rotate smoothly as advertised, and though made of plastic, don’t slip during sweaty hopping sessions.

The SmartRope comes in different lengths for people of different heights to avoid injuries or strain from excess slack or a too taut rope. Size small suits jumpers from 4-feet-11-inches to 5-feet-5-inches tall, size medium is for those 5-feet-5-inches to 5-feet-9-inches tall, and large fits people 5-feet-9-inches to 6-feet-3-inches tall.

The stats tracking can be useful

I enjoyed using the SmartRope’s tracking features for post-workout analysis. Having statistics like jumps completed or workout duration recorded on my phone made it easy to challenge myself to jump faster and longer than my previous session. As I tested, I was able to see myself improving by reviewing my progress week after week. I didn’t have any issues with or doubts about the accuracy of the timers or jump counts—I counted my jumps manually and set a timer on my phone to test these features.

What I don’t like about the SmartRope

It’s hard to set up and use

Person holding smart phone in one hand to operate the SmartRope app and SmartRope in the other.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

While the SmartRope app has major appeal, pairing it to your compatible smart device proves to be more difficult than advertised.

Though some of the smart features are helpful, taking advantage of them isn’t as easy as picking up the rope and jumping. From the get-go, the rope was difficult to pair with its companion app on my iPhone 13. I was able to get the two to sync after a few attempts, though, and from there navigating the app wasn’t too difficult.

However, the SmartRope’s main selling point, the LED display, doesn’t appear as clearly as advertised and is also difficult to use. The instructions say to hold the handle with the SmartRope logo in your left hand with the logo facing up towards the ceiling. Even though I followed these instructions, it took quite a bit of fiddling with every time I worked out to get the LEDs to display in front of me around eye level. And even when I was able to see the projection, it almost always flashed too quickly to read clearly.

It doesn’t encourage proper form

After watching some videos from Tangram Factory to troubleshoot the LED display issue, I found that I could better see my statistics after adjusting my grip and positioning my elbows and hands further away from my body. This new stance allowed me to read the display more easily but it didn’t feel natural and isn’t considered proper form. When jumping rope, you want to stand up straight, engage your core, keep your shoulders back and relaxed, and keep your arms close to your body. Doing this and moving the rope with a flick of your wrist will allow you to engage the muscles in the rest of your body, and you’ll avoid tiring out your arms. Sacrificing proper form to see SmartRope’s display didn’t feel like a worthwhile tradeoff: I didn’t want to awkwardly jump rope to justify the cost of the item.

Is the SmartRope worth it?

No, it’s not worth the money

Though it’s a cool concept, the SmartRope’s display doesn’t function well enough to be worth the price. It’s difficult to get the LED projection to appear, and even when it works, it’s difficult to read. The app-based jump/calorie/time tracking is helpful for post-workout analysis and might be a selling point to some. But when a regular jump rope costs less than $10 and you can use the timer on your phone or just count your jumps out loud to track your workouts, you can feel fine skipping out on the SmartRope.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

  1. Product image of Tangram SmartRope

    Tangram SmartRope

    Pros

    • Feels durable

    • Offers helpful workout tracking features

    Cons

    • LED display is difficult to read

    • Discourages proper form