Everlast and PIQ Robot Blue Punch Trackers Review
If you’ve seen our recent reviews of the Hykso Punch Trackers or even just the BoxBack Heavy Bag Tracker then you’ll already know how brands are trying to incorporate real data into the science of boxing. Now, Everlast (in partnership with PIQ) are also venturing into this market with a device they call the PIQ ROBOT™ Blue.
Chances are you’ve already heard of Everlast. Originally founded in 1910, they’re one of the most established brands in the world. PIQ are the company behind the technology itself, and have a proven track record, already having produced similar products for sports such as golf, tennis and even Kiteboarding.
About the Trackers
If you’re looking for a basic intro into the basics of how punch trackers work, we wrote a First Impressions article after our first experience with the Hykso punch trackers, which makes a good base to read first before checking out the more specific details about the PIQ Robot Blue in this review.
The sensors are the same design as most of PIQ’s other trackers – a wide but flat device. The sensor clips into place on a short wrap, which hooks over your thumb and wraps around the wrist to hold the sensor in place. The wrap is a neoprene band with some slight elastication, with a patch of non-abrasive plastic Velcro that attaches on to the soft outer lining of the wrap. I found the wrap great to wear when you’re shadowboxing, as it lets you just stick them on and go without having to properly wrap your hands. That said, I don’t think the wrap works as well with gloves on. It’s a bit too bulky to wear inside of a glove and while you can wear it on the outside of a glove, I personally found it a bit of a pain to secure and was worried about it getting knocked or moved in sparring, so I found myself often opting not to use the wrist band at all and just tuck the device into my standard hand wraps.
When first setting everything up, I found it a little complicated working out how to get two punch trackers connected, and once they were paired up, how to tell which tracker was which. Once that was all done, it’s a bit better, although I still sometimes had trouble getting them to sync the data from some of my sessions. Pushing the button on a sensor when it’s on will let you know which goes on which hand, as the ‘dominant’ hand (which was set up in your profile) flashes fast. It could have been a bit more obvious, utilising coloured light like the Hykso does for example. The app doesn’t track or display your punches in real time, but rather stores the data on the trackers themselves which means you don’t have to actually have your phone handy while you train at all, you can just turn the sensors on, track your session and sync them up to your phone later on. It’s great for those days when you’re in a rush or your phone doesn’t have any battery.
As with the other sensors we’ve seen, can distinguish between warm up exercises like skipping and strikes being thrown, which means you don’t have to stop after your warm up to set the sensors up, and don’t end up with any false data from warming up. Shadow boxing is an exception, but that can be tracked as an activity later on. When you sync up to your phone later on you can select whether the session was shadow boxing, bag work, mitt work or sparring, which displays an icon on the app to remind when you take a look later on. It’s handy, but if you jump between different training types, for example starting off sparring and then doing some bad work, you’d have to turn the sensors off and on again to be able to track them as different activities.
At the end of the session you’ll get a bunch of data on your training. You first get congratulated with your ‘winning factors’, which are areas you did well in, giving you a rough number, which you can select to find more about. Then you get what we’ll call a ‘breakdown’ screen, where you get a bunch of different stats on your session, as well as a PIQscore, which is based on the punch speed, G-force and retraction speed to give you a rough indication of the total intensity of your session, and one of the main indicators the app uses to keep track of your overall progress. You get shown your ‘best’ score from the round, as well as the overall session score, although I have to question the reliability because on at least one occasion my best score from the session was actually lower than the overall score. I’m not sure how it’s calculated, but it doesn’t sound right.
Scrolling down a bit further you get access to the actually helpful data, which breaks down how many of each type of punch you throw. If you only have one tracker, then the app only shows you the data for that hand, so unfortunately you have no way of comparing whether you’re throwing more left or right. With both trackers on you get a much better idea of your fight game. I found in one session I threw almost twice as many jabs as straight punches for example. It wasn’t immediately obvious, but by tapping on one of the numbers you can actually access more details, showing how many were fast, medium or slow as well as seeing maximum statistics for each hand.
Once you’ve logged a few sessions, you get access to a few more bits of data on the Dashboard and PIQscore tabs, showing you improvement over the days, weeks and months, as well as averages of your last few sessions. These are surprisingly fun to keep track of and I think captures what the Everlast/PIQ tracker is best for – keeping track of overall improvement. It’s essentially the boxing equivalent of Fitbit, allowing you to keep track of your improvement over time, supplemented with other useful data.
These trackers come in at $99.99 per sensor (or £89 in the UK). The lower price compared to alternatives attracts a wider audience, and would be great for someone who only wants the one device as a rough measure of progress. That said, for anyone who wants to use the data to target specific improvements, you’ll need to grab a second sensor, which puts the price up to just under $200 (£178), just slightly more expensive than the Hykso sensors. I feel like it would have made sense to be able to buy two sensors together for a reduced price, however at this doesn’t seem to be possible at the moment.
The price may put some people off, and there are definitely other systems worth looking into which record equally useful data and are a little less expensive, but if you’re a fighter trying to track your performance and motivate you to do your best, the Everlast/PIQ Robot Blue Punch sensors wouldn’t be a bad shout.
Looking to buy this?
+ Affordable to buy a single sensor
+ Don’t need a phone to start tracking a session
+ Easy to track overall improvement
– App can be a little awkward to set up/use
– Need two sensors to get the most out of it
– Strap is bulky and awkward with boxing gloves on