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Tempo Move review: If Ikea made a home gym for iPhone users

The Tempo Move's compact design, smart weights, and iPhone-powered tracking tech transformed my living room into the ultimate strength training studio.
Written by Christina Darby, Associate Editor
Reviewed by Kerry Wan

Tempo Move

4 / 5
Very good

pros and cons

  • Real-time tracking by leveraging the iPhone's True Depth sensor
  • Smart weights offer an effective and challenging workout
  • More compact and affordable than the Tempo Studio
  • Only compatible with the iPhone XR or later
  • Can be inconsistent with tracking
  • $39 monthly fee

The original Tempo Studio was an interactive mirror that revolutionized at-home strength training. By using 3D "Tempo Vision" to provide real-time feedback, its innovative approach earned it a spot on ZDNET's list of best workout mirrors. But, like most workout machines, its near out-of-reach price tag and large build were the heaviest lift for any potential buyer.

I personally don't have that kind of money, or space, which was why I was so excited to try Tempo's more compact fitness machine: the $395 Tempo Move, which ditches the mirror display in favor of broadcasting its content directly to your TV. 

The Move might be smaller, but it doesn't compromise functionality and the use of Tempo's existing technology. Instead, it accommodates its compact size by leveraging products that you use every day, including your smartphone. For the past few weeks, I've been using the Move to power my workouts, and its techy touch has made strength training feel safer and, dare I say, fun.


Storage cabinet dimensions 

22 X 13.5 inches 

What's included 

  • Storage cabinet 

  • 2, 7.5 lb dumbbells 

  • 4, 1.25 lbs plates

  • 4, 2.25 lbs plates

  • 4, 5 lbs plates 

  • 4 plastic weight collars

  • HDMI-to-lightning cable, USB-C to lightning cable. 


iPhone XR or later 


$395 for hardware and a $39/month membership

A minimalist's dream design

The Tempo Move is space-conscious, which is ideal if you're in a smaller living space or live with roommates. The storage cabinet stands just a few inches above my entertainment center without awkwardly jutting out. With its light wood build and gray magnetic cover, it blends perfectly with my Wayfair-chic living space. 

Also: 12 best fitness and exercise equipment gifts

The magnetic cover satisfyingly peels back to reveal the inside of the cabinet, which features divots to hold the weighted plates in place. There are also two slots for the heavier 7.5-pound dumbbells when you lift the top half of the cabinet lid. Everything fits like Legos.

The light finish Tempo Move weight storage cabinet with the yellow and light blue weight plates stacked upright.

The Tempo Move weight storage cabinet fits all my weights without being a hindrance to the living space.

Christina Darby/ZDNET

On the subject of weights, the Tempo Move comes with four smart sensors that help the app detect the weight that you're lifting (more on this later), colored in light gray in the above picture. They're individually wrapped with a rubber coating that not only looks cleaner than the typical gym piece but keeps them from rolling around or scratching up the floor. There's also the Tempo Core docking station at the top to situate your smartphone.

Also: I replaced my gym workouts with a fitness mirror. Here's what happened. 

The bright-colored dumbbell plates look the part, too, which I can't tell is genius or evil on Tempo's part because I'm always tempted to add more weight than I can handle in order to balance out the colors. It's an aesthetic thing.

From iPhone to personal trainer

While most home fitness equipment leverage dedicated sensors to track your movements, the Tempo Move takes it a step further by using a piece of tech that you likely always carry around: the iPhone. (Sorry, Android users.) Specifically, you'll need an iPhone that has a True Depth front-facing camera, meaning anything older than the iPhone XR is out of the question.

Besides compatibility, my issue with this pairing was accommodating all the wires -- I simply didn't have enough wall outlets to power my TV, the entertainment systems below it, and the Tempo Core that the iPhone is stationed on, so I had to purchase an extension cord, which is something to keep in mind. Once I connected all the cables, I just opened the Tempo app, docked my iPhone, chose a class, and made sure I was standing the appropriate distance away from my iPhone's front-facing (selfie) camera.

Also: How to access Nike fitness classes on Netflix

Note that once you start a workout, your phone is pretty much out of commission. You won't get notifications or be able to check social media without completely pausing the workout. This has challenged me to stay present and be more in tune with my workouts, which having a phone nearby can often be a distraction.

ZDNET editor, Christina Darby, using the Tempo Move and smart weights with yellow plates.

The Tempo Move transformed my living room into a strength training studio.

Emery Wright/ZDNET

Lift smarter, not harder 

At this point, you might be thinking, "Okay, this is cool, but why don't I just really DIY it, purchase a few weights, and throw on a YouTube workout?" I had a similar thought at first, but Tempo's tech has a leg up. 

Rather than simply mirroring the Tempo app onto your TV screen, the Tempo Core utilizes the iPhone's depth camera to track movement, provide form tips, count reps, and even calculate your rep speed. If you ever played Just Dance or any motion-tracking game, the Tempo Move provides a similar, nostalgic, game-like experience. 

Also: The 6 best fitness apps for home workouts

Using AI sensors, the Tempo weights automatically know how much weight you're lifting and how much you've added, and can even prompt you to add more throughout a workout. Fortunately, the virtual classes don't stop if you choose to ignore the weight suggestions -- I mean, the starting dumbbells themselves weigh 7.5 pounds, so my noodle arms can only do what feels right. I encourage you to do the same; feel it out and challenge yourself as needed. 

ZDNET editor, Emery Wright, lifting the Tempo Move's smart weights with the yellow plates while the TV screen shows her rep counts in the left corner.

The Tempo Move shows your rep counts on the bottom left corner as you lift. 

Christina Darby/ZDNET

Overall, the real-time feedback replicates the experience of having a personal trainer, coaching you as you sweat it out, helping you make healthy improvements and not bad habits.

My only critique here is that the weight tracking and rep counting lack consistency. I often found myself restarting my phone for the weight recognition to kick in, and, sometimes, a rep or two wasn't tallied into my workout. I don't know about you, but I want full credit for going full out. 

An app that feels personal 

Like most interactive fitness platforms, the app is your source for classes and statistics. Tempo offers a catalog of classes, from boxing to pilates, but places a noticeable emphasis on strength training. Thankfully, the strength classes take all user types into account. As someone who is more of a cardio freak, I appreciated the courses tailored for runners and tennis players, which blended seamlessly with my typical fitness regimen without making me feel too sore. 

What a user would see when a Tempo Move class is in action.

During a workout, the TV displays all the essential statistics, including your heart rate, reps, rest times, and more.

Christina Darby/ZDNET

The app and TV UX were also very well done. There's a leaderboard where you can compare your stats, either by weight or rep volume, with other users, an option to connect a heart rate monitor, like your Apple Watch, and my personal favorite: the ability to integrate your personal playlist. Let me just say that squatting is a lot less painful when Bad Bunny or Harry Styles is playing in the background. 

Bottom line

If you, like me, don't like waiting for weights at a crowded gym, don't have a flexible schedule, or often face anxiety when working out in an open gym, I'd say the $395 investment for a Tempo Move in your own place, at your own time, is worth it.

I can't say I'm thrilled about the additional $39 monthly subscription, but that's only a couple of bucks more than the typical gym plan. Plus, you can still work out by viewing the app from your phone, even without the weights or Tempo Core attachment, making the subscription more justifiable. 

I have to give Tempo kudos for taking its popular Studio system, integrating its technology into a piece of hardware that's half the size and keeping the full package at just a quarter of the price. The live form feedback and smart weight tracking elevated my home workout experience. And, most importantly, I had fun along the way.

Alternatives to consider

Besides the Tempo Move, here are some interactive home gym alternatives to consider. 

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