After 4 months of using the Tempo Studio, many people have asked me if it's work the money, so I put together this in-depth Tempo Studio review.
The hottest fitness craze is these connected in-home smart fitness systems. It all started with the Peloton, but now there are several different systems that do things a bit differently.
There is of course the Peloton, but for those of us that are interested is strength training there is the Tempo Studio and Tonal.
After some research I chose to purchase the Tempo Studio this past January 2021 and after using it for the past 4 months, I can give you an honest and transparent assessment of the Tempo Studio and if I would recommend it to anyone else.
Even though the stats show I worked out 68 times, the real number is much higher than that, but I will explain why below.
What is the Tempo Studio?
The Tempo Studio is a connected smart home fitness device which tries to replicate the experience you get with a personal trainer.
On the Tempo Studio website they emphasize the 3D camera which is supposed to count your reps and give you instant feedback on your form to help you do the exercises correctly. It's essentially the same camera technology that Microsoft developed and first released in 2010 called the Xbox Kinect.
The Tempo Studio comes with hundreds of classes to choose from. One of the key selling points that got me to purchase the Tempo Studio was the live classes that they also offer. These live classes are currently PST time zone, sorry east coasters, and there are usually 4 – 6 per day.
The Tempo Studio also have a mobile app for tracking your progress and scheduling classes.
What Comes With The Tempo Studio
When I purchased the Tempo Studio it included the weights, dumbbells, barbell, heart rate monitor, mat, and a roller.
However, since then they have changed how the sell the Tempo Studio and now offer packages.
The base package included all the essential equipment, the weights, dumbbells, and mat. To get the most out of Tempo Studio, you will also want to get a heart rate monitor.
The Problem With Tempo Studio Reviews
Perhaps you are researching the Tempo Studio and have come across several Tempo Studio reviews. I did the same thing!
But there is a big problem with pretty much all of the Tempo reviews, they are either sponsored reviews or the review is after taking one or two classes.
That's not a review! But I get it, this is how brands get the word out.
This Tempo review is not like that at all. I have used the Tempo Studio, or tried to, fairly consistently over the past 4 months, so I am intimately aware of all its strengths and weaknesses and I will hold nothing back in this Tempo Studio review.
After all, spending $2k – $3k for a Tempo Studio is a lot of money. And it's also a big risk because they don't make it easy to return unlike other smart home fitness systems (more on that below).
So for this Tempo review, I am going to first list out everything Tempo Studio does right and everything Tempo Studio does wrong. This is after extensive usage.
Then I am going to share why I don't recommend the Tempo Studio (in its current form).
Everything Tempo Studio Does Right
There is a lot to love and a lot not to love about the Tempo Studio, so let's first start with the good stuff.
Tempo Studio Huge Touchscreen Display
The largest part of the Tempo Studio is that ginormous touch display. And it's a beauty!
In fact, it's the largest display on a device like this. It makes the display on the Peloton or Tonal look amateur.
Because the core part of the Tempo Studio is what happens on that screen, it's great that they went big.
Tempo Studio Coaches
Right now there are 5 coaches, but there is a new coach for Yoga, however the classes are not available yet.
So aside from the yoga coach, I have taken classes from all of the coaches and have to say they are all great. I sure hope they are getting stock options because they are the stars of the show.
What I like most about the Tempo coaches is that they are all different and seem to come from different backgrounds.
While I do like all the coaches, I do have my favorites; however I am not going to say who in this Tempo review, but rather I think you should try taking classes from all of them.
Tempo Class Variety
The Tempo Studio offers a wide variety of classes you can take, which for me is great because I can get bored doing the same thing over and over again.
The variety goes deeper than just the classes, it's also the movements, exercises, and how they are structured. They keep the classes new and challenging at the same time.
Tempo Studio Live Classes
The main reason I purchased the Tempo Studio was for the live classes. There is just something about it being live that pushes me.
Perhaps it's the leader board and my competitiveness. I noticed myself working harder during the live classes than the pre-recorded classes.
Unfortunately the live classes are based on PST time zone hours, which isn't an issue for me, but for anyone wanting to take a morning live class outside the West Coast, you are out of luck.
The first live class is at 8am PST, which if you are in Florida would be 11am.
I'm sure if the Tempo Studio grows in popularity they can easily fix this with more coaches.
Everything Wrong With Tempo Studio
This is the point in the Tempo Studio review where things get real. It takes extended time using the Tempo Studio to realize all of its flaws, which is why if you are considering purchasing a Tempo you should tune out all the reviews from people that used it for a week. Most of those were sponsored anyway.
Tempo Studio Manual Adjustable Weights
Part of the Tempo Studio package are Olympic-quality manually adjustable dumbbells. There are a few reasons why this is a big problem, but you won't realize it until you have used it for a month.
Manually Adjusting Weights Is Tedious
In each class, it's highly likely that you will have to adjust the weights. This is not that big of a deal, but it is quite repetitive.
The main issue is how much time it takes to adjust the weights manually. This problem isn't apparent initially because the coach will give you enough time between sets.
But what are you going to do when the Tempo Studio makes a weight recommendation and when the set starts, you realize it's too heavy or too light? There isn't enough time to change the weight.
You really start to realize this when you use the Tempo for a few weeks and notice that the weight recommendations are consistently too heavy or too light.
Manually Adjusting Weights Is Limiting
When you start a set with a specific weight, you have to use that weight for the entire set.
This is a big problem because each exercise is different, and to maximize your time and effort you should be using the right weight for that particular exercise, but you can't with the Tempo Studio.
For example, I was in a workout and the set included Arnold presses and lat pulls and recommended 25lb, which is fine for an Arnold press, but a lat pull should be 45lb.
Because the weights are manually adjustable, there is no way to change the weight in a set, so you are extremely limited.
Tempo Studio's 3D Sensor Is Unreliable At Counting Reps
Often times you will do an exercise and either none or some of your reps are actually counted.
This causes a big problem because everything is being tracked and calculated into weight recommendations.
What that means is, if the 3D sensor is only counting half your reps, the next time you do that exercise it will recommend a lower weight which throws everything out of wack.
Also, if you are putting in the effort to rank high on the leader board, its very discouraging when you put all this effort in and then tank even though you are doing the work.
This doesn't happen in every workout, but it happens consistently enough that it's a problem.
Tempo Studio Form Feedback Is Almost Non Existent
This perhaps is one of the most concerning parts of the Tempo Studio. When you visit their website they are not setting the proper expectation when it comes to form feedback, and they are not transparent about it.
If you are buying a Tempo Studio primarily for the form feedback, just don't! It's not there yet and may never be.
Just trying to shoot straight with you here.
The only form feedback you can expect is if you are leaning forward or leaning backward in a standing exercise. That's nice, but it's the tiniest aspect of proper form.
What's most concerning is Tempo's lack of transparency with this marketing claim. If you ask about this, they will tell you that you must be doing everything right and that they are constantly working on it.
Instead, I think they should be transparent with this feature because it leaves many buyers feeling misled.
Tempo Studio's Flawed Design (My opinion)
At first glance I find the Tempo Studio's design to be awesome. It looks great in any space. I think they nailed it!
But I am not talking about how it looks, I am talking about what's inside.
The Tempo Studio is plagued with connectivity issues. It reminds me of the iPhone 4 if you can remember where Apple engineers got it wrong and Steve Jobs declared that if you are having an issue you are holding the phone wrong.
Let me first say that I have a very strong technical background. I have a very fast internet service, 500 megs up and down. I also have a top of the line Wi-Fi setup at home with multiple hard-wired access points. And lastly, I have never once had an issue with streaming HD content to multiple TVs, my son PC gaming, and me doing an HD live stream. All at the same time!
Tempo Studio Can't Connect To Wifi
Imagine waking up in the morning and wanting to start your day off right by working out.
You go over to your Tempo Studio, hydrated, wearing your workout cloths, mentally ready to work out.
Then you can't! Tempo won't connect to Wi-Fi or even see the external Wi-Fi adapter they mailed me.
Nice way to start your day, right!?
This typically happens once per week. So often that I never know if I am going to be able to workout that morning, and it tends to leave me in a poor mood the rest of the day.
Tempo Studio Freezes In Class
Yet the Tempo Studio regularly can't connect to my Wi-Fi or in the middle of a class will just completely freeze.
These 2 pictures were from 2 different workouts this week where, in the last 10 minutes of the class, everything completely froze.
When this happens, you lose everything. There is no record of your class, the exercises you did, nothing. It all vanishes.
But worse than that, you can't even finish the class. It's the most demotivating thing I have experienced on the Tempo Studio and sadly it happens consistently.
And it's not just me, it's happening to a lot of people.
For the first month having the Tempo Studio, it was working fine. Then, when it first started happening, their support mailed me an external Wi-Fi adapter which worked out fine for some time.
Often times the Tempo Studio won't connect to Wi-Fi no matter what I do, and it won't even recognize the external Wi-Fi adapter they sent me.
Tempo Studio Needs Line Of Site
Perhaps the most baffling issue is with the heart rate monitor.
Maybe I have unreasonable expectations after having taken classes at Orange Theory fitness and having the heart rate monitor work in their entire facility.
The Tempo Studio heart rate monitor literally requires direct line of site to connect and as a result will lose connection throughout your workout.
Each time you are facing sideways, with the heart rate monitor on the arm facing away from the Tempo, it loses connection.
Tempo Studio's Loud Fans
When the Tempo is powered on, you can hear it. And I am not talking about sound coming from the speakers.
Inside the Tempo is a computer and that computer has fans. Not the whisper silent fans found in Apple Computers, no these are loud like a computer server or a gaming computer.
Ultimately this isn't the end of the world, but you will notice it immediately.
Tempo Studio Return Policy (Read It)
Purchasing anything online is a risk in the situation that you are not happy for whatever reason and want to return what you purchased.
This is why I think Amazon is the dominant ecommerce platform, they make it very easy to return anything.
At first glance you would think that if you are not satisfied within 30 days, you can return it for a full refund. That's what it says on their website without an asterisk next to it.
But when you read the fine print, the Tempo Studio return policy has 2 important parts to understand.
First, if you want to return it, you will not be refunded the $250 shipping fee.
Second, if you return it for something other than a defect, you have to pay an additional $250 – $350 to return it.
In total, you could be looking at $500 – $600 to return it.
This is a tough one because returns are a big cost to all online businesses, but I think it would be better to not have conflicting statements.
Regardless, it wouldn't help me anyway because the issues I have been dealing with appeared after the 30 days.
Tempo Studio Warranty Gotchas
The Tempo Studio warranty has 2 big gotchas in the policy.
Your warranty will be canceled if you move.
If you want to sell your Tempo, the warranty is void.
This is unfortunate because when you pair this with the return policy, it makes it very risky to purchase a Tempo Studio.
Tempo Studio Support
Tempo provides live chat support that is available on their website or via the mobile app.
When I first got my Tempo, the live chat was not that live, but more recently it is near instantaneous, getting a live person.
While it's nice to have someone there quickly, Tempo seems to lack integrated systems that make support easy, instead it's frustrating.
Support reps don't seem to know who you are even though you provided your email. They don't know how many times you have sought support or what prior issues you have had, so you will find yourself repeating yourself.
Support doesn't know any information you have already provided in the past such as the serial number on the Tempo.
Providing support is a challenge for all businesses, so while Tempo's support process could use some refinement, I don't fault them here.
Did Tempo Try To Fix The Issues My Tempo Studio Has?
If you made it this far in the review, you may be asking if the Tempo Studio issues I have been dealing with were resolved or if support attempted to help.
Maybe you guessed that I am not so happy with the Tempo Studio and find it unreliable.
I have had 6 different live chat interactions and one virtual meeting with Tempo support.
To date there is no resolution :-(.
We have done it all, and they tell everyone the same things:
- Use an external adapter (that too is unreliable, the Tempo often times doesn't see it)
- Switching to 2.4 ghz for my Wi-Fi
- Unplug and plug back in
Firstly, there is nothing wrong with my Wi-Fi. It is fast, steady, reliable, and problem free. No other device in my house has any issues connecting or having very fast speeds.
I am not going to spend hundreds of additional dollars to run a hard-wire into the wall where the Tempo is. Part of the reason people buy the Tempo is that you can easily move it.
There is something seriously wrong when I can buy a $10 smart plug that has zero issues with my Wi-Fi and yet this $2,000 Tempo Studio just can seem to reliably connect.
Tempo Studio The Verdict, Is The Tempo Worth It?
Despite all the Tempo Studio flaws, I love what they are trying to do and really want them to succeed in what will be a crowded market eventually.
Unfortunately though I think they made some mistakes in the hardware that make owning a Tempo Studio not worth the aggravation.
And when you combine that with the $500 – $600 cost to return it in 30 days or the warranty being void when moving to selling the Tempo Studio, I think it's better to look elsewhere.
My Final Thoughts
For anyone that hasn't spent their entire life in a gym, getting yourself to consistently workout is a challenge in and of itself.
That's why Tempo sends emails like this. But they are wrong about something.
While life does get in the way sometimes, when it comes to the Tempo Studio technology is really what gets in the way.
Tempo Studio Frequently Asked Questions
Is the membership required to use Tempo?
The Tempo Studio does require a monthly membership which currently costs $39 per month. Of course, you can use the Tempo Studio weights without a membership 😉, but then it would be just like any ol set of weights.
How much does the Tempo cost?
When I purchased the Tempo Studio, it was $1,995 but they have since changed the pricing to have different packages. The Tempo Studio packages start at $2,495 and go up to $3.995.
Is Tempo Studio good for beginners?
Yea, I think so. The Tempo Studio has 3 levels of classes and one of those levels is Beginner.
Is Tempo home gym worth the money?
That all depends on if you are going to actually use the Tempo Studio and how often you plan on using it.
Is Tempo good for weight loss?
It can be depending on the classes you choose to take. The Tempo Studio is more likely to cause you to gain weight from the weight lifting but lose body fat.
Can you use Tempo studio without subscription?
Unfortunatly not! To access any of the content you have to log into the Tempo Studio with an account that has an active subscription.
Can I use my own weights with Tempo?
Yes you can use your own weights and equipment with the Tempo Studio. I have a set of normal dumbbells that I will use from time to time.
Is Tempo or Tonal better?
I think there are reasons to like one over the other. The Tempo, when it works, has live classes which I think make it better than Tonal. However, the Tonal can get you a better and safer weight training workout. It is also more convenient to not have to manually change the weights since it does it digitally.