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ClassPass Live review: Workouts at home step it up with this affordable subscription service

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The Good ClassPass Live is affordable and has a ton of exercises to choose from. Studio participants working out alongside the instructor makes it feel more like you're there with them.

The Bad The app has a weird layout, making it difficult to find the classes -- and other features -- you want. The heart rate monitor didn't work.

The Bottom Line It's a reasonable option if you want a wide selection of classes at a relatively low price.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.8 Overall
  • Features 7
  • Usability 6
  • Design 8
  • Performance 6

Review Sections

ClassPass Live is a subscription service that offers studio workouts on your TV at home. It's a simple concept that mostly delivers, especially for the price. The included heart rate monitor didn't work as I expected it to, but the overall workouts are so good it didn't matter.

Pay $79 upfront for a Google Chromecast and a Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor (it has to be that specific monitor). The Chromecast streams exercise classes from the ClassPass app to your TV and the heart rate monitor is supposed to display your stats on the screen relative to the expected range for that particular exercise (I never got the heart rate monitor to work, which I'll talk about in more detail later on). 

There are a lot of classes to choose from, covering a variety of disciplines and fitness levels -- they cost $19 per month (about £15 or AU$25 converted). My favorite part is the way the classes are filmed, in an actual studio with actual studio participants. One of the participants typically demonstrates modifications so you can either follow along with them (easier) or with the instructor and the other participants (harder).

Each class is shot from different angles, too, so you can really see what they're doing. It doesn't quite feel like you're at the gym with them, but it is more immersive than competitors like Mirror. The ClassPass app is weirdly arranged, though, making it frustrating to find the classes you want.

ClassPass Live doesn't support any third-party fitness or smart home apps, and the heart rate monitor issues were annoying, but it's a decent system with excellent classes at a good price. Definitely consider it if you want to take studio classes at home without needing clunky exercise equipment.

Getting started with ClassPass Live

ClassPass Live is pretty limited when it comes to hardware. All you get in the starter kit is a Google Chromecast dongle to connect to your TV and a heart rate monitor. Fortunately, that's all you need to make full use of this service (in theory, again I'll get to my issues about the heart rate monitor) -- and again it costs just $79. 

Set up the Google Chromecast as you would any other Chromecast. Plug it into your TV, connect the included power adapter, download the Google Home ($99 at Walmart) app and follow the instructions to get it set up. This process is simple, and should only take a few minutes. Still have questions about setting up a Chromecast? Start here.

The Google Chromecast and the Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The heart rate monitor, while seemingly simple to set up, gave me a ton of trouble. It's a Bluetooth heart rate monitor like so many other models out there, but ClassPass tells me only this specific one -- the Wahoo Tickr -- is compatible with the ClassPass Live service. I successfully connected the monitor to my phone and its red and blue LED status lights indicated that it was fully connected and detecting my heart rate. And yet, my real-time heart rate stats never once appeared on the ClassPass Live screen like they were supposed to.

I checked every possible support page to troubleshoot, including resetting it, checking the battery and more without any luck. But I believe I found the verdict after ruling out so many other things. Wahoo's own Tickr support page specifically states that devices like Chromecast, AirPlay and Roku can lead to signal interference and prevent the monitor from working properly. 

That's interesting, since the Chromecast and the Wahoo Tickr are sold together in the kit for ClassPass Live and this is the only heart rate monitor that works with the system. It's a significant flaw with the hardware and the overall functionality of the system. Sigh.

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