User Review( votes)
IMPORTANT UPDATE (6/30/2021): Due to recent product failure for our version 1 and version 2 units, constantly failing upload attempts to support the product’s new OS, and general user feedback, we’ve removed our “buy” suggestion for the Timebirds timer, adjusted our own rating after our units failed, and can no longer recommend the product.
Note from the editor: We’ve left this review in place because there are aspects of the timers that we love, and we strongly hope future versions offer better product support.
Timebirds launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for its easy-to-transport and operate “purpose-built” workout timer. When I saw the campaign I knew it was something I needed for my garage gym. I focus many of my workouts on HiiT, Crossfit, and other interval training routines. I have never felt the need to purchase an interval timer for $300+ dollars and that’s what has always been offered by the major fitness companies. For $99.00 the Timebirds timer is not only cheap, but it also offers a new type of agility in the space.
Let’s start with the most obvious and appreciated part of this timer, it features a very strong magnetic back that easily grips to my Rogue RM-4 Power Rack, my Titan Fitness Functional Trainer, and my Powertec Lat Machine.
The moment I place the Timebirds timer on steel it grips with a solid hold, never sliding down the posts. In the photo above you will notice that it also features a slim depth that will fit in our pocket while gripping to even small bars that don’t offer a lot of surface space.
I chose to purchase the additional silicon case for an additional $20 and while it looks amazing, it doesn’t hold as well to steel.
I believe the main purpose of the case is to protect the Timebirds unit when using it outdoors or while traveling. I leave it off during home gym workouts because the chances of falling off my gym equipment are much higher when the case is in place.
My garage gym needs some additional new lighting, I just finished refinishing the garage and haven’t had time to add some final touches. As you can see, in a bright lit area the timer with its scratch-resistant and anti-glare cover still stands out, providing highly visible reading even when I’m standing 30 feet away from the timer performing rope work.
I tested the timer in low light and the LED really pops in those conditions.
Now let’s jump into the operational parts of the Timebirds timers.
First, the instruction booklet that comes with the unit is comically small. I’m all for a smaller instruction booklet which helps the environment. Plus, a lot of electronics these days make you go online to find instructions and that can be annoying mid-workout.
If you were to take all the pages and place them on a regular size booklet it would just be a couple of pages. In this case, there are 18 pages.
Admittedly, it took me a few days to become accustomed to setting up my various timers for different uses. The Timerbirds timer features 5 buttons, one of which is a power button that needs to be pressed for 2-3 seconds to turn the unit on.
The remaining buttons allow for cycling between the number of rounds, count up and countdown timers, and actual timing options for your chosen workout modes. At first, it can seem a bit confusing but once you’ve mastered the available options you can set new workout routines very quickly.
Timebirds also allows you to choose the volume of beeps that are used during workouts. Looking at the front of your display and you’ll notice that the speaker is forward-facing, embedded into the display. This forward-facing option creates a nice experience when it comes to hearing notifications when you’re looking down at the ground while yelling at your conditioning equipment.
Sadly, there are only four volume options and if you blast music while working out, you’re likely going to have a very hard time hearing the timer. A Reddit user said they talked to Timebirds and were told that a software update would be released that addresses the volume issue. For me, this isn’t a big deal, but for others, it might be a big enough reason to look elsewhere. My nearly one-star deduction was almost completely based on the volume of the unit. Update: Versions 2 and 3 of the Timebirds timer now support louder volume levels following on OS update which failed numerous times during our attempts to upgrade.
The silicon case we purchased not only has a problem with holding a solid magnetic grip, but it also doesn’t have a slot built-in for the very nice USB-C charging port on the back of the unit. Every time I need to charge my Timebirds timer I need to remove the case which may lead to some stretching over time.
We let our Timebird recharge battery charge for 6 hours before first use and after a week it’s holding strong without needing to be charged again. The company says a single charge will work for 16 hours of use or 45 days of idle time. We’ll check back in after we’ve finished 16 hours of workout time with the product. Update: both of our devices became buggy after several months of use and would often not charge properly.
Overall, the Timebirds product shows a lot of promise but until numerous kinks are worked out, I would recommend staying away from this Kickstarter-backed gym equipment.