JaxJox DumbbellConnect review TL;DR: a smart, sleek and intuitive pair of adjustable dumbbells for early adopters of technological innovation.
Despite its name being slightly – let's say – unconventional, JaxJox is a brand you won't forget anytime soon. Not only because of the silly name, but due to it quickly becoming one of the most innovative fit-tech firms out there. Still a relatively small company, JaxJox made a great first impression at CES in Vegas back in 2019 with its connected kettlebell, the JaxJox KettlebellConnect, and has surpassed expectations ever since.
In the last year, JaxJox has managed to secure some sizable investments, an ode to its growing success. Now, armed with a growing arsenal of innovative workout gadgets, the brand has the power to take a bigger share of the at-home fitness market. Watch out, Peloton!
JaxJox’s latest release, the DumbbellConnect, is the firm’s first-ever – and therefore
– best adjustable dumbbell set. While it comes 18 months later than we’d have liked (and saved our lockdown fitness woes), it does bring something unique to the table over other adjustable offerings.
With Bluetooth connectivity, each unit can be adjusted digitally via the tap of a button to offer 16 different weights ranging from 8lbs all the way up to 50Ibs (that’s 3.6kg - 22.7kg by European standards).
The set packs a pretty substantial 100Ibs (45.4kg) total across both dumbbells in a bid to replace an entire rack of weights, which is more than decent. But how do they fare in the real world? We’ve been making use of them the past few weeks to find out. Here’s what we think.
Jaxjox DumbbellConnect review: price and availability
For that price, you’ll get two adjustable dumbbells, each offering an 8-50 lbs (3.6-22.7kg) weight range, a charging dock for each dumbbell and two USB Type-C charging cables. As you can imagine, the box is pretty heavy and you’ll probably need some help getting it through the door or up the stairs, especially if you live in a flat.
There’s only one colourway available, and that’s the stone grey with a lime green accent.
JaxJox DumbbellConnect review: design
When it comes to looks, the JaxJox DumbbellConnect set boasts a slick, minimal design thanks to the clean, neutral grey colour scheme. A sleek lime green accent along the bottom gives the set a floating appearance - almost like they’re glowing from underneath.
However, the best thing about the DumbbellConnect is that unlike most other adjustable weights – which usually have some kind of strange or ugly design - they look like your standard, class gym dumbbells. They’re not too flashy, but they have a good professional look, with no flamboyant branding, just a subtle JaxJocks imprint on both sides of the weights. Because of this, they’d certainly not look out of place in any home.
We also like how the two dumbbells’ weight plates have a circular design that is levelled off at one end to prevent them from rolling around during a workout when they’re not sitting in their respective charging docks.
Build quality is also outstanding. The weights themselves feel exceptionally solid with a great gnarled pattern on the grip. The only downside is the plastic housing on the inside of the dumbbell closest to the handle - this does cheapen the overall feel somewhat.
If you’re wondering about size, the DumbbellConnect set isn’t too bad and shouldn’t take up more space than just one pair of heavyweight dumbbells, measuring 78 x 24.5 x 54cm.
JaxJox DumbbellConnect review: set up
Setting up the DumbbellConnect is extremely straightforward. Just take the weights out of the box, sit the 12 plates into the charging dock and then turn them on by tapping one of the unit’s arrow buttons. Then, to connect them to the JaxJox app, simply ensure they are charged and switched on, install the app and it will find them almost instantly. You’ll have them up and running in about five minutes.
The only annoying thing here is the charging. The USB Type-C cables supplied are short and don’t come with a plug. This is fine with a smartphone, as most people already have a smartphone plug or are happy to charge from their laptops, etc, but it’s not ideal for something like this, as you’re likely to want to charge them from a specific place in the home. And with the cable being just one metre long, we found it quite difficult to find an appropriate location for charging them easily.
Jaxjox DumbbellConnect review: features and performance
The JaxJox DumbbellConnect function just like any good quality dumbbells would, however, their built-in digital adjustment tech means their weight can be switched rapidly and effortlessly between sets. At the push of a button on either side of a digital display, you can increase or drop weight in 6-pound increments of 8lbs, 14lbs, 20lbs, 26lbs, 32lbs, 38lbs, 44lbs, 50lbs. A simple (and kind of irritating) high-pitched ‘beep’ sound signifies that they’ve been successfully docked and will sound again when the weight has been shifted and are ready to be picked up again.
In our experience, it takes around five or so seconds for the dumbbells to shift from one weight to another after selection. This is nothing compared to most manual adjustable dumbbells, which prove fiddly and can be done easily via the physical arrow buttons on the dock or within the Jaxjox smartphone app. The smart thing here is that the dumbbells are connected to one another, so you only have to increase or decrease the weight on one of the units for it to sync across them both (provided they’re both switched on).
One niggle is that the dumbbell docks do turn themselves off in periods of inactivity and have to reconnect to Bluetooth when they detect they’re being used again, which takes an extra 10 or so seconds. There’s no option in the app to prolong power saving mode, annoyingly. However, this is only an issue if you’re doing faster, HIIT-based weights sessions where time is of the essence.
Another concern is that these dumbbells are definitely not a set that you can throw around. You’ve got to take a lot of care during use to ensure you’re placing them back into the dock at the right angle and in a controlled manner, so they’re seated properly, and all the plates line up before altering the weight. This can prove tricky mid-workout when adrenaline is pumping.
We had an issue where one plate was misaligned in the dock and when selecting a new weight, the dumbbell couldn’t connect to it, so the weight distribution was uneven when we pulled it out again, and it messed up the whole dock. It took a few minutes to fix, which is the last thing you need during a timed session. This didn’t often happen during our time with the dumbbells but something to keep in mind.
Also, be aware that if the battery is low on the base units, the dumbbells might be unable to switch weights, and the screen may appear frozen. If this happens to you as it did to us, just give them a charge. Would be nice to see a “please charge” warning, though.
JaxJox Dumbbellconnect review: the JaxJox app
As mentioned earlier, the DumbbellConnect units link up to the JaxJox app, which can not only be used as a control for altering their weight between sets in addition to the physical buttons but comes loaded with a host of trainer-led video workouts to follow. However, this extra feature is only available as part of a paid subscription service, similar to how Peloton operates its business.
However, there’s another, somewhat nifty part of the app called FitnessIQ. Here, JaxJox uses a proprietary machine-learning algorithm to calculate a score (your “FitnessIQ”) and tries to motivate you through gamification by keeping you informed on your overall progress. It does this by tracking your reps, your sets, and - if you have a JaxJox heart rate monitor - your heart rate, to tell you how many calories you've burned. The app has Peloton vibes, but with a focus on weightlifting... and not quite as swish or premium feeling. Sadly.
JaxJox DumbbellConnect review: verdict
Overall, the DumbbellConnect is an excellent set of adjustable weights. They're well made, smart, look great and – in most instances – work effortlessly. While it’s by no means a major concern, the care required when docking the dumbbells to switch between weights could become irritating for those that prefer fast-paced, HIIT-style wright sessions.
There’s also the small worry that, by relying on their digital smarts to function, they might not stand the test of time when compared to more straightforward, manually adjustable weights. But that’s nothing but a presumption on our part.
Yes, at $499/£499, they don’t come cheap, and the app could be better, but for a pair of great-quality, smart dumbbells with a relatively wide weight range, we have to say these are some of the best we’ve come across.
JaxJox DumbbellConnect review: also consider
You didn't think we won't mention the Bowflex SelectTech 1090i Adjustable Dumbbell here, did you? Aren't you just silly. The Rolls Royce of dumbbells is still one of the most sought after adjustable dumbbells on the market today, years after its release. Bowflex's home weights are as premium as it gets and unlike the JaxJox DumbbellConnect, these are manual dumbbells so you don't even have to worry about the battery giving in.
Another mechanically adjustable dumbbell option, the Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell and Stand set is perfect for people who take muscle building at home seriously but can't afford a pair of Bowflex 552s. If you want to get big arms, get these bad boys.
But wait, there is more! The NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set is a great fitness tool from a big name brand that's ideal for anyone who lacks space. It's also great for anyone new to weight training, since the purchase includes one year of virtual fitness classes, courtesy of iFit. And iFit certainly have a more robust workout library than JaxJox, so there is that.