Tech & Wearables

Reviewed: Hyperice Hypervolt Bluetooth

Hyperice gives a techy upgrade to their already notoriously quiet and feature-filled percussive device.

Basics

Essentially the same device as the Hypervolt, Bluetooth connectivity works with Hyperice’s smartphone app to give guidance, time your sessions, and change speeds automatically.


Pros

Very quiet

Nice “force sensor” to help with even application

Five included heads

Good guidance for beginners

Cons

One handle position can be slightly limiting for tough-to-reach areas

Videos are good not great


Price

$350

Brand

Hyperice


In case you’ve missed the percussive device boat over the last few years, there has been a literal percussive arms race by a few major brands to make a handheld that’s smaller, quieter, and now more technologically advanced than the last one. Adopted by people who work on tired muscles—from DIY triathletes to even physical therapists—percussive devices apply repetitive pressure in an effort to stimulate the muscles and increase blood flow to either reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) or as a part of a warm-up routine. 

The Latest Thing with percussive massagers is Bluetooth connectivity—Theragun has had it in their line, Addaday has it too, and now Hyperice has Bluetooth connectivity in theirs as well. While we’ll break down the basic features and the connectivity in depth below, the long and short of the “Hypervolt Bluetooth” is that it’s essentially the same as the last version of the Hypervolt with the addition of an interactive smartphone app that helps guide your recovery/warmup routines with suggestions based on connected apps/selected sore muscle groups via videos and timed routines that adjust the device’s speed automatically.


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At The Core

Before we get into the specifics of the Bluetooth upgrade for the Hypervolt, we’ll briefly touch on the heart of this handheld. This gun-shaped percussive device runs at three speeds—30Hz, 40Hz, and 53Hz (1,800 percussions per minute, 2,400ppm, and 3,180ppm) and features three pretty cool pressure indicator lights to help with even application. It includes five removable tips—a flat disc for dense muscles, a ball for all around use, a double prong to avoid certain areas while hitting others, a “bullet” for pinpoint areas, and a little cushion accordion head for sensitive spots. The Hypervolt weighs in at a pretty stout 2.5 pounds, much of which is probably due to the hefty 24V removable Li ion battery in the handle that lasts about three hours. Secret pro tip: The weird half-button on the handle where you normally rest your thumb is actually the release for the battery. Everything above is also the same with the non-Bluetooth Hypervolt, so below we’ll look at the Bluetooth “upgrade.”

The Bluetooth

To be clear upfront, the only thing the Bluetooth connection does is allow your smartphone to control the speed of the Hypervolt. While this may seem like a huge bummer at first, when paired with the Hyperice app, it’s actually pretty useful. When you first sign up for the Hyperice app, it connects to your Strava and Apple Health profiles to help give personalized recommendations for warm-up, maintenance, and recovery routines, or you can use it more manually by selecting a trouble spot on your body and filtering through the possible routines from there. Once you select the routine, you’ll get a tiny video to help guide your massage session and a timer that’ll automatically trigger speed changes on your device. The routine will prompt you to switch sides, it’ll take you through low, medium, high speeds as you go—based on the muscles’ needs—and then shut off the device at the end. Some videos are just silent models, some are “partners” or athletes who actually talk you through it. Of course, you can do all of this manually if you like.

The Good

If someone told me I needed to buy another percussive device because there’s one out there that changes speeds from your phone, I would probably slap them. So you can imagine my surprise when I actually found myself using the Bluetooth version far more than any other one I’ve tried, quite simply because I was being guided through the process. While the recommendations based on activity through connected apps are a little wonky for triathletes who do so much in a given week, being able to target and get specific advice on sore muscles, then be engaged with a connected device really made me feel more comfortable using the thing. Sure, you can go through YouTube videos and change the speed manually and set a timer, but like many triathletes, one more step of anything right now is likely to topple the house of cards that is my life. While the videos aren’t all perfect (more below), the timer, the change-positions prompts, and even the automatic speed changes really made me reach for this Hypervolt far more often than the non-Bluetooth version. It’s also worth noting that the app and service are free as of this writing—this can’t be said for all percussive device programs. Hardware-wise, this is a very quiet device, and never lacked for amplitude in even big muscles.

The Medium

The videos are good—particularly the host-led ones, but the model videos aren’t amazing because they don’t give a lot of info on what you’re trying to do. I’d love to know if I should be hitting certain points while avoiding others (like bones?), and I’d love to know how hard I should be pushing in each area or if there’s one direction that’s better than the other. Integrating the pressure sensor into the app would also be near the top of my list for version 2—assuming it’s a useful function. The connection itself was very good once paired, though we did experience some issues getting it to pair at the beginning of a session. Also, it’s odd that Hyperice doesn’t pre-filter the routines based on which devices you own—though there’s a good chance there’s some intention behind that, hoping you spring for another device to fix X issue. Finally, it’s a pretty heavy device with only one real handle, so there is some amount of fatigue that creeps in when you’re trying to get dense, but also hard-to-reach muscles.

Concussive Conclusions

Just to keep it simple: If you’re an experienced percussive device user who knows how to use one to work on each muscle (and there are lots of you out there), you will find very little value in the Bluetooth-upgraded version. If you’re past instructive videos and don’t even like using a timer because you work on the muscle until you’re done, then stick with what you’ve got. In fact, I would be hard pressed to recommend this to anyone who already has a Hypervolt because you can use the app and everything even without Bluetooth connectivity (secret tip: Even if you don’t own a Hyperice product you can use it!). However, if you’re not so sure about getting a percussive device because you’re not confident on how to use it or if you’d even use it enough to justify the price, this Bluetooth-enabled version does a good job of keeping it simple with prompts, videos, timers, and automatic speed changes. While you may eventually “graduate” from all of those things, it’s still a great place to start.