Lezyne Enhanced Micro C GPS Watch Review
This Lezyne Micro Watch Review focusses on the COLOUR GPS version with references to the Macro, Mini and Supper variants.
Lezyne’s latest GPS bike watch is the MICRO GPS. It’s ostensibly a bike watch and comes in a colour-screen version (Micro C GPS) and a non-colour screen version (MICRO GPS). There is also a wrist-worn WATCH version of each. There also appears to be an ENHANCED version of each…I’ve not quite figured that difference out yet but ENHANCED is definitely better!
The straps are, perhaps not as equally varied, with only two choices available: either a black one or a blue one.
You will no doubt have already spotted the ‘deliberate’ mistake.
Q: How can a bike watch have a strap???
A: It’s NOT a wrist watch with bike functionality It’s a bike computer with wrist functionality – in a case that is the size of a wrist watch! Now you know!
LEZYNE – The Brand & The Models
Lezyne’s recent pedigree is bike watches, although you may not have heard of them.
This MICRO C WATCH version has a similar hardware shell and similar innards to the non-WATCH version but some clever person thought ‘hey let’s put a strap on it!’…so they did. Voila! A watch.
I suspect Lezyne are well-enough known in MTB circles and for their other products. I’ve used a Lezyne Super GPS (not ENHANCED!) for a couple of years and like it. Lezyne are perhaps even more well-known for their cycling accessories eg lights.
Lezyne watches tend to be a bit more rugged than the norm and seem to be favoured by MTBers and perhaps also by commuters. If you browse their site you won’t see much lycra on any of the human models. Lots of studs and tattoos.
The MICRO C WATCH keeps LEZYNE very much focussed on the outdoors scene whilst also keeping runners and hikers in their marketing-sights.
I’ll say it again later, “It’s NOT for swimming though.”
The chart below summarises the differences between the models. I’d have a close look as some differences are not as obvious as you might think. For example you’d think that the MICRO C version was the same as the MICRO version but just with a colour screen? Nope.
The MICRO C WATCH actually has a slightly larger screen than the MICRO WATCH and can record 200hours worth of data rather than the MICRO’s 100 hours. The MICRO C WATCH has GLONASS but the MICRO WATCH does not.
Then there are the differences between the watch and non-watch versions:
- The WATCH versions have 3x lifestyle/sport modes (sort of limited sport profiles)
- The non-WATCH versions have a GRADE metric and a barometer.
- The non-WATCH versions are bike computers and also have a VERY secure LEZYNE bike mount ‘system’.
- The WATCH version has a different bike mount, described later.
AESTHETICS & FORM FACTOR
It’s unusual-looking. Quirky.
It feels well-made. It feels metallic but has a high ruggedized plastic content. It’s comfy to wear.
Maybe it’s not my kind of thing exactly but I admire it for its stand-out distinctiveness and would probably wear it for that reason from time-to-time. When I head off the roads I’ll be sure to use this.
It feels chunky. Some might, unkindly, say “It’s a bit big for a Micro watch”. I would prefer to say, “It’s a micro CYCLING COMPUTER size but that translates to a vaguely normally sized wrist watch.”
Here it is side-on. In the image from top to bottom are: Edge 820; MICRO C; Polar M600; Fitbit Surge.
Obviously if you were to get out a super-slim Garmin Forerunner 235 and compare the Lezyne to that then you are going for the thinnest of thin sports watch comparators. Let’s just say the enhanced Micro C GPS is thicker than normal.
It’s 16mm deep. It is deeper than the M600 and the thick part of the Fitbit. It’s not a watch you’d wear with black-tie. Well, I wouldn’t.
The name is a little mis-leading. It’s called MICRO. But as you can see from the next image the screen size is pretty normal for a wrist watch. From left to right: The Fitbit, again; Polar V800; Lezyne ENHANCED MICRO C GPS WATCH; and the Polar M600.
I show these particular watches as the usable screen size looks near-identical to me.
But compared to bike computers it IS on the small size – both in terms of the casing and the screen. Lezyne would no doubt argue that riding through the undergrowth is not amenable to big chunky bits on your bike. Fair enough. You might counter that by pointing out that you can easily bring your wrist nearer to your eyes but when you are cycling bringing your eyes nearer to the handlebars is normally the sign that you are about to fall off 😉
For the roadies and the triathletes the size of it may rule it out. If you got 8 metrics on this screen then an ant would struggle to be able to read it (This LEZYNE watch shows 3 metrics).
On the occasions I use my MTB to commute I’m quite happy with less data showing, all I really want is a ‘recorder’. After all it’s hard to ‘dial in’ FTP power output when you are riding trails. Lezyne of course realise this. They are aiming for a different target market with different needs.
The screen is not as vibrant as it looks in the ‘official’ images of the product and perhaps also not as bright as it looks in my in my images; but it’s OK, especially with the backlight cranked up to 100%. Visibility is also enhanced/reduced depending on the angle you look at the watch from.
The rubberized black buttons work very well. When the audio/vibration feedback is also “on”, there is no doubt when a button is pressed even when wearing gloves.
UNBOXING & CONTENTS
Lots of ‘rugged’ boxing and supportive foam inserts. As you can see…
You get: the MICRO C; a chest strap; a red Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) pod; a handlebar mount; a CR2032 coin battery (not shown); a few pieces of paper that you won’t read; and another micro USB cable for your collection.
Manuals and firmware are all nicely in one place: (here).
Take the plastic off the battery before putting it into the HRM pod. Ahem. Guess who didn’t do that! Even though the MICRO C is ANT+ and BTLE enabled, the supplied Lezyne HRM is only BTLE/Bluetooth and, instead, I used a Garmin ANT+ HRM.
The HRM should pair to many other Bluetooth devices including your smartphone. It paired to my android smartphone easily enough but note that android phone are notoriously different from manufacturer to manufacturer and from android-version to android-version.
The device could simultaneously pair to: an ANT+ power meter and a BTLE HRM; ANT+ Di2 shifters and a BTLE cadence ssensor. It can mix and match between the two. Nice.
You can, however, only have one sensor of each type and so it follows that each must be either BTLE or ANT+.
There’s no ‘sensor pool’. It sometimes took several attempts and nearly a minute to pair a new sensor for the first time. Even simultaneously pairing the same ANT+ sensor to the Lezyne and another ANT+ watch showed that the Lezyne was slow at pairing. I don’t know why. I guess most people only do this once, so it probably doesn’t really matter.
Supported BTLE/ANT+ sensors are listed (here)
Setting it up on your wrist is easy enough! and the strap is well-made and comfortable. Fastening it to your handlebars with the supplied mount is easy too. The handlebar mount can handle a wide range of handlebar circumferences. It’s a bit old skool but it works and will likely work on most/your handlebars and is super-easily transferable between bikes. Note the Lezyne WATCH models have a different mount than the non-WATCH models from LEZYNE.
You can choose up to 3 data pages with 3 metrics per page . Not much; but it will do. There’s an interesting choice of what to display and I’d say this is a pretty good set of ADVANCED data options for an inexpensive device. You have got the standard stuff plus some good ‘status’ information as well as navigational information and information from new sensor types.
Here is the official list of metrics supported from the manuals. HOWEVER I found that there are additional metrics available on the device that are not in the manual eg ‘total average’ power.
There’s also the usual stuff with; autolaps by distance or time; screen scrolling; a good range of alerts; vibrations (giggle childishly as you see how the menus allow you to turn the ‘vibrator’ on and off); history; backlight; formatting options; notifications; and more besides.
Here’s a video of ‘getting started’ with a similar LEZYNE device, note the battery status info of the sensors – cool!
The micro USB charging port has a rubber cover. If correctly secured, this will perfectly well keep out the weather and splashes. It might, just might, keep out the water whilst swimming. But I would never swim with it (ever…you’ll break it…there I warned you!). Similarly the HR strap is good for water resistance to 1m and wouldn’t work underwater in any case.
LEZYNE have said that the barometric altimeter was not included as this caused issues of water resistance – although it’s on the non-watch MICRO version; so I don’t quite understand that comment. Either way, there is no barometric altimeter!
The main ‘menu’ as such is 4 modes and a power off option.
|Lifestyle||Watch, Steps, Movement, Temperature , Phone Status, Notifications (Calls, Texts, Emails)|
|Hiking||Elevation, Ascent, Descent, Heart Rate, Avg. HR, Max HR, Distance, Temperature, Time, Trip Recording, Lezyne Track, Breadcrumb Map, Navigation, Notifications, Strava Live Segments|
|Running||Pace, Average Pace, Max Pace, Heart Rate, Average HR, Max HR, Distance, Temperature, Time, Trip Recording, Lezyne Track, Breadcrumb Map, Navigation, Notifications, Strava Live Segments|
|Biking||Up to 5 customizable pages, Breadcrumb Map, Navigation, Lezyne Track, Notifications, Strava Live Segments|
I reckon that’s a pretty good set of functions for each ‘mode’ and fairly self-explanatory. The one thing I’m waiting to hear back on is the HIKING mode. If Lezyne were clever they would intro battery saving features that accessed GPS/SENSORS less frequently (like on the TomTom Adventurer)
Full navigational instructions are: (here)
LEZYNE’s implementation of navigation is quite clever. To generalize: there is a standard ‘breadcrumb’ mode and a ‘proper’ map-based mode. Here’s an overview of how it works:
- You upload your usual TCX/GPX file to lezyne.com/gpsroot as a ROUTE (tip: use the awesome “fit file repair tool” to correct any errors in the file first)
- You then use the snappily named “LEZYNE GPS ALLY” smartphone app to enable your smartphone to link to and follow that route. (iOS and Android)
- Your smartphone gets its own GPS position BUT will follow your ROUTE overlaid onto a Google map. This means that it can give you turn by turn instructions (from Google Maps sent to the WATCH) and can re-direct you back to the route following roads rather than just pointing you in the right direction. In many ways this is considerably better than other devices where you simply follow a TCX/GPX series of GPS points (breadcrumb route) and if you go off-route you are only pointed I the right direction (which could just be a straight line through a brick wall)
- The downside here is that you need two devices with sufficient battery life and you will eat into that with the Bluetooth pairing, the GPS positioning; and also with your mobile data in most circumstances.
- If you are just following a ‘breadcrumb’ GPS trail then you don’t need a Bluetooth connection to your phone.
Without the smartphone then the mapping ability of re-routing is gone. However the MICRO C will still function quite nicely as a normal ‘breadcrumb’ navigational device for following pre-determined routes AND it WILL give you the TBT instructions for the original route even without a phone signal – providing it has been sync’d to the device at the start.
March 1st 2017: Route building and navigation are still clearly being worked on by Lezyne’s development team.Custom route building is said to be imminent and I couldn’t find the waypoint functionality.
Bugs: There seem to be several minor bugs that I came across. But nothing too major.
I assume that chest straps are accurate. I have not tested the supplied Bluetooth chest strap for accuracy.
I was a bit confused here as the device is said to be GPS+GLONASS. Yet there is no menu option for GLONASS enablement (01March2017).
I surmise that the developers realise that GLONASS eats more battery juice than they would like so they automatically enable it when regular GPS signal quality degrades for environmental reasons during your run/ride.
In normal use, GPS accuracy for speed/pace seemed broadly OK without looking too closely. HOWEVER in my formal test the device initially scored poorly (62%, 7Feb2017). However a re-test with the exclusion of possible interference from another devices improved matters somewhat. In the ‘easy’ parts of the tests it performed well but was let down by less good performance when the environmental conditions (trees/building/bridges) made life for GPS hard. Perhaps that was when GLONASS was automatically turned on and perhaps GLONASS needs fine tuning. I don’t know the cause, just the results.
The raw FIT/TCX test files are available (here) in a public folder along with an analysis spreadsheet of the results (there are three tabs in the spreadsheet).
Battery life seemed shorter than the stated 14 hours when GPS is turned on.
I possibly had a faulty device as I kept getting an unexpectedly depleted battery putting the watch into a freeze/factory reset state. This does NOT seem to be being reported elsewhere by other users. It’s hopefully just me!
The LEZYNE CAN be charged whilst in use.
Whilst this is fairly good battery life I would say that one of the attractions of the other LEZYNE models is their superior battery life. eg the SUPER GPS is up to 24 hours. One fantastic use for the SUPER GPS (ie NOT the model I’m reviewing) is for a backup. You just stick it in your back pocket knowing that your ride will be recorded in full. you could even use it on your handlebars 😉 if you had no need for a map.
Here’s that pesky rubber flap that covers the USB port.
The MICRO C attaches as a MASS USB device and the FIT files can easily be pulled off manually. I did that.
Bluetooth enablement is via the smartphone app which can also send data direct to STRAVA with a linked STRAVA account. I didn’t test that.
There is no WIFI upload.
Positional information can be shared with others using the LEZYNE TRACK feature. Your current GPS position is transmitted over a mobile phone’s data service to people you have invited to follow your exploits. (Like Garmin LiveTrack)
MISSING FEATURES AND BUGS
At the time of writing, navigational and routing features were being actively worked on. These have now been released but I have not yet updated this review.
LEZYNE have stated that they will support controlling electronic trainers in future firmware updates. However I would have thought this might end up being one of those features that never gets developed for THIS watch. Against this I would say that there appears to be a lot of firmware similarities across all the LEZYNE devices. So it might transpire that a new feature for one device might readily work on all of LEZYNE’s range.
Lezyne have said that bike profiles will be added as will interval training (including alerts).
I often had a frozen device. Solution: fully deplete the battery or try (these) fixes.
The battery seemed to deplete too quickly; even in ‘time’ mode.
When paired to a speed sensor, that sensor appeared to always be treated as the exclusive source of speed regardless to the status of GPS at the time. There is no hybrid mode.
I wanted to like the innovative LEZYNE ENHANCED MICRO C GPS WATCH and in many ways I did like it.
After a slightly buggy introduction, the MICRO C is now much more stable and usable.
It is a very well-featured device at a great price point. If you can work with the small screen size and like its quirkiness then the PRICE+FEATURES combo will make it VERY hard to beat. It certainly would easily beat Garmins that are usually pitched at the same price points.
Remember that Garmin’s GPS accuracy is often not that great.
It’s broadly similar in terms of the target market as the TomTom Adventurer. I might even say the LEZYNE is perhaps also for more serious adventurers, commuters and MTBers. BUT the LEZYNE offers a LOT more connected features, navigational options and display options than the TomTom. Then again, the TomTom’s GPS has market-leading accuracy.
If you are put off by the small screen size for cycling then I would recommend considering some of LEZYNE’s other devices in their range. They are ALL very well priced, I’ve used the LEZYNE SUPER GPS for a long time and it is stable/good and is my go-to backup device for long rides as the battery seems to last forever.
Prices: Around US$/GBP/Eur140.00 (live prices, below)