These are some unstructured thoughts on the first phase of my move from Garmin EDGE to all things WAHOO. Part of an ongoing series of musings (see menus above) on ‘The Great Garmin Migration‘. Well, something like that. I’ll write a more formal piece later.
There are several striking things that stand out to me and all my sporting- and tech-prejudices.
Like me, I’m assuming that YOU are reasonably familiar with your bike computer(s). For things to ‘stand out‘ they have to be different. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Lezyne, MIO Cyclo, Polar and some other lesser-known devices and I like most of those in some way or other. But there was not much that stood out as being different. It’s almost like every competitor of Garmin is trying to compete with market-leading Garmin by, mostly, copying them but adding a twist on a feature or two and knocking a bit off the price. In my marketing-naivity that does NOT sound like a winner of a strategy to me.
The following WAHOO ‘things’ stand out after only a couple of hours fiddling with: apps and devices; mounts and boxes.
- The shape and feel of the buttons are different. – so what? Well it means you easily know when you are pressing them and, I would imagine, a similar argument would apply in winter when wearing gloves. It’s nice to have buttons that you can easily press or touchscreens that work (most don’t)
- The screen is actually readable. Ta Da. It’s super-readable. In navigation mode it’s just obvious what’s going on and there isn’t a confusion of multi-coloured lines meaning uncertain things to a lost cyclist. The screen would, however, look a tad better with a tad higher resolution for navigation although that would probably not improve the functionality.
- It’s responsive – no annoying laggy delays so far.
- Setup is a doddle. Download the app. Scan the QR code. Fiddle around a bit. You know the drill.
- Mounts are included, albeit cheap-looking ones that are oriented the wrong way! ie 90 degrees to Garmin’s way. Honestly tho; one of the most annoying things is buying a device and then finding you have not got the right accessory to do X, Y or Z. The ELEMNT has stem, handlebar/out-front and TT mounts. Sorted!! – for 99% of people. If you instead got the bundle option then you have all the other sensors that you would ever normally need – except a PM.
- The management-home screen is easy to access. Some key functions are then a single press away rather than hidden in the depths of a labyrinthine menu system. For example pairing a new sensor is easy. The only thing that flummoxed me, at first, was the apparent preference to pair by Bluetooth for multi-channel devices.
- Most sensors seem compatible – even muscle oxygen. Handy (hmmm).
- The ability to zoom down through areas of interest whilst riding, rather than flick to another predefined page, is novel and interesting. I’m not yet sure if I like that or not.
That’s not really a ‘first impression’ piece where I would write in a bit more detail but hopefully you get the drift. And the drift is that we’re dealing with a creatively different cycling product. I guess one issue with creativity is that some people like creative novelty and others ‘hate’ it. No doubt Taylor Swift would have something catchy to say about that. She normally does.
It’s not just a case that WAHOO do X and Garmin also do X, the comparison really needs to be about HOW Garmin and WAHOO do X differently. So a key issue is usability and that makes it hard to do fair and easy comparisons. That’s because the Garmin user has the Garmin+X mindset on how things should work (because they are used to it). How do you show “how X is done” on a simple feature comparison table?
to highlight the previous point, I was going to use a pretentious metaphor about how difficult it would be to say why Modilgliani (artist) was better than Miro (another artist) but I thought better of it 😉
One of my day-jobettes is creatively based and if I was wearing that particular hat I would definitely say that WAHOO have re-invented the cycling computer. OK they did it two years ago. I like to take my time 😉
Apparently Apple has started making phones too.