Gadgets I’m Using Right Now

Here are most of the gadgets I’ve been using for me over the last month or so. I’m not sure they are my ‘favourite’ ones per se but I’m using them ‘properly’ for meaningful training stuff rather than just trying to break them or seeing if the GPS is accurate or not.

Garmin 935 Wahoo Tickr Fit

Not shown with mystery watch 😉

There is nothing too new on the list but I’m hoping the new products will start flowing very soon.

My regular reader will know that this is the point where I pretend not to be using Garmin products. So, without further ado, let’s go.

  1. Garmin Forerunner 935 – I’m using it a lot for running and swimming. Honestly the thing I like the most with Garmin stuff is that they attach to my computer as a windows drive letter. Simple as that – it helps with SportTracks and other things. Next up comes the 3rd party vendor CIQ apps that work on high-end Garmins. And then, of course, is all the workout, lap and fancy stuff that I take as a given for a ‘proper’ triathlon watch. Does the Garmin bias here never end? Apparently not…
  2. Garmin HRM-TRI – the old ones are sometimes a bit boring. But sometimes they just work. Mine has got some horrible green mould growing on the inner side of it which is particularly disgusting. I thought the chlorine in my local pool would have got rid of it from once or twice weekly usage; but, no.
  3. Wahoo KICKR – Let’s face it if it’s not cold then it’s wet. My shed is very nice as sheds go. And I have been enjoying some box sets rather than Sufferfest or Zwift.
  4. Wahoo Elemnt Bolt – it works. Which is probably the ultimate accolade.
  5. Wahoo Tickr Fit – sometimes in use with the Bolt. Also works.
  6. Cervelo S3 Shimano di2Adamo ASM ShimanoSTRYD – I hit some power duration PBs/PRs over the last few days so I’m pleased with that. Easy really. I just found a slightly longer and slightly steeper hill to run up HARD.
  7. RunScribe – RS still keeps telling me I’m whacking the ground too hard with my feet. I’m waiting to do some pace and power tests with Sensor Fusion. (I’ve given up with Garmin Running Power for now)
  8. Suunto Spartan Sport WHR Baro – I’m wearing it now. It’s my go-to typing watch. Oh yes, and I’ve also been using it as my go-to occasional navigation watch. Essentially I have got bored with running where I live and am venturing further afield and this stops me getting lost. And it IS pretty (IMO) with a great, big awesome screen.
  9. Favero ASSIOMA – I’ve been trying out some new firmware but I can’t tell you about it yet. Oops. Just did.
  10. My sweet new bike (link to: the5krunner.com) – I’ve been getting out for the odd 90 minute ride here and there in between the aforesaid days of horrible weather. I think I’ve already worn out the rear derailleur though, I’m just loving the Di2 so much that I can’t stop changing gears as it’s so easy. This might sound somewhat ‘unusual’ behaviour but if you’ve used oval chainrings for as long as me then you might appreciate why I am now enjoying changing gears, frequently and in relative silence.
  11. LIVALL Smart Helmet – It’s a helmet with clever lights, speakers and a mic built into it. All of which link to a smartphone and clever handlebar controller. It looks like a cool well-ventilated helmet (because that is what it is). Here’s a sneaky visual preview – its the one in the middle.

LIVALL Helmet Review – BH60SE Smart Helmet

 

I’m trying to see if I’ve used any of the other gadgets sprawled over my desk but I don’t think so. It’s quite tidy for once and ‘other work’ (#PayTheBills) has been busy. There is a BSX Insight staring me in the face but, ironically, that has died and won’t charge up at all. Did Alanis Morissette ever get to grips with what ironic really meant? I suspect not.

Here is another interesting product coming up soon: AURA. Unfortunately it might have a tricky inception as it is aiming to be another HYDRATION MONITOR. Not to be confused with the OURA Ring which is also new, although definitely not a hydration monitor.

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32 thoughts on “Gadgets I’m Using Right Now

  1. it turned out a second DCR aka Garmin sales&marketing agent that lives out from Garmin sale subsidiaries and pretend to be objective … you use two watches regular, a Garmin crap and a suunto spartan … that makes my day …

    • Have you used a 935? Polar used to be it, rock solid in any condition, pre built in GPS. Garmin has plenty of problems, and I’ve personally posted plenty of complaints, but the 935 really has been hands down the most stable and feature full watch I’ve ever used. Sure it has problems with wrist base OHR, just like every other wrist base OHR out there. But feature and stability, no-one else compares right now. After a year of near full time wearing including trail running, mountain biking (crashes and all), and just day to day, there is no sign of wear and tear period.

    • You do understand that Garmin’s market share is by far the highest of ALL the companies making sport watches? That doesn’t mean the user is bias to a company (reviewer or not) but because they literally ARE the most dominate option in the sector. I personally loathe plenty of Garmin’s products and their software development/implementation of bug fixes (they break more than they fix), but you know what I use?

      -Forerunner 935
      -HRM-Tri
      -Index Scale
      -Tempe Pod
      -Speed/Cadence sensor for bike

      Of all the companies making products right now Garmin is the most malleable of them all. Connections to external devices, connections to 3rd party apps, file distributions to external programs and online platforms, not to mention just how much stuff the watch(s) actually are able to track. They don’t all work, but that’s a lot more than ANY other company does. It’s the reason I haven’t jumped to Polar or Suunto (and i’m looking for a reason to do so) they just haven’t given me a reason to.

      There’s also the sheer amount of device releases Garmin put out a year. How many watches did Polar release last year for example? Two–and both were just refresh models from prior devices. There isn’t much to review, there isn’t much to cover. Suunto on the other hand put out the same watch multiple times with SLIGHT additions and variations.

      This sentiment about favoritism is disingenuous, even if it is true. What problem is it if the reviewer enjoys the product or the products from a company as long as they are reviewing it truthfully? Are you suggesting 5KR and DCR are not giving accurate reviews? Who then is giving accurate reviews?

      I don’t care if they like the company or products, I care they are covering it fairly and does the same thing to other products. DCR and 5KR don’t seem to be lying even if YOU seem to think they are via bias.

      • i think maybe Tobias was answering ‘tongue-in-cheek’ ??
        yes ‘truthfully’ is a good word. Lots of words are used incorrectly. but one person’s truth is not necessarily someone else’s
        eg “DCR is independent”….of course he is NOT independent. he is, in part, dependent on garmin pre-release devices and inside info. as it happens i am ABSOLUTELY 100% independent of GARMIN (other than as a consumer only buying in retail channels) but i am dependent on other companies just like dcr is. even words like ‘bias’/’balanced’ are wrong. as you say there is more garmin product out there. maybe ‘proportionate’ is a better word than bias. ‘fair’ is another good word or maybe even ‘impartial’.
        Maybe actually it’s GOOD to have one article BIASED one way and then another BIASED another way. Helps us think? rather than living in an echo chamber where we only read things we know we will agree with???
        writing can become so boring starting every second sentence with ‘on the other hand…’ You guys are all super intelligent and for sure make your own decisions.

        #discuss

        • Re #discuss

          I find that there are no really accurate reviews out there. Every reviewer has it own ‚strength‘ (e.g. bias, favorite, point of view, dependency).

          But if I read several of my prefered reviews about the same product, I get a pretty much good picture about what to expect from the product – nor not.

          Unfortunately all those ‚very positive‘ reviews won‘t change the ‚crap-level-iteration‘ of current and future products – that‘s how the market works. As long as reviewers live (e.g. financially, mentally, ego) from that market too and as long consumers (e.g. me too 😔) buy this ‚shit‘, it won‘t change.

          It would be great, if certain reviewers would coop together and create something really independent – payed by the croud (e.g. patreon) instead of trying to sell via a review.

          • The ‘problem’ if you will, is essentially that one can’t have it both ways.

            People complain when companies don’t release detailed information to press/media at a products launch. Meaning, the company just issues a press release and we have to hope/pray it does what it says it does. The solution to that has long been for reputable companies to loan/preview/whatever media units ahead of release. That gives 3rd parties the chance to ask objective questions, and give feedback on the state of the product.

            Inversely, people complain when media have access to products ahead of launch because then it’s seen as reliance on that company for access and then they assume you’ll only write good things. One only has to look at my post this fall on the Garmin Vivomove HR to see that’s very much not the case. I had it for weeks ahead, and my opening line effectively calls it a useless POS.

            I have no problem with TFK having pre-release access to Suunto, Polar, and whatever else as he does, because I think it’s useful that other viewpoints are expressed at launch. I don’t really know why he doesn’t have Garmin pre-release access (though, I suspect it’s just because a Garmin Europe PR doesn’t really exist, so all my contacts are on the US side). Or maybe the site numbers don’t justify it, or what-not. I have no idea. Other media outlets do have pre-release access on various products (Cycling Tips, Bike Radar, Outside, The Verge, NYT, WSJ, Engadget, all come to mind). Whether or not this specific crowd finds value in the depth/details from those outlets, I don’t know. Different target audiences perhaps.

            Nonetheless, almost all of my formal reviews these days release well after the product starts shipping.

            I do often find it somewhat funny/interesting how different people read my reviews differently. One person reads a review and thinks I’m saying to purchase a product, yet another thinks I’m saying not to. Heck, even when I very clear-cut say not too…people still purchase and then get upset.

            Ultimately, I don’t really care what people buy. And it’s funny – the vast majority of my Amazon revenue has nothing to do with sports tech at all. It’s literally things like toilet paper, motion sickness pills, and dog food. The fact that I block all companies from advertising in the segment means that revenue is just ads from whatever your surfing for (i.e. lingerie). Contrast that with other mainstream publications that take money from the exact same companies they review. Patreon is the closest to being a viable model for what I do, but even that doesn’t really change anything if folks want early details/thoughts – it just firewalls off things for everyone else.

            No system is perfect. As I alluded to at the start, people want different things from tech details, so there’s plenty of places to get it.

          • Look, my only concern isn’t “How” you come by the product, but “IF” you’re intention is to cover it to the best of your ability AND that you are coverining honestly.

            In the case of DCR that gets pre-release products from Garmin and is *dependent of them, I would point to a time when he may not have, yet did reviews all the same. He built a reputation and with that garnered him some preferential treatment from the company. Like DCR said above me, I don’t know why TKR doesn’t get these items but that (to me) isn’t a point or an issue. Stating DCR is dependent on the pre-release rings hollow. And he’s here in this thread speaking, but does this mean he’s on their “payroll” or “under contract” to the company?

            If no and simply is getting preferential treatment because he is synonymous with Sportstech reviews (and the sheer amount of hits he gets), then fine. If he is working for the company, i’d have to question not his reviews of Garmin’s products….but why they’d allow him to review ANY other companies product, and review them fairly. And yes, I personally think the both of you are judging them fairly (in your own ways).

            I take umbrage with this backhanded notion that because either of you seem to cover Garmin products more or use Garmin products more, of use Garmin products as the standard for testing against other companies products (or even other Gamins product’s) is somehow some nefarious plot to denounce other products and push them aside, is well…absurd. One, it means users are effectively “sheep” led only by reviews (we’re not) and two, means the both of you (and everyone else in the sector) has been secretly working for Garmin all this time and have lied about everything.

            I don’t think EITHER of those things are true, and I will point to my initial posting and say there are just MORE Garmin devices to cover in a year than other companies put out. If Polar were to explode this year with a completely new line of devices, i’d expect the two of you would be reviewing as many as you could (via pre-release or buying them) AND probably use the Garmin equivalent since….well they are the most used and frankly a standard of options and functions we all expect/want. I don’t think that’s favoritism, I think that’s just common sense. Had neither of you mentioned Garmin in those reviews the abject response was you were bias AGAINST Garmin for some reason.

            I go to both of your sites (TKR a bit more, sorry Ray :P) and trust that what findings you put forth are based on your experiences. I don’t care if you like Garmin more or another more, I just hope when you are reviewing a product you are doing it objectively and honestly.

          • First up:
            The DCR model is near-perfect. Ray, I congratulate you on that. Even more annoyingly you have the personal skills to implement the model. grrr.
            The DCR model, I think, CANNOT be replicated by anyone even if they had the correct personal skills. The links TO the companies CAN be replicated (I could probably do that with a bit more effort) but the problem is how to make money out of it. Believe me i’ve looked a lot at various angles and the CT-DC linkup worked at the right time. So the DCR ‘sort of’ monopoloy (said in a non detrimental way) will do well for the foreseeable future. There is obviously quite a lot of money in all of this (I don’t see it FWIW) and so, strangely, I think Ray’s risks are either 1. PR c**kup cum lawsuit 2. Bike crash #Varia 3. a funded competitor linked to some sort of clever-training-esque alliance of companies (I think wiggle do something along those lines in europe)
            So. I do something different. with similarities. hopefully people can see the difference? if not … SHRUG. There’s no point in trying to copy what i dont think can be copied. #AskBoris. I’ve made mistakes..eg this stupid anonymous thing..it stops me using the Youtube channel ..I know! I know! UK phrase: “I’ve started so I’ll finish”…meaning I’m not changing (probably). Still, Ray is far more good looking than me (maybe 😉 ) and so better suited to youtube.
            Garmin: if anything, i am pretty sure my content leans more AWAY from garmin than towards it, so i really don’t mind if anyone accuses me of Garmin-bias (I write often sarcastically and tongue in cheek so that loses a lot in translation, even going over the pond). Hence maybe the angle that Tobias Fahrig got from it?…I assume he is Austrian/German. so the above article is TRUE (Justin) but is written less than seriously in the commentary around it.
            Answering earlier points on Garmin: Garmin specifically told me there was no DCR-like deal on the table. FWIW: I never expected there to be. He sells LOTS of Garmin product…LOTS. Garmin DID offer me a narrow deal like cnet and co ie a device notbaly after announcement (and DCR’s reviews) but before commercial/public availability. Maybe I should have taken that? But they described it as an Ambassador role and I certainly don’t want to be classed as a Garmin ambassador, i DEFINATELY don’t think of myself as a GARMIN AMBASSADOR…AT ALL. That must mean that Garmin see DCR as a super ambassador 😉 So here we are. I don’t even get Garmin press releases from Garmin…yep. it’s true i get ZIP NADA RIEN NOTHING from them. I buy their stuff from Amazon, which sometimes has later availability than other sources in the UK…so be it.

            So if you REALLY want INDEPENDENT (Google the meaning of the word) Garmin advice then come to the5krunner.com. But I suspect the reality is that people want such Garmin commodities as cheaply as possible, although there are a minority of nice people who do want to reward content creators eg via Patreon eg buying from the review site (even if there is no discount attached).

          • Every now and then in a market a call for independent advice comes up (for mortgages and insurances for example). However, when a government decides that practices with kick-back fees or other hidden fees for the advising party are not allowed anymore, the advice needs to be paid. Then suddenly independent advice isn’t sought for as it used to be by the general public. We saw that in the Netherlands. I’ve bought stuff based on the opinions of the 5k runner and DCR. The strong points and weaknesses were in general described well in their reviews, was my conclusion. For me a saying in Dutch counts: trust comes by feet (trust builds up slowly) and goes by horse (can vanish very quickly). The handling of the the Vivomove clearly did build trust, as Ray even didn’t supply the link to Clever training to buy it. PS: I know that long term quality isn’t regarded when a product is reviewed after a month. That’s what I always keep in mind when reading reviews. I don’t blame Ray that my Scosche Rythm plus isn’t working very well anymore during winter; that’s a risk of live I have.

          • Why are some people hell bent on pulling reviewers down. I got into this because the likes of Wearable and others just put up a review that didn’t go into the details of the device based on a few days or at most a weeks use.

            I also get access to some pre release products and get invited to company events to look at products, but does that mean I give the product special treatment? No it does not.. if its rubbish its rubbish and I will say it.

            The only thing I do take exception to is when some reviewers say “I will package it up and send it back like I do with all products. Most of the loan products we get HAVE to be sent back and in my case if they don’t I give them to friends of family. I don’t like it when reviewers make a special thing about not keeping products to show independence.

            At the end of the day, it gets dark and we all review different. We will all have some bias towards a brand. But my advice is look at different reviews to get the best view you can before buying something.

            Most of the independents don’t make much money, it covers costs and buying gear, with the exception of DCR of course. But on the subject of Amazon affiliate links, I had 2 sales for blow up dolls and lots of special lubricant

          • yep. most are loan products anyway for most reviewers. some of the comapnies expect you to pay for the return, others do not expect it.
            FWIW: the major site, in general, would not pay to return an item. they would expect it to be collected.

            My point is: if you keep saying things are rubbish from a certain vendor they WILL stop sending you stuff. Therein lies the bias argument.

            Personally I simply have all the stuff I need for me. I jsut don’t need anything else. as per the 935…i posted the Amazon purchase receipt on this site last year as part of an article about something or other.

            Jeez…you too! I must get all the clean living people clicking thru to amazon from here 😉

          • Yes I agree if you keep saying things are “rubbish” you will lose that channel of product, but it should not deter us and I will just go out and buy something to review if I don’t get it.

          • The reason I call it (returning products) out specifically is that most ‘social influencers’ (or popular YouTube people or what-not), actually don’t return products. It’s effectively considered payment. The vast majority of YouTube ‘review’ channels work that way.

            Further, while more journalistic focused entities like The Verge and the NYT will return products (and have strict policies around it), many other tech/gear sites actually don’t. It’s just a one-way shipment. And that even ignores the underhanded sponsored posts that aren’t listed as such on major outdoor-lifestyle sports gear review sites.

            In fact, I’ve found getting products back to companies that aren’t super familiar to how I operate, always a funny surprise. They don’t really want or care to have them back. Only a single company has ever asked me for a product back (ironically, after merely a week with it), the rest just get them back when I ship them back on whatever elongated timetable it is (I usually bunch things together to save on shipping and logistics, or hand-off plastic bags full of stuff at trade shows. Half my suitcase to CES this year was gadgets going back to companies since it costs so darn much to ship overseas and I already pay the majority of shipping package costs from the US to France anyway).

            I think I need only one official DCR sponsorship: UPS or FedEx.

          • Don’t get me wrong Ray, I like your reviews and style and it was not aimed at you. (even thought you say it) I have seen lots more reviewers perticular on YouTube actually making a point of this about returning products, when they have to anyway.

            If you think the cost of shipping is bad, Apple had me travel to London last week to pick up a HomePod for a briefing and I am still having to return it!

          • i think people are copying Ray’s angle on returning stuff. Let’s face it most people don’t really want or need most of the ‘free’ stuff anyway…most bloggers (edit) are trying to make a (relatively) honest buck…each in their own way

          • but then if it’s payment-in-kind then it’s a trivial payment. Those people won’t be as influential as you. No doubt the brands will get more than they’ve paid for – actually the cost of emplying the person who sends out the ‘freebies’ is probably greater than the value of the freebies…certianly greater than the marginal cost of production of the frebies.
            I think if you dealt with PRs then you’d find that more of them are required to ask for things back than the comapnies directly. (they want to re-use them)

          • “I shall have to challenge you to a ‘what is the most weird thing somewhat has bought from amazon” competition”

            I thought a long time ago (like, 5+ years ago) I wrote a post listing 5 or 10 totally random things people purchased that month on Amazon. But I can’t find it, Google assistance or otherwise.

            But let me tell you…there’s some crazy specific adult toys I never even knew existed out there. Yikes.

            Most random purchases today include:
            A) Giant sea turtle exterior sticker
            B) Cockroach exterminator service
            C) Showtime (yes, the TV channel)
            D) Significant quantities of personal lubricant

            I did not know you could buy Showtime via Amazon…go figure.

          • I think you win. I seem to have a mentally cleaner readership and struggled to find any smut in the amazon clickthroughs. These were the best ones
            – moby dick (the novel, not THAT film)
            – juicy salif (soudned intriguing, looked intriguing but was made by Alessi)
            – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind DVD…seemed to sum it up. Either that or quite a few MilestonePODs

  2. I’ve been using RunScribe Plus for the last few weeks and I have two main issues with it.
    1) More often than not, one pod fails to collect any data and as such I have metrics from one pod only. Seems completely random.
    2) RunScribe thinks I am a midfoot runner. I am most definitely a heel striker and both Milestonepod and ARION correctly tell me that I heel strike.

    Have you had any similar observations? I’m still figuring out how to use the Power metric.

    • i’ve not had the first but i have had the second.
      for power you need to read up on training with power. its the same as normalized pace pretty much (with bolt on clever stats that you can use)

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