There were some nice additions to the Hammerhead Karoo’s features last week. As usual, these were a combination of adding some features that their competitors already have and then sneaking in a little innovation or two here and there.
For those of you who do lots of hills, the upcoming course elevation graph gives a visual sense of the hills to come for the next two miles. You can zoom in or out from the default 2 miles ahead view as you ride and, for the data field to work, you must be following a route/course that has the elevation data included in it. Wahoo, Garmin and others have variations on this and I particularly like the usability of the Wahoo and Hammerhead implementations of this feature.
Hammerhead also introduced some battery optimisation options. I’ll try to test these out on my next long ride but in the past my battery was good for 5 hours rides with navigation, so it will be hard to deplete it fully on one of my shorter, normal rides. Bike Navs all have the perennial issue of battery life whilst navigating, especially with various re-routing events and alerts depleting the battery more than normally expected, made worse by always-on super-sweet screens like on the Karoo, MIO Cyclo devices and high-end Garmins.
There is the full list of enhancements linked to further below but the other features worthy of note are around the new Bluetooth power meter calibration functionality and “Sensor Precedence“. The latter of these is unique whereby you put all of your sensors, including the inbuilt GPS, into an ordered list and the Karoo will always first try to connect to those with the highest priority. If, for example, your speed sensor was listed ahead of the inbuilt-GPS then the speed sensor would be used for the source of speed.
When you think about small elements of functionality like that then the way Karoo implement it seems sensible and, to a degree, intuitive. One of the reasons I like the Karoo is that it has many of these intutive functionalities throughout the device.
New software is now available. Update to 1.33.582.3 for predictive elevation, Bluetooth power meter calibration, sensor priority options, battery life upgrades, and bug fixes.
Introductions and Enhancements:
- Upcoming course elevation graph has been introduced
- The graph defaults to show the next 2 miles and can be zoomed in or out by holding the left-side hardware buttons on the Karoo, or by using an on-screen pinch gesture
- Sensor precedence rules have been added, allowing riders to order sensors in the sensors application by dragging and dropping. Sensors higher in the list have priority over sensors lower in the list. If a higher priority sensor is not available for any reason, Karoo falls back to the sensor in the list that can fill the purpose
- The Karoo GPS is added to the sensor list, enabling users to choose GPS-based speed/distance over a speed sensor if desired
- Significant changes have been made to underlying software structure to improve Karoo’s battery life. The added framework lets us add further battery optimisations as they become identified over time. As of this release, these changes include:
- Background activities are now turned off while in a Ride
- Background activities when not in a ride are more compliant with Android architecture, allowing for battery preservation
- After pausing for 5 minutes, the screen will turn off. It will turn back on when resuming the ride or when the power button is pressed by the rider
- Karoo will now power down after 2 hours when not in a ride if the user has not interacted with the device
- Calibration/Zero Offset added for Bluetooth power meters – tap on the connected sensor in the Sensors page, then scroll down to find the calibrate button
- The Karoo now displays battery status of paired bluetooth devices – tap on the sensor in the Sensors page to see battery information