[SRAM] Hammerhead Karoo 2 new addition to Control Centre

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[SRAM] Hammerhead Karoo 2 new addition to Control Centre + more

 

SRAM’s recent acquisition of Hammerhead seems NOT to have stopped the features flowing. A few days ago there were some nice features on the Karoo 2 that were updated and other new ones added. All are worth quickly covering here.

Must Read: Hammerhead Karoo 2 Review

 

I seem to recall Garmin introducing a swipe-down control centre of sorts with the Edge 820. It may have been earlier. In principle, this is just a handy way to access higher-level settings that either control your device or set the parameters for your ride. So we’re talking about routes, sensors, workouts and more. A wide bunch of important factors.

Well, Hammerhead introduced this feature to the Karoo just before Christmas and expanded it a fair bit last week to the point where it becomes newsworthy.

 

Karoo 2 – Control Centre Overview

You can swipe down the control centre from the top of your Karoo.

To the top of the screen, there are 2 or more bars each of which represents a page of some sort. In my case below I have 2 pages when I am not on a ride and 5 pages for all the in-ride options.

There are some relatively intuitive graphics that display handy shortcuts to key rider productivity tools like ride profile, screen brightness, battery mode, audio controls and quite a few more. Once your ride is open, there is even more access to the flash mode of your Varia Radar, power meter calibration, choose or change a route, choose a structured workout and more besides.

The only thing I couldn’t find was the ability to make some of the more complex Di2 settings like shifting mode and cassette size (if I change wheels). It might be in there somewhere I’m not 100% sure as I couldn’t get a few other things to work like the Training Peaks workout sync.

 

so, specifically what’s new to the control centre this week is

  1. Device (sensor) controls
  2. Smart Light Control
  3. Radar taillight mute
  4. change profiles mid-ride
  5. Subtle changes to power and brightness management
  6. Ride restore – on a super long ride with a super long coffee stop you can turn off the Karoo at the cafe and restore the ride when it’s turned on again
  7. Import FIT/ZWO workout files to Dashboard (auto-syncs to the Karoo)

 

Thoughts

The new features keep on coming. Kudos to Hammerhead and Kudos to Coros for doing a similar thing on the watches. Both those companies are market-leading right now with the volume and frequency of meaningful updates.

On to the negatives.

Coros and SRAM/Hammerhead are now starting to enter the complexity territory that Garmin got lost in several years ago. Coros kinda gets around it with the ugly digital crown – ugly it might be but that way of interacting with a watch’s menus at a high level works well. If you’ve ever heard of Apple you might find they did a similar thing 😉

Hammerhead, on the other hand, has relied on very cute management of the visuals and put a lot of thought into your experience when using the Karoo. The Karoo definitely still looks good and parts of the Control Centre work well with the touchscreen but navigating the control centre with the side buttons is not intuitive and a bit cumbersome even once you’ve figured it out. Similarly diving back into Karoo’s regular menus you’ll find that list of menu choices is now several scroll-downs long. It’s starting to get unwieldy.

As we know, Garmin HAS realised the error of their ways and is now moving the Fenix 7, Epix Gen 2 and presumably future devices towards being able to set many parameters on your smartphone.

Does Hammerhead need to take a step back and think where they are taking the interface? New features are only ever going to make it increasingly complicated.

Wahoo? #NotComplicated.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “[SRAM] Hammerhead Karoo 2 new addition to Control Centre

  1. Yeah, I’m not sure about this Karoo 2. Hardware is mostly fine, but not as great as everyone seems to think it is
    – it’s heavy
    – a bit laggy
    – the screen is nowhere near as nice as your random low end smartphone (mostly caused by the anti glare coating)
    – the mount is fragile as hell (mine broke after 10 months of light use)

    That being said, I still love mine, mostly because of the overall reliability of the gps tracking, and also because of the continuous firmware update efforts from Hammerhead.

    But this last pair of updates are indeed pushing too hard what’s convenient for such a small screen.
    The new control center…. sounds great on paper:
    – there is no room for your notifications and the cc on the same screen, so now, you must swipe twice to get your notifications
    – the navigation between cc pages is really poorly thought out. Each time I want to exit the page with the brightness setting… I will change the brightness setting, because… the sceen is too small to fit so many controls and/or the device is not fast enough to understand I’m swiping. So I just avoid this cc for now

    The only good thing here is that it seems the team learned how to design a control button that’s not ugly. So there is hope we get a more consistent look and finally, finally, “ok looking” buttons on the main screen, in place of those ugly blank square buttons.

    And since they seem to double down on the visual enhancements (the “turn off” screen is now quite nice) maybe we’ll get fancier widgets to take advantage of the “incredible” screen. Because as of now, my main ride screens are just looking like they would on your avg ancient garmin device, i.e, ugly grids with numbers…
    Sure, it’s… easy to read, but why not give us nice widgets, smart enough to aggregate more than one data? I mean, wouldn’t be nice to have some analog-like speedometer, with min/max/avg as small distincts marks, the main value with a thick, high contrast needle, and maybe one second neddle to get a 3s avg ? I want such a widget so I can fit 3 of them on the screen and get all my speed/power/cadence values without having to resort to multiple screens filled with… grids of numbers.
    Ok, enough ranting for today 🙂

    1. you have to have a weekly rant to keep your sanity levels up i reckon 😉
      bizarrely, at first, i couldn’t change the screen brightness whereas you couldn[‘t help BUT change it.

      yes it does seem a little laggy now whereas i never remembered it being that way. (actually most garmin devices are quite laggy but their screen transitions are very good at hiding it)

      1. Yep, it’s definitely more laggy now. Not a big surprise given we get more features, visual enhancements AND better battery life update after update. The team deserves some kudos for that, but I guess they try every possible tricks to offer all this using very aggressive cpu constraints, and it shows.
        And as you say, being slow and being laggy are two different things. I’m quite sure it’s just the Hammerhead team efforts do not tend to prioritize UI animations smoothness over battery life… yet? The hardware is definitively capable of better than what we have now.

        Also on the positive side, their customer support is nice. Maybe not the absolute best, but at least they answer super quickly and do what they are supposed to do, i.e, helping their customers.

        As I said, I’m still loving this little device. I just want my fancy widgets! Or at least, maybe, some low level APIs so we can develop them.

        Cheers

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