As you already know, a lot of products come through my testing ‘lab’. After my testing is complete and my review is written up these products head back to their respective companies. Leave no tracks behind and all.
But sometimes, they don’t quite make it back…to anywhere. And sometimes, when they go back they aren’t exactly in the same form as when they arrived. Call it a bit of ‘reconfiguration’.
I’ve been slowly compiling this post for the better part of a year, and I figure now’s a good time to look at the less fortunate devices in the testing cycle. Of course, in almost every case it wasn’t exactly the devices fault that something happened. It was usually an innocent bystander in a poorly executed maneuver on my part.
Fully Destroyed Products
Here’s the current standings, as of mid-January 2013:
1) Garmin Forerunner 110 (died in water), April 2010
This was one of my first destroyed products during testing. I had taken the unit for a 20-minute swim as part of lap swimming at a pool. Less than 10-15 minutes into the session, the watch screen was full of water. An hour later, it was entirely dead. As you can see in my product review post, I even took it apart and tried to revive it with a hairdryer.
Interestingly, this was before the manual had any language about not swimming with the watch. As a result of this incident, that manual was changed.
2) Timex Run Trainer (lost in Lake Michigan) – October 2011
I was doing a simple swim cap test showing how the Timex Run Trainer could be used to measure swim distance in a swim cap – should triathletes want to take this watch beyond a swim. I had finished the swim and had taken this unit and a Garmin FR310XT out of my swim cap. At the same time, I also had a FR910XT on my wrist, capturing the distance. With all three watches out, I placed them on my wrist to get a photo (without locking the band). I was standing in about 3 feet of (murky) water when a small wave came by and knocked all both the FR310XT and Timex Run Trainer off (the FR910XT was still strapped to my wrist). Despite lots of frantic searching, the undercurrent quickly moved it to its death.
3) Forerunner 310XT (lost in Lake Michigan) – October 2011
(Same Incident as above) I was doing a simple swim cap test showing how the Timex Run Trainer could be used to measure swim distance in a swim cap – should triathletes want to take this watch beyond a swim. I had finished the swim and had taken this unit and a Garmin FR310XT out of my swim cap. At the same time, I also had a FR910XT on my wrist, capturing the distance. With all three watches out, I placed them on my wrist to get a photo (without locking the band). I was standing in about 3 feet of (murky) water when a small wave came by and knocked all both the FR310XT and Timex Run Trainer off (the FR910XT was still strapped to my wrist). Despite lots of frantic searching, the undercurrent quickly moved it to its death.
4) i-gotU GPS Travel Logger – September 2009
Some of you may wonder why I dislike separated GPS pods so much in watches. And this particular incident is one reason why – they’re really easy to lose! I was out on a 120 mile ride prior to Ironman Florida. I was just doing my normal thing – riding, taking occasional pictures and the like. I had tossed the little GPS Travel Logger in my back jersey pocket, figuring at the end of the ride I’d combine all the photos together as the product has advertised. Except, at the end of said ride, the “i-gotU” part turned to “i-don’tgotU”. Somewhere along the way, it probably got pulled out of my jersey pocket when I went to grab the camera/nutrition/etc…and was never seen again.
5) Bontrager ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor (obliterated) – February 2012
I was working on testing of the Polar/Look Keo Pedal Power system while the Bontrager Speed/Cadence sensor was sitting in its usual location next to the rear wheel. I was testing on a trainer at the time, mostly working out some issues with the Polar gear and calibration. In the process of this while the rear wheel was at full speed I inadvertently moved the speed/cadence sensor into the line of fire. In doing so, it exploded into a million pieces of plastic that went flying across the room. I might as well have had an IED in the thing. The above is the primary component that was left. The rest of the sensor is in far more pieces, some never really found.
6) Canon 7D & Ikelite underwater case (Garmin Swim testing) – June 2012
I was taking product review photos for an upcoming (but unannounced at the time) product underwater. Well, actually, The Girl was. The $1,700 Canon 7D was in the $1,500 case with an $800 lens. As I was doing laps and she was taking some initial perspective photos, the unit filled halfway with water. Somewhere an o-ring wasn’t sealed correctly and let a significant amount of water in. Normally I do a few quick tests before fully submerging it, but this time those were forgone. In the link above, there’s actually a video showing the camera just going crazy – the shutter just wouldn’t stop.
Thankfully, I have DAN (Divers Alert Network) insurance for the product and these exact situations – and the repairs were fully covered by them.
7) Nike+ GPS Sport Watch (fall to the ground) – April 2011
This happened on about day three of my product review testing for the Nike+ GPS watch when it slipped out of my swim bag and onto the floor. Ironically, it kept on working just fine – just had a minor wardrobe malfunction of sorts. At that point, it was new enough that Nike was willing to send out a replacement (via normal support channels, no fancy media stuff) – but, these days I hear that’s not the case.
8) Polar/Look Keo Power System Pedals – July 2012
Outside of the camera combo, this takes the cake on the most expensive item that didn’t make it back in the same number of pieces as it started. I wrote about the event this past summer, but essentially due to an issue with an unrelated bicycle part (bolt attaching crank together), the crank arm fell off. When the crank arm fell off, the Polar power pedals were attached to the arm. ‘Were’ being the operative word there. They flew across the pavement at 20-30MPH, splintering into more pieces than necessary for day to day operation. Oddly enough, this was planned as the last ride on this product before the review two days later. Ultimately, the Polar pedals were mere innocent bystanders in the whole situation – with the non-Polar/Look crank arm being the one at fault here. It just so happened the Polar units were attached to that.
There will be more
Undoubtedly, over time, other units will fall victim to having a bad day. It’s sorta just the nature of testing so many devices all the time. Sometimes it’s probably more the products fault, but most times, it’s probably more my fault.
There are/were plenty of close calls. For example, while testing some software that does real-course style videos for treadmill, my laptop fell off the treadmill. Thankfully, it fell off the back of the treadmill and not the front onto the belt (where it would have shot off at incredible speed, PS – that post actually has video of it happening!). Or the time I was testing out the Spot GPS tracker device and it unclipped from my bike while riding on Skyline drive – flew off, and rolled between car wheels. Eek! Luckily, it survived without getting straight up run over.
As I said, there will be more – so this page will be kept up to date from time to time.
As always, thanks for reading!