Heads-up: Huge Sports Tech Sale Underway – 20% Off All Smart Trainers!
There’s a massive sales on smart cycling trainers right now, plus plenty other sports tech. There’s 20% off the Wahoo KICKR, KICKR CORE, CLIMB, Headwind, 20% off the Tacx NEO 2T, Flux 2, and Flux S, 20% off Saris Hammer 3 trainer and Saris MP1 Motion Platform. Plus also 20% off the Elite Direto X and Suito too, even the new Sterzo. Plus even steeper deals including with the Kinetic trainers at 30% off.
If you’re like me and are constantly on a laptop – there are really two minor issues that I have with the Garmin USB stick that I use to download workouts from my Forerunner to my computer. First up is the issue of simply losing the darn thing in my backpack or around the house. But, I’ve since shared how I solved that problem.
Second, is the issue of it simply breaking off. Having broken off various USB doo-dads from my computer before (as well as smart cards sticking out the side), breakage is a reality, and with it hanging off 1-2” into the wild blue yonder, it’s a prime target for a grade-A fail.
And I suppose a third issue is The Girl stealing it. Somehow that paint scheme she did on hers only works one way in attempting to prevent me from stealing her stick. But it doesn’t keep her from stealing my ANT stick. And neither will this. She’ll still likely try to steal it while giving me that innocent ‘I’m not guilty’ smile.
So back in January when I was alerted to a much smaller USB ANT+ stick that could replace your existing Garmin ANT+ USB stick that you use with your current Forerunners I was pretty jazzed to give it a whirl. I immediately ordered one and waited for the horribly oversized box from Amazon to arrive.
But I don’t think I was prepared for just how small it is once I got it all unboxed. Just check it out in comparison to your normal ANT+ stick:
As you can see, it’s tiny. And the best thing is that with being so small, I can leave it in my laptop 24×7. In fact, aside from a few tests in other computers – it hasn’t left my laptop since the package arrived. That includes plane flights, to and from work, and all assortment of wanderings around town. Well ok, it left my laptop to take these photos:
But, you may be asking how is it that a Suunto branded stick works with Garmin watches? See, when it comes to ANT+ USB sticks, there are basically two flavors – ANT1 (USB1) and ANT2 (USB2). You can see the flavors on the back of virtually all sticks in tiny writing – “USB2 Wireless USB Stick”
ANT1 had a limited number of channels (4), whereas the newer ANT2 stick has more channels (8). In common scenarios like downloading your data, it doesn’t really matter. But when it comes to applications that may leverage the USB stick for real-time data transfer – such as TrainerRoad – the extra channels become really important if you have multiple ANT+ accessories (like Speed, Cadence, Power Meters, Heart Rate, etc…). Or – if you’ve got multiplayer type applications taking advantage of it. Each channel is limited to one ANT+ accessory.
So the Suunto stick is ANT2, which means that despite being Suunto it’s really just like any other ANT+ stick under the covers. Thus it doesn’t look any different to the Garmin software than Garmin’s own stick.
Using the mini-USB stick
All you do is simply plug in the stick, give it a few seconds to grab the USB drivers from Windows Update (I’ve tried it on Windows Vista and Windows 7) – and you’re good to go! You’ll note that initially when it first starts looking for drivers, it calls it the Suunto Movestick Mini (it normally comes with the Suunto Quest watch).
Once it finishes up being installed – it’s the same old ANT USB Stick 2 (ANT2).
For all you Mac folks, I was able to also download workouts without issue using the Garmin ANT Agent and in this case, a Garmin FR610 (but again, any Garmin watch will work).
Like the Mac, on Windows once you’ve got the drivers automatically installed, you’ll use the Garmin ANT Agent software just as you normally would. It’ll simply download from any device you have (i.e. FR610, FR310XT, FR910XT, FR60, FR405, FR410, FR70, etc… – no problems!).
In short, plug it in, forget about it.
Now, I do want to point out that while this is a Suunto ‘accessory’, it’s the only Suunto accessory that will work with other ANT+ devices (like your Garmin). The remainder of the accessories (i.e. heart rate straps) are using Suunto’s proprietary ANT variant which aren’t compatible with anything else. And, while I’m at it – since I know a few of you have asked about the new Suunto Ambit GPS integrated watch – yes, I will definitely be reviewing it and should have a unit in my hands as we get into the first week of March. Looking forward to it!
3rd Party Compatibility:
Now the cool part with being the standard ANT2 stick is that all of the 3rd party applications that use the ANT+ USB sticks support it just fine.
Take for example TrainerRoad (where I heard about the stick, and yes, a review is coming) – it easily works with the Suunto Movestick Mini seamlessly – you’d never know the difference:
Next up we have the Tacx Trainer – which also works just fine. Just be sure to be on software version 3.7 or 3.8 (latest versions) – which added support for the ANT2 USB sticks out of the box (prior to that you had to jump through some hoops). If you’re on the 3.5 or 3.6 – simply click the update button that’s been blinking at you for the past month or so.
And for those developers/testers in the house – yup, it works with the ANT+ simulator perfectly fine too (you may remember this from my ultra-long battery tests).
There are undoubtedly many more apps it works with, but these were just a few that I could think of that I had handy.
About the only downside I can think of is that if you do take it out of your computer and place it somewhere…there’s probably a good chance you’re going to have to search longer to find it since it’s about 20% of the size of the original one.
But, that’s a risk I’ll take…mostly because it’s never leaving my laptop. Others have simply put a dot of epoxy on it to ensure it never leaves its home (though, it’s pretty darn snug in the port already).
I swim, bike and run. Then, I come here and write about my adventures. It’s as simple as that. Most of the time. If you’re new around these parts, here’s the long version of my story.
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You probably stumbled upon here looking for a review of a sports gadget. If you’re trying to decide which unit to buy – check out my in-depth reviews section. Some reviews are over 60 pages long when printed out, with hundreds of photos! I aim to leave no stone unturned.
I travel a fair bit, both for work and for fun. Here’s a bunch of random trip reports and daily trip-logs that I’ve put together and posted. I’ve sorted it all by world geography, in an attempt to make it easy to figure out where I’ve been.
The most common question I receive outside of the “what’s the best GPS watch for me” variant, are photography-esq based. So in efforts to combat the amount of emails I need to sort through on a daily basis, I’ve complied this “My Photography Gear” post for your curious minds! It’s a nice break from the day to day sports-tech talk, and I hope you get something out of it!
Many readers stumble into my website in search of information on the latest and greatest sports tech products. But at the end of the day, you might just be wondering “What does Ray use when not testing new products?”. So here is the most up to date list of products I like and fit the bill for me and my training needs best! DC Rainmaker 2019 swim, bike, run, and general gear list. But wait, are you a female and feel like these things might not apply to you? If that’s the case (but certainly not saying my choices aren’t good for women), and you just want to see a different gear junkies “picks”, check out The Girl’s 2018 Gear Guide too.