Since it’s Friday, I’ll keep it quick and pictorial.
First up is yesterday’s announcement from FINIS about their new Hydrotracker GPS unit. This unit is designed to attach to your swim goggles and hang out on the back of your head and track your swim. The good ol’ swimcap method is back in town! Except, unlike that method, this one doesn’t require the unit to be inside your swim cap – but is rather instead securely attached outside on your goggles.
I’ve had a unit since December and got the chance to test it out during my daily openwater swims in Bora Bora back in December/January. The unit is painfully simple to use (on, off), and has a handful of settings that can control recording rate. Battery life goes upwards of 13 hours, depending on said recording rate. It can also be used for basic tracking of other sports as well.
The unit doesn’t tie into Swimsense from a stroke standpoint, and merely measures distance and time – so similar to stashing any other GPS in your swim cap. But it does upload your workout afterwards for viewing, and you can download the GPS track to upload to just about any site (TCX/CSV/KML files).
Now that it’s released, I’ll go ahead and write-up a full review on it shortly. In the meantime, I uploaded a slew of pics to a Facebook gallery to view (as a side note, one of the things I’m looking to address with the new blog design is the ability to create quick galleries that are easy to browse).
Next up is a note to any and all Garmin FR910XT owners that yesterday (Thursday) Garmin released the first update to the FR910XT which includes a bunch of fixes to issues that some folks have seen. This includes a fix to address the pace fluctuation issue, as well as some uploading and shutoff issues.
On the pace fluctuation issue – I actually finally figured out how to see the bug just this past weekend (I simply ran a lot slower), so I was able to confirm tonight during a short run that the issue is resolved on my unit after updating. Hopefully it fixes others! Note that no new features were added in this update – meaning, no TSS/NP/IF, nor anything else folks might have been hoping for. These were pretty targeted fixes to squash bugs.
Also of note is that those with Amazon orders have started seeing your units ship, depending on when you ordered (thanks for all who sent in a note!). They haven’t cleared the backlog yet, though, in talking with Garmin the current trend/status is to clear out the remaining FR910XT backlogged orders across all distributors over the next 2-3 weeks.
Speaking of that nighttime run – the weather out here in DC has been awesome this week, at least from a workout standpoint.
My easy 40 minute run on Thursday night was just awesome. The temperatures were shorts and t-shirt weather, but still cool enough to feel great. Sorta like those perfect fall running days…except almost spring And, there was finally no howling wind – making it even better.
It’s funny to see though what paces look like after a nice recovery week, compared to just last Saturday at the end of a three-week build. I was screaming along tonight with what felt like no effort, and the heart rates to show it. A good feeling.
So with that – hope everyone has a great weekend ahead, and thanks for reading!
Have a look at Smugmug for the photos.
Does Hydrotracker GPS link with Garmin Clock somehow?
Was wondering if you used both Finis gps tracker and FR910xt at the same time while swimming in Bora Bora and how they compared with distance tracking?
Yes, please let us know how the Hydrotracker GPS data/maps compare to the FR910xt
You are one goofy-looking dude, but your reviews are very thorough! I’ve bought several products based on your reviews. Thanks!
I just upgraded the 910xt software to v2.4, reset the GPS cache and did my normal 8 mile loop at 7:30/mile pace. The watch measures distance accurately but the 2.4 firmware update DID NOT fix the pace smoothing problem. In fact, the pace shown was never below 7:50/mile.
Until Garmin gets it right, I suggest setting auto-lap to 1 mile and then just display the average lap pace. That too is quirky for the first ~10 seconds of each new mile but smooths out thereafter.
Yup, regarding the FR910XT and the Hydrotracker – I actually did all my swims with the FR310XT, FR910XT and Hydrotracker. Though, due to some beta firmware bugs, the Hydrotrack had a few of those get zapped before I could upload them. Nonetheless, I was able to get a good sense of how it correlated. I put the FR310XT in the swimcap next to it, and the FR910XT on my wrist. In my longest swim I did, the numbers were as follows:
FR910XT: 2,235 yards
FR310XT: 2,411 yards
FINIS: 2,288 yards
The FR310XT while in the swimcap during this particular test, may have been at a slight disadvantage signal-wise, so it’s plausible that number isn’t as accurate as the rest. Either way, we’re talking 5% accuracy difference.
I noticed on a run today with the 910xt that the recorded pace data points are 10% to 20% slower than the actual pace. So your overall recorded pace is fine but if you look at the graph of your pace info in something like Garmin Connect, it shows way slower values than your lap paces or overall pace.
It’s funny. I had no idea about the Hydrotracker until reading your post just now. I bought the 910xt last week and, knowing about the gps tracking issues with the 310xt when worn on the wrist, thought “wouldn’t it be nice if Garmin built a gps module that goes on back of the head and transmits gps data to the wrist unit via ant+?” It only needs to get a position to the wrist unit every few seconds. If the Hydrotracker data can be parsed with my Garmin track, that would be fine, but I’m thinking a unified solution from Garmin would be much more convenient.
Firmware update for the 910XT failed to fix the pacing issue. Why would they release this faulty product for sale?
I wonder if changing the data recording from smart recording to every second might fix the data issue. I just read about smart recording that it records data points when you change speed or direction. That seems faulty. Just a thought.
RainMaker, do you know when the firmware upgrade for TrainingPeaks stats is coming? I think I read in another of your posts that early March was the projected release date.
I wish I did. I don’t suspect at this point it’ll make the end of the month.
do you think a day to day watch function may be a possible update for the fr910xt, or is that out of the question for a device called a watch? Compared to the 610 which has the worst battery life, but has day to day watch function, vs the 910xt, which is at the top in battery life, it seems strange.