Recon Instruments cuts Jet’s price, and actually gives back rebates to early customers

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I normally wouldn’t have posted on just a standalone permanent price cut unless I felt it was of immediate interest to a large number of people.  However, I think what Recon Instruments has done is more intriguing than that.  See, today they announced a price cut for their heads-up display (Jet) from $699 down to $499US (€499, £360, 469CHF, $660CAD, $799AUD, and ¥60,000).  But – and here’s the interesting part – they’ve also announced they’re giving money back to anyone who has purchased a Jet prior to this.

Yup, early customers will get a pile of gold worth up to $200!*.  I can’t remember off-hand any sports tech company doing such a thing, let alone any mainstream company doing that either.  Sure, sometimes companies will cut the price for customers who might have bought recently – but in the case of Jet, some people placed pre-orders nearly two years ago!  So this is kinda like a random birthday present, without your birthday having to be in September.

Of course, prices for Jet have fluctuated slightly during the pre-order period, so it’s based on whatever you paid.  Customers will receive an e-mail via the interwebs, and if not, you can hit up Recon’s customer support e-mail address to get your pile of gold.

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Now I’ve gotta believe that the cash behind this is a result of the recent Intel acquisition of the company.  I can’t imagine a scenario where Recon by itself would have been in the financial position to do this.  I’ve been a bit critical of the acquisition in the past, but this seems like a genuine gesture of goodwill from the duo.

Also of note was Recon’s most recent firmware update a week ago (code named ‘Pacific’), which made the camera modes a heck of a lot better, and also added Auto-Pause.  Plus some bug fixes and minor features.  That follows on other updates this summer, including GoPro action cam integration/control.

Further, they announced that this fall they’ll push out what they’ve code-named ‘Quebec’, which is the next OS update for Jet.  That’ll support the ability to connect to Bluetooth Smart sensors as well (today, they can only connect to ANT+ sensors).  Of course, they’ve already got the ability to connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth Smart, so this is just for sensors.  Additionally, they note that they’re further expanding developer support in the Quebec release.

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I think this price move starts to make the product far more interesting and appealing.  $699 was a very tough price, especially given the functionality is somewhat limited compared to a Garmin/Suunto/Polar GPS watch.  A device that most triathletes would have likely had anyway due to at a minimum the swim portion.  The continued addition of features is also a good sign, and I’m hoping we’ll see further end-consumer focused features in Quebec.  For example areas such as interval support or structured workout support.  I can only presume Strava Live Segment support would come once the Garmin/Strava exclusivity period ends on January 1st, 2016.  Of course, I think for some buyers it’ll take more than just software, but rather a hardware iteration to a sleeker form factor to be more appealing.

With that – thanks for reading!

*No, not actually a pile of gold. Diamonds yes, but gold no. Just very very very small diamonds.

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8 Comments

  1. Seems like its within 90 days for when they have a version that can be used with rx lenses. That’s what I need

  2. Trevor

    The price reduction is both welcome and necessary along with the improvements they have made both in the native and third party software but it is still a tough outlook for gen 1 of this product. I had a unit back in April and it was an extremely tough sell at that point, limited functionality, no ANT+ support and no compelling third party apps. Glad to see that they have been steadily improving in those areas, but unfortunately I also found the display to be difficult to read/focus on in outdoor riding conditions and the camera is awkwardly placed for riding, it shoots your front wheel and the ground several feet in front of you unless you tilt your head far above the horizon. Most problematically, the unit was going through both batteries and still dying before I could finish a typical ~3.5 hour ride even with settings optimized for power usage.

    I ultimately returned the Jet, and while my experience with customer service was very positive and I strongly believe in the future of wearable products of this type, this generation of hardware just had too many problems for even an early adopter such as myself to really justify even if they have made significant leaps with the software. Holding out hope for a Recon Jet 2.

    • Trevor

      Correcting my earlier statement, Jet had no ANT+ support for power meters at ship, rather than no ANT+ support at all.

    • Kevin

      I’ve tried this as well. I will be returning the unit on Monday as well. While the concept is very useful and they have a stellar customer support, the actual build is not sufficient. I’ve had a few problems with peripheral vision and difficulty seeing the screen but I was able to overcome them for the most part.

      However, after going through one return and a second unit, both seemed to have problems with compass calibration. The first one was consistently off by 15-20 degrees to the left in all directions and strangely the second one was sometimes off in the same way, and sometimes only off in the direction you first started calibrating. Checking their forums it seems there has been others who have experienced both inability to calibrate and compass being off. There have been requests to fix it but it’s been unanswered since June 5, 2015.

      The answer from their QA department is that 15 degrees off is within compass tolerance. While that may be tolerable for a phone, this isn’t acceptable for a device being operated while cycling. I realized it was a hazard when I caught myself staring at the map too long trying to figure out which road was which when I was in unfamiliar areas. This makes the device too dangerous to wear when riding.

      There have been other minor issues like lack of maps (and little work on providing the maps over these last few years, going back to other Recon products), a bug where map loading freezes, short battery life and corrosion from sweat. The Recon Engage forums tell it all.

      Without maps or the compass, and if the video and image quality is poor, this device is merely an activity tracker. The only thing new is that you can see the time while you ride.

      Overall, I would say, save your money and wait until they change the model. May Intel’s purchase will help. As it is right now the company right now isn’t big enough to meet the requirements of such a product.

  3. eli

    Wonder how it compares to the one from koptin and the one from Everysight

  4. Down to $399 till valentines day: link to store.reconinstruments.com

    I would think that after being on the market for ~3 years there would be newer tech to put in them. Like a faster and/or lower power cpu as its based on a 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9

    • I think we’ll see companies iterate on display devices pretty quickly in 2016. That said, the unit only started shipping last April, so it’s really been out less than 9 months.