Week in Review–January 1st, 2017

Week days signpost

The Week in Review is a collection of both all the goodness I’ve written during the past week around the internet, as well as a small pile of links I found interesting – generally endurance sports related. I’ve often wondered what to do with all of the coolness that people write, and while I share a lot of it on Twitter and Facebook, this is a better forum for sending it on to y’all. Most times these different streams don’t overlap, so be on the lookout at all these places for good stuff!

So with that, let’s get into the action!

DCRainmaker.com posts in the past week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page of DCRainmaker.com this past week.

Saturday: Week in Review–December 24th, 2016
Monday: The Didn’t Get What You Wanted $500 Gadget Giveaway
Monday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend
Friday: CycleOps Hammer Trainer In-Depth Review
Sunday: The Didn’t Get What You Wanted $500 Gadget Giveaway Winner!

Sports Tech Deals (new ones!)

The fitness companies want you to lose weight. And spend some money.  Albeit, less money than you would have had to last week.  The non-Garmin ones kicked off today, joining Garmin.  Here are all the weight scales

Fitbit Aria WiFi Scale (23% off): Down to $99 from $129 [Clever Training or Amazon]
Garmin Index WiFi Scale (13% off): Down to $129 from $149 [Clever Training or Amazon]
Withings Body Cardio WiFi Scale (40% off): Down to $107 from $179 [Clever Training or Amazon]
Withings Body Composition WiFi Scale (40% off): Down to $77 from $129 [Clever Training or Amazon]

My full WiFi weight scale showdown is here!

Note that in general for weight scales I recommend you pick whichever one you’re on already from a platform standpoint.  Given these prices are all fairly similar, it’s less of a chore to decide.  Also, note that normally I wouldn’t recommend the Garmin one (simply because of price) unless you really wanted the additional metrics, but at this price point, it’s probably worth it to not have to deal with the conversion mess of trying to get the Withings and Fitbit data into Garmin Connect.

If you have no loyalties to any of the above brands (meaning, you don’t already have a device from them), then I’d likely get the Withings one given the price point and it has the most connectivity to other platforms than any other brand.

While we’re on the sales front, Garmin has a bunch of other devices on sale, largely activity trackers in various forms:

ProductSale PriceAmazonOther siteSale Notes
Garmin Edge 1040 - $100 off$499The is the lowest price we've ever seen on the Edge 1040, and only the 2nd time it's ever been on sale in two years. It's still Garmin's top-end units, and still receiving new features via quarterly firmware updates.
Garmin Edge 1040 Solar - $100 off$649
Garmin Edge 540 - $50 off$299First time this has been on sale, and the lowest price to date. I personally prefer the Edge 840 due to the menus being a bit easier to use with a touchscreen. Both Edge 540/840 have identical buttons though for days you don't want the touchscreen.
Garmin Edge 540 Solar - $50 off$399
Garmin Edge 840 - $50 off$399This is, best I can tell, the first time Garmin has put the Edge 840 on sale.
Garmin Edge 840 Solar - $50 off$499
Garmin Epix (Gen 2) - $200 off!
$499⚡⚡ This is an incredibly strong deal. Especially viewed in light of all the non-Garmin AMOLED competitors charging far more for far fewer features. This non-sapphire edition doesn't have multiband, but testing has pretty clearly shown that Garmin's Epix non-multiband GPS is basically on-par with their competitors multiband config (see my NYC tests for that).
Garmin Epix Pro Series (All variants) - $200 off!
$699⚡ This is only the second time we've seen these on sale. This is probably my go-to watch these days (middle-sized one), with the singular reason I tend to choose it over the Forerunner 965, being the built-in flashlight for night.
Garmin Fenix 7 Pro (All variants) - $200 off (7S/7/7X Pro) - $200 off!
$599+⚡ This is only the second time we've seen the new Fenix 7 Pro series on sale, and it's a nice strong sale. The smaller Fenix 7S Pro watch has become my wife's go-to watch since it came out, for all of her training and 24x7 usage.
Garmin Fenix 7 Series (All Models/Styles) - $200 off!
$449+⚡This is a strong deal if you don't care about the new optical heart rate sensor (including ECG) of the newer Fenix 7 Pro, especially given the Fenix 7 series has received virtually all of the Fenix 7 Pro's new software features, keeping them essentially identical. $449 is the lowest price I've seen to date.
Garmin Forerunner 255/255S Music - $100 off!
$299This is Garmin's mid-tier running watch, and is a very polished option with good multi-band GPS, and of course, a boatload of running metrics. This model also includes offline music such as Spotify and Amazon Music.
Garmin Forerunner 955 - $100 off!$399This is one of Garmin's most popular running watches, and it's back down to the lowest price ever. I often use this in my accuracy testing comparisons when validating other watches, due to it's very strong GPS performance. Note this is the base edition without solar. It'd be hard to find any better deal in sports watches today, from any company (given this has full mapping, tons of new features even this week, etc...)
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar: $100 off!
$499See everything I said above on the Forerunner 955 base, except this one also has solar.
Garmin Varia Radar (RTL515) - $50 off
$149This is Garmin's standalone radar/taillight option, and $149 is pretty much the standard sale-price. This product is universally loved, and works with Garmin/Wahoo/Stages/Hammerhead/etc, and other bike computers.
Garmin Venu 3 - $50 off!
Garmin inReach 2 Mini Satellite Communicator (2-way) - $100 off$299⚡ This is my defacto satellite communicator when out of coverage area, and I've used it on a number of major treks over the past two years when well outside of cellular service, both in a 24x7 tracking mode for friends and family, but also there in case of emergency. Would strongly recommend for anyone doing anything in the wilderness.
Google Pixel Watch 2 - $70 off!$329
HoverAir X1 Drone - $80 off!$349Note: There's virtually always a $80 coupon that can be clicked on the Amazon page.
Suunto Veritcal (Solar edition) - $50 off$699

Finally, note that Garmin permanently dropped the price of their Fenix3 series this past week (all models) by $50.  Though, not substantially.  Given CES is nearly upon us (this week!), I don’t think this barely tangible drop is worth it.

YouTube Videos I Published:

Here’s some YouTube goodness that I published this past week:

Stuff that I found interesting around the interwebs:

Here’s a not-so-small smattering of all the random things that I stumbled on while doing my civic duty to find the end of the Internet.

1) Fitbit has dropped its lawsuit against Jawbone: Not that it really mattered much, Jawbone isn’t actually a player in this game anymore.  Sure, they could always announce something this week at CES, but given their current financial predicament, I wouldn’t expect the result to be any different.

2) Freezing one’s balls off as a sport: Yes, for real – it’s not just for polar bear plunges anymore, but rather apparently an actual trainable sport. (via Coach Alan)

3) US looks to create fitness equipment tax deduction: This would be nice and handy.  Kinda reminds me of the fitness equipment annual credit I used to get in my day job.

4) Training log survey: The folks behind the popular (and free) Golden Cheetah are doing a survey to gather feedback on features.  Even if you’re not a user today, they’re looking for how you use your training platforms as a way to make their platform more user-friendly (it’s open-source and free, so no commercial interest here from them).  One of my main critiques (ok, my only critique) of the platform has been the user-friendly aspect, so hopefully this will help!

5) US State Department Races Around The World: This was actually more interesting than I expected it to be, and more impressive too, both in numbers of participants in various countries and the diversity of countries that put on races. (via friends at State)

6) Bike Tech Hack Night (for DC folks): Cool stuff, it’s a cycling-focused bike related app/data/gadgets hacking night.  It’s being hosted by the annual conference put on by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.  Details in the link. (via Eli).

7) Apple yanks Withings products from Apple Store: Maybe it’s just me, but this seems like a perfectly reasonable response to getting sued.  If I owned a store, and someone sued me, I certainly wouldn’t be keeping their products in there.  Too bad though, because Withings makes great stuff.  That said, I’m not sure this move hurts their wearables sales too much, but probably does impact their weight scale sales. (via Ian)

8) Training Peaks had 40 million uploads in 2016: I thought this stat was randomly interesting, along with knowing it had 25 million in 2015.  Will have to dig around and see if other platforms have shared their total upload stats.

Sports Technology Software/Firmware Updates This Week:

Each week I quickly highlight some of the new firmware, app, software and website service updates that I see go out. If you’re a sports technology company and release an update – shoot me a quick note (just one liners are perfect, or Tweet it at me is even better) and I’ll make mention of it here. If I don’t know about it, I won’t be able to post about it. Sound good?  Oh – and if you want to get a head start on things, this page is a great resource for watching Garmin firmware updates.

(I’m not aware of any updates that occurred in the past week for hardware. Seems everyone was – rightly – taking some time off!)

Thanks for reading – and Happy New Year!

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  1. Scott Buchanan

    Re: Apple pulling Withings products….. can’t imagine that Nokia (Withings owner) is to happy at Apple (allegedly at the mo) stealing its IP. Then again Steve Jobs had quite a bit to say about stealing…..

    • Yeah, the whole lawsuit thing itself is interesting.

      Though, I think that most in the industry would agree that software patents need an overhaul at this point (along with other patent types). Patents are being given for things that they shouldn’t be given for, and effectively being used to make money(hence the name patent troll).

  2. Milt MacFarlane

    Maybe TrainingPeaks might be telling porky perhaps, they told me they had 400 paid up coaches using there platform…from Australia, after I complained again to deaf ears of there pricing model over here at the moment it cost me $1-37 AUD for 1 USD making TrainingPeaks premium account a ridiculous price to pay after they more than doubled it last year

    • Well, 400 paid coaches is really only a fraction of the users. If you did simple math and assumed 10 clients per coach (many have far more), than that’s 4,000 paid users right there. Assuming coached clients likely upload more frequently, I’d say 5 workouts per week is reasonable.

      So, 4,000*5*52 = 1 Million-ish right there. All of which ignores all the non-coached athletes (or, at least separate system). Still, I think that 400 number is low.

      On the flipside, At 40mil a year, that works out to 110K uploads per day (roughly). Hmm, which, does seem like a lot. tThat implies having at least that many active users to make that work, probably 1.5x that in reality. Which, also seems like a heck of a lot of users.

    • Gear Fisher

      No porky here. Just the cold hard results of a SQL statement testifying to the effort of thousands of athletes training hard all over the world.

    • Sean

      I wonder if they are counting metrics such as weight and HRV that may be posted every day as an upload. The more connected services and apps could account for an increase, as well as a (slightly) increased user base.

    • Anonymous Coward

      If only Training Peaks / WKO4 could analyse Garmin multisport workouts properly. And deal with HRM-Swim data, too.

    • JulianM

      I guess that individual file upload figures don’t mean a great deal in isolation and how you are defining users. Since the ability to automatically push files from Garmin Connect and others into TP it’s a no brainer to do it whether you are an ‘active user’ or not. I know that I’ve recommended to a good number of people to do that in case they decide to use TP in the future. Those uploads may never actually get looked at in TP currently

      Likewise there are almost certainly a good number of duplicate uploads – I record rides for example on both an Edge and a Fenix 3 both of which end up on TP. You might be very guilty of that too Ray!

      All my files still get pushed to TP despite me letting my Premium subscription lapse a few months ago partly down to the API changes and partly cost related, so am not the active user I used to be.

    • Mark

      My use case for TrainingPeaks is also exactly as described by JulianM above. A while ago, I let my Premium subscription lapse, but all my activities are still being uploaded to TP via Garmin Connect – “just in case”. So presumably I am still being counted as a TP user in the numbers, even though I don’t actually make use of it.

      So, as pointed out, how you define “user” is pretty important. What you really want to know is how many active users, or more importantly how many paying customers. As someone who regularly invests in early stage companies, I usually make an effort to dig as deeply into numbers as I can.

  3. Kyle

    Ray, when can we expect new product announcements from you? Wednesday?
    Also, do you think this will be a down year or bigger year in term of fitness products at CES?

    • CES officially kicks off on Thursday morning. But you’ll see most major fitness brands announcing on a blend of Wednesday and Thursday morning.

      There’s press events starting Tuesday however, so some things from some brands will hit then, likely later in the evening closer to the first of the major semi-public press events that start then. I’ll have stuff trickling out starting Monday, but reaching full blast by Wednesday & Thursday morning.

      I think the year will be about average, but with more noise. Meaning, you’ll see the big announcements you expect from the big companies, but will see lots of smaller announcements from smaller companies that you’ll have to sift through more than in the past. Take heart-rate stuff, I’ve got a folder full of companies pitching HR related products at CES this year, lots of HRV/RR type stuff too. Some of it is valid, and some of it is junk/unsupported. My job is to try and do that sifting.

  4. Scott E

    Now there is a DCR giveaway opportunity. 24 hour sports gear tech hacking event with winner take all cred.

  5. Kevin

    Is the scale table outdated or does the Withings 50 still not support water percent, bone mass and muscle mass? Looking at the descriptions on Clever Training these metrics are supported but I tend to believe the information on this site so was not sure if I was missing something.

  6. CS Lee

    For some reason the Withings Body Cardio (black) went down to $86.99 on Amazon. Got one in through your link. Thank you!!

    • Kevin

      Thanks for posting this. Was able to cancel my Body scale purchase and pick up the Cardio for basically the same price.

  7. Michele

    I’ve read your original review on both the Garmin and the 2 Withings scales and am still kind of undecided. I have a 630 but the only thing I need weight for in Connect is for the calorie burn and who knows how accurate that is anyway. I think I’d be fine with the Withings app and updating my weight occasionally on the watch or in Connect, I do use MFP but not consistently. Now that the Body Cardio has dropped to $86 I’m seriously thinking about getting that one instead of the Garmin. My main issue is that my bathroom is pretty small so my old Tanita scale sits under the bureau and I pull it out and put in the bathroom when I check my weight and then put it back. Being able to use one on the carpet would be much more convenient and it would get used more often. From the reviews of the Garmin it seems the Withings is much better at more than $40 cheaper. Is the reason for staying with one platform just to avoid having to use more than 1 app?

    • CS Lee

      I’m with you – I have a Garmin watch, but I don’t mind to use two apps for recording activities and monitoring body composition. I don’t think I would even use a 3rd app to sync weight data to Garmin Connect; it just doesn’t matter to me at all. Working on carpet is the #1 reason I chose the Body Cardio over Garmin. With the huge price drop down to $87, I just had to click on the checkout button. Looking forward to getting the new toy!

    • Michele

      I did read a review on Amazon that said it didn’t work on carpet so we’ll see

    • CS Lee

      Interesting. I’m on Ray’s side, but yes we’ll see. Even if it doesn’t work on carpet, I think I will still keep it.

    • Michele

      I’m sure it depends on how thick the carpet is. I would likely keep it also at that price.

    • CS Lee

      Mine was delivered today. It works on my carpet!! Happy, and good luck!

    • Michele

      Mine does too! I just finished setting it up. A difference of .1 from tile to carpet. It was really easy to set up too.

  8. Hi Ray,

    Thanks for mentioning the survey. We’ve closed it now, its had a stack load of responses since you posted so thank you so much.

    A huge spike in multisport athletes right after you posted this in fact. So thanks to all your readers too.

    I will make sure you get early sight of the results, they are /really/ interesting (and quite surprising to say the least).