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Week in Review–March 1st, 2020

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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!

Sports Tech Deals of Note:

Here’s some continuing sports tech deals.

ProductSale PriceAmazonClever TrainingOther siteSale Notes
Apple Airpods (2nd Gen) - $30 off$130I use AirPods primarily when I'm travelling just to listen in airports, planes, etc... I don't tend to use these for workouts due to them falling out. Also, with the wireless charging case for $50 off. Personally, I just use the basic model.
DJI OSMO Action (Action Cam) - Normally $329$259⚡ This is by far the lowest price we've seen on the DJI OSMO Action, and it's a very strong first contender from DJI to compete with the Hero 7 Black (realistically, except for the dual-screen, it simply doesn't compete with the Hero 8). I really like a lot of elements on the OSMO Action, but especially the dual-screen. Check out my full review for comparative thoughts. While I would have said that maybe we'd see a new OSMO Action sometime this spring (an annual refresh cycling), I'm pretty sure COVID19 has killed any chance of that happening.
DJI OSMO Pocket - $100 off$299This is the tiny little hand-held gimbal. I actually use this from time to time at tradeshows to shoot b-roll primarily.
Garmin Fenix 6 Series - $150 all models$150 offThis is a solid deal, and I think the best deal to date on the Fenix 6 series. Note, I would not take this as a sign of some new Fenix unit. Instead, Garmin has *every year* put the Fenix series on sale in May, leading into people (normally) heading outdoors.
Garmin Forerunner 245 & 245 Music - $50 off$249 & $299Both the Forerunner 245 & 245 Music are on sale for $50 off. While not a huge sale, it's actually the lowest we've seen either product priced to date. So, that's worth considering. The FR245 Music supports Spotify, Amazon Music, and other streaming platforms.
Garmin Forerunner 45/45S - $50 off$149If you're looking for a runners focused watch, there's no better deal on the market than this. Period. The FR45 basically packs all the features of the previous generation FR235...just now in the FR45 series. Seriously, this is a solid deal.
Garmin Forerunner 945 - $50 off$549Not quite as good a deal as the Fenix 6 Series at $150 off, but hey, can't look at gift horse in the mouth. Or, something like that.
Garmin Forerunner 945 Bundle (with HRM-TRI & HRM-SWIM) - $50 off$699Not quite as good a deal as the Fenix 6 Series at $150 off, but hey, can't look at gift horse in the mouth. Or, something like that.
Garmin Instinct - $100 off$199This is a solid deal on a solid watch. This sale timeframe is identical to last year's Instinct sale, however last year it was only $50 off (ahead of Father's Day). This year they're matching the Black Frida ydeal of $100 off.
Garmin Instinct Tactical- $50 Off$249While not as good as the Black Friday deals ($100 off), the last time this $50 sale happened was exactly one year ago. Garmin ran it then ahead of Fathers Day, just as they are doing so now.
Garmin Swim 2 - $50 off$199This is the first time we've seen the Garmin Swim 2 on sale. And as part of my in-depth review I found it easily the most accurate openwater swim watch GPS-wise I've ever tested. Which, is good, since most pools seem to be closed these days. :-/
GoPro Hero 8 Black - $100 off!$299⚡ This is a great deal - and the lowest we've ever seen the GoPro Hero 8 down to. Of course, I don't expect a new version anytime soon (GoPro always release late Sept/early Oct). But, the Hero 8 is my go-to cam these days.
GoPro Hero 8 Black Bundles with three batteries + SD Card$349-$359⚡ There's some great deals in here. The base GoPro Hero 8 Black is down to $299, but this adds in two extra batteries, plus an SD card, plus a microSD card reader. Food for thought.
inReach Mini Satellite Communicator - $50 off$299This is the second year in a row the inReach Mini has gone on sale ahead of Fathers Day. The only other time it was on sale was during Black Friday. Solid deal for a great little unit if you travel beyond cellular coverage. Plus, integration with Garmin watches has improved lately too.

DCRAINMAKER.COM Posts in the Past Week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page this past week:
Sunday: Week in Review–February 23rd, 2020
Wednesday: Suunto 7 Wear OS GPS Watch In-Depth Review
Friday: Oreka O2 Cycling Treadmill In-Depth Review

YouTube Videos This Past Week:

Here’s what hit the tubes over on the You of Tube, definitely don’t forget to subscribe there to get notified of videos the second they hit!

FIT FILE Podcast This Week:

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Episode 100 is out!

– Coronavirus impact on sports tech
– Favero gets on social media?
– PRICE HIKES for sports tech!
– Pioneer Exits the Power Meter Business
– Wait, and a price drop!
– Peloton bricks competitor’s bikes
– The Suunto 7 Review (and a sad story)
– Tacx/Garmin NEO Warranty Fiasco
– Strava’s continued new features (!?!)

Listen here, or four options for where to find the podcast:

A) iTunes: If you’ve got an Apple device, we’re there!
B) Google Play Music: Yup, we’re here too (and on Google Podcasts app)
C) Spotify: Of course we’re on Spotify now – you can even cache it on your wearable too!
D) RSS Feed: Follow along using the direct RSS feed

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Stuff 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 (and in this case, some of these are from the past few weeks…as my backlog is a bit longer):

1) College XC Team Buys Airline Ticket to get to Airport Chick-Fil-A: Seriously, you need to read this story. It’s amazing. Gotta love hungry runner ingenuity! [Note: I linked to this intermediate story rather than the original source, as the original source is geoblocked in Europe due to GDPR]

2) Power meter company offering components at $6/unit: This is of course to be integrated into cranksets of other companies, but that’s the starting point to implement a power meter into a crankset. Sensitivus has plenty of experience in this sector, for not just their own units Team ZWatt units, but also those from Easton & RaceFace.

3) Samsung adds female health tracking features: It’s always been somewhat interesting to me that Samsung really had health features before *anyone* else had them. Years before Apple or Google. And at the time, at a massively deeply level in terms of metrics and sensors. But somehow along the way they kinda fell off the wagon for a while. For fun, check out this post from almost 7 years ago showing the depth of S Health back then.

4) Google Surveys Hint at Added Wear OS Health Features: Such a move would be zero surprise, given they bought one of the leading companies in the space (Fitbit), but it’s also badly needed – as my Suunto 7 review showed last week (which depends on Wear OS).

5) Turning a treadmill into a PS4 Game Controller: I know this is coming up on a month old, but, it’s still super cool.

6) Bike Paths Near Amsterdam Airport Testing New E-Bike Speed Control System: This will somehow automatically regulate the higher-speed 45KPH e-bike’s down to the usual 25KPH limit for certain paths. Also, it’ll automatically trigger green lights as the bike approaches intersections.

7) Peloton reaches full settlement with music industry over music lawsuit: It’s unclear how quickly (or to what extent) this might change or improve music on Peloton back to previous levels. But hey, at least they’re going to maybe properly pay for it now.

8) GCN Makes Strava Art: One of these days I’ll become less lazy and draw something. It’s long been on my to-do list. Don’t expect anything impressive from me though. Set your expectations low, and then you’ll be impressed later. Till then, here’s GCN.

9) A guide to watching the cobbled classics (in person): If you’re looking to head out for one of these races, these tips might help ya. Heck, I might even take advantage of some of these tips this spring too!

Sports Tech Device 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 and a few other firmware updates.

Garmin Edge 530/830/1030 Firmware Update BETA: Bug fixes.

Garmin Fenix 6 & MARQ Series Firmware Update BETA: This is a big one that fixes a bunch of minor things, but also adds new features like Grit and Flow for mountain biking (added last year to Edge series), as well as additional eTAP/Di2 bike support)

Garmin Fenix 5/5 Plus Series Firmware Update BETA: Adds same eTAP/Di2 features, plus ability to update HRM-DUAL HR Strap. And a few fixes. Note: Non-Plus series doesn’t get new stuff, just fixes.

Garmin Instinct Firmware Update BETA: Adds Swim 2 autorest functionality, plus abnormal heart rate alerts, and a few other fixes/tweaks.

Hammerhead Karoo: Added support for structured workouts using ANT+ FE-C trainer from TrainingPeaks, and also, handily, supports writing ANT+ sensor ID’s into the .FIT file (which, is enumerated into the DCR Analyzer)

Wahoo ELEMNT/ROAM/BOLT Firmware Update: Two bug fixes relating to speed sensors and kilojoules.

With that – have a great week ahead!

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20 Comments

  1. Vid Balek

    One more interesting thing… Strava added March Rollout Challenge (400 km in a month challenge) that should with my understanding include virtual rides. Maybe that is something worth to expose.

  2. Gregory S

    he shoulda hooked up the ps4 to a woodway

  3. Sylvester Jakubowski

    The inreach mini has a firmware update this past week too but mostly just bug fixes.

  4. Dmitry Pupkov

    Fun fact – in New Zealand for almost all domestic flights you don’t need to pass any kind of security at all. Show up in the airport 20 minutes before departure, proceed directly to the gate, show your mobile boarding pass, and you’re flying. No one even cares about your ID / passport.

    And domestic flights are operated mostly by ATR-72… To make this clear that’s not some 6-seats smallish Cessna, it’s a large 80 seats turboprop regional aircraft!

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      When I was in NZ a couple years ago I was amazed by this. Was so nice to just walk right through.

      Back in the US in the 70’s, friends and family could get on the plane with you. Before takeoff, they would announce that it was time for non-passengers to leave. If you wanted to stay on, you could pay the flight crew. Crazy.

    • Dave

      You have to go through security for any domestic jet flight, which means many of the flights to the South Island. Domestic is effectively split, with ATR & Q flights at the far end of the building. We anxiously await completion of the domestic and international terminal integration in the next couple of years. I’m getting sick of the walk after the trip home from Scotland…

  5. Bruce Burkhalter

    Ray –

    Regarding Sensitivus, do they also give all the software to “decode” and clean up the power data? It seems like that is the hard part at this point, especially catching all the weird cases like cobbles, quick accelerations, etc.

    On the topic, how well do you think the upcoming MTB/SPD pedals will perform on dirt/gravel? I would give up some accuracy if they worked pretty well.

    P.S. Glad you were able to take that week off. We are all hungry for posts from you but I can understand how the grind can be tough. Your job seems like it is 24/7. Hopefully you can balance it all!

    • Bruce, you are so right. We have spent a LOT of time on this. Starting all the way back in 2016 (link to youtube.com). The first commercial product released using this technology was for MTB, which required about a year of pro-level testing with this exact focus. Will it ever be “perfect”? Maybe not, but it’s pretty darn close. And way better than other things we have tested.

    • I honestly have no idea how the upcoming pedals will handle it.

      On one hand, MTB pedals will be ‘new’ to the industry. But on the other hand, not really. Knowledge and understanding of power meters and road conditions is so much further along than it was 5-7 years ago. A lot of these companies in the space today, already have to deal with some MTB-like conditions anyway. Hell, chip-seal road in parts of the US is often worse than MTB-conditions from an accelerometer standpoint (as a few companies have learned).

      And the underlying sensors to filter out bad data are more advanced than half a decade ago.

      I suspect we’ll still see issues, but they’ll be harder to find. I think the bulk of challenges in this area might actually be more logistical (battery cap waterproofing/ingest, protection against hits, etc…).

      I’m super tempted to put together a rig to replicate repeated pedal-strikes against a rock. That rig might just be a metal pole attached to my cargo bike with the pedal hanging off the end and going at 20MPH past a rock. We’ll see…

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      Rolf – Thanks for the reply! Unlike Limits, looks like you know what you are doing. 🙂 Really looking forward to trying some MTB pedals.

      Ray – Do an interview and/or visit with Rolf/Sensitivus! Also, I will be in Amsterdam May/June/July. Would be happy to help beat on some pedals. 🙂

  6. Martin

    “plus ability to update HRM-DUAL HR Strap” – are there any updates available for HR straps??? Is there any list?
    I have HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim

  7. Dan

    How does $300 the instinct get swim auto lap, but Garmin ignores 5x plus (up to $1000) which was the latest fenix less than 6 months ago?

    • Yup, I agree. Garmin’s decision tree on which models get updates and which ones don’t is essentially boiled down to: What have you done for me lately.

    • Dan

      Which makes sense… but I own both an instinct and fenix 5x plus. Bought the instinct way before the fenix. The older unit is updated while the newer one is not.

    • Indeed. In their mind, the Instinct you have is ‘current’, since there’s nothing newer in that lineup, while the Fenix you have is stinky old cheese, since the Fenix 6 came out last summer. :-/

    • Dan

      Not to beat a dead horse, but three thoughts.
      1. I get that there are features that can’t be brought to older units due to licensing costs… Firstbeat metrics etc. Don’t expect those. On the other hand, simple enhancements (like auto swim lap tracking) that can be added to at no cost (especially those that should have been included all along)… should be added to recent generation devices.

      2. These simple enhancements should be added through at least the warranty period of recent devices. If I buy a Fenix 5x Plus one week before the Fenix 6 is released, there should be some expectation that implementation of device improvements won’t stop the day the new device is released.

      3. There has to be some consideration of price point when bringing enhancements. It makes no sense that a Forerunner 245, purchased in April 2019 for $300, gets new (no or low cost features – e.g. auto swim lap) but a Fenix 5x Plus purchased as the latest generation device in August of 2019 for $1000 does not. A higher price point should equate to better longer term update support.

      I’m more than willing to drop $2K for a Marq device, but won’t without some confidence that the day Marq 2 is released, my $2K device will be frozen in time with no consideration of adding “free” or very low cost enhancements.

      Bad business move by Garmin IMHO.

  8. Anirudh

    Seems to me like Garmin ForeRunner 645 has been ignored a tad bit. It hasn’t been getting the updates that 245 and 945 are getting. Now I’m looking to get into triathlon, and I’m kinda bummed I didn’t spring for the 935\945 😐

    • Grant

      I have to agree here, I have the 735 and things like Virtual cycling option would be awesome to have and 735 is still the current 7 series model (although I might have missed a new version!), and it seems a lot of the new features are being added only to the 945.

  9. Robert Noir

    Hi Ray can you remind the BIG G the fr645 is current. Sure my 6 pro has pace pro, but I still wear my 645 as it’s a little more comfortable on my pipe cleaner wrists for day to day wear