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Week in Review–March 1st, 2020

WeekInReview2

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 PriceAmazonOther siteSale Notes
4iiii Precision Ride-Ready Power Meters - 14% off$258This includes the Shimano DuraAce, Ultegra, and 105 units, at between 11-14% off depending on which exact model you select.
Amazon Halo View - 38% off$49Look, this thing isn't even shipping yet and it's already 38% off. But hey, if you want a good deal on a pre-order product that we don't know much about yet, then here ya go! I have ordered one, and will review it once it comes in.
Apple Airpods (2nd Gen) - $44 off
$159
$114These aren't quite the newest generation (those came out a month or so ago), but they are $44 off, and the one I personally use myself.
Apple Airpods Pro - $53 off
$249
$197Though, this price fluctuates as low as $159, so double-check the latest price to be sure it's now ower right now.
Apple Airpods Pro - $60 off
$249
$159⚡ By far the lowest price to date for this unit. Previously hovered around $179-$199
Apple Watch SE - $40 off
$279
$239This isn't quite the lowest price, but is close for the Apple Watch SE. And perhaps more interestingly, my testing over the last year (I continue to use it, including much of the late summer/early fall timeframe), shows that Apple has clearly worked on improving accuracy of it, with it being far more accurate in GPS than a year ago (HR continues to be very good as it was a year ago).
Beats PowerBeats Pro Wireless Sport Headphones - $70 off
$249
$179⚡ I like the PowerBeats Pro with the over-the-ear design, for more security in workouts. I use these as well as my Beats Studio Buds (and have used the PowerBeats Pro ones longer). $70 off is a solid deal.
DJI Mavic Mini Fly More Combo Kit - 24% off$399
Elite Direto XR Smart Trainer- $140 off! (In Stock)
$1,000
$849
Elite Suito-T Smart Trainer - 10% off!
$799 (incl cassette)
$722Note: The Suito-T is the same exact trainer as the Suito, except without the cassette pre-installed.
Elite Tuo Smart Trainer - 7% off
$529
$492
Fitbit Charge 5 - $50 off
$179
$129This is the first time we've seen the newly released Charge 5 on sale. Also of note is that just this week it got ECG support via a firmware update, and Fitbit Daily Readiness score via firmware update.
Fitbit Sense - $100 off!
$329
$199This is the lowest price to date for the Fitbit Sense, and makes it a deal you should definitely consider versus the Fitbit Versa 3 for the same price (no, really, there's no reason to get the Versa 3 at the same price).
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Series - $250+ off
$549-$1,149
$399⚡⚡ This is the biggest deal we've seen on the Fenix 6 Series to date, making it an incredible deal for a watch this full-featured. the base units start at $349, and the Pro units start at $399 (seriously). Pro models have maps/music/wifi, while the base doesn't.
Garmin Forerunner 745 - $100 off
$499/499EUR
$399⚡ This is a solid deal on a very capable watch. More notably, it's also the watch I primarily use as my daily sports tracking watch. While it doesn't have the onboard maps of the FR945, since I'm not traveling as much, it doesn't bother me. Of course, keep in mind that with all the Garmin units on sale, the price differences to map-inclusive units aren't very much.
Garmin HRM-DUAL (ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Strap) - $15 off
$69
$56⚡ This is one of my go-to straps these days (ANT+ & two concurrent BLE connections). It's floated on and off being on sale, but this is about the lowest we've seen it.
Garmin HRM-SWIM Strap - $45 off!$54This is the slightly older pool-focused HRM-SWIM strap. It's really just designed for the pool and to get accurate HR data. These days it's been replaced by the HRM-PRO, though even that doesn't quite have the same stickiness level as the HRM-SWIM did.
Garmin Instinct - $85 off
$299
$165⚡While this isn't quite as good as the $149 prices we saw a week or so ago, it's still pretty solid. Note that different colors vary slightly in prices.
Garmin Instinct Solar - $87 off
$399/$449
$312There's also the non-solar version for $169, but keep in mind that's got significantly different features. In many ways, the Garmin Instinct Solar is kinda like a Garmin Instinct 2.0.
Garmin RD Pod (Running Dynamics) - 11% off
$69
$62Ok, this is a pretty minor deal, but I noticed it so...figured I'd pass it along. Allows you to get not just Running Dynamics metrics, but also running power, on Garmin devices (not all devices, but most devices).
Garmin Varia RVR315 Radar - $25 off$125This variant doesn't have a taillight, so it's a bit smaller as a result. Same radar tech though, and compatible with Garmin/Stages/Hammerhead/Wahoo bike computers.
Garmin Venu 2S - $50 off$349This is the first time the Venu 2 has been on sale since its announcement this past spring. It's not a huge deal, but hey, $50 is $50.
Garmin Venu SQ - $30 off!
$199/$249 with Music
$169
Garmin Venu SQ - $70 off
$199/$249 with Music
$129This is by far the lowest price we've seen, at $129USD, or $179 for the music version.
Garmin Vivoactive 4 - $70 off
$299
$229
Garmin Vivoactive 4S - $80 off$219
GoPro Hero 10 Black - $50 off
$449
$449Amazon now has the Hero 10 Black for $50 off the retail price of $499. This does *NOT* require the GoPro subscription (previously called GoPro Plus). However, if you want to subscribe to that, then you can get the camera for $399 instead. Food for thought. Either way, the Hero 10 has become my daily action cam (well, actually, I bought two of them).
GoPro Hero 9 Black - $50 off
$399
$349This price makes it a reasonably good deal, and about $100 cheaper than the lowest GoPro Hero 10 price (if you're not a GoPro subscriber). The changes between the Hero 9 and Hero 10 for most people are fairly minor. Whereas if you're pushing the limits (either spec-wise or sport-wise), then the Hero 10 can be worth it.
Google Nest Mesh WiFi Router - 30% two-pack$200These are the WiFi mesh access points I use both at home and the DCR Cave. Love them - I don't need to dork with them, they just work. Ironically enough, I literally just installed another one at home tonight (Nov 20th, 2021) to provide better coverage in a dead spot in our 100 year-old home, for realz.
Insta360 GO2 Action Cam - 13% off$269Both the 32GB and newer 64GB versions are on sale, with the 32GB version being $269 as opposed to the usual $299
Insta360 One R Action Cam - 15% off$467The entire lineup of Insta360 One R action cams are 15% off, including the 1" and 360 variants. Overall it's a good cam with good picture clarity (I've mainly used the 1" 5.3K variant), but I find the software really lets it down.
Little Tikes Pelican Explore & Fit Cycle - 15% off$134So, the Three Peanuts (girls ages 2/4/5) have been testing this the last week, and so far, they love it. It's silly simple (there's no real connectivity here), and the videos they ride with are also absurdly laughable. Yet, they love it. Seriously, they fight over it. In-Depth review coming very very shortly. Until then, it's on sale.
NordicTrack S22i Indoor Cycle Bike - $700 off$1,499This is considered the primary competitor to Peloton, and is generally rated/reviewed very highly. Note that I have not reviewed this bike, or ridden it. But I figured I'd mention it here in case folks are looking for a deal on it. With Peloton's new pricing, the base prices are basically the same - $1,495 for the Peloton Bike. Sorta like politics, people prefer one brand or the other. Also like Peloton - it DOES NOT support any open standards for apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, etc... Do NOT buy it (or Peloton) for that purpose.
NormaTec Pulse 2.0 Leg Recovery System - $100 off!$799While this isn't something I've personally used, I know a ton of you do very much love it. Go forth!
Ooni Fyra 12 Wood Fired Outdoor Portable Pizza Oven - 20% off$279⚡ I love this thing. We use it for more than pizza too, notably steaks (to get a really crispy sear). But a lot of pizza. It's completely portable, even easily fitting on our cargo bike. Note that I went with this model, the cheapest one they make, as I realized that buying the higher-end models that that support gas didn't make much sense for me. I have a gas grill already (and could easily just put a stone on it). Similarly, while a large 16" is appealing, realistically I've found this 12" more than enough for pretty substantial personal pizzas (and it makes it easier to handle). Full in-depth review pretty soon.
Peloton Bike+ is $200 off$2,295This is a solid deal for the Bike+, following a $350 off deal over Black Friday. Both my wife and I use both the Peloton Bike+ and the regular Bike (one at home, one at office) on a weekly basis. We like both. The Bike+ is more accurate than the regular bike, and also has a bigger screen and automatic resistance control. That said, the core Peloton experience isn't any different between the two - it's the same platform there.
Polar Grit X - $110 off
$429
$340This is for certain editions (namey the white ones at the moment). Keep in mind the Grit X Pro came out a month or so ago, so that may limit new features for the Grit X going forward.
Polar H10 Chest Strap (Dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart) - 11% off
$89
$78This is one of my main chest straps I use as a reference device in testing. Works great!
Rode Microphones Wireless GO II Mics - 20% off$279These are the mics that I use day in and day out for virtually everything, but most notably, when out running/riding (and all my crazy drone wind tests). I used to use the Wireless Go (original) system, but this is great because it has memory in it. So I can record audio on this, and then match it up with the footage later - ideal if I've got GoPro's or drones or such that may not have great on-board audio by themselves. Note that Amazon says this is 20% off, but I think it's more like $20-$30 off the regular price, unless the price has gone up substantially. Either way, I love them.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus Wireless Earbuds - 33% off$99
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic - $50 off$299This is the latest edition that came out this past summer/fall, now on Wear OS, and the first time we've seen a notable sale on it. While the Watch 4 Classic has a few quirks, I'd argue it's the best wearable Samsung has made to date.
Samsung T7 Portable SSD 1-2TB - 24% off$129I use a small fleet of these T7 SSD's for various video projects, alongside the Sandisk SSD's. I literally have one of each color, just to keep things simple. They work great for quick storage.
SanDisk 1-2TB Extreme PRO Portable External SSD - 50% off$129⚡This is one of the two the high speed drives I use to store the footage I'm actively video editing so that I can edit it on both my iMac at the office, and then my MacBook when traveling or at home. The 2TB version is $229 (50% off).
SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB MicroSD Card - 39% off!$43⚡I use this card in both 128GB and 256GB variety (but mostly 256GB nowadays), and it's perfect for all my drones and action cams, easily recording 4K/60 and 5K/30, as well as 5.7K without trouble. I often pick up these cards when on sale like this, so I have them for later in the year when not on sale. // Update: Since this sale has begun, I've bought 6 of these cards to stockpile for future action cam/drone testing.
Saris H3 (Hammer 3) Smart Trainer - $240 off!
$1,099
$860⚡⚡ One of the top three trainers, but by far the top trainer on the market for ERG mode (so if you're a TrainerRoad user - this be the one!).
Skydio 2 - $400 off
$999/$1349
$949⚡⚡ This is a pretty incredible deal. First, because it's really the first time it's been on sale. Second, because it's $400 off. And third, because it's actually in stock. It's by far the best drone for sports action footage, as it's fully autonomous. It's less ideal for general drone cinematography, however. So you kinda have to decide what you want out of a drone. But for sports, this is the one.
Suunto 5 GPS Multisport Watch - 40% off!
$329
$179⚡ A very strong deal for this complete multisport watch that I really like. Well nailed on price here.
Suunto 7 Wear OS Watch - 42% off
$399
$229⚡ This is basically the lowest sale price we see for the Suunto 7 Wear OS powered watch. At this price, I'd say it's worth picking up, assuming you know the battery limitations and Wear OS version end of life limitations (meaning, this unit won't see any new versions of Wear OS).
Suunto 9 Baro Series - 40% off
$599 (non-baro is $499)
$369At this point the Suunto 9 Baro has been surpassed by the Suunto 9 Peak. Still, if you prefer a bigger watch, it got most of the firmware updates of the Suunto 9 Peak anyway.
Tacx NEO 2T Smart Trainer - $150 off! (In Stock)
$1,399
$1,249⚡ This is a very rare sale for this trainer, if you're in the market, I wouldn't wait around for these units to disappear. Note it was slightly less on Black Friday at $200 off, but hey, a deal is a deal at this point.
Wiral LITE Cable Cam with Remote - $100 off$299I've been using this nifty cable cam system for years with various action cameras, phones and small mirrorless cameras. It's not an everyday use item, but I do pull it out a handful of times per year for very specific/special shots through the trees (or the studio) where drones can't easily go. Defnitely more in the photo-geeky camp, but that's the camp I live in.
Withings Body WiFi Scale - 12% off
$59
$52I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Withings WiFi Scale, they were the first in this category a gazillion years ago, and frankly, they're still basically the best in terms of partnerships and simplicity. It just works.

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

apple-podcasts-badge google_podcasts_badge@2x

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