Week in Review–May 17th, 2020


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:

A new slate of sports tech deals began over the last few days. These are typical deals that Garmin does *every* single year, usually starting about a month out from Father’s Day. Suunto also often jumps in the fray (and others too).

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
$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
$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
$159⚡ By far the lowest price to date for this unit. Previously hovered around $179-$199
Apple Watch SE - $40 off
$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
$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)
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
Fitbit Charge 5 - $50 off
$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!
$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
$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
$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
$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
$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
$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
$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
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
Garmin Vivoactive 4S - $80 off$219
GoPro Hero 10 Black - $50 off
$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
$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
$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
$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!
$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
$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!
$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
$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)
$1,249⚡ 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
$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:

Wednesday: Garmin Varia RTL515 and RVR315 Cycling Radar In-Depth Review
Thursday: Garmin Launches Strava & Komoot Route Sync: Works on devices a decade old
Thursday: FORM Swim Goggles Adds Openwater Swimming with Garmin & Apple Watches
Saturday: How To: See Map Overlays of Varia Radar Data, with Vehicle Counts

I suspect for this week ahead we’re going to see a bit more variety in the subject matters. I don’t plan dates for announcements, they just happen when they happen. Outside of some Monday announcements, it’s gonna be a review focused week!

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!

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) Wanna build your own power meter? Now you can: If you ever wanted to channel your inner Keith Wakeham, you’ve got your opportunity. This company is well known in the power meter industry, and makes OEM products for a few different major players. I’m not super clear on the business motivation here, aside perhaps marketing and maybe trying to help a few power meter start-ups leverage their products. But it’s a fun story nonetheless.

2) The story of a Dutchman trying to build a mountain: While this post was only this week, the backstory predated my arrival to the Netherlands. That said, I’m totally game for a mountain around here somewhere!

3) Fitbit to build ventilators: Interesting. Keep in mind the Google acquisition of Fitbit has not yet closed, so it’s not clear what – if any, say Google had in this. It’s also not super clear to me how much demand still exists for ventilators given how many companies have stated their intentions to build them.

4) Behind the scenes on returning broadcast football to TV shows: This is fascinating for a lot of reasons. Technical, logistics, etc… But I think the biggest takeaway here is that this changes the landscape forever. While much of broadcast TV sports is done by hiring local crews that staff a remote truck that effectively plugs in the side of a stadium, the reality is that there’s still a lot of people that travel around. Like every other element of business, companies are going to realize they can do this remotely – even if those people are now in a building with good connectivity versus their homes.

5) Uber sells Jump to Lime: Jump was their bike-sharing scheme. I used it a few times in Paris, though I wouldn’t call myself a huge user of that specific platform. Ultimately, I think the challenge is there’s just too many platform options in some cities, coupled with some cities being super-resistant to making bike-sharing platforms easier. And of course, COVID-19 was simply the knife to the heart of many efforts that relied on people constantly touching and sharing the same space or objects. Still, COVID-19 has also showed us how valuable cycling can be as a replacement for short-distance journeys using other methods.

6) Apple continues to extend wearables lead: However, the real story here is that Garmin has surpassed Fitbit on sales of smartwatches, selling over a million units in Q1. For reference, the singular requirement of a ‘smartwatch’ by these analysis firms (I asked) is that it must support 3rd party apps. Which is a debatable, but probably fair line in the sand to draw.

7) The 20 Fastest Road Bikes In the World (according to Strava): I dipped into this a bit back earlier this year in the Strava annual report, but Cycling Tips decided to do it justice with all sorts of fascinating analysis. Note the caveats (which the author does a great job outlining), as always, but I think it still begins to paint a clear picture. [Yes, this is from last month, it was in my bucket to share since then.]

8) Remember AirDog autonomous sports drones? Before there was Skydio, there was AirDog. I even wrote a few reviews about them. Super cool stuff at the time. Ultimately though, they just couldn’t compete with the likes of DJI, and lacked the capital to dance solo like Skydio. In any case, they were sold to a US company. Exactly how they’ll be used is highly fuzzy. Sounds like an IP purchase to me. (Thanks Mārtiņš)

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 820/520/Edge Explorer Firmware Update: Pile of bug fixes

Garmin Fenix 5 Series Firmware BETA Update: ANT sensor improvements and other bugs

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series Firmware BETA Update: Random performance improvements

Garmin Forerunner 735XT Firmware Update: Bug fix

Garmin Vivosmart 4 Firmware Update: Algorithm improvements

Garmin Vivoactive Firmware Update: Bug fix

Garmin Vivoactive HR Firmware Update: Same bug fix

Stages Dash M50 and L50 Firmware Update: Added ANT+ trainer control, new data field types, and a boatload of other tweaks

Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT/ROAM Firmware Update: Bug fix related to speed/cadence sensors

Thanks for reading!

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  1. SMS

    Hey Ray,
    Nice to see the category return. Any chance you‘ll get the Lama to podcast again?


  2. RP

    Thanks Ray! I really enjoyed the power meter and remote broadcasting articles.

  3. krull

    not much to say on the Suunto 9 Baro sale. Does that mean you wouldn’t go for it? 🙂

    • I struggle with the value prop these days there. Suunto has largely said ‘shrug, we don’t care’, when it comes to their platform. These days for that price I’d happily pickup a Polar Grit X instead (not even on sale mind you). Polar has shown significant interest in improving their platform for performance athletes, and keeps on delivering new features.

  4. As far as I can tell, the Garmin/Fitbit deal hasn’t received antitrust clearance yet so any detailed involvement in Fitbit’s business by Garmin while the review is pending would be what antitrust experts call “gun-jumping” – it’s basically illegal to behave as if the deal has received clearance before it actually has, and can lead to substantial penalties.

    Source: used to be an M&A lawyer before I retired.

  5. Their accuracy claim: 2% at 200W – 90RPM. This is very reasonable but devil is usually in the details. I am curious how this number will change if some big lad is crunching pedals at 45RPM up steep hill? Or somebody doing high powered sprint. Also is there any thermal compensation?

    • The 2% at 200w/90RPM is honestly a pretty common way companies baseline power meter accuracy. That’s because at higher wattages most power meters actually get more accurate %-wise (claims). And at lower wattages slightly less so.

      Whether or not a power meter is accurate at sprints or low-cadence all comes down to design (HW & SW).

  6. Josh

    With all the Garmin deals, any insight if we’ll see new models of Forerunners coming out? 955 finally?

    • Andrew M

      The two most obvious new hardware features for Garmin to move forward with would be the AMOLED screen (as seen with the Venu), and LTE connectivity. Both of these would come with a battery hit, and given the premium that 945 users place on battery life (Ironman, ultrarunners, backcountry hikers) I can’t see Garmin looking to introduce these features with a 955. More likely they will introduce them at the 655 level, and then you’ll see them in a 955 some months later when they have had the chance to optimise them (especially with power consumption). This was the pattern with the 645M.

      Add to this the wildcard of COVID. The 2020 triathlon season is largely a wipeout (perhaps some shorter local events in September?), but with gyms being closed, you may see more interest in running. I can see Garmin prioritising a more general purpose/running watch for release this year, with a tri watch in 2021.

      That said, mapping on an AMOLED display would be sweet, and having onboard LTE connectivity might address the flaky mess that LiveTrack is.

      All this is just idle speculation of course.

    • Mike S.

      I don’t really see the upside to AMOLED across their line of watches. I’ve noticed the (slight) difference in the number of pixels in the Fenix 6 series over my 5x. Why not make a LED Retina display? The screens would look better and wouldn’t get the battery hit from an AMOLED display.

    • ChrisTexan

      AMOLED actually draws less power than LED displays, all else being equal, as LEDs require a backlight capable of sufficiently lighting the entire panel, where AMOLED only draws power on “lit” pixels (and proportional to the amount of light needed to emit).
      Drawbacks of AMOLED are potential aging and “burn-in” issues over long periods (longer than most people keep their watches nowadays, LOL).
      AMOLED are also significantly higher in PPI in small form factors compared to LED Retina displays. Having said that, “Retina” is an Apple “buzzword”, their latest, highest-end Retina displays (SuperRetina) are actually OLED, not LED/LCD, although with substantially lower pixel density than Samsung phones of the current generation (iPhone X = 458ppi, Samsung S9 = 570ppi).
      link to support.apple.com

      Finally cost is a factor, AMOLED simply costs a bit more than similar LED/LCDs (including LED Retina models)… so that’s a factor also (although in 1.3″ watch displays, it’s probably a few dollars difference between them, some of which may be offset by the thinner AMOLED panel giving more “design room” in the watch back)
      Here’s a good write-up by someone else,
      link to smallbusiness.chron.com
      Anyhow, AMOLED is probably the best display tech available in watches (and anything else), so long as the (minimal) considerations above are understood. Most also consider AMOLED to be the “best” (visually) display option, LED/LCD Retina displays are very nice, in comparison to other LED/LCD displays, but not next to an OLED of similar specs, or even the OLED “SuperRetina” displays.

  7. Jerrod K Davison

    Hi Ray
    The link to the Garmin Edge software update is broken.

  8. Akiva Wasser

    Hammerhead added Live Segment functionality to the Karoo about a week ago.
    It would be interesting to see a post or video comparing the implementation on all the different devices that support Strava Live Segments.

  9. Koen Van den Bergh

    A nice deal on the fenix 6x pro.. and I have promised myself not to buy another watch until my fenix 5 plus is 2 years old which happens to be only 2 months from now. I hope there will be a similar deal in the summer or towards the end of the year.
    Did you notice you can now import GPX files in Garmin Explore and thus easily sync waypoints/tracks/.. to a fenix 5 plus (or other supported devices), also without an active internet connection.

  10. PeterF

    Garmin seems to have a really hard time with the next firmware for the Edge 530/830: last stable release (5.10) on December 21st, first beta on January 10 and continuing until now…

    Any idea what’s going on here Ray?

  11. Howard Matthews

    Hey Ray! Got quite a dilemma I would really appreciate some assistance with. Just purchased a new Cervelo S3 and struggling with what PM to go with. Partially, I have an InfoCrank on my tribike (which triathlon is primarily my focus) and struggling with whether I should match my tribike setup for training consistency or go with a more economical setup of adding the stages left side only to my Shimano Ultegra 8000 crank that comes stock with my new road bike. Is this a no brainer that I am overthinking?

    • That’s a good option to be fair. Certainly, I’ve got some minor concerns around left-only power, especially if you vary a lot on balance. But my guess is you can look at your Infocrank data and know whether or not that’s case.

      The key things I’d be looking at are:

      A) Poke at a few long rides, does your balance shift over the course of the ride?
      B) Poke at a few interval workouts (hard ones), any major shifts there?

      If not, a left-side unit would probably work well for you.

    • Howard

      That’s great feedback and exactly what I needed. Thanks a lot!!!

  12. Tam

    Hey Ray, is the Garmin Edge 520 (without +) EOF and therefore will not get any firmware updates? Thanks.

    • Nothing feature-wise. Sometimes we see minor maintenance things, or random backwards compatibility type updates to much older units. But definitely not features.

  13. Johan Swanepoel

    Hi Ray. I just want to find out if you think it’s worth it to buy the Fenix 6X in June 2020. Do you think there is going to be a new variant to the Fenix line in August??