Week in Review – March 19th, 2023


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!

DCR Posts in the Past Week:

Here’s all the latest on the site:

Monday: Apple Significantly Changes Apple Watch Running Power In Latest Beta
Tuesday: Garmin Forerunner 265/265S: The Complete Beginners Guide
Wednesday: Fitbit Makes Some Premium Subscription Features Free
Friday: Tech Tidbits: Supersapiens DQ for Pro Cyclist, Wahoo/Zwift Court Update, and COROS 1-on-1 Coaching

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!

Sports Tech Deals:

Just a heads up for those US folks, REI is having their semi-annual 20% off coupon deal. Basically, you can take 20% off most things. That excludes “items with GPS technology”, and a few other categories – but does allow for things like power meters, Garmin Varia radar, and more. Use the link below and it helps the site:

A few other things have popped up this week to add to the pile, so here’s a quick mention:

There are no deals currently.

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:

1) Is Polar considering going back to Wear OS? It seems as if that’s in the cards. Their CEO recently gave an interview with Wearable where they hint at it. I reached out to Polar, asking a few more questions about the topic. I got back a longer variant of ‘no comment/hang tight’. Ultimately, I think this would be a brilliant move for Polar. First, as their own CEO noted in that article, the previous Polar M600 was a bit ahead of its time. Sorta. WearOS just wasn’t ready then, and when it launched, neither was Polar. It lacked many of the features found on their own watches, for example, it didn’t support cycling sensors. If Polar does this again, they really need to go all-in. It needs to at least have the features of the Polar Pacer Pro. If it does that, then they’ve instantly got a hit on their hands. Also, note that while Google/Samsung restrict their own Wear OS 3 watches to Android, there are actually plenty of non-Google/Samsung out there that are compatible with both iOS and Android.

Anyways, as I’ve said many times, I think for Polar and Suunto, going to WearOS makes a ton of sense for at least one of their watch lines. Suunto last did so with the Suunto 7, which was a good first step – but was heavily limited by the WearOS hardware platform limitations of the time – as well as limited a bit by what Suunto wanted to roll out at first. The good news is I think we’re past both of those limitations/concerns if they were to launch new offerings on the latest gen Wear OS platform.

2) Pro Cycling’s TV Moto Mess: A look at the impact of TV motos on pro cycling. Also, one of the first pieces from the new Escape Collective site – which is basically where all the best CyclingTips folks ended up/created when Outside effectively killed CyclingTips.

3) Whoop revamps UI: In the unlikely event you’re a Whoop user and didn’t notice, Whoop has significantly revamped their user interface. I don’t mind it, but I don’t entirely love it either. It might take some getting used to. The previous homescreen was a giant waste of empty space, but the new one inversely feels really cluttered text-wise  – with a lack of focus on where I should be looking. I think just a bit of UI text sizing on the main recovery/strain scores would help significantly. Here’s what mine looked like the other day, and then as you scroll down.

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4) Oura Ring adds Chronotype Sleep Rhythms: Not to be outdone with new features from Whoop, Oura also did the same this past week.

5) Garmin says Netherlands gets best sleep scores: Garmin has posted a bunch of sleep stats on countries/genders/etc by sleep stuffs. Apparently my current country has the highest sleep scores. I promise you, it’s not me. That said, having normal marathon race start times at 10-11AM is probably an indicator that people here really like their sleep.

6) Casio launches the Casio G-Shock GBD-H2000 powered by Polar metrics: I don’t have one of these yet. I might buy one, we’ll see. The watch has a slate of Polar algorithms powering it, specifically: Nightly Recharge, Sleep Plus Stages, HR Zones, Serene Breathing Exercises, Training Load Pro, Running Index, and Energy Scores. As I said, while I don’t have one yet, I have heard from those that I trust that do have one, that the watch itself is making some nice progress over previous Casio units – including the Polar metrics onboard. However, as was also previously the case, the app is currently a proper dumpster fire. You can’t export to anything yet, including even Strava. Which is why I’m not bothering with it at the moment. If I can’t get data out, I can’t really do any review on it. Still, I am excited to see how the Polar pieces work on this watch, once Casio sorts out the app side.

7) Peloton says they’ve got technical sidestep for import ban: For those not keeping track, somehow Peloton managed to get sued by Dish Network – yes, the satellite peoples – over streaming video. As always, welcome to the US patent system. In any case, as a result they got slapped with an upcoming import ban, which would impact their ability to import bikes into the US to sell. However, Peloton says they’ve got an alternative video streaming tech that they’re going to roll-out.

With that, thanks for reading!

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  1. gideon

    any venu 3 rumours??? thanks for all the great content

    • Not sure.

      Historically Garmin has released those watches (Vivoactive/Venu) either the last few days of August, or, at CES (first few days of January). There was a year when one of those got released at MWC (late Feb), back in the years when MWC was seen as a cool place to announce wearables.

      The more recent singular exception was the Venu 2/2S, which got released April 2021, but I’d chalk that up more to COVID-related timelines getting dorked up and Garmin finally coming up for air on some of their production lines.

    • gideon

      appreciate the reply

      i just know that if i was infatuated with any other model like I am with the venu, garmin would be releasing 5 venu’s a year!!! :)

    • Jimmy

      Since you mentioned Vivoactive line, wondering if you have any thoughts on whether Vivoactive line will be discontinued in favor of the Venu line?

    • usr

      Reader opinion re Vivoactive 5: I really doubt that the Vivoactive line will be continued. I’d expect transflective color screens to remain an option in the extreme endurance high end for a long time (Fenix/Enduro/Tactix), but I suspect that they consider lower price demand for passive-capable displays served by the Instinct family.

      Personally I’m a bit torn about this, because I really like my Vivoactive 4s as a sweet spot between colorful and low-key. But then a part of me is actually happy that I don’t have to deal with the temptations of an update, one restraint challenge less. In an ideal world, Garmin would continue the Vivoactive line but only bump it to current state of the art every couple of years (e.g. Va5 after Fenix9).

      Ray would be under NDA if he knew anything about a future Vivoactive, so I’d expect him to also remain quiet if he knew or suspected there wasn’t any. Because if he made a habit out of spreading knowledge of absence, remaining quiet (in case of something upcoming) would become an implicit confirmation of presence.

    • Yeah, I think I’ve said before, but I’m not terribly sure where a Vivoactive line fits anymore.

      One of Garmin’s biggest problems is the never-ending SKU sprawl. Sometimes that can be justified, but I’d make the case there’s no reason or demand for a Vivoactive unit as-is today. Specifically, for a MIP-based display in the mainstream user market at that price point. These days it’s Apple Watch, Samsung Watch, or Venu, with a growing side of Pixel – and declining Fitbit. All of which are AMOLED and all of which compete for the non-endurance person.

      Ultimately, I agree with USR. I think Fenix probably has one more MIP-based generation, and then I think Enduro becomes the MIP for the future people that want that kinda crazy battery life. By then AMOLED battery life will be on-par with MIP-based displays of today, heck, they aren’t that far behind for GPS-on time, it’s standby time that’s more challenging.

    • usr

      Not sure Garmin really considers SKU sprawl a problem: the your-watch-your-way programme suggests that they are looking for ways to boost direct to customer without alienating conventional distribution channels too much and SKU sprawl could be considered a tool for that job: “feel free to order whatever subset of our portfolio you want, we won’t force anything on you, if your would-be customers choose something not in your subset it’s your fault, not ours”.

      On the software side, sure, they need a good architecture of their development process to easily do mix&match of feature subsets. But they are long past the point where they might get away without being very good at this and once they are, having a few more sub-variants will be very low cost (particularly when non-flagship devices continue to be lesser-amongst-equals in terms of updates).

      (an interesting observation about your-watch-your-way: apparently it’s locale-dependent, e.g. in de-DE|nl-NL|en-GB I still see Fenix 6 and vivoactive 4 at the also-ran tail of that list, whereas in en-US the only non-recent still available through that direct-only programme is the original Venu Sq, and whatever they might consider non-recent in the vivomove flock)

  2. Don Rhummy

    Ray, you should do a review of Ki2 (it’s changed a lot since your first mention) and interview the guy doing it. It’s pretty impressive

  3. Graham

    It could be interesting if Polar went back to Wear OS. I had an M600 which I loved on so many levels but it never felt finished. I’m currently using a Garmin 255 for sports and a Suunto 7 for daily use but I’m still looking for one device which does everything I want. A Wear OS watch with all the features of a Polar Pacer Pro or a refreshed Suunto 7 could be what I’m looking forward but I do love Garmin for sports features. I’ve tried wearing the 255 as a smartwatch but found it limiting and frustrating. What do you think about the possibility of Garmin releasing a Wear OS watch?

    • Yeah, agree with the ‘never felt finished’ on the M600. And like-wise on the Suunto side, I just wish the Suunto 7 had the same sport/etc features at the Suunto 9 Peak Pro. Effectively, let the consumer choose which battery life/smartwatch feature balance they want.

      As for Garmin releasing a Wear OS watch – I’d say 0% chance.

      There’s little reason for them to at the moment. They got in early and got both payments and offline music streaming, and more recently, have voice assistants too. Meaning, while there’s still a notable hard-wall on the iOS side for text message replies (due to Apple limitations), most of the other smartwatch things are actually really in their own camp.

      Yes, one could make the argument that there are more apps on Wear OS, but for Garmin’s sporty audience, most of those apps kinda suck in terms of features/functionality/polish. Certainly, there’s some good ones here and there, but you have to combine a lot of those apps to get even a fraction of what a Garmin Fenix has. And i’d struggle to see why Garmin would want to promote Wear OS watches, since the cost of those is much higher than their current hardware.

    • Graham

      ‘0% chance’. That’s my feeling too. I’ll wait and see what Polar or Suunto come up with. Thanks

  4. Hidde

    Any plans to add the FR265 to the product comparison DB?

  5. Chris

    The Netherland has the best sleep of all countries? And Japan and Taiwan the badest?!

    Easy to explain: The Netherlands is full of weedheads. It is a narco-state. Marihuana is legal and you can buy it in coffee shops. Marihuana drug abuse leads to sleepiness.

    In Japan and Taiwan weed is strongly prohibited. No weed, no sleepiness!


    • PeterF

      I feel kinda weird that I, being Dutch, can’t tell whether you’re serious or not 😳

      But from personal experience: while having one or two glasses of wine in the evening will lead to sleepiness for me, it also pretty much diminishes recuperation. On regular nights Garmin’s body battery restores (almost) completely whereas with alcohol it climbs only very little if at all during sleep.

  6. Eli

    Seems like for OSes for watches if Polar and Suunto switch to wearOS only wearOS, Apple watch, and garmin will have OS development going for advanced watches. Will google be a good partner to work with if they don’t have a backup os to use if they aren’t able o do what they want to do? Does simplify their development needs if they don’t need to worry about the OS side of things.

  7. Chris Taylor

    Hi Ray, looks like $700 may be the new landing spot for first level direct drive trainers. Saw that the Stages SB20 was on sale for $1300 (missed it and kicking myself a bit). Have a dedicated space in the basement, would you recommend the SB20 if it’s ever at $1300 again or a Kickr Core/Hub/Direto XR?

    Have a tacx vortex wheel on I’d like to upgrade, but only an old 7 speed bike dedicated to it, so would likely need to spend some additional money to upgrade the bike to get it to work with direct drive.

    • Hmm, that’s a tough one.

      I think it really depends on how much you want to deal with dragging bikes to/from basement.

      I never thought I’d really want to get a dedicated indoor smart bike, but this past Black Frida when there was some really good KICKR Bike Refurb deals, we got one for home to get rid of the bike clutter between myself and my wife, and it works out pretty well for us. It does the up/down thing, but about 95% of the time I’m on TrainerRoad, so that doesn’t matter/happen (and would be akin to your Stages Bike).

      That said, a KICKR CORE at $699 which is what I think it is today, is a great deal, and basically gives you an extra $600 to buy a Wahoo CLIMB, or just a lot of ice cream. :)

      Thanks for being a DCR Supporter!

    • Chris Taylor

      Thanks Ray,

      That’s pretty much where I’m at with not wanting to drag a bike up and down to the basement. Core/Climb combo sounds like it may be the way to go.

      Appreciate the response and the consistently valuable content!

    • ERG Mode Concern

      Ray — The SB20 is still an ERG mode disaster, right? I didn’t pull the trigger on the $1300 deal because of this, and will cry a bit if it’s been fixed and I somehow missed it.

    • That’s true. ERG mode isn’t solved there, and even Stages will admit that.

      There are basically two categories of people there:

      1) Those that know it’s an issue and it drives them crazy
      2) Those that pretend it’s perfectly normal to have ERG mode be inconsistent

      Obviously, there are people in the second category that don’t mind the inconsistencies, and that’s fine. Some try and justify it that it’s like riding outdoors, which is fine, but that’s not the point of ERG mode. That’s what SIM mode is for. Either way…

    • Angstrom

      I went with buying a cheap dedicated trainer bike. The geometry is the same as my other bikes, and the lower-level drivetrain and heavy wheels don’t matter. :-) Having a setup always ready to go is a huge win.

  8. TomTom

    Hey Ray, can’t really find this info, but is there a way to benefit from Garmin’s Training Readiness by sleeping with a smaller band instead of a watch? Can’t really sleep with a huge watch, so something like a Fitbit Inspire or even better Oura Ring would be more than welcome. Does unified training work with smaller devices? Cheers!

  9. Pablo

    Adorama has the Epix 2 for $675 link to adorama.com that should be in the list of deals

  10. inSyt

    “normal marathon race start times at 10-11AM”.
    Wow the only runs with sensible start times in my country (SA) is parkrun at 8AM. Everything else is 5/6AM.

  11. Yura

    i am having trouble using my forunner 955. maybe someone can help or explain. Garmin points out in their articles that climbs and air temperature are now taken into account when calculating training efficiency and vomax levels. For me, every running workout starts either with an uphill or downhill. in the first case, the watch gives the training efficiency “-5” in the first 5 minutes, and at the end of the training it always reduces vomax. In the case, if the training begins with the descent – the opposite is true. Zero objectivity. Is there any possibility in the watch to actually take into account the periods of uphills in training?

  12. Chat GPT is pretty topical ATM Ray… could be worth a comment… link to linkedin.com