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Sports Tech Week in Review – March 24th, 2024

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/X 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 Fitness+ Studios Behind the Scenes: From Start to Finish
Wednesday: Polar Grit X2 Pro Hands-On: Here’s Everything New!
Thursday: Strava Expands Cycling Best Efforts, and Starts Pushing Routes to All Polar Devices
Friday: FIT File: Strava vs Komoot Routes, Let’s Talk Grit X2 Pricing

Spring Sports Tech Deals:

There’s a slate of new sports tech deals, primarily from Garmin, but also a few other companies jumping in on a spring-themed Amazon sale. Garmin seems to have some of the best deals here, though, the others aren’t too bad at all!

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!
$899/$999
$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!
$899/$999
$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!
$799+
$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!
$699+
$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!
$349/$399
$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!
$499/$599
$499See everything I said above on the Forerunner 955 base, except this one also has solar.
Garmin Varia Radar (RTL515) - $50 off
$199
$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!
$449
$399
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

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:

1) Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT series now has dark mode: Check out GPLAMA’s video for all the details:

2) Wahoo also has a new CEO: While I got the press release, it looks like no other outlet covered it except this one. While I somewhat wish that the new CEO would have come from within the sports realm, or sports tech realm, at least he’s a cyclist and runner (and apparently smart enough not to get suckered into swimming, the gateway to triathlon). As always, I’ll give him a fair shake and see how things cook over the next year. Sometimes an outside perspective works, sometimes not. Really just depends on the company and situation.

3) Smartwatches shouldn’t make you choose between Apple & Android: Obviously, lots of discussion this weekend on the US vs Apple case. In fact, a portion of that is focused on the ability for 3rd party smartwatches (e.g., Garmin/Polar/Suunto/COROS/etc…) to access certain features, which are today blocked (like responding to text messages). In any case, this piece from Victoria at The Verge is a good look at the situation as it pertains to watches.

4) New iGPSport iGS800 Cycling GPS Computer: A couple of people have asked about this new unit, and whether I’ll review it. I’m kinda on the fence. Historically when I’ve tried some of iGPSport’s devices (similar to Bryton), they tend to have good hardware specs, but usually are pretty rough on the software front. In some ways, the company’s introduction of this device follows that. While announced on Facebook, no mention of the device exists on their own company site (either in news section, or product section).

5) Man ties phone to drone, to get rescue in snowy mountains: After being trapped for two days, the man tied his phone to a DJI Mavic 3, sent a message, and then took off to (hopefully) get within range. It worked, and SAR crews quickly got to him. Like I always say: Travel with a drone or three.

6) Hammerhead revamps structured workout on Karoo: Along with adding Italian support, they’ve increased the granularity of the trainer control bits. Thus, Italian trainer users have two reasons to celebrate this week.

7) TrainerRoad launches Red-Light-Green-Light to all athletes: I’ve been using this in beta the last little while, and it’s pretty cool – albeit a bit of a cut-down version of what you might see within some watches directly. I might write-up more on this, later this week, given said usage.

Thanks for reading!

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16 Comments

  1. MsG

    The pixel watch link is directing to a fossil watch instead.

  2. Jan Aniolek

    I started a Reddit post about the iGS 800, where I gathered some links to videos about it:

    link to reddit.com

    While I agree that it seems ridiculous, that they unveil a device and haven’t put any info about it on their own webpage so far I have no doubt that it will hit the stores eventually.

    The other bike gps – iGS630s – gets some positive reviews here in Poland, where I live.

  3. Teddy

    Hey Ray, 945 LTE has been unavailable on Garmin’s website for many months now. Thinking it’s discontinued? Any rumblings of something new and cellular?

    • Interesting, I hadn’t caught that. Looks to be the same on the EU side as well. Huh.

      I’ll give a poke.

    • Teddy

      Much appreciated! It’s been since November at least even though the page on Garmin is still active.

    • msquared

      I suspect (hope?) this may be related to some forthcoming Garmin LTE product release, the new BETA 17.10 for F7/Epix series contains this unexpected but interesting little tidbit: “Added Messenger App”

      WHY would an app like that be worthwhile on my watch IF this kind of message could only ever be sent over Garmin’s Iridium satellite network?

  4. andi

    dark mode added just in time for daylight savings to end (and be commuting home in the dark) in the southern hemisphere, good timing! i still miss the auto swap garmin does at sunrise/set, though.

  5. ArT

    What’s the point of night mode if the screen is not OLED. Even at night I prefer a bright screen. The black map is illegible.

    • usr

      Less brightness hurting the darkness adaption of your eyes. On a OLED, night time is when you might *consider* black-on-white. Night time, when the white does not have to be an that bright to be legible. But you’d definitely want white-on-black in daytime unless your device is powered from a bottomless external source.

    • ArT

      Have you read my post? Oled ok, you save energy. ROAM has MID, so the energy is the same whether light or dark. Even in the dark, the white screen is readable. DAY NIGHT OPTION only for OLED.

  6. Brian Reiter

    > 3) Smartwatches shouldn’t make you choose between Apple & Android

    Apple could clearly offer more APIs to a client smart watch app. The limits on messaging making replying from the watch tethered over bluetooth are fairly ridiculous.

    Presumably integrating LTE/5G messaging untethered to a phone and VOIP between the watch and phone using a common public phone number is some weird stuff that only Apple can do in collaboration with the carriers also but is only functionally disallowed by the implementation being private.

    I have messages on my watch turned off and would never use this but I would leave my phone at home if I could make an emergency call from my Garmin watch with tethered headphones.

    Apple also doesn’t make Apple Music available on any watch other than Apple Watch despite making it available on other manufacturer phones and smart speakers. Apple Music is operated as a service except on the watch where it operates as a lock-in feature. If it were really a service, the economics would favor the widest possible availability. I would prefer to have an Apple Music provider on my Garmin to the Amazon Music app that I actually use if only because I would not have to maintain multiple playlists.

  7. Chris Benten

    Number 6 is interesting…a whole new market for drones…seems like extended range models with known directions to rescue crews…

  8. Andy

    Would be keen to see/understand Red Light/Green Light more and see how that can interplay with training plans – including if you have e.g. a 3 day per week trainer road bike plan but then structure your own swim and run.

  9. Cody Custis

    3.

    The Apple fanboy comments on that post are nuts.

    At the end of the day, Apple’s justifications for closing its APIs to third party developers are flimsy. Samsung, for one, is vertically integrated yet non-monopolistic, supplying parts for everyone and using the entirety of the market to gauge demand. A decent case can be made that it’s not good for Apple’s shareholders; separating the Apple Watch and iPhone divisions may lead to increased sales as both focus on their core competencies rather than spend resources walling customers into gardens.

  10. Wendy

    I am somewhat of a newbie – how do I get the watch link to go to Amazon US?