Polar something coming?

I’m partially guessing but Polar appear to have hosted some press in Madeira this week judging by their feeds, and some comments from well known bloggers. I can’t see anything in the FCC or trademarks, or even any rumours yet.

If said event took place, it certainly included cycling, so it would seem either the long overdue v800 replacement (v900, v950, v1000 take your pick!) or a v650 replacement which is less overdue. Either way, we’re too close to xmas for a sensible announcement so CES 2017 could be the date to wait for.

If anyone has any info let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

Posted in Cycling, Multisport, Polar, Running, Swimming

Garmin Fenix 5!

UPDATE – Screenshots added from another site.

Sorry I don’t really have time to investigate right now but take a look at this link in the mean time. I can’t see it being true myself but I’ve been wrong before. To my eye this looks too similar to Fenix 3 so there’s no reason to skip 4 and move to 5. The USB c connector might happen, but I’d rather see a magnetic connector which doesn’t have an irritating post in the middle of it. Garmin have learned this lesson before with connector comfort so unlikely to repeat so soon.┬áhttps://appelmoessite.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/the-new-fenix-5-and-5s/

Garmin seem to be trying to remove the leak, and some bloggers who deal with them have been asked to take down the story. This site doesn’t deal with Garmin and I never post their copyright pictures, only screenshots of interesting things I see on the web so we should be safe here ­čÖé

1 2 3 4

Posted in Cycling, Garmin, Multisport, Running, Swimming, Uncategorized

Monthly Roundup – November 2016

Now a regular feature, here’s the round-up of recommendations so everything is in one place, and so we have a nice record of speculations updated for November 2016…

In alphabetical order of manufacturer.

Manufacturer Device Current Speculation
Garmin Fenix Don’t buy – this is very old
Garmin Fenix 2 Don’t buy – Fenix 3 is now cheap and Fenix 4 is due imminently
Garmin Fenix 3 Fenix 3 HR, Quatix 3, D2 Bravo, Tactix Bravo Kind of tricky. The Fenix Chronos has sort of replaced this, but we still expect a Fenix 4. Good device so don’t hold off
Garmin Fenix 4/HR Kind of arrived as the Chronos. Expect cheaper models at CES 2017
Garmin Fenix Chronos Brand New, buy if you wear solid gold underpants. This might/might not be replaced by a Fenix 4 so it’s not without risk, especially given the cost. Garmin have confused the market here so only have themselves to blame if people wait for a “real” Fenix 4
Garmin Forerunner 910XT Don’t buy – this is very old
Garmin Forerunner 920XT Replacement imminent but this is a very capable and mature device
Garmin Forerunner 930XT/935XT Imminent
Garmin Forerunner 25 This has been out a while but nothing obvious seems planned in the near future.
Garmin Forerunner 35 Buy – this is still fairly new
Garmin Forerunner 230 Buy – this is still fairly new
Garmin Forerunner 225 Don’t buy. Garmin immediately replaced this with the 235 using their own sensor.
Garmin Forerunner 235 Buy – this is still fairly new
Garmin Forerunner 630 Buy – this is still fairly new
Garmin Forerunner 735XT Buy – this is brand new and seems to be running Fenix code so hopefully isn’t buggy
Garmin Epix Buy if you really, really need it – this probably won’t be updated until winter. It does appear abandoned by Garmin though with no new firmware for a very long time
Garmin Epix 2 Probably abandoned, the Epix has had no firmware updates for a very long time. Expect maps in the Fenix 4 instead
Garmin Edge 510 Don’t buy, this is very old
Garmin Edge 520 Buy, this is very new
Garmin Edge 810 Buy if very cheap, but it will feel dated fairly soon compared to the new lineup
Garmin Edge 820 Buy, just released
Garmin Edge 1000 Buy if you get a good deal, this is overdue for replacement
Garmin Edge 1010 Coming soon CES in January 2017
Polar v800 Wait – update is probably imminent
Polar v800.next Overdue, expected announcement at Kona in October. H7i Sensor just leaked which is likely to be packaged with this watch
Polar M200 Buy, this is just released
Polar m400 Wait – update is probably imminent
Polar m400.next Possibly replaced by M600 so may not be updated. This also may be replaced by an M200 to differentiate with M600
Polar M600 Buy, this is brand new
Suunto Ambit 2 Don’t buy unless you need Ant+
Suunto Ambit 3 Replaced by Spartan Ultra – buy if you get a good deal and are not bothered by being a generation behind
Suunto Ambit 4 Officially not going to happen, Spartan Series has replaced Ambit
Suunto Spartan Ultra Buy, just released. Be aware there may be more models coming
Suunto Spartan Sport Buy, just released. Be aware there may be more models coming
Suunto Spartan Trainer Announcing shortly, just leaked. Be aware there may be more models coming
Suunto Kailash Buy if you can work out what it’s for or who it’s aimed at
Suunto Traverse Why Suunto, WHY!?
Posted in Uncategorized

Suunto Spartan Trainer

Sorry everyone, I’m late to the party on this one. I do have a real job ­čÖé Thanks to The5kRunner for posting this first, although it seems he was late too!

Suunto have registered a new device with the FCC, the “Spartan trainer”.

https://fccid.io/RYP24601

This device seems to put the GPS bump back as it was in the Ambit line, and also seems to either do away with touch screen or at least put the buttons back.
screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-07-52-35

Following the recent reviews of the Spartan, this might be a good move by Suunto. Of course, it’s also going to really upset anyone who thought they already had the new Ambit replacement in the Spartan Ultra or Spartan Sport. As you can see this is an optical HR unit, but it doesn’t appear to be the Spartan Sport HR we were promised.

With thanks to javaski03, who commented on The5kRunner for the below pictures. These aren’t the originals, just some screenshots of web pages I was browsing which I thought you might all like to see…

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-07-56-48
screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-07-56-25

And some screenshots of some stuff I found in the Google cache.
screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-08-02-10
screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-08-02-02

Posted in Cycling, Multisport, Running, Suunto, Swimming

Polar v800.next news

It’s looking ever more likely that a new high end watch will arrive soon from Polar. Although nothing is on FCC right now there are some hints. Firstly, it’s been way too long since v800 was released. It’s a great watch (finally) but was dated a few months after release when Garmin dropped the 920XT and then Fenix 3 which kind of killed the market for black and white watches with slow feature releases.
Anyway, my slender evidence…Amazon, yes AMAZON appear to have ceased ordering v800 watches. They aren’t the only ones, various other sports retailers have quietly dropped the watch. Amazon obviously still lists it, but from third party sellers only and at an inflated price. This is what happens to legacy products on Amazon, try it with pretty much anything you can’t get any more and you’ll find one or two sellers asking crazy money.
screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-07-44-42
Both the black and the blue are gone with no signs of new stock but much higher prices from third party sellers. Clearly Amazon are expecting something new and different shortly, and that might line up with CES 2017 or perhaps earlier to capture the xmas market.

Posted in Cycling, Multisport, Polar, Running, Swimming

Forerunner 930XT update

OK, so this one is now officially “overdue”. The garmin-930xt was due in October this year based on a two year cycle. The burning question on everyone’s keyboard then is “should I get a 920XT for xmas?”.

The answer, dear reader, has never been more complicated. With Fenix Chronos Garmin have muddied the waters in what constitues a new watch. Chronos has the same functionality as Fenix 3, but supports the newer ConnectIQ 2 and has a vastly improved processor. It’s very likely they will do the same to the 920XT shortly, if only to support ConnectIQ 2.

So, as it stands today in late October, I expect a Forerunner 930XT and 935XT at CES in early January. I expect this device to be available in different colours to the 920XT. One of them will be black, and I suspect this time it’ll be grey on black or black on black after the kerfuffle over a blue stripe last time. Another one will be red/pink/purple/white of course – where Garmin come from girls are girls and boys are boys. Personally I’d like them to also pick some more jazzy colours like the yellow FR230, but as long as the body is plain enough straps can be swapped.

Features? You want features? Sorry, no, probably not. Better processor and more memory to address more modern requirements. These might lead to improved battery life, but it’s more likely Garmin would do what Apple does and keep the battery life static while adjusting things around it – make the watch smaller or thinner for instance. People (normal people, at least) are pretty happy with the battery on 920XT so with that in mind, and with a lack of real “features” being added it’s likely they would make the case smaller. This is a welcome change of course.

The screen will probably stay the same, not a bad thing as it’s functional and clear.

Sensor support may improve – running power for instance is gaining traction. They might even add the elusive indoor rowing support.

So, would I wait? Not really. The 930XT will be more expensive and do the same thing as the 920XT. If you need a watch for training and xmas is your chance to get one past the boss go for it. If you will feel disapointed to not have the latest in the range, January is only an extra month away.

The above is speculation, of course, it could easily be another year before we see an update to the 920XT. It doesn’t look dated, it doesn’t lack support for any real training scenarios a triathlete would be interested in other than a few niche ones. I don’t even think the public are screaming out for optical HR on this one like they did with Fenix – the discerning 920XT owner is usually too busy training, after all.

Posted in Cycling, Garmin, Multisport, Running, Swimming

Xmas List 2016 – running and multisport

OK a somewhat special post since a lot of you will be considering what to buy people (or yourselves) for Xmas* this year. This one is based around multisport and runners but a cycle one is coming.

High end multisport

At this end of the market we have various options. These are:
Polar v800 – This watch is well overdue a replacement. Following the release of the Suunto Spartan range it now looks very dated. It’s possible that Polar may have something to release at CES in January, but it doesn’t look likely we’ll get an announcement before xmas let alone actual shipping products.

Suunto Spartan – A brand new entrant into the market, replacing the Ambit 3 watch. This is a fairly safe bet if you are a Suunto fan, although much functionality is still in progress. Most believe Suunto will deliver quickly enough that it’s not a problem, but if you want a watch to use today this may not be the one. Hardware appears on par with Garmin so capability wise there’s no reason this won’t be a hit.

Suunto Ambit 3 – This has been replaced with the Spartan, but if you get a good deal and can live without the “latest and greatest” then it’s worth buying.

Garmin Fenix 3/3HR – While due for replacement, there is no competition with a better hardware or software right now. Certainly not in this price range. Garmin consistently deliver new features and functionality for this watch.

Garmin Fenix Chronos – Initially looking like a minor hardware change, it appears this is actually a fairly major overhaul internally, with a much faster chip. The screen remains the same, and new watch shell means that although a little better looking, a little smaller, it’s a lot more pricey. The features remain identical to Fenix 3 so currently this is just a cosmetic choice. That may change down the road though, and Garmin have left customers unsure of the future of both devices as a result. A Fenix 4 full refresh could kill the Chronos in as little as a year, while a Fenix 4 on the same Chronos platform could extend that life. It’s a nice watch though, and for those with the money certainly represents a nicer Fenix.

Garmin 920XT – While quite dated and due for replacement within the next year, the Forerunner 920XT has a much easier to read screen than Fenix. It’s more of a functional device rather than a fashion watch, and this makes it a good choice for athletes more worried about training data than features and looks. Firmware is considerably more stable, and this device does what it says on the tin. The Fenix, by contrast, has many new features and changes added which can be frustrating for those wanting a training tool only.

Garmin 735XT – While slightly lower in the range than Fenix, this device has all the features (except barometric altimeter) of its big brother. Being new this year it has a good lifespan ahead of it.

Expected – If you’re going to hold out, there’s only really a cheaper Chronos and the v800.next on their way, and we don’t know when they will hit shelves. CES is early January but personally I don’t think I’d hold off for either.

 

Mid-high end Runner

Polar M400 – The M400 is a very solid option for runners. Like its big brother the v800 it has a host of features for different sports, although stops short of being a true multisport triathlon device. This watch is getting on a little now, but with the introduction of M600 and M200 I just don’t see it getting a major update this year. More likely we’ll see this replaced mid-late 2017 with something very similar which includes optical HR.

Garmin – Who knows what is considered mid range here. I’m lumping these together so Garmin doesn’t own the page.
The FR735XT in theory sits in the runner category but is essentially a low end Fenix HR the FR735XT won’t be replaced soon.
The FR630 is just a year old but lacks optical HR, you’re safe here if optical HR isn’t your thing. It’s possible that a FR635 might emerge but it would seem a lot of effort for Garmin given how massive the range already is.
The FR235/FR230 are also a year old and have both OHR and plain versions. You’re safe as houses here and there are good deals around. These won’t be replaced in the near future.
VivoActive HR is also quite new so I wouldn’t expect a replacement there any time soon.

Expected – nothing really expected in this arena over the coming months.

Low-high end Runner, basic sports watch

So this is a little harsh because these are still great feature rich watches. Their defining feature is cheap but most can still do full workout planning stuff.
Polar M200 – Brand new watch from polar which is entering at the lower end of the market. If this meets your needs it’s a great option and won’t be replaced in 2017.
Garmin FR35 This is a new watch from Garmin and so won’t be replaced in the near future.
Garmin FR25 Out for about a year, I wouldn’t expect a replacement any time soon. The FR35 adds optical HR so there’s not much reason for this one to be updated.

Expected – nothing really expected in this arena over the coming months.

*For the record, I use Xmas as an agnostic way to refer to the holiday. Many people celebrate it outside of organised religion.

Posted in Uncategorized

Power meter deal (this is not actually an advert)

OK, I don’t normally do this but tfk asked me to pass it on and I figured it’s a good deal for anyone who’s about to buy a power meter. Perhaps you’re starting to train indoors on a trainer or rollers, or just like more data…data is almost as good as cookies after all. Have a read of the5krunner.com before you buy so you know what you’re buying, and maybe head on over to dcrainmaker.com too for further coverage.

The deal is 15% off on goodies from a power meter supplier so not a bad deal. The shop is US based so do your sums if you live in a country with a crumbling currency and import duty.

https://the5krunner.com/2016/10/17/save-15-black-friday-comes-early-for-powermeter-buyers-bepro-stages-powertap-4iiii-srm-quark-powerpod-vervecycling/

Just to be clear, I get nothing from this other than kudos from you lovely readers for helping you save some cash.

Posted in Uncategorized

Fenix 4 Update

OK, I get asked this a lot at the moment. A really really lot.

When will the Fenix 4 arrive?

 

Short answer, I don’t know. Longer answer, it’s kind of here now.

The Fenix Chronos was launched recently. I say launched, it more accurately just kind of appeared with very little information or excitement. Many of us at the time thought it was just a pretty Fenix 3 in a smaller box with a wooden case and new strap. It’s not. It turns out that the internals are mostly new and the processor is much more capable than the Fenix 3, and the memory allows it to run ConnectIQ 2 apps.

You know what this means? Chronos is Fenix 4. Probably.

We all knew that Garmin didn’t need to change much to stay ahead of the competition. They didn’t need to change anything in fact, and so we see a watch where almost nothing has changed. Same screen, same interface, same apps, same same same. But better. And more importantly, just better enough to push the Fenix 3 into legacy mode. Fenix 3 was crippled from day one with low memory. We all knew this at the time and couldn’t work out Garmin’s game. Well, now we know. Garmin knew that within two years there wouldn’t be a fancy new screen tech, or a significant bump in battery life, or smaller components. So they put too little memory in the device so that they could release an upgrade later on. Chronos isn’t overburdened itself with memory, presumably nothing major on the horizon for a while yet then, and CIQ 3 will have ever so slightly bigger memory needs…

So, the Fenix 4 then. Obviously Chronos isn’t it, it costs more than my car. It’s likely that Garmin will launch a new watch with Chronos innards and a plastic case to bring the price down. By plastic, I mean fibre reinforced stuff like the Fenix 3 back, not like the plastic plastic on the 920XT. And you won’t get a wooden box either. With a bit of luck they’ll also stick with screw on straps like the Fenix 3/2/1 rather than fancy quick release ones like the Chronos. Quick release on a sports watch? So I’ll need to gaffer tape it to my arm then to avoid it quickly releasing. No ta.

Finally, the time frame. CES 2017 would seem the obvious release date. January, just after you got a Fenix 3 for xmas 2016. There’s some debate as to whether a 930XT or 935XT will appear at the same time. My money is on a 925XT optical with 920XT insides rather than a full refresh. The 920XT is more of a tool than a toy like the 910XT before it. The Fenix 3 is now firmly in the toy before tool category, albeit a toy that functions pretty well. It’s certainly lost the adventure watch roots though even if it has gained dog tracking and beer calculator apps.

Posted in Uncategorized

Monthly Roundup – October 2016

Now a regular feature, here’s the round-up of recommendations so everything is in one place, and so we have a nice record of speculations updated for October 2016…

In alphabetical order of manufacturer.

Manufacturer Device Current Speculation
Garmin Fenix Don’t buy – this is very old
Garmin Fenix 2 Don’t buy – Fenix 3 is now cheap and Fenix 4 is due imminently
Garmin Fenix 3 Fenix 3 HR kind of tricky. The Fenix Chronos has sort of replaced this, but we still expect a Fenix 4. Good device so don’t hold off
Garmin Fenix 4/HR Imminent, certainly by CES 2018
Garmin Fenix Chronos Brand New, buy if you wear solid gold underpants. This might/might not be replaced by a Fenix 4 so it’s not without risk, especially given the cost. Garmin have confused the market here so only have themselves to blame if people wait for a “real” Fenix 4
Garmin Forerunner 910XT Don’t buy – this is very old
Garmin Forerunner 920XT Replacement imminent but this is a very capable and mature device
Garmin Forerunner 930XT/935XT Imminent
Garmin Forerunner 735XT Buy – this is brand new and seems to be running Fenix code so hopefully isn’t buggy
Garmin Epix Buy – this probably won’t be updated until winter. It does appear abandoned by Garmin though with no new firmware for a very long time
Garmin Epix 2 Probably abandoned, the Epix has had no firmware updates for a very long time. Expect maps in the Fenix 4 instead
Garmin Edge 510 Don’t buy, this is very old
Garmin Edge 520 Buy, this is very new
Garmin Edge 810 Buy if very cheap, but it will feel dated fairly soon compared to the new lineup
Garmin Edge 820 Buy, just released
Garmin Edge 1000 Buy if you get a good deal, this is overdue for replacement
Garmin Edge 1010 Coming soon CES in January 2017
Polar v800 Wait – update is probably imminent
Polar v800.next Overdue, expected announcement at Kona in October. H7i Sensor just leaked which is likely to be packaged with this watch
Polar M200 Imminent
Polar m400 Wait – update is probably imminent
Polar m400.next Possibly replaced by M600 so may not be updated. This also may be replaced by an M200 to differentiate with M600
Polar M600 Buy, this is brand new
Suunto Ambit 2 Don’t buy unless you need Ant+
Suunto Ambit 3 Replaced by Spartan Ultra – buy if you get a good deal and are not bothered by being a generation behind
Suunto Ambit 4 Officially not going to happen, Spartan Ultra has replaced Ambit
Suunto Spartan Ultra Released and due in stores by September
Suunto Kailash Buy if you can work out what it’s for or who it’s aimed at
Suunto Traverse Why Suunto, WHY!?
Posted in Uncategorized