Usually in the blog I bring you all the news, tests of watches and other sensors and devices, offers, etc. In short, all the information and tips for buying your new training partner. Well, today I come with the opposite, a list of devices that I personally would not buy and logically I would not recommend you either.
And of course I'll tell you why in each case. It doesn't have to be a bad device, but you may simply have better options for the same price. Don't drag out the introduction any longer, let's go straight to the products and warning, there's one for everyone.
Garmin Forerunner 30
The first on the list is one of Garmin's latest models. Introduced in late September 2017, it offers LESS features than the model it is derived from without a significant price discount. Honestly, it doesn't make sense.
And it doesn't make sense because we are starting from a model that is already quite sparse in features, whose maximum interest is simplicity and ease of use. Cutting out something that is already quite limited is like having a broken arm and tying up your healthy one.
All this is what cuts down on Forerunner 35:
- Interval training mode: NO
- Running/Starting mode: NO
- Virtual Pacer Mode: NO
- Support for external sensors: NO
- Possibility of transmitting heart rate by ANT+: NO
- Widget with weather forecast: NO
- Music control on the phone: NO
- Activity profiles in addition to career: NO
- Heart rate, time, distance, or calorie alerts: NO
- Clock display customization: NO
It is not a problem of a bad product or a malfunctioning, it is a failure in the market, at least in Europe.
It is legal to set prices by the manufacturer, so all you can do is give a recommended retail price. The seller can then set that price, lower it or offer discounts. This is often the case with the Forerunner 35 which is usually much cheaper than the recommended retail price.
It might make more sense in the United States, where prices do admit of being blocked by the manufacturer and the price dictated by them has to be sold. But the funny thing is... the Forerunner 30 is not available there!
In short, if you are thinking of buying the Forerunner 30, stop drinking a Coke today and with what you save you can buy the FR35. Or who knows, it depends on the day, you might even save money...
Xiaomi My Band 2
I play hard, don't I? I'm going to start getting sticks here... It's amazing how popular this little gadget from the well-known Chinese brand Xiaomi is. As a sign of its popularity, at the time of writing more than 1,100 comments on Amazon.
As it often happens, I buy products simply out of curiosity and if it's worth it, I publish an article with the proof. Here is mine, bought several months ago.
I used it for a few weeks, put it in its box and then in the drawer and to this day. 30 euros thrown away (well, I'll use it for the device collection).
Don't get me wrong, if what you're looking for is a watch to match your phone and that can alert you to notifications then perfect. If you know what you're buying and that it's little more than a toy I don't object.
The problem is that this isn't a toy page or a gadget page for the phone, it's a sports technology analysis page, and in that respect the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is worthless. Step measurement is like playing the lottery: every day you look at it in the hope that the number will be the same, but deep down you know that something totally different will come out.
I have tested the bracelet throughout the day with several devices of different brands. All others end up giving very approximate figures, but the data on the Xiaomi bracelet has absolutely nothing to do with the rest. It would have the same effect if pressing the button under the screen would generate a random number.
What to say about the optical pulse sensor. A real joke, although perhaps it can serve as a flashlight in the dark. Like any other optical sensor at rest it offers a "more or less correct" record, but in activity we return to the tone of before, it is a totally random number.
So if you assume you're buying a toy, but if you want to make minimal use of activity tracking, you'd better look the other way. Because if you're throwing money away, you can always buy a Power Balance.
I have no problem with TomTom. Their watches do what they advertise and for easy use they work perfectly. If you have had one for two years you are sure to be a happy owner, there is no reason not to be.
Buy it now? I wouldn't do that, except for a one-off offer (like when I posted the TomTom Adventurer offer for £139). The reason is none other than complicated situation that TomTom's sports division is going throughDon't get me wrong, TomTom isn't going anywhere or disappearing as a brand, but they'll most likely leave their sports division behind. Or hopefully they'll sell it and see the products reborn somewhere else.
It's just my opinion and my recommendation, but it doesn't mean you should follow it. All I'm saying is that if you're about to buy something from TomTom, you should know the situation and be able to weigh up the pros and cons of the decision. That even if you know the situation, you're willing to put your money into a branded product? Well, if it's the product you're looking for, it's definitely the right decision.
Samsung Gear Sport
Even though Samsung has done well in all these years with its different watches, this is not the first or the second time it launches a model focused on its use in sports. The Samsung Gear Sport is even more focused on sports, because in its last iteration it even records swimming data.
It's all very nice on the spec sheet, but Samsung has not solved the sports part well, especially in the two fundamental aspects: GPS performance and optical pulse sensor. It's not complicated to read user ratings with criticism on both aspects, both on the official Samsung forum and in stores like Amazon.
Highly variable running rhythms, insufficient performance in recording heart rates, irregular GPS tracks, etc.
If you are interested in smart watches and you don't give too much importance to the sport part, Samsung watches with Tizen operating system are a good option. But I repeat that we are on a page dedicated to sport, and with such a poor performance it is something that I would not buy and therefore I could not recommend.
For years we have seen how power measurement in cycling has become increasingly important, and the increase in popularity has led to a reduction in costs and, consequently, in the price of the product.
Not many years ago to start training and competing for power was expensive, very expensive. Few people could afford the almost 3,000 euros that an SRM power meter costs, so opting for one-sided measurement options made sense. You had almost the same performance for a fraction of the price.
It is a segment in which Stages succeeded because he was able to identify a need: to train economically by power. And they have done it well, because for years they have been one of the references among amateur cyclists.
But it's not necessary anymore, don't buy a one-sided power meter. If there's one crucial thing about power it must be well measured, at all times, so that it can be effective as data. And if we measure on one side only we are losing a 50% of the information.
The way this type of power meter works is that it measures the power of only one of the two legs and then multiplies it by two. But we are not robots and nobody has an exact distribution of the 50% on each of the legs. And not only that, but this difference is variable. Some days the distribution between both legs can be 51-49, the next day 47-53 and so on to the third 45-55.
If you only measure the left side and multiply by two, when there is a power difference you will be training with a figure that will not be real. I would not object if, even though the power distribution is not 50-50, there is no variation in time. But experience tells me that we are not machines and that even during a training session we will be varying the way we pedal.
Now imagine you're doing a series and you have a power target to meet, but the real-time data is distorted by that difference... don't you think something will go wrong?
The difference in price between a single-sided meter and one that measures total power (or even separately) is currently quite bearable. If you are going to start training by power, do it the right way.
Well, there you have it. Five products that I would recommend not buying (with objections in the case of TomTom if the offer is very good). Obviously everyone is free to do what they think is right, but just like other times I can recommend what to buy or what can best fit your uses, it is only fair that I also include the less recommended products.
I'm sure more than one will have objections to the chosen products, so here are the comments to express them :-).
And with that... thanks for reading!