Review – TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio

 

We talk about progression a lot in the mountain bike community. It’s part of the scientific how does suspension work terms that few understand. It fuels the forums globally whether or not or sport is driven by it or marketing. But here, we arrive at the GPS watch with no doubt in my it is due progression. IMG_0514

Years ago I would been thrilled with a bar mounted Cateye cyclometer to give me current speed, average speed, max speed, trip miles and total miles. Then and for a long time the smart phone acted as a do all for these and more. With the smart phone we would get all of the above with the addition of maps, heart rate monitors with access from bluetooth and GPS. All of that might be enough in my opinion but then Strava came along. In some forums people even claim Strava had wrecked mountain biking. For myself, it has changed things especially in regards to accuracy. I want to know I have the most accurate account if I am tracking my ride. For me, the Tom Tom multi-sport cardio fit the need.

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The watch came with the red and white wrist band. Which wasn’t a look I preferred so I bought an all black version. Let to discover they also have a narrower band making the whole thing look much more like I normal sports watch. As for function the bands don’t have any special functions other then the obvious. The one thing I would add about the band is the wider band has a very nice clasp system instead of the traditional slide band to hold the extra. The red TomTom logo at the end of the band has little knobs that fit into the holes of the band and make everything clean.

Function of the watch is very intuitive. The screen isn’t touch screen, there is a square joystick just below the screen. Making navigation of the function and mode very simple. on the underside of the watch  it has a built in heart rate monitor, so no need to the chest strap heart rate but one can be connected to the watch if you prefer that style.

Lastly for fit, if you don’t want to wear this on yourself and don’t need the included heart rate it comes supplied with a bar mount. Which is very nice secure and give a great easy to read in all light display.

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Okay, function. I wear this everyday and it’s very comfortable. Beyond the basic functions of speed, average speed, distance, clock the heart rate monitor while riding is great. I have found many times when I feel like I am about to explode I can now look at my watch and see why. With a max around 195bpm my average rate falls around 125-135bpm. I now also can look at the same display and know I have room to go faster too. Both are very helpful. The biggest plus is not having to depend on it for GPS mapping. I came to this conclusion when I started using the watch and was still using my iPhone for visual effect and still using Strava. When both were complete and upload there were huge differences. Climbing and decent were the biggest discrepancies. Also, i found the iPhone would miss Strava segments. I assumed that was due to the phone not being as accurate. Since moving to only use the TomTom watch for Strava I have seen a more complete mapping of segments I know I hit making me assume that whatever else I am riding is being tracked by GPS accurately too.

In the end, I think if you only know one or the other and basic account of your ride is what matters then it might not matter whether you have a GPS device or use your smart phone, as long as you commit to one or the other. I have committed to the TomTom and feel with the combo of integrated heart rate monitor and GPS its the best of the two.

Pros –

  • Simple to navigate functions
  • Very comfortable
  • Simplify my riding equipment
  • Durable
  • Strava compatible

Cons –

  • Battery life while using heart rate is less then full day.
  • Would rather a touch screen verse the navigation button.
  • Lack of altitude feature on the display.

 

Further good reading on this topic and some great conversation starters on GPS accuracy check out Singletracks article on GPS.

https://www.singletracks.com/blog/category/gps/

Tom Tom info

https://www.tomtom.com/en_us/sports/multi-sport/products/multi-sport-cardio-gps-watch/white-red/

Technical specifications from Tom Tom. 

Weight and Dimensions

Battery lifetime Up to 8 hours (GPS+HR), up to 10 hours (GPS)

Display size .87 x .98 in

Display resolution 5.67 x 6.61 in

Thickness 0.54″

Weight 2.22 oz

Strap length 9″

Location

Location GPS

Location boost QuickGPSFix

Sensors

Sensors (internal) Motion sensor, compass, optical heart rate monitor

Sensor (wireless) Bluetooth® Smart

Alerts Beep & Vibrate

Water-resistance

Waterproofing 50 m / 165 feet (5 ATM)

Measurements

Pace/Speed Yes

Distance/Calories Yes

Heart Rate Yes (Built-in Heart Rate Monitor*)

Cadence Yes (Cadence sensor – optional accessory)

Activities

Indoor Running Yes

Outdoor Running Yes

Cycling Yes

Dedicated Bike Mount Yes

Swimming Yes

Training

Race Past activities + favorites

Goals Time, distance, or calories

Zone Pace or Heart Rate

Laps Pace or Heart Rate

Intervals Yes

 

 

 

 

 

Reviewed – Incipio Switchback iPhone Case

I have never been a wallet guy, at the same time I don’t like the design flip over style wallet cases for iPhone that look like little notepads. I like aesthetically pleasing designs that still look like a simple iPhone case. This case solves my lack of wallet and the need to pay for items and flash an ID now and again.

Installing the case is very simple, the iPhone slides into the case very easily. But has never fell or popped out. Opening the switchback in also very easy. With the spec’d 3 credit cards there is room for them to slightly rattle around which would slowly drive me nuts. Which is where my drivers license comes in. With the 3 credit cards and ID I can access everything easily and quickly and not have to worry about anything falling out. The case is very slim and while in a pocket it feels very minimal. Access to the volume switch and controls are easy and straight forward and the same goes for the power switch. Protection, the leading edge around the glass good along with surprising corner cushioning.

Over all a well designed iPhone case with very good protection and high function with the hidden wallet.

Pros –

  • Easily fits 3 credit cards and an ID.
  • Slim, compact simple design.
  • Good corner protection.

Cons –

  • Everyday use has worn the soft touch finish off the corners.

Price – $39.99

Features and Tech Specs from Incipio.com

  1. Stealth rear compartment holds up to 3 credit cards or IDs and allows for easy docking
  2. Rugged co-molded design offers reliable drop protection in a sleek and slim profile
  3. Sturdy living hinge technology allows for long-lasting use of the rear compartment
  4. Include a thin, applicable protector for the rear of your device to shield against scuffing
  5. Drop tested 7 ft.

Measurements:

  • Length 5.6 inches (142.24 mm)
  • Width 2.75 inches (69.85 mm)
  • Weight 0.09 lb (1.44 oz)
  • Depth 0.54 inches (13.72 mm)

Reviewed – Topeak iPhone 6 RideCase Weatherproof Cover

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Topeak in the past has produced many great well thought out products for us bikers so this was exciting to try something that wasn’t a tool.

First impression, out of the packaging and in my hands this feels substantial. Like if needed it could take a hit and leave the iPhone safe as intended. It is a little on the big side of the case world and I would rule out this as an everyday case if you don’t have an outside dangerous smart phone environment type job.

The bicycle mount is smart. It has two types of mounts, one that replaces the headset top cap which will be my choice of mount and a strap style that is very adjustable and could adapt to most bars.

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The side buttons are convenient and well placed. But are clearly missing the sound switch. In order to turn your sound on or off you will need to plan ahead before closing the case and decide what setting you need. Don’t be that guy in the woods with you phone blowing up, you won’t be able to turn it off quick.

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Getting in and out of the case is very simple. On the top, slide the “Open” to the left and due to the weatherproofing seal you will need a finger nail to motivate the tab underneath to pop open the back cover.

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On the bottom are the access ports for the audio cable and lighting cable. These are well designed and very tight keeping out weather and dirt. One thing here is the audio cable opening is designed for the Apple headphone jack only, so a conventional audio cable for you car might not fit here.

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Mounted to bicycle using the headset cap mount is very clean. The bracket is very adjustable with its pivot hinge, here I have it roughly set at 90 degrees or parallel to the ground. Also, the clip that connects to case can rotate 90 degrees. This way if you are using an app that can utilize a horizontal position it is very simple to change from one to the other. Check out the video below for how it works mounted.

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Overall I like this case very much. There is no rattling when riding and is very easy to mount and remove . The home button works very well, even using your biometric thumb will work most of time. The screen is very sensitive and seems to work with riding glove very well. For a bicycle mounted GPS mapping tool mounted to my handlebars its the best I have seen and used with out being a dedicated GPS device.

Pros –

  • Good strong case
  • Screen has great touch
  • Biometric Home works well
  • Mount is very strong and doesn’t rattle.
  • Portrait or landscape easy to change.

Cons –

  • Audio port is very small if not using Apple headphone they might not work.
  • No sound switch to turn off/on the sound without removing iPhone from case.

Price –

  • $44 on Amazon.com

Topeak’s site with more specs.

https://www.topeak.com/global/en/products/weatherproof-ridecase-series/756-weatherproof-ridecase