- good morning, are there any Garmins for a bike?
- yes, we have Garmin, Mio, Wahoo, Polara ...
Dialogue is a bit funny, but it's real. Just like any sports shoes, we're talking sneakers, we're talking iPads for tablets, and for iPods - iPods, among the counters, or rather bicycle computers, Garmin reign supreme. There are probably many reasons: a large and well-known company, a popular and proven solution, all necessary functions, an excellent complaints service (policy: exchange instead of asking). Precisely, by the way - almost everyone knows a few people who have returned their counter on the guarantee. Reliability can be different, but it can simply be a scale effect. I have used models 500, 520, 810, 1000 for a long time - it's probably a good time to try something new. Here ELEMNT appears!
I'm not hiding, I'm a Wahoo fanboy. I have their previous counter RFLKT + (which is used only to display data from an application launched on the phone and to change the signal from ANT + sensors to BT), I also have a KICKR simulator and a heart rate bar (in fact a bar of everything, because it writes in itself all needed and completely unnecessary data). There was never a problem with any of these devices. How will Wahoo Element be done?
3 passages of the admission
An alternative review, more accurate from a technical point of view, can be found at el Kapitano (link).
Wahoo recently released a new device, basically a variation on ELEMNT - Wahoo Bolt. The most aerodynamic meter in the world, which differs only in that it is smaller - functionally it is exactly the same.
Reviewing Wahoo devices is pointless. It is a company that develops and supports its solutions for an indescribably long time. Such leaving ELEMNT could be rated at 5/10, a month later at 6, then at 7 and so on, because the new version of the software can make a revolution. New functions (such as navigation, Stravy segments, route calculation from the phone), or correcting errors (battery life) cause that the problems I am writing about now may be long obsolete when you read this. However, the text should be written one day, and that it has been over a year since the premiere, it is probably the right time.
What's this for?
What do I expect from the meter? First of all, failure-free and unobserved. I grew up from the days when I was modifying software on the phone, stealing apps and unlocking features that were not originally available. Now I pull the device out of the box and I would like it to work, and it's best that I know my profile at once and adapt to it. What would I like to see on it while driving? Speed, distance and time (although I can roughly estimate it and I do not know what to know for sure) - does the fact that I'm driving 39km / h mean that I'm fast or that I'm going with the wind? Does it matter in the group? Data from the sensors - heart rate and power measurement, although again, I'm interested in basically just training on the trainer. The map and the trail I uploaded - because getting lost is cool, but only if you do it on purpose. In addition, I would like to operate this trainer.
Do not kid yourself - these are quite basic functions and have every more sensible computing ... and even a smartphone ... in fact, it's even a watch or a wristband. The issue of approach to solutions and comfort of use.
Configuration, or the first counter revolution
I'm not sure what the connotations of Wahoo with Apple are, except that we can buy these products at the Apple Store. I see, however, some inspirations regarding the appearance and solutions. This is the configuration of the meter, which resembles the famous applowskie departure from the CD-ROM, USB, or mini-jack. The device is not configurable from the device itself ... however stupid it sounds. By means of the buttons we can basically only change the screen, zoom in or out, switch the indoor / outdoor mode and wifi / lights and some other fart. Any change of settings is possible only from the level of the application in the phone.
Just pairing with the phone takes about 10 seconds and boils down to scanning the QR code. For me, it's a plus, but I understand people who will not like it (analogously: "how does it not have a CD-ROM ?! Where will we put the CDs ?!"). Who ever tried to find the option you need on the Garmin 500/520 screen knows what I am writing about. Everything is easy, fast and intuitive in the application. It's really intuitive, not marketing.
A colorful world when I touch you
Second revolution: monochrome (black and white) display. In the 21st century, black and white display. BLACK AND WHITE. I do not know. On the one hand, the colors for displaying the numbers are unnecessary, and in the big sun and dark glasses, in fact everything can be seen a little better. That the battery keeps it longer? Hard to say. When the map and navigation are on, the device works for about 15 hours (checked), exactly the same as the Garmin 520 with navigation (checked). As if the screen is larger, but after all, the box is larger, so the battery will fit larger. Monochrome fits perfectly into the overall appearance of the device, which resembles a large chunk (he, he, he) ... Duplo. Here we come slowly to the most important point of the review.
I know where I'm going, but I do not know where I am.
In the device, maps are almost all over the world. The same ones that we manually download on Garmin 520 - OpenStreetMap - you can not fault them to their accuracy. The whole thing is probably 30GB! Well, that's cool. Navigation on the track works without a hitch. The most beautiful thing in the world is direct synchronization of routes between Strava and the device. In short: we write a route to Stravie (or other supported portal) and it automatically appears on ELEMNT (after turning on wifi and clicking synchronize). When we delete - it is deleted. No more with these hopeless cables attached to the computer.
Everything is great, just that in the map mode, the color display works much better. Imagine that you want to present on the screen: the forest, the river, the main road, side roads, the trail on which you drive and which you leave - it can not make sense. As if that was not enough - the map can not be moved in any way. However, this is still not the main problem. The map does not work on the macro scale. That is, in a situation where we want to know which way to go to return home. There is a problem with drawing roads after reducing the scale. If none of them is sufficiently main - after moving away to about 1 kilometer, we see nothing, and then it is only worse. Gray and somewhere scattered names of places that occupy such a fragment of the screen that it is not known that they are. A bit like we were in space and navigated between constellations - the same sense.
It makes it right now for me THE MAP IS UNUSEDat least the one we would like to browse. This is a minus that can predominate when choosing a device for nearly PLN 1,400. I know that not everyone has to look at the map without a trace, but without exaggeration. Similarly, when we want to see a long route for many kilometers forward - we will not know anything.
It's key for me service trainer Wahoo Kickr (as long as the neighbors do not make me sell it, because the plaster is falling into apartments). The devices are located alone, ELEMNT activates the control mode and with the help of two buttons I can immediately increase the load by the given watts / percentages / levels. Simple and convenient.
The computer pops up on the screen notification of a new email or SMS (even with content) or about the upcoming connection. Flashing diodes and sounds make us land in the 90s. It's nice, but who today uses text messages for anything other than spamming ads? If there was integration with Messenger ... probably I would never focus on driving again - maybe it's better. For me, I'm missing a rejection of a call or writing back to a message with a template.
Exactly, because when it comes to LEDs and lights, we have a new, funny solution here. There are diodes at the top and diodes on the side. We can configure them - for example, a different amount of light shines depending on the heart rate / power zone in which we are traveling. Cool both at night and when the main screen has a map instead of numbers ... because, for example, we follow how the segment goes, and we want to go according to the effort (whatever it means).
As for the appearance - a matter of taste. I think that for black bikes, bare carbon, angular pipes - it fits perfectly. After all, we're not going with the soap bottle in front of the wheel. ELEMNT, located next to the Garmin family, looks like like a stone between toys.
Incompatible handle. Yes, Garmin handles do not match this device. This is a big pain, because each of us probably has these handles. The plus is that in the set there are 3: standard - in front of the steering wheel, such on the bridge (only instead of elastics are 3 mega-thick tritics: WTF?) And some unknown to me - maybe something aero. Initially I was indignant that the handles are not compatible, even though they look almost identical (supposedly they can be used ukompatybilnić a nail file), but the explanation is simple. Typically applowskie: although something is good, we can improve it and annoy everyone. The element is inserted and pulled out by turning only one way. Why? Well, the side buttons are so positioned that by pressing them, we can be sure that we do not accidentally unscrew the device. It happened in Garmin. For this reason, you do not need to assemble Element Tarpa that would save our lives when the grip failed.
Regarding reliability for about 1500km the device lost its GPS signal once per minute. There was no problem with pairing, and unfortunately I do not have anything to cling to. Seamlessly connected with Red eTAPEM (here test) and shows both the current gear ratio and the battery status of individual elements.
No touch screen it's plus and minus again. The touch is useful only when moving the map, in all other moments it only annoys me. Support in gloves, frozen hands, on potholes, etc. - I prefer to click analog, but I do understand those who like to mow the screen.
For me, the plus is that ELEMNT is not Garmin. Not that I am an opponent of the company, just the opposite. The point is that the monopoly on the market is dangerous - this is once. Two, it's great to have something different than everyone else.
An interesting solution is to configure the fields visible on the screen. In addition to further modified screens, we have the ability to arrange up to 11 displayed values in order from the most important to the least interesting. From the level of the device we can zoom in or out the screen, thanks to which the most important fields will become bigger, at the expense of less important ones (which disappear).
As I wrote, even if there are any inconvenience, it will be corrected in a moment. I mentioned in the text that the device turns on by default in the mode in which we turn it off. If we finished to train and turned off in the indoor, in that way we will start next time. It's extremely annoying. Before I could click "publish", this has been changed thanks to many requests from Wahoo forums:
How much is the fish?
ELEMNT costs about PLN 1,400. Bolt, who is smaller and has the same - a little less. Is it worth the price? In my opinion ... of course not. Just like Garminy, it is not worth it and everything else. PLN 1,400 can cost a mobile telephone, which is equally immune and has one billion functions more. The problem is that using a phone on a bicycle is like using a not very comfortable denture (unless you have Wahoo RFLK +, but you still have a battery problem). For lack of sensible alternatives, we have no choice. What's better - Garmin or Wahoo? I do not know.
If you found this text in Googalch, a big chance that it is already out of date - welcome to the world of Wahoo - a company that continues to develop its old products and thank them for it!