• Garmin Move IQ

    Garmin’s smart tech is getting more and more intelligent with every new smartwatch release.

    The latest generation of Garmin watches, The Vivofit 3, Vivosmart HR and Vivoactive HR all now come loaded with Move IQ.

    Move IQ continuously monitors for periods of sustained activity and automatically detects common exercises such as walking, running, biking, swimming and elliptical training. These are downloaded to the app where they can be viewed in further detail.

    Time to Move - Garmin Move IQ

    Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales said: “Exciting new developments like Move IQ offer a full package to people wanting to take a step toward a healthier lifestyle."

    The smart wellness insights provided by Garmin Move IQ provide cues to help users reach a personalised daily goal, set based around the previous day's activity, compared to other activity trackers which base this goal around recommended daily activity. This adjustment makes the goals unique and therefore more achievable for the user, encouraging and motivating them to do more.

    When a move goal is reached the user gets a shoutout as a motivational reward for their activity. Insights also show users how they are doing in comparison to others like them for extra motivation to beat their friends.

    As well as automatically recognising the activity the watch calculates active and intensity minutes. Active minutes are counted for all exercise sessions that provide at least 10 consecutive minutes of moderate to vigorous active motion.

    All the metrics collected by Move IQ can be checked on the mobile app Garmin Connect, which is available on both iOS and Android. The Garmin Connect app also enables smart coaching tailored to your needs and feedback for all your activities.
    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Caffeine and Sleep: Garmin Fenix 3 Sleep Tracking

    Man Taking A Caffeine Nap At His Desk With Coffee In Hand

    After listening to a Stuff You Should Know podcast, I thought I would try a change in my caffeine habits. 

    For sleep tracking, I currently use a Garmin Fenix 3. The Garmin Fenix 3 is a sports watch and activity tracker that does everything you need and more. From dedicated triathlon training to running, step counting, and of course for this test sleep tracking. A recent update from Garmin means you do not need to tell the watch when you go to sleep. It knows! 

    What's required for this test?

    Garmin Fenix 3

    Garmin Fenix 3

    Less Coffee

    And a lot less coffee

    Caffeine Before Sleep

    It takes a regular coffee or tea drinker to know just how tough it is to cut back on the caffeine intake. I thought it would be hard but it was surprisingly easy for me. So why the test? On the podcast, they reminded me that caffeine has a half-life of 6 hours, which means that after 6 hours you still have 50% of the effect in your system. So if you have a caffeinated drink at 3pm and one at 5pm then this is essentially the same as having a full coffee at around 10pm. You may fall asleep with no problems, but your deep sleep will be affected. 

    From Garmin you get a breakdown of deep and light sleep. Plus awake time, so in theory seeing if a 2 week test will make any difference will be fairly easy to measure. 

    Is Caffeine Affecting Your Sleep?

    From my reading on the NHS and various other reputable sites, caffeine may affect your sleep, but not for everyone as everyone's body treats caffeine differently. My results from Garmin in the two weeks leading up to the test were as follows:

    Date Deep Sleep Light Sleep % of Deep Sleep
    1/5/2016 2:40:00 5:08:00 34.19%
    1/6/2016 3:03:00 4:17:00 41.59%
    1/7/2016 2:33:00 4:43:00 35.09%
    1/8/2016 3:28:00 4:16:00 44.83%
    1/9/2016 3:19:00 3:32:00 48.42%
    1/10/2016 4:22:00 6:12:00 41.32%
    1/11/2016 2:33:00 5:21:00 32.28%
    1/12/2016 2:44:00 5:32:00 33.06%
    1/13/2016 2:39:00 5:36:00 32.12%
    1/14/2016 2:26:00 5:20:00 31.33%
    1/15/2016 2:05:00 5:57:00 25.93%
    1/16/2016 3:34:00 5:14:00 40.53%
    1/17/2016 2:38:00 5:26:00 32.64%
    1/18/2016 2:59:00 4:31:00 39.78%
    1/19/2016 2:37:00 4:39:00 36.01%
          36.61%

    The test kicked off with the following rules. Going from 10+ cups of tea and coffee per day up until about 5pm to just one in the morning first thing. No other caffeine. Without other people to compare my stats to, I am just looking for a blame why my deep sleep is just a little over half (but very broken up through the night). 

    So bring on two weeks of sleep tracking with just one cup in the morning.

    Date Deep Sleep Light Sleep % of Deep Sleep
    1/20/2016 2:30:00 4:51:00 34.01%
    1/21/2016 3:35:00 4:42:00 43.26%
    1/22/2016 2:41:00 5:46:00 31.76%
    1/23/2016 3:02:00 4:45:00 38.97%
    1/24/2016 2:31:00 5:10:00 32.75%
    1/25/2016 2:10:00 3:39:00 37.25%
    1/26/2016 2:47:00 5:14:00 34.72%
    1/27/2016 2:26:00 4:50:00 33.49%
    1/28/2016 4:12:00 3:47:00 52.61%
    1/29/2016 2:10:00 5:01:00 30.16%
    1/30/2016 3:14:00 3:50:00 45.75%
    1/31/2016 2:51:00 6:19:00 31.09%
    2/1/2016 2:05:00 5:28:00 27.59%
    2/2/2016 2:11:00 4:01:00 35.22%
          36.33%

    Conclusion.... No change at all! Well at least for me there is no change. 36% of my sleep is deep sleep (according to my trusted Garmin Fenix 3)

    Sleep Data from the Garmin Fenix 3

    From the Garmin Fenix 3 via your phone or their Garmin Connect online account you let the watch know your typical sleep times (most of us have some sort of routine) and the watch will record your sleep.

    Sleep Movement Garmin Fenix 3

    The graph above is the movement during sleep. Garmin will interpret this data into deep and light sleep and that looks like the following.

    Garmin Fenix 3 Light and Deep Sleep Comparison

    Typically activity trackers that monitor your sleep will flag up just how little sleep you have. Read up on sleep and how much you should get. Then you will realise it is important and the deep sleep is what counts. In the chart above deep sleep is represented by the dark navy bars and the light sleep the light blue. Pink is awake time.

    Posted by Daniel Puddick
  • Garmin Edge 1030 Review

    Garmin Edge 1030 Bike Computer

    The Garmin Edge 1030 is the latest bike computer release by Garmin and offers new features which are very exciting to dedicated cyclists who have been wanting more from their Edge 1000 or 820. This review will look into the device in detail, offering perspective if you're looking to buy a bike computer for the first time or if you're wondering whether it's worth upgrading your current model.

    The first part of this review will be for the benefit of those who have never used a bike computer before and will spend more time covering the basics of the device. If you are already well versed in Garmin's products and just want to know how it differs from your current device, jump to the next section.

    What are the benefits of using a bike computer?

    If you're thinking of buying a bike computer, you're probably already a fairly competent cyclist, or perhaps you've only just got into the sport but have excelled at it quickly. Chances are you already have an activity tracker, fitness tracker, or smart watch as well and track your rides with that. Having a bike computer gives you more metrics and can also be used for navigation which will prove vital when cycling away from home.

    You'll be able to see the gradient of the hill you're climbing in real time and also how many metres to the top which can be motivational if you're struggling.

    Garmin Edge 1030 Bike Computer

    You can create courses on Garmin Connect and send them to your bike computer which takes the stress out of navigating while cycling and can also spark more creativity for taking new routes rather than just always following the same old roads.

    Garmin Edge 1030 Bike Computer Review Sundried

    When paired with other devices such as a chest strap heart rate monitor and power meter pedals, you'll be able to get a whole world of advanced metrics including average power, FTP, and VO2 max.

    What's in the box?

    When you buy your Garmin Edge 1030 bike computer, the main component you need is the device itself. You also get a charger cable which is USB so can plug into your computer/laptop and into a charging port. You also get the bracket and mount that the device sits on which screws on to your handlebars very easily. I did have to remove my bell for it to fit though so if you already have a busy set up with bells and reflectors etc you may have to make some sacrifices. There is also a user manual, but who reads that in reality?

    Setting up your new bike computer

    Even if you're not a techno-whizz, it should be fairly straight forward to set up your device. You will need a Garmin Connect account, but if you've made it this far it's probably safe to assume you already have one. You'll need to pair your phone which is done very easily by following on-screen instructions and is done with Bluetooth. If you want to send courses to your device, you'll also need to set up Garmin Express which is also done by following simple on-screen instructions from your computer or laptop. Once your route is sent to your device, you'll be able to follow it on your ride without any additional devices or sensors/accessories.

    Connect IQ is like the app store for Garmin devices. Anyone can create an app for it, in fact there's over 1,000 online now. You can download apps, widgets, clock faces and more to customise your device. 

    Is it worth replacing my current bike computer with the Edge 1030?

    The Edge 1030 has some really nifty new features which will come as a relief to those who use their bike computer a lot. There will always be features that a device doesn't have that you wish it did, and some of your prayers have been answered with this release.

    Enhanced Group Track and Live Track

    This is probably the most exciting new feature from the Edge 1030. A lot of cyclists find it a pain having to constantly stop to get out their phone to answer a call, or likewise having to stop if someone else on the ride needs to stop to get their phone out. With the Edge 1030 and enhanced Live Track, you can now respond to calls and texts with pre-canned messages. So if your partner texts, you can send a quick response of 'I'm nearly home' or reply to a call from the office saying 'Can't talk now, I'm riding.' 

    Garmin Live Track Group Message Text Call

    The other exciting new feature is enhanced Group Track. If you're connected to your buddies on Garmin Connect, you can tell the others in your ride that you've punctured without having to get your phone out. The message will only be sent within your group and will allow you to quickly and efficiently send a message out.

    Create Courses

    On the Navigation screen, you can drop pins and create a course wherever you are. Although this gives a lot of freedom, the accuracy can be a little off and I found that on a 35-mile route I created, there was 1-mile worth of extra little loops that my device had added in by a slip of the finger or just of its own accord. For instance, my Edge 1030 wanted me to turn right into a station car park and then come straight back out again instead of just cycling past. 

    Trendline Popularity Routing

    The final and most exciting feature of this release is new popularity routing. There are thousands of Garmin users all over the world creating routes and cycling their favourite trails and time trials. The experts at Garmin have taken this feature and put it to use on your device. New Trendline popularity routing uses billions of miles of ride data from Garmin Connect to provide riders with the best road, mountain or gravel routes that are collected from those most travelled by fellow cyclists. Using the improved and revamped Course Creator in Garmin Connect allows cyclists to generate even more bike-friendly routes based on popularity data.

    You can add which way you want to go (ie I want to go into the mountains or not). Popularity routing uses activity from other riders so you can use the best routes that other riders use, so when creating a course your device will send you the way that other cyclists go so you'll have a better route. This also means you can easily find local club rides. 

    Improved Features

    These are the features that you already find on other devices but have been improved for this release. 

    The Edge 1030 shows your training load, fitness, stress etc. visually rather than just metrically. For the Edge 1000, this was buried within a few different menus meaning it was a pain to find, but that's not the case for the 1030 because Garmin understand that people want to see these stats quickly before they ride. You can use your wrist-based heart rate monitor in broadcast mode to get enhanced data, but for stats like FTP you'll need a chest strap, which gives you more accuracy and data anyway. 

    Swipe down for more menus like on a smart phone. These are general device settings rather than user-profile specific, like battery life etc. From here, swipe across for text and call alerts and controls, weather etc. With everything on (GPS, data etc), the battery will last around 20 hours, making it more than capable at lasting for even the longest of rides.

    The pause/stop button has moved from the front of the screen to the bottom to make more space for a bigger screen. What I personally found was that this made it very fiddly and tricky to hit, for example while pausing at a half-way stop on a long ride. On the Edge 1000 the pause button is on the front which I think is a lot more user-friendly. 

    Verdict

    The Garmin Edge 1030 is a top-of-the-line bike computer and for good reason. The experts at Garmin live by their sport and test the devices to get the most for their users. This shows in the intricacy and innovation found in this device. Features that cyclists both amateur and elite will have been waiting for are finally here, meaning your ride can be more accurate and seamless than ever. I'd say it's worth upgrading your current device if you use a bike computer often and especially if you do a lot of long rides with a club or group. If you are a very casual rider, you'll probably be okay with an older model or even just with the basic stats given by a GPS tracking watch. 

    You can buy the Garmin Edge 1030 for £499.99 from the Garmin website or other retailers like Evans Cycles or Rutland Cycling. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Garmin Forerunner 225 Review

    Garmin Forerunner 225 Running Watch Review Sundried

    It’s easy to find the specs and to get an idea of what this watch can do. But what is it like to just take it out of the box and get going? It’s what I do with most new products; I seldom read the instructions and just like to work it out.

    I am a keen runner but have been having a bit of a break after a heavy season so this was the perfect opportunity to get back out on some runs. It was easy enough to work out what each button does and get the watch set up with my personal details (height, age, weight). Once this was done I was ready to take it out for a spin. My first run was a local (rainy) run and it was more than easy to get going. Having the main function button coloured red made things very user-friendly. The watch, however, looks like it should be a touch screen and it’s easy to forget it’s not, well until you get no response that is!

    I paired the watch with a Garmin foot pod with ease too. I always use one when I run and thought I may as well connect it up as a test.

    Run number one felt good. The watch is far lighter than it looks and the heart rate monitoring was close enough to what I typically record from a chest strap. The watch functionality is easy: start and stop using the red button and saving is easy when you’re finished.

    Garmin Forerunner 225 Review

    It was only until I tested the watch overseas I realised that I needed to use the instructions.

    The watch was fine in the water and as an activity monitor; it’s much better in that respect than an Apple Watch. There was no concern about its robustness or a fear of wearing it in the water. It’s a shame that it wouldn’t record swimming though (even though it’s not pitched for that anyway).

    It was when I went on my first run on holiday that I realised something may not be right and I decided to consult the instructions. Really simply the watch was taking longer to find the satellites but unlike the Garmin 910XT (which is my usual sports watch) I could not work out how to understand the satellite connectivity. It’s actually a really simple graphic that shows when you set the watch to run mode - I just had no idea!

    And because I had the watch connected to my foot pod the distance was still recorded. The only downside was I missed out on setting a record on a decent Strava segment - but never mind!

    As a running-only watch, it does a good job. I did eventually read the manual and get to grips with more of the functionality; my experience was pretty much as expected once I knew what I was doing. As an activity watch, the all-day tracking is a great feature. The watch is big but lightweight; it may not be for everyone but would suit a keen runner who also spends time being generally active. What the watch does not do is cater for multi-sports enthusiasts. So when committing to the Garmin 225 make sure you just want to record your runs!

    Garmin Forerunner 225 Colour Photo

    I actually preferred the activity tracking and robustness to the Apple Watch. It’s comfortable and I was far more comfortable wearing it on the beach, swimming, and as general day-to-day wear. The heart rate tracking is on par with the Apple Watch and is close enough to wearing a heart-rate monitor. It’s not going to be as accurate I’m sure, but is more than helpful for painting a picture around performance. And for that I’m happy! 

    Review by: Andy Puddick

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Garmin Forerunner 935 Review

    Garmin Forerunner 935 Triathlon Running Watch Review

    Garmin's new Forerunner 935 is a top-of-the-line triathlon watch designed for serious athletes and people who deeply care about using training statistics to improve their racing performance when it counts.

    Advanced Features

    The Forerunner 935 is designed for elite athletes who are at the top of their game, and this is reflected in the calibre of technology that this watch boasts. It features a built-in barometer and altimeter to provide elevation changes and monitors your performance so that you are alerted if you are undertraining or overdoing it. Very technical features such as ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical ratio, and even more truly set this watch apart from its competitors and show how it would make the perfect companion to a dedicated athlete.

    This watch, like other watches in the Forerunner series, features wrist-based heart rate monitoring and all-day activity tracking such as step count so that you can track your progress all day and even all night. It's waterproof so that you can wear it swimming, and offers both indoor and outdoor options for all three disciplines- swimming, cycling, and running. The multisport features mean you can switch sports at the touch of a button and use it for brick workouts as well as triathlon races.

    Johnny Riall British Triathlon Coach Athlete Garmin Forerunner 935 Sundried

    Specifics

    The battery life on other Garmin watches such as the Forerunner 735XT is a little questionable as it doesn't seem to last as long as you'd expect from a triathlon watch, however on the 935 that definitely isn't an issue. The Forerunner 935 boasts a 2-week battery life when used just as a watch, and up to 24 hours in GPS mode meaning you could complete a full ironman or ultra marathon while tracking and not have to worry about losing your progress. 

    Weighing in at 49g, this watch is a little heavier than some of its siblings like the 735XT, and the watch face is much larger meaning it is not quite as suitable as an everyday activity tracker or even just as a watch. It has an extra button too which means it's a little more complicated to use, however this just reflects the fact that this watch is not designed for your everyday gym goer and is meant to be used thoroughly and to its full potential by a competitive athlete or coach.

    Verdict

    The Garmin Forerunner 935 is an exquisite piece of technology and features advanced training information which is sure to boost the performance of its wearer if used correctly. Its attractive design means it can be worn all day, and the built-in heart rate monitor and step tracker means it even covers the all-day activity tracker market that is so popular at the moment. It's definitely not for the faint hearted and is better suited for serious athletes and prolific competitors in the sport of running, cycling, and triathlon. It loses a few marks from me as it's a little too big to be comfortable all day, and the rubber strap meant I got a sweat rash from continuing to wear it for long periods of time after training. However, the technical information remains unbeatable and very impressive.

    Comfort: 7

    Durability: 10

    Battery Life: 9

    Technical Information: 10

    Value for money: 10

    Overall Score: 46/50

    Garmin Forerunner 935 Triathlon Running Watch Sundried

    Posted by Alexandra Parren