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Kim Flowers

Garmin: Simple vs Sleak

You will have to excuse the brevity of this review. I have promised Brad to do one for over a month now and of course, the moment you promise something is the moment you become so unbelievably you don’t even have time to scratch you head!

Today I want to talk about two of Garmin’s newer products in their range, the Vivomove and the VivoFit 3.

I’ll disclose this right up front, when I said I’d review this, I hadn’t looked into them much. Sure, I new the rough idea, but I went in completely blind. The advantage, I believe, is that I went in unbiased to which one I thought I’d favour. Strangely, I walked away not really feeling the urge to go out and buy either of them. The reason? They didn’t actually provide me with what I was actually after. What I did discover was a beautiful simplicity in the Vivomove and a quiet practicality in the VivoFit 3. So I’ll go into a bit of what both of them offer.

Vivomove

 

Positives:

I was lucky to review a white version of the Vivomove (honestly, anything would be better than black). I had no troubles setting up the watch with Garmin app. It only took a few minutes and holding down on of the dials on the side of the watch.

It’s a good looking watch, although the face is a bit big for my small wrist.

The red display to tell me to get a-movin’ is clearly visible. Especially given I spend most of my day sitting at a desk, the little remind to get up was handy.

 

Negatives:

No way to manually sync the watch. You can adjust the settings to tell it how often you’d like it to update, but you have no idea when this is, and no way to manually force the sync. So if you’re like me and get a spare minute to check your steps for the day – you’ll be working off whenever it last updated.

It’s actually reasonably thick and a tad on the heavier side given the slim watches you can buy these days.

Limited. So the whole premise of the watch is just that – it’s a watch. With the added feature of making sure you move (and tracking those steps when you do move).

 

So if you’re looking for a new watch and would like the added bonus of a step tracker, then this watch could be it. The battery life is long because it’s only running as a watch.

VivoFit 3

 

Positives:

Very lightweight. Straight off the bat – you’ll likely forget that this is on your wrist.

This little guy you can manually sync as much as you’d like (but may be to the detriment of your smartphone battery…). It has a simple interface with only one button.

Set up was simple with the Garmin app yet again.

It tracks your sleeping patterns, tracks your steps, tells time!

 

Negatives:

You have to tell the app when you’re starting an activity (so before you start that boxing class).

It’s not terribly trendy… and when I say that, people can look at your wrist and know you’re tracking every one of those steps.

Can be a bit fiddly trying to take it on and off (if you’re the kind of person like me that doesn’t want to soak it in the dishes water).

 

This little gadget is a very lightweight, streamlined little tracker. It has a number of the usual bells and whistles that you will expect from similar designed products. Because it’s light, you don’t feel like you’re walking around with weight on your wrist. Because it’s rubber its easy to clean and you’re not as likely to scratch the little screen on the front. For those with smaller wrists however, I’d recommend heading to Rebel Sports or similar store to check out how it’s going to sit on your wrist. As it’s a formed shape on the top for the display, you might find that it might not be a good fit.

 

Both are quite interesting devices in their own rights and suit specific, albeit, different markets. However, they are consistently reliable devices and are easy to set up and use.

 

Review by  Kim.

Motorola’s Moto G Review By Kim Flowers

Moto G Mobile Phone

Design:

Made primarily of plastic, the look and feel is very similar to those of you who experienced the Galaxy Nexus. With the curved back, it sits nicely in your hand and for those of us with smaller hands – it’s not pushing the limit on one hand texting.

See full specs of the phone here.

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**The phone is waterproof to up to 1 metres of water however, I didn’t test this due to it being a review model (and knowing me, I’d do something klutzy and push it past the limit).

Camera:

IMG_20151012_082320667 Screenshot_2015-10-12-08-24-03

Sporting a 5 MP camera I took the photos early in the morning on a not-so-light filled day. However, the first one with little Andy was inside the office with loads of downlights and the second is through the window to the outside street.

The full screen picture-snap option I’m of two minds about – I love that I don’t have a small spot where I can hit it to take the picture, the whole screen is the button. On the other hand, focusing the image takes a little more patience as you don’t have the focus point on the screen.

Overall:

Screenshot_2015-10-12-08-24-21 Screenshot_2015-10-12-08-25-02

It has the same feel as a Galaxy Nexus but with the higher res screen and a few of the added Motorola features. While it’s a slick little phone, if you’re looking for something a little on the cutting-edge design scale, I wouldn’t recommend this phone.

However, if you’re looking for a phone that’s comfortable to hold, and comes without a bucket load of bloatware and for a reasonable price then this phone would work perfectly.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth view, check out another review here.

Kim
@kimnflowers

Garmin Forerunner 225

Impressions of the Garmin Forerunner 225

The situation:

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a fan of heart rate monitors. While I’m not a crazy runner personally, I do like my boxing and the occasional jog with the dog or a run on the gym treadmill. So when I got the chance to check out Garmin’s new Forerunner 225 I was excited.

In the box:

Receiving the Black model to checkout, it comes in it’s cute little red packaging with images of the display on one size and the data it can collect on the other. Opening the box (see pictures below) it came with:

  • Quick Start Manual (in a number of languages)
  • The Garmin watch/monitor/wrist apparatus
  • USB to watch cord and connector

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What happened: (Short note – it’s good, but nothing stood out)

Well it ended up being way to big for my little wrist. Not terribly surprising as this is quite a common situation with sport watches. Most of the time, they are built big to fit all the components in, decent sized interface and such things. However, given how big it was, I ended up passing it on to my partner in crime J, who took it to gym on my behalf.

While it was quite easy to set up and to use, the watch itself tended to be a little unreliable – with the heart rate jumping up and down significantly showing heart rates that would probably otherwise be requiring an ambulance. While I don’t expect any heart rate monitor working off a pulse from the wrist to be amazing (as this tech isn’t quite to that degree yet), it ended up being so unreliable that J ended up only using it a couple of times. The interface, while reasonably simple and easy to use, it sported hard to read text colours which neither J or I could read by quickly glancing at it during exercise. If this doesn’t bother you, then you’ll be fine – but it was the biggest issue for us overall.

All that said, it was a sturdy build for a smart sports watch, with a rubber band that was durable. The size would be suitable if you don’t tend to pull out all of the links on your watch. And if you can deal with it jumping all over the place with your heart rate long enough for it to get to know you (as we only had it for a short amount of time to review it), then it’s a groovy watch to have. I don’t want to be negative and say the experience was horrible – because it wasn’t. However, personally, we won’t be rushing out to buy it – or any other wrist heart rate monitor too soon.

-Kim
@kimnflowers

Nexmas

It’s Nexmas!

In case you haven’t heard, in the early hours of this morning Google announced their two new modules in the Nexus Smartphone range – the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P.

The 5 will still be packing a lot of the punch that the 6 will be, but holding out on the alloy case that the 6 will be hosting.

Both phones will be sporting the new material look with Google’s updated OS Mashmellow.

The phones are available for preorder and are due for shipping around the end of October… so for those of us in Australia – we might be lucky to get it by Christmas!

For more information – check out Derek Ross’ post with the leaked presenter notes for the 6P and the Nexus Camera.

Check out Google’s blog post about it all.

 

 

 

 

Garmin introduces the first-ever eTrex units equipped with touchscreen displays

Media Release: Thursday, August 13, 2015

Introducing the Garmin® eTrex® Touch 25, 35 and 35t Handhelds — the first-ever eTrex units equipped with touchscreen displays.

Garmin eTrex Touch 25

Sydney, Australia (August 13, 2015) — Garmin, the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced the eTrex Touch 25, 35 and 35t, adding new touchscreen models to the popular line of outdoor handhelds. The eTrex Touch series has a completely updated user interface, improving the ease-of-use of the device, as well as a 2.6” capacitive touchscreen display, the largest display that’s ever been put on an eTrex device. The eTrex Touch series also features new activity profiles for easy-to-use navigation for multiple activities and an enhanced track manager to easily start and stop recording. Rugged and dependable, the new eTrex Touch series boasts a high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver with GLONASS support, as well as a worldwide shaded relief basemap, with preloaded TOPO Australia and New Zealand Lite on the 35t. Additionally, the eTrex Touch 25, 35 and 35t are compatible with an array of mounts that are extremely easy to use on bicycles, boats, ATVs or in the car. No matter the activity, the eTrex Touch series is ready for an adventure.

“We are thrilled to add a set of touchscreen units to the eTrex lineup,” said Matt DeMoss, General Manager, Garmin Australasia. “With updates like the pinch-and-zoom touchscreen and new activity profiles, we’re excited to raise the bar of what’s available to consumers in the eTrex line.”


Featuring a 2.6” sunlight-readable touchscreen display, the eTrex Touch 25, 35 and 35t offer a long-lasting 16-hour battery life, and a rugged ergonomic design that’s meant to withstand the elements1. Boasting a built-in high-sensitivity GPS receiver with GLONASS support and HotFix® satellite prediction, the eTrex Touch series is able to locate users’ position quickly and precisely, even in heavy cover and deep canyons. All units in the eTrex Touch series have a built-in 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass, which gives directional information even when standing still. The eTrex 35 and 35t also have a barometric altimeter to get more accurate altitude, elevation and climb information, as well as indications of pending weather changes.


The eTrex Touch series integrates a variety of new activity profiles. The device remembers how each profile is set up to each activity, and will set it up for users the same way every time, making it comfortable, quick and intuitive to use the same device for entirely different purposes.  No matter if users are out rock climbing, hiking, hunting, cycling, geocaching or fishing, with an eTrex Touch, switching between activities is easier than ever, even if they’re done all in one afternoon.


The eTrex Touch series comes preloaded with a worldwide shaded relief basemap, 4GB of internal memory on the 25 and 35 models and 8GB of internal memory on the 35t. The eTrex 35t also comes preloaded with TOPO Australia and New Zealand Lite. With the built-in microSD card slot, users can install even more maps or BirdsEye Satellite Imagery. Additionally, all models come preloaded with 250,000 geocaches from Geocaching.com, so right out of the box, users can start their geocaching adventure virtually anywhere in the world.


The eTrex 35 and 35t incorporate wireless ANT+™ connectivity to accessory sensors like heart rate monitors, the Tempe™ temperature sensor, Chirp™ geocaching beacon, or the cycling speed sensors and cadence sensors. The eTrex 35 and 35t can also act as a wireless remote control for the VIRB® line of action cameras. The eTrex 35 and 35t can connect via Bluetooth to compatible smartphones 2 to receive smart notifications and stay connected out on the trail, but keep their phone safely packed away from the elements. Additionally, these units are compatible with the the Garmin Connect™ mobile app, for features such as LiveTrack. With LiveTrack, users can pair their device with the app, and invite friends and family to follow their activity in real time. This provides peace of mind, especially if users are alone.


Available now, the eTrex Touch 25, 35 and 35t have Recommended Retail Prices of AUD $349, $429 and $489 respectively.  They are the latest solutions from Garmin’s expanding outdoor segment, which focuses on developing technologies and innovations to enhance users’ outdoor experiences. Whether hiking, hunting, geocaching, golfing, dog training, or capturing it all on VIRB action cameras, Garmin outdoor devices are becoming essential tools for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.  For more about features, pricing and availability, as well as information about other Garmin products and services, go to http://www.garmin.com.auor http://facebook.com/garminau.

-KimFlowers

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