As regular readers may already know about me, I have a weakness for small electronic gadgets - anything that measures, records and makes charts and maps of sporting activity is especially appreciated. I should add that this is somewhat at odds with my complete lack of technical capacity; I have no real understanding of how these things work, and what's more, I don't really care. I just want them to work.
Anyway, one of the things about swimming (unlike something like triathlon, for example) is the relative lack of gadgetry, outside of lap-counting watches (also greatly appreciated, given the tendency for my mind to wander while I'm pool swimming, causing me to lose count after only a couple of laps). Until very recently, the possibilities for excessive recording of data were fairly limited, but then - oh glory of glories - comes not one very promising GPS-based OW swimming gadget, but TWO.
The first is the Garmin 910xt:
Worn on the wrist, this is an all-singing, all-dancing triathlon device, promising instant feedback across a variety of metrics.
The second newcomer is the Finis Hydro Tracker:
This clips to the goggle straps on the back of the head, and gathers data which can then be downloaded onto a computer later.
I'm not in a position to offer a review of either of these, but am, inevitably, trying to decide which one I should go for....because let's face it, it's only a matter of time in spite of my very best intentions to resist. So how should I decide....and what factors am I choosing between? (I should add that I have no connection with either company and these are only my personal views....although if Finis or Garmin are reading this, my loyalty can be easily bought in exchange for shiny toys).
Well firstly, the Garmin retails around the £350 mark, so it's quite an investment. The Finis Hydrotracker isn't yet available directly in the UK, but is retailing at $129 in the US. So, in absolute terms, there's a significant price difference between the two. Secondly, there is the difference between immediately available feedback versus post-swim analysis. The possibility of getting that instant feedback from the Garmin is very appealing, especially given the tendency of my attention to wander in the OW and drop off the pace. However, at the end of the day, I'm not sure whether that's something I'm prepared to pay the extra £200 to have. And the final important difference between the two is how they are worn. To gain the benefit of the instant feedback, the Garmin has to be worn on the wrist (as intended by design), while the Hydro Tracker is on the back of the head. My wrists and hands are quite small, and I find that large sports watches aggravate the ongoing tendon problems that I have with my right wrist. So I wonder how long I would be able to swim with it on. I'm assuming that I would get used to having the unit on the back of my head, but I'd be very worried about losing it.
I'm sure that there are far more subtle differences between the two, but at the moment, I'm dealing with the two different concepts rather than their specifics and trying to decide which is the best option to go for (if at all...). Any advice from the early adopters out there?