Garmin Vevofit – Where Tech & Tastes Diverge

 

By Dwayne De Freitas

If there’s one site I really enjoy, it’s The Wirecutter.

Usually.

What makes them different from other technology sites is the way they use the “meta review” (A review of a product with significant findings based on other people’s opinions of a product) to determine what the “best” item of a particular segment is.

The idea’s great if you’re looking for something simple, The Wirecutter can save you a lot of time and energy researching one item or another. But every once in a while it’s clear that the people that they’re working with to write the reviews of products are out of touch with my opinions (happens all the time) along with the opinions of many of my colleagues.

Such is the case with the Garmin Vivofit fitness tracker. For The Wirecutter, Garmin’s new fitness tracker unseated the Fitbit One device they once called “The Best Fitness Tracker” because :

“There’s also a “move bar” that flashes red anytime you’ve been inactive for too long—a feature we, along with other reviewers, found highly motivating. It is currently the only fitness tracker that combines these features with the added benefit of never having to be hooked up to charger. Unfortunately, since the Vivofit relies on disposable battery power, the display is not LED or backlit for low-light conditions and the current mobile app/desktop software is still pretty basic. But we have four words for you: one-year battery life.”

This is a description of a device that I would never want. We’ll go from the bottom up–

1. Battery Life. A year is great. But having to:
  • Go to a jeweler to get the device re-sealed after you’ve replaced the battery isn’t worth it.
  • Find the exact-right battery to replace the current battery with isn’t worth it.
  • Pay a high premium for that via Garmin’s site (or anyone else’s site since they know it’s the only batt to work with the device) isn’t worth it.

Where those hassles are concerned I’m OK with needing to charge my Fitbit One every now and then. Especially because I don’t think the fact that I have to charge the device every two weeks makes it a hassle.

2. Software. I don’t want basic software. Fitbit gives me an excellent desktop (Web) and mobile (app) experience. It’s robust, functional and far from basic. In a world where Google Fit and Apple’s Health Kit API suite and Health app are showing the mainstream just how sophisticated wellness software can be, taking a step back on the software side doesn’t make great sense. Ecosystem is everything and Fitbit’s built a pretty good one. On the other hand, Garmin’s disappointed. Garmin should have been a leader in this space and on both the software and hardware side they’ve been consistently behind. Their track record doesn’t give me a lot of confidence that they’ll ever get the software right.

 

3. The display is not LED or backlit for low-light conditions. Huh? How can a technology enthusiast, who’s bent on using the wrist-based wearable device want to lose ground in this category. The lack of low-light access means that yes, you might be able to wear it inside of a movie theatre without bothering someone else, but other than that, I’d like to see my data anytime I want.*

 

4. The move-bar seems interesting. But honestly, if I’m locked in thought or otherwise focused elsewhere, a vibration would be best. Fitbit doesn’t provide a random vibration but others do. A flashing bar? That’s just not good advice!
Now the Wirecutter does include an honorable mention for the Fitbit One, but given the hyperbole about the Vivofit being “he Best” from The Wirecutter, a brand that’s so quickly become esteemed, I’m left confused. It’s either the dreaded Clickbait or just bad advice. Either way, I’m left feeling disappointed. Especially since this Garmin device, at $130 is nearly a third more expensive than the well thought out Fitbit One’s $100 price.

 

When I joined The Drilldown it was because Andy offered me an opportunity to get to the truth of the matter about the day’s tech. And since its launch, I’d always thought that The Wirecutter was on the same mission. Now I’m forced to re-think that. It’s a little like losing trust in a close friend.

 

*One might remark “Well, the Jawbone UP doesn’t include any display!.” The difference here is that Jawbone made a distinct stylistic choice, paired to a fantastic piece of mobile software. If I’m going to wear something with the visual heft of providing me (and apparently anyone else next to me) with a readout, then it better provide that information on request – regardless of whatever light I’m in.

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Five High-end Gadgets You Cannot Avoid

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The following is a guest post.

During the last decade or so, innovations in the field of supposedly “user-friendly”* gadgets have hit the public awareness at a pace that makes Moore’s Law seem glacial by comparison. And as would be expected, most of these gadgets are considered “high-end” – the technical term for things that you and I and most of the rest of the world’s population will never be able to afford, at least for the few months it takes for third-world geniuses to reverse-engineer them, copy them, and sell them for pennies on the dollar on eBay. At that point, some of them are elevated to the status of essential tools. Here are a few that started out being pretty exclusive, but which have since weaseled their way into the life of everyday folks like us. After all, why should wealthy first adopters be the only ones who get to be miserable? Continue reading

EU Court Rules Google Should Edit History

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By Dwayne De Freitas

Today the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that if someone searches your name, and the results that show up list information that you don’t care to be remembered, you can request that the search engine company posting those results, remove those links or otherwise remove the data.

The Ruling that could change the face of the Web

The Court ruled this way using the principle of “right to be forgotten.” RTBF, as we’ll call it, means that when it comes to search engine results about individual people (in this case, EU citizens), those people now have the ability to request that certain bits of information about their lives be removed since they believe those results are no longer relevant. Continue reading

Turn the Beat around! Why Apple buying Beats for $3.2 billion makes sense

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By Dwayne DeFreitas

Yesterday the Financial Times broke news that Apple, Inc, was in talks to acquire Beats Electronics, AKA Beats by Dre (“Beats”), a trendy music brand that’s recently added streaming music software to its high-end listening hardware business. Forbes says that a person close to the matter, Dr. Dre confirmed it this morning.

From a technophile perspective, Beats has never really been that exciting. The over-the-ear headphones that they’re widely known for are not cheap and the reviews say they only excel with certain types of music. As a marketer, however, I find the reach and penetration of Beats pretty fascinating. With their flagship headphones pulling users away from the convenience of earbuds and branding that’s bold and powerful, Beats has managed to revive “Bling” from the 90s rap scene that its namesake (rapper Dr. Dre helped to create) and bring it into the 21st century– leveraging the same tween and teen demographic that used to save their lunch money for fancy sneakers and Guess jeans. Continue reading

Five Social Media and Branding Lessons From the Sochi Olympics

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The following is a guest post.

The winter Olympics in Sochi have been a spectacle full of amazing performances, controversy and memorable moments. These events have had the world’s attention for the entirety of the games, as individuals from different countries came together to celebrate athletic tradition and international relationships.

The hype surrounding the Olympics was not limited to traditional media, as social-media channels served as spheres of discussion regarding the games. The way in which the Olympics were represented on social media and events from the games themselves offer important lessons about social media. Below is a list of five branding lessons that can be taken away from the Olympics in Sochi. Continue reading

5 Ways to Make Content ‘Sticky’ and Appealing

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The following article is a guest post.

Creating content that appeals to audiences takes a special approach, as well as a deep understanding of what people see as interesting, fascinating and/or shareable.  Fortunately, you don’t have to get a PhD in sociology or psychology, or an MBA in business marketing, to make what you write online “stickier.”

By following some tried and true techniques to make sure your content keeps readers engaged, you can build buzz that will get you closer to whatever your end-goal might be.

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Who is the Average Social Gamer?

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The following is a guest post

As the gaming industry has broadened into the various different sectors, the definition of a ‘gamer’ has lost its defined meaning.  In the past, a gamer was an owner of a games console, such as a Sega, Nintendo, PlayStation or Xbox.  However, in recent years, technological progression has allowed people to connect to games from a number of different devices.

People can now connect to the various games from the consoles, portable gaming devices (such as PS Vita and Gameboy), online/social games (accessed from web browsers) and smartphones.  As you can imagine, there are different demographics of players who like to play on each type of gaming.  In this article, we will discuss the definition of the average social gamer, a discovery which you might find slightly surprising… Continue reading