My Feedback after four months of Karoo 2
after almost ten years of using Garmin devices (Garmin Edge 1000 was my predecessor of the Karoo 2), I decided that it's time for something new.
I always liked the functionality of the Karoo, but the design was just a no go for me. When Hammerhead announced the Karoo 2, I was quite interested so after a couple of weeks of hesitation, I finally ordered my device.
Originally I was extremely happy with the device, but after four months there are some things that I still think are great, some are neutral...and some things are really starting to annoy me.
Here are my points:
- Battery Life - with my configuration I only have to charge the device once a week. I go out for a 1:30h ride every day and a 4 hour ride on Saturday. This is really good.
- Map display. This is where the display really shines.
- The entire user interface feels very laggy. After the device has been started and I press the button to open the menu, there is a good one second lag. I don't know if this intentionally or not, but feels very bad.
- I also have read tons of comments and saw a lot of videos about the screen and the touch screen in particular. Does it feel bad? No. Does it feel as good as a smartphone? No!!
- I am using a couple of different mounts. The K-Edge mount is my favourite, because it is so rock solid. When I put the Karoo 2 in this mount, the entire system is very "shaky". I really don't trust this thing...
- The device is definitely not meant for Garmin mounts. Who else has pressed one of the side buttons during a during and nearly had a heart attack because the device started to turn?
- I am unsure where to put this, but this is more like a neutral than a bad thing: The device boot time is really long. Usually this is not a big problem, but it can take up to a minute until you can start your ride. Something to keep in mind, especially when commuting. No bad, not good.
- Add a couple more general data fields like Signal Strength.
- No active routing.
- No possibility to easily copy files. I am using a Mac and I would have to put the device in Developer Mode and download some Android SDK software? What? No...I want to connect the device to my Mac and want it to be recognised as a Hard Disk without any additional software.
- Frequent software updates that focus on the same features. Either Strava Live Segments (I couldn't care less) or some entirely new features like CLIMBER. I would really prefer to get the bugs fixed first. Take additional time to develop new features.
- You have a good display with a high resolution.
- And yet you absolutely do not use this display. The elevation graph is a single yellow line. Use gradients and shadows, the device can handle it. I would like to sacrifice one our of battery life for a nicer UI. This also goes for the "drawer" or CLIMBER feature. Spice it up a little bit 👍
- No indication of GPS signal strength whatsoever. Sometimes the GPS signal seems to be bad (wrong distances) but I have no way to verify this or stop for a short time.
- After pressing the start button, the recording starts and almost immediately the device shows either an extremely large or extremely low grade. I start the ride on a flat surface and yet sometimes the device shows 40-60% grade. This also adds a lot of Elevation Gain, so I have to restart the ride. This is really something that makes me want to sell the device.
- Why is there no Discard option? I have read on another thread, that some users accidentally discarded their ride. In my opinion, this problem has been solved over a decade ago in the iPhone.
- You could add a slider, you could make the user type in some text (Karoo, to avoid localisation), you could add a discard button that is only active after 5 seconds, double or triple prompts....), ...it can't be that difficult.
All in all I am a little bit disappointed but I am also very eager to see what the future brings.
That's how different impressions can be. My biggest criticism with regard to my Karoo 2 is the abysmal battery life. I went cycling for 9 hours at the weekend and even my attached external 10,000 mAh battery pack was almost empty afterwards and I've used the battery saving mode the whole time. Otherwise, I can hardly ride for four hours at a stretch and wonder if the racers at the Tour de France only advertise riding around with an empty Karoo housing. They probably can't really use it during the stages at all for something serious.
I agree with Edgar's findings with a similar setup. My Speed/Cadence is DuoTrap-S, H/R is the newest Wahoo Tickr, VARIA RTL315 and Bontrager ION-800 headlight. A 3-ish hour ride using the map at least 50% of the time dropped the battery level from 96% at the start to 67-68% at the end of 90km on a sunny high 20s Celsius degree day with no sensor drops or other oddities appearing.Screen brightness was set to at least 90% and battery saver was off. I don't have the D-Fly wireless on my Di2 to date.
New user here, and can sympathize with these points made. My first and only experience so far has been a poor one, which includes the new HR strap. HR reading is erratic at time and can suddenly drop or spike 5 to 8 bpm for no reason. I am going to give the device the benefit of the doubt for a few more rides otherwise its going back to Hammerhead for a refund.
I can agree fully, except battery-usage: Its extremely poor, Battery drains fast.
Apart of that the most annoying thing is that most features dont work without internet-connection! I ride most time without internet-connection because lack of internet. Germany, poor internet-country...
When i try to save a ride, it refuses to do. Lack of internet. That thing should work out of the box locally! Whenever possible, on a new internet-connection sync data and good!
To my opinion the whole software is at an early beta-state...
To anyone complaining about extremely fast battery draining:
Spoiler: Screen BRIGHTNESS
On screens like these, there is actually very little difference between backlight levels. It is tempting to put some backlight on to make it very visible, but it is not needed. Based on my experience with many other GPS units and the K2, it very well could be that your extremely fast battery draining occurs because you have the screen backlight (brightness) too high.
I ride with ZERO backlight all the time (on my Garmin etrex, wahoo roam and k2), and while it makes me change view angles sometimes, I could easily reach that 14 hours advertised battery life without the battery saver.
Other than that thanks for the good post Sascha, I mostly agree!
I think it is time for an update.
- The Karoo now boots up a little bit faster, which is nice.
- I mentioned that the mount is a little bit wobbly. My device actually fell out the mount once...
- The altitude / grade problem at the beginning of my rides is worse than ever before. I don't know if this is a hardware issue or not. I have tried so many different things, but nothing seems to work. I have tried to boot the device while outside, I have waited very long before starting my ride so the device can calibrate, I have tried to start while I am already riding for a little while, I started while I was still sanding etc....nothing works. This is just so annoying.
I totally agree. They seem to spend all their time on features for 1% their users. Battery sux, full stop. font size is tiny. I can't be the only 50+ rider that could use a bigger font. Some of the basic stuff like switching between profiles requires pushing and holding the lower right bottom (or is it left, oh shit I just turned on the lap function, how do I turn it off while doing 18 mph on a narrow trail??). I have honestly want to throw it in the woods on 50% of my rides. My iphone is easier and more useful, which is ridiculous. anyone want to buy it from me?
I can deal with the battery as most of my rides are commutes. but the bootup time sucks as I have to go into stores and it really slows thins down. you have to turn it off because it does not turn off the garmin radar if you don't end the ride. elevation does not always autocorrect and it has been at -120 feet after a few rides. temp has always been off. no calorie calculator. I was going to use it for my wife who rides on the back of the tandem as it syncs with strava far faster then the garmin but since it does not do calories the garmin is better. she does not need the actual elevation or temp and it would not need to be turned off when we go into a store as it would not be connected to the radar.
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