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FR: Silva Tech4O TraiLeader Pro Watch - Daignault

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  • cdaignault
    HTML version here: http://tinyurl.com/ygezwo8 Thanks for the edits! FIELD REPORT FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS I ve worn the Silva Tech4O TraiLeader Pro watch
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2010
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      HTML version here: http://tinyurl.com/ygezwo8

      Thanks for the edits!

      FIELD REPORT

      FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

      I've worn the Silva Tech4O TraiLeader Pro watch during several day hikes, backpacking trips and walks through the neighborhood. Our day hikes are in the Hal Scott Regional Preserve and we've done two backpacking trips into the Little Big Econ State Forest where we hiked in, did some kayaking and camped overnight a couple nights. The weather during the past three months has ranged from sunny and humid with daytime temps ranging from over 90 F [32 C] to cold with freezing rain and snow with temps below 24 F [-4.4 C]. Current temps are still a bit below normal, averaging at around 65 F [18.3 C].

      The watch accompanied me on my 4-day-a-week training runs as I trained for a half marathon I completed in the first week of January. I also took the TraiLeader Pro along with us on a week-long trip to Firestone, Colorado over the winter holidays. Although we didn't get to do the hiking and skiing I had hoped we would, I was able to test the watch in much different conditions than I would at home. The weather in the Denver area was blustery and snowy the day we arrived, with temps around 19 F [-7.2 C]. The rest of the time we were there, it was clear and dry with lows around 12 F [-11 C] and highs around 32 F [0 C]. The area we stayed at in Firestone is at an altitude of about 5670 ft [1728 m].



      PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

      Although I had set my stride using the online tool provided by Tech4O and it appeared to be set correctly, I never really could get accurate distance or speed readings when hiking or running during this test period. Because the watch doesn't use GPS satellites to track my location and instead relies on an accelerometer, I found discrepancies in my speed, distances, steps and pace measurements in spite of following the instructions for setting the stride length. The watch usually over-measured; meaning that if I ran 2.38 mi [3.83 km], the watch would show I had run over 2.5 mi [4.03 km] -- which did wonders for my ego, but not as much for my fitness levels. It's most likely a learning curve, but I still find the entire process for setting my stride length very time-consuming and convoluted. [The process is explained in my Initial Report above.]

      I had fun with the weather forecaster; which is essentially a function that is accessed from the main Time menu. By pressing the ST./STP. button while in the Time/Date mode, a little graphic will show whether it will be/is sunny, partly cloudy, cloudy or even raining. It works indoors as well and I found it to be quite accurate if the watch has not changed locations drastically for a couple hours. The temperature function works best when the watch is not on my wrist. My body's ambient temperature influences the reading by making it at least 10 degrees higher.

      The compass is tricky to calibrate and it took me several times to get it right. This entailed having me turn 360 degrees in a clockwise circle while holding the watch horizontal and ensuring the watch was in the compass calibration mode. I did this outside my house and by the time I completed the calibration, the neighborhood kids were all staring at me.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Hiking" IMAGE CAPTION = "Hiking">>

      The Dual function of the watch was a great help when we traveled out to Colorado. With our east coast time being 2 hours ahead of Colorado's mountain time, I was able to tell at a glance what time it was in both places. The watch displayed both times simultaneously, with the alternate timezone [mountain] showing larger than our home timezone [eastern]. I enjoyed keeping the watch in Altimeter mode as we drove in and out of the mountains; I set one of the alarms for 6,000 ft [1829 m] and it went off as we went up and then went off again on the way down as we passed that set point.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "High Altitude" IMAGE CAPTION = "High Altitude">>

      Due to the problems I was having with inaccuracies with regard to distance, speed and pace, I wore another GPS-enabled wrist device along with the TraiLeader Pro on my training runs for the half marathon. Since this was training for a major race, accuracy was extremely important and although the TraiLeader Pro was close with it's output, it was not spot-on. I wore the TraiLeader Pro on my right hand during these runs, and found that I was able to easily maneuver the menus with my left hand. For the Big Race, I only wore the GPS-enabled device, as running with as few things as possible hanging off of me is usually best.

      The heart rate monitor worked fantastically for my training runs and I was able to keep a daily log of my heart rate during those workouts. Unfortunately, while trying to save the data to my computer, I ended up wiping it all out. Although I'm sure it's something I did, it still made me quite angry. I have a screen-shot of a log book entry I made while at the office so that I at least have something to show for the HR monitor.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Log Book" IMAGE CAPTION = "Log Book">>

      SUMMARY

      So far, in spite of how negative my reaction appears to be with the accuracy of the accelerometer, I am enjoying the use of this watch. It gives me hours of fiddling and playing -- and once I learned the layout and structure of the menus, it was much easier to navigate the instructions to find what I needed.

      Likes
      Water resistant
      Large display is easy to read
      HR monitor
      Weather forecaster
      Dual Timezones
      Log Book
      Daily Logs

      Dislikes
      I deleted all my logs accidentally [probably my fault]
      Accelerometer is not easily calibrated to stride length
      No online data access for storage of data or tracking of use
      Temperature readings are influenced by body heat

      This concludes my Field Report. Please check back again in approximately 2 months for my Long Term Report. Many thanks to Tech4O and BackpackGeartest.org for the opportunity to test this great watch!

      -- Chari
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