The Hydro Tracker from Finis is a multi sports waterproof GPS tracker which makes it possible to map workouts such as open water swims, hikes, runs and bike rides allowing you to evaluate your performance.
The unit is totally waterproof and while swimming, attaches securely to the back of your goggle straps. It rests comfortably on the back of the head which prevents it interfering with your swimming technique and ensures a constant GPS signal. An armband is included and this can be used during runs and hikes, or attached to your bike frame making the Hydro Tracker multi sport compatible. To view details of each workout you simply attach the Hydro Tracker to the included dock and upload saved workouts to the free Finis Streamline Training Log. This then allows you to view a map of your route, see stats such as elevations, splits, speed, distance etc. You can even view a time lapse animation of your workout.
The Hydro Tracker is easy to attach to any goggle straps. Even with my Aqua Sphere goggle straps – which are considerably wider than most – it is easy to fit and remove the unit each time. It is light and comfortable to wear and while swimming I don’t even notice I am wearing it. There are only two buttons on the unit which you would think made the Hydro Tracker easy to use. One problem I found though was that the operating lights which confirm the unit is on, picking up satellite signal and plotting your course are very small and difficult to see in anything other than overcast conditions. It is almost impossible to use it in bright sunshine and I found myself many times having to cup the unit in my hands to see the lights. The addition of an audio confirmation would help in these situations. Let’s face it, even my cheap waterproof watch beeps when I start and stop the stopwatch. Unlike some of the more expensive sports GPS tracker on the market there is no screen on the unit so you have to wait until you get home and upload the workout to analyse your workout. Personally, I don’t find this an issue.
I used my recent Ten Lakes in One Day as my main product test and had some pretty varied results. Two of the swims failed to track. I put these down to operator error. Six of the swims tracked accurately but two of the swims were inaccurate. The plotted track of one swim showed me starting in somebody’s garden and another showed me getting out of the lake and heading down the highway.
I contacted Finis about this and they promised they would look into it for me. I uploaded the workouts to the Streamline Log and sent them the url for each of the inaccurate swim routes. It took over six weeks and several emails from me to get the results of their findings. In one of their replies they said “the second workout displayed some inconsistencies that we had never experienced before and is requiring a bit more attention.”
If you want instant feedback or want to check your progress mid-workout, then no this is not the product for you. There are many other multi sport GPS trackers out there that can give you what you want. But they are much more expensive. I paid $139.95 CDN for the Hydro Tracker. Compare this to a Garmin Forerunner 910 XT at $399 CDN or the 310 XT which even on sale is $249 CDN.
I am still a little concerned with the inaccurate reads I got during the ten lakes swim but they are the only ones I have had in the two months I have been using it. Hopefully Finis have fixed the problem and I guess only time will tell.
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