Few days ago I saw a good deal on Suunto GPS pod on Amazon and decided to test it out. It arrived last week on Friday, but I did not get to test it until today. Well I could have tested it during the Brandywine Duathlon, but I did not want to use new equipment for the first time in the race. Probably good I decided not to do it.
I actually did a pseudo test with the Suunto T6c + GPS pod and Polar RS800cx + G3 on the day I received the GPS pod. But it was not a real training test. What I did was to put both GPS units in my car and then measure the distance from my house to meeting place with few friends. The result was pretty good - the distance came to about 0.08 difference over 26 miles. Not bad. What I did not look at was the speed reported by the unit during the drive - I had to pay attention to where I was driving.
Today was the first real test of the GPS pod with T6c in an easy recovery run. Plan was to run at 8:30 - 9:40 pace for about 20-25 minutes. Easy enough to pay attention to what the GPS unit does and how well it reports the instantaneous pace. I started the GPS pod inside the house and set it by the window until it acquired the signal and then I walked out of the door. The GPS pod blinked like mad so I assumed it lost connection and I stopped for about 30 second and let it get satellite lock again. When the blinking slowed down I started moving again. The pace was all over the place and quite often I lost connection and the pace was showing -:--/min which is not very useful. On top of this the first 4 minutes the comfort belt rebelled and locked my HR at 180 beats which is quite impossible for me since my max is about 8 beats lower. After the run I looked at the exercise file and was not surprised to see this:
The top graph is HR, middle line is EPOC and the third line is the pace. It is really a sad picture. I looks like the GPS pod was either losing connection to the satellites or to the watch. I do not really know what was happening, but most of the time my pace was showing -:--/min which does not really tell you whether the satellite lock is gone or the connection to the watch.
If there is a GPS pod user out there that has working GPS pod I would want to know how you use it. E.g. how long do you want before you start moving? Are you wearing the pod on your arm? Same arm as watch or it does not matter? Any other hints will be appreciated. If I can not sort this out over the next few days I'll just pack the unit and send it back to Amazon for refund.