Tech4o Traileader Pro Review
What's Good: feature-packed and extremely configurable for the price.
What's to Improve: the manual needs some tweaking to help new users.
Similar Products Used: Polar AXN300
My goal with this review is not to educate on all of the features of this watch, as the Tech4o website does a great job of that. Rather, Iím going to zero in on my experience with it and talk about how it performs in the field during my activities, which currently is backcountry skiing as itís winter. As this watch is so feature-packed, this review will be an ongoing as I explore more.
When I start out on ski
a trip, I turn on the Logbook Mode so that it begins recording a bunch of
statistics, like cumulative ascent/decent, calorie expenditure, and trip
duration. With that running, I then use the menu to switch the display to
User Mode where Iíve configured it to display my heart rate, current
altitude or current time, and distance.
Note that Logbook Mode
records many more types of data than Iíve mentioned, and User Mode is
capable of displaying far more types of data than the ones Iíve
selected. These things are simply what Iím interested in and itís
worth emphasizing that the Traileader Pro does have an enormous amount of
capability and flexibility when it comes to the types of data it can
provide a wearer. It really goes far beyond the basics of my older Polar AXN.
Once I arrive back
home, I upload the Logbook data to my computer wirelessly using the
provided software, which lets me get a better overview of the trip by
viewing the data in graphs. I also then have a permanent store of the data
to look back on in the future.
I also like the size
and weight of the Traileader. Itís got a low profile and doesnít seem
to get caught on things and is extremely light.
I also really appreciate that the heart rate monitor has a replaceable battery. My old Polar AXN monitor doesnít and the only option is the purchase a new one, which is both wasteful and expensive. However, I am finding that the heart rate monitor is heavy on the battery consumption and it probably needs replacing a few times a year.
Another interesting thing I've
discovered is that you can put the watch into sleep-mode to conserve its
battery. Since I only use it during trips to the mountains, this a a great
feature to use as the majority of time I'm not wearing it and would rather
conserve the battery to avoid waste.
Itís worth noting
that my experience with the Traileader Pro did begin with a few hiccups.
At first I found the
menu quite confusing, to the point where I couldnít get it to do what I
wanted the first time I tried it out in the mountains. Granted I spent
very little time scanning the manual (it does say that learning to
navigate these menus is the key to a successful experience)
The breakthrough came
when I realized that the menu is what Iíd describe as a ďrolling
cylinderĒ with the current selection in the middle of the display, above
that in smaller text is the item available by pressing the ďup scrollĒ
button, and in small text below is the item available by pressing the
ďdown scrollĒ button. It sounds easy, and is once you make this
connection, but until that point it was super confusing as to what was
going on. The manual does have plenty of diagrams, but it doesnít really
spell out this basic, but critical idea.
My next time out was
for a ski on a day that was below freezing with the watch attached to my
backpack strap rather than my wrist. I was recording in Logbook Mode and
all was going well until the watch display hung. I had to remove the
battery to reset it and lost all my data. However, this has also happened
with my old Polar AXN as well, so I didnít get to worked up about it. I
now keep it on my wrist in colder temperatures and itís not hung since.
As Iíve used it more and moved beyond that initial learning curve, Iíve come to really enjoy the Traileader Pro and appreciate its rich and powerful feature set it delivers for its price point. Thereís really so much packed into it that Iím still exploring new ways to use it when Iím out on a trip, and when Iím out there, you can be sure Iíll always have my Traileader Pro.