Motionbased has long been the best tool available for uploading your runs and analysing the details (something Garmin must have known early as they work in tandem with them despite having their own offering “TrainingCentre”). Sure the website has looked dated for a long time but in terms of providing data it was as splendid resource featuring the “MB Gravity” functionality which allowed you to correct the imprecise elevation readings provided by the Garmin software itself.
And this is where Garmin Connect lets us down and leaves us with a much inferior product in the absence of Motionbased. Picture this: You’ve got a nice old car; it drives well and has got a great assortment of mod-cons once you get to know it. Then the government tells you that your car has to be retired, but don’t despair: They’re giving you a shiny new one!
As you sit yourself down into the comfortable leather sits of the shiny blue-metallic ride the government has given you, you are impressed at first. But the sheen quickly wears off as you notice that not only can the car not perform to the same level as your old one, its missing half the mod-cons you were used to (where’s the air-conditioning!) and it gobbles down petrol like a post-recession SUV. You then later have a look at the engine and the rest of the car and notice there’s bits and pieces missing everywhere. “Don’t despair”, the garminent answers, “we’ll be shipping those parts on as they become available.”
Well, Garmin Connect is that shiny blue car, and we are the frustrated users asking ourselves: “Why couldn’t we keep our old car until you’d finished the new one?” It smells of the typical need of upper echelon businessmen needing to hit deadlines simply for the sake of it (which were probably unrealistic to begin with as is the norm in the IT-business) and to proudly boast to board managers far removed from their product that “Garmin Connect has gone live”. The consumer, of course, is the one who suffers.
It’s sad to see a company providing as solid a product as Garmin make such inane business decisions and waste the precious capital of goodwill that sustains every multinational (except those who have a virtual monopoly and can get by paying only lip-service to such trifles). We can only wait and hope that Garmin either sees sense and reinstates Motionbased or put some serious resources behind getting Garmin Connect working at a level anywhere near where it should be. Currently it may look slightly more modern than Motionbased but it’s both slower and packs vastly inferior functionality.
The attempt to build in a form of training tracker by tallying your totals for weeks are also half-cooked as they are no use without the ability to customise your training periods and manually add workouts (that you may not have had in your watch). And even worse, there’s a multitude of training planners out there who do a better job, so if you wish to go down this road, they should invest in it fully and not tag it on as a relatively useless add-on when there is still essential features missing. Prioritisation anyone? (“don’t polish the chrome until you’ve built the mast and sails!”)
For a hill runner the lack of the MB Gravity feature is particularly crippling because it makes all data for hill runs virtually useless. I can’t wait for Garmin to sort out Garmin Connect so have migrated to the very nice software suite called SportsTracks. (Get it here)
It looks limited at first but once you get into the interface you’ll realise it has even more functionalities to offer than Motionbased and a more modern look. The software also loads on your desk and does not run through the internet which provides both practical and performance advantages for most users.
On the hardware side things are looking up for Garmin and I hope to purchase a ForeRunner 310CX once it has had time to drop a bit in price over the next 6 months. It looks like a return to form and the solid reliable interface of the 305. Having tested the 405 and being frustrated by the haphazard interface I feared that I needed to buy up the remaining stock of 305 to keep myself supplied in case the 405 would be the development model for the future.