smartwatch review Wahoo Elemnt Rival first run review: Three runners test Wahoo's first sports watch
We have got something new for you uh. This is the um wahoo element rival. This is wahoo’s. First multi sports uh watch now this has kind of been in the works and there’s been rumors floating about for quite a while um it’s definitely been in the works for at least three years, we’ve been told um, so yeah it’s, it’s, very, very triathlon, centric uh Watch it’s got some kind of features, definitely geared towards triathletes. It does do running um, so um. Fortunately, myself, uh, nick and kieran have had one uh we’ve had a few days. There did a bit of running and yeah here’s our kind of first running thoughts on the wahoo element, rival, Music, so Music. So before we get into our thoughts on running performance, let’s go through some of the key design and running stats, so let’s start with design. So what you’ve got is a 50 millimeter nylon, polymer case and that’s also paired with a ceramic bezel and there’s a ‘ millimeter transflective display with a 240 by 240 resolution, so quite similar to some of the garmin foreigner, um screens, um 17 millimeters thick so thicker Than a phoenix, but actually it feels quite light and to wear and it’s waterproof up to 50 meters and the strap is removable from the pin mechanism around the back. So what about those running features? Well, let’s start with the fact: you’ve got an outdoor running and treadmill running modes and you have gps and glonass in terms of satellite support.
You have a heart rate, monitor on board to cover hr zones alerts and your percent of your max hr. You can track distance pace time, cadence elevation, um, you have ant, plus and bluetooth support to connect to wahoo and non wahoo, heart rate, sensors and other devices, and you can pair with wahoo’s tickr x to get advanced running metrics on the watch and you can broadcast Hr and it works with wahoo’s own app as well as strava apple health, google, fit and training peaks. All the kind of usual training, apps you’d expect it to work with Music. So, just about to head off to my first run with the wahoo rival it’s my sunday long run so i’m gon na do 15 miles, putting up against the parallel vantage v2, which is linked to a garmin heart rate strap. So we can test out the heart rate test out the battery life, starting at 100 and we’ll test out the gpse gps accuracy as well on this run. So, just on the first part of the run i’m breaking it into three because i’m doing uh the polar fitness test during it uh so far, i’ve done about 12k uh. The wahoo was pretty very good on gps. The polar actually had one big glitch where it gave me a very, very fast climate for no reason at all. Uh high rates, not being good, though like it’s, a long stretch when it was okay and then it’s just dropped to like 80.
Something for the last section, which is obviously not correct, i’m, actually at about 1 30, so that’s, not very good at all. I really like the lap screen um. You see all your past laps in a row. I really like that. Wish poker and karma did that something to has done for a while, uh but yeah so far, pretty standard heart, rate’s, bad gps is solid, got two more two more runs, but in this long run to do and see how it does there. So i broke that uh 24k up into three runs to do the kind of polar fitness test across the three. The wahoo was really good. Actually, on gps um, i would say it was pretty accurate. The whole way felt right, uh, more so than the polar which had one big jump in a kilometer in the first one i did um tar. It was terrible um. Sometimes it was okay, but most of the time it dropped to like 80 90 bpm that’s just wrong. It was wrong for long stretches. Most of the runs i’d say patchy’s. Okay, though uh that’s about um, it is in total, probably about two hours out on the road with stops and starts um, probably about our own running and it’s. Coming with um 95 now so that’s, okay, uh it’s lost five percent on those runs that’s not too bad. Overall, pretty solid, uh lap screen is really nice, uh, nothing technically other than that.
So i have done just done. My second run uh with the uh rival uh. I did um run at the weekend like a quick 5k um with the uh 4945 and uh the garmin hrm pro chess strap. Today i did trails, which was uh very much a steady run uh. What i found um accuracy, gps, wise um, pretty good for me – um pretty much in line with the uh knife or five um, but the gps is a bit slow to pick up for me on this run on uh on the weekend it was fine heart rate Um generally, alright, actually on the steady runs and when i did the quicker run at the weekend, um the average heart rate was massively off. It was really low, like one two, two um, so yeah, generally, okay, with the running couple of things, i quite liked uh, like nick the um uh the lap time, the lap splits real time lapse. Bits is really nice um. Also, quite like the fact you can kind of toggle between how many data fields you can see during the run, as opposed to before um it’s, two buttons at the bottom um, but yeah so far, um pretty good, nothing out of the ordinary um but yeah. Those are kind of my first round of thoughts on the uh element rival, so i’ve had the wahoo element rival for about three and a half days now, and on the design front i’m, pretty impressed it looks quite slick.
It is a big watch, it’s bigger actually than the phoenix 6. I think, although it’s not quite as heavy, it looks like it’s going to be a heavy watch because it’s quite chunky on the wrist but it’s actually really surprisingly light, and that is a definite positive. The screen i’ve enjoyed it’s, nice and bright. The stats are really legible. One thing i do have a worry about a little bit as these sort of little side buttons, which seem to wobble a bit. I just worry about the durability over time on that that’s something we’ll really put to the test, but it is comfortable. It is easy to read the ui, the buttons, the controls. The navigation, i think, will take a little bit of learning for everyone, but that’s pretty standard with a new watch kind of os. It happens with polar and garm and all of those um, but overall from a design perspective, i think it’s a pretty solid watch from wahoo and then, when it comes to the gps i’m, a little bit loathe always to talk about gps accuracy because there’s so much Outside of the watch’s control that can affect gps distance accuracy, you can watch our video about that around here on the channel um. But having said that, in the test that i’ve done, this wahoo element rival has performed as well as any of the other watches, i’ve worn and also the stride. Footpod it’s been within that kind of 10 margin for error, so there’s.
There are no glaring errors here or glaring issues with the gps on this watch that i’ve found so far so on the heart rate test that i’ve done so far, i’ve done i’ve done a long, slow run of around two hours, i’ve done an all out 10k And i’ve done a bunch of intervals in a separate session, and actually i put up against a chest, strap and a polar vantage v2 and the wahoo, for me at least, has performed pretty much beat for b when it comes to the max heart rate, readings and The average heart rate readings being very, very close to that chest, strap indeed in real time as well. It hasn’t been far off. There has been a few moments when i’ve looked down, it’s been two or three beats out, but actually it’s performed pretty solidly. For me, i’ve been quite impressed with that, considering that this actually is only it’s like i’ve got a smaller set of leds in terms of the array, but so far in my tests, that’s been fairly impressive. So when it comes to battery life, i have gotten 50 from a general training week, that’s three and a half days within a general training week with about four hours of gps running and when it comes to actually the gps runtime i’m, getting around five percent use For every hour of gps running so i’m, looking at an estimate there of around 20 hours off this watch, which is slightly below the advertised 24 hours, that wahoo seems to suggest but that’s my experience and i would say that overall general use, i think, you’re going To squeeze out about seven days, which is a lot lower than the 14 days that wahoo have claimed that’s my experience so far, anyway, okay, so there you have it that’s our initial thoughts on the wahoo element rival.
I think the general consensus of the team is that their own performance was okay, so far, not without his issues. Obviously, myself and nick had some question marks over the heart rate, accuracy and kieran on the kind of claimed battery life for a little bit around the design um. As always, you’ve got to look at the price. Now this is 350 pounds 380 um, and if you look at what you’re getting from a running watch around that price or even less you’re, probably getting more than you will do in the element rival, you know you’re not getting. Um training recovery features you’re, not getting um custom kind of training workouts, which is something wahoo says they will update post launch. We just don’t know when yet um it’s a bit more basic on the smartwatch and one thing i’m. You know a bit surprised by is there’s no sleep tracking, which you know. Recovery is a big deal at the moment, uh in watches and running watches, and while this has the capacity to do it, we’re told by oahu, and they don’t feel they’re ready. To put it in there, yet so definitely there’s some things.