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Oakley Radar Pace Review: Wearable Fitness Tech without Distraction

by Jamie Labriola
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The Oakley Radar Pace is unlike anything I’ve ever used or seen before. Being a triathlete, I love numbers. I continuously look down at my Garmin to check my distance, speed, and splits. I’d spend the rest of my bike or run doing math in my head to figure out what my average pace is, how much longer I’d be active for, and what time I’d be done at. By wearing the Radar Pace, it’s like having a personal coach in your ear. It allows the wearer to focus on their form and efficiency, as opposed to looking down at their watch. Let the computer do the math for you! To be honest, at first I was a little nervous to not have that information on my wrist, but soon after wearing these “smartglasses,” I knew I’d quickly get over it.

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The Radar Pace glasses were developed in collaboration between Oakley and Intel, and combine high end optics with motion, humidity, pressure and proximity sensors, along with impressive voice recognition technology. Evolved from Oakley’s Radar EV eyewear line, they’re actually quite comfortable. I have a small noggin and they didn’t bounce around and the ear buds stayed in place. For the earpieces, are several sizes of silicone tips included to accommodate every size ear. The lenses themselves offer sharp and clear vision. I feel like every time I wear Oakleys my vision turns HD. Also included are clear glasses for low-light conditions!

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My first use of the Radar Pace happened while cycling up and down the hills in Kona. Being from Chicago, I’m not used to hills, and radar pace knew it. “I’m sensing muscular and cardiovascular fatigue.”, it whispered in my ears. It told me to drop to a lower gear. Gladly!

Whenever you wish, you can ask Radar Pace how you are doing. You can check your speed, power, distance, time, and more. I keep finding more things it’s capable of, like reporting my stride length. It does take a bit of time to get used to. While running up and down the crowded Chicago lakefront trail, I was a little nervous to speak to my sunglasses and worried people would think I was some weirdo. I just reminded myself that this is pioneering technology, and everyone should be so lucky as to use these glasses.

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Another cool capability is that you can control your music and phone by tapping on a sensor to the left of your lenses. No more excuses to stop running or biking to take a phone call! To increase or decrease the volume, you simply swipe that same sensor.

After a few runs with the Radar Pace, I’m loving it more and more. “Your stride rate is 85, and we need to increase it to at least 88. Tell yourself, ‘shorter quicker steps, shorter quicker steps’ as you run.” Okay, coach! I did what it said, and soon heard, “Good job. Your stride rate is now 89.” I got a strange satisfaction in knowing this computer approved of my effort to increase my stride rate.

The Radar Pace is definitely made for goal-oriented people. Using the app, you choose what your goal is, whether a particular race or just to get in shape, and it will have a complete training plan customized for you. If you miss a workout, it will change your remaining workouts to make sure you still hit your objective. It is constantly learning and adapting to your body and training, and thus the more you use it, the better it will be. The smartphone app is excellent, and gives you complete details about each individual workout, which will satisfy those people who still love looking at numbers. Another great thing about the app, is because it can be updated, Oakley is consistently adding features and improving the capabilities of the glasses. I know right now they are working on the ability to incorporate the popular “Training Peaks” program for people who hire private coaches.

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My only gripe with the Radar Pace, is that if you really want to take advantage of all these glasses have to offer, you have to buy add-on Bluetooth compatible external sensors, such as a heart rate monitor strap, speed and cadence sensor for your bike, or a foot pod to allow you to use the Radar Pace on a treadmill. With a $449 pricetag, I wish these were included.

Overall, I love the Radar Pace and actually look forward to my workouts just so I can wear them!

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Comments (1):

  1. Mike says:

    I recently picked up a pair to use with my iPhone. I’m running 10.1.1 and have yet to complete a work-out wherein these have worked the entire time. My last bike ride was an out and back and on the way back the device app lost contact with the glasses and would not reconnect for more than a minute or two at a time- it still worked for music. On a run this afternoon it stopped working before the 4-minute warm-up was complete. It reconnected once on its own and then not again; again music and I assume calls, etc., still function. I tried reinstalling the app and now cannot get the device to pair with the app. I do not recommend spending the money for these until these problems are resolved.

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