Review: Motionize Paddle Edge, updated

I reviewed the Motionize a couple of weeks ago, and my summary was “If I were you, I’d hold off buying it until they can work out some of the problems.”. Well, I’m pleased to say the worst of the problems appear to have been fixed, so I’m giving it a tentative “This might be for you”.

So here’s basically what I said, and what has improved:

  • I complained about app freeze-ups. I’ve paddled it four times since then without a freeze-up, so they’ve possibly fixed that problem. Update: it froze up again a few days after I wrote this.
  • The battery life. I did a 95 minute paddle today and the battery went from 100% to 55%. That’s acceptable battery life versus before when a 90 minute paddle took it from 85% to 5% to a complete shut-down.
  • The paddle display is still pretty sensitive to boat tilt. I doubt there is much they can do about that. I only use it on flat water, which helps. Also, when I wrote that review I’d been doing intervals on the canal and when I was going upstream the display was fine but when I turned downstream it was displaying very wonky data. Now it appears that after a 180 degree turn the wonky data corrects itself after 3 or 4 strokes. Better, but still room for improvement.
  • My complaint about double tap not starting the workout seems like it might have been my mistake, because it’s worked fine for me since then.
  • They put an option on the website to order new sticky mounts. I’ve ordered another one so I can use this device on my V12 as well.

What hasn’t been improved:

  • One thing I forgot to mention last time is the heart rate monitor. Fully 1/2 to 3/4 of the time, it doesn’t see my bluetooth heart rate monitor, either in the “Pair Devices” screen or actually during the workout. Other apps and the Settings screen can see it, but Motionize can’t. And then another time it will see it fine. Very frustrating, especially when people are saying “this could replace my Forerunner”. That recalcitrance when it comes to displaying heart rate is an instant disqualification.
  • Still no improvement in the information it gives you either during the paddle or in the post-workout summary screen.
  • Still no indication of what is sensor data and what is general advice. Obviously “Remember to hydrate” is just general advice, but is “For a better experience, look forward rather than down” general advice, or can they somehow detect that I’m hunching my back? Obviously if they provide all this interesting feedback from a device down near your feet, it’s a pretty good guess that you’re going to be looking down at it rather than counting herons.
  • It’s still trying to connect to the ConnectIQ Garmin Store. I should probably contact tech support about that.
  • And again, not their fault, but I wish there was some solution to the difficulty seeing the screen in bright sunshine.

I get the same warnings every time I train with it. I try to remember to bring the paddle out before my knees (something I’ve been working on for years). If I were Motionize, I would link this advice to a page with drills you can do to correct the problems as it identifies them. Also it tells me things like meters/stroke and paddle depth, and I don’t know if my numbers are good or bad. Again, it would be useful if Motionize gave some feedback on how I compare to other paddlers in my same general age/fitness/ability levels and gave personalized drills and training.

I was thinking about what would be the best use-case for this device, and I think if I were a kayak coach, what I’d do is buy it, and require everybody I coach to buy a couple of the sticky mounts and a RAM mount, and then I’d just loan it to different people between group works out. I’d use that info to get them doing appropriate drills for whatever deficiencies the Motionize points out. I wonder if there’s an opportunity for something like Sean Rice’s PaddleFit online training to use this to really get to know what you need to work on.