Garmin Connect: still not very good
Published by marco on
I’ve had a Garmin bike computer for years, so my data is stored “in the cloud” at Garmin Connect. This application underwent an overhaul several months ago. I gave it a chance for a while, but it appears that the redesign was only skin-deep. The look has changed, but some of the basic stuff just doesn’t work.
Upgrades are hard
Even the upgrade to the new style—”Classic” to “Modern”—is not consistent. Months after telling the site to upgrade to the modern style, I still end up on pages in classic view, adorned with a banner that tells me I should switch to modern. Thanks, Garmin, that’s a capital idea! Part of a successful upgrade, though, is for you to actually note my response when I answer a question that you’ve already asked me 100 times.
Time zones are hard
For example, in the calendar, there is still the old classic bug where you can’t enter data for the current time if you’re not in the right time zone. I work out in
GMT+1, so when I finish a workout at 16:30 that I started on 15:30, I want to track it. I might as well wait, though, since Garmin Connect rejects my start time of 15:30 (at around 16:35) as invalid because that hasn’t happened yet—in California. This is not rocket science, Garmin.
Math is hard
There are several things to note in the screenshot below.
- A sports-fitness site doesn’t use consistent units or know the difference between calories (cal or c) and kilocalories (Cal or C). There are a few orders of magnitude difference, though. Three, to be precise.
- If you enter an activity manually, the site uses an exceedingly simple formula to calculate the amount of energy expended. It seems to be related only to activity type (e.g. strength training, swimming, etc.) and duration. There’s no way for you to even enter the average heart rate or amount of elevation change, both of which factors are taken into account when measuring energy expenditure with an actual Garmin device.
- And finally, 1 activity with 648C does not result in a total of 155C for the week. I have no idea how they even came up with that number.
Data-entry is hard
And while we’re on the subject of manual events: hey Garmin! Did you know that I can’t track all of my activities with your gadgets but that I’d still like to donate my data to you, for free? What do you say? Sounds good?
OK, but here’s the thing: I only have a few activities that I enter, almost always with the same distances and times but on different dates. That is, I have a handful of standard manual activities that I’d like to add. Instead of choosing from a list of previously entered activities, I have to manually re-enter the same data over and over again.
You could, however, either let me add standard activities to a list of templates or—glory be to the Gods should they prove just enough to allow something so divine to exist on the mortal plane—Garmin Connect could just suggest from the last 10 or 20 unique activities I entered.
Garmin Support is a black hole
I’ve sent these issues as suggestions and bug reports but never even got an acknowledgment of receipt. Based on my other Garmin experiences, I don’t expect them to come up with this brilliant idea on their own. Again, this is not rocket science. And what else is Garmin doing on their site? What is keeping them so busy that they can’t address glaring bugs or deficiencies in basic functionality? I have no idea. And still, this is one of the technology leaders in the sports-data–tracking world.
Garmin should focus more on substance and less on flash. Otherwise, what’s my incentive for adding data to their site, other than seeing the nice colored boxes in my calendar?
This is, admittedly, no small incentive, but it would be nice if the numbers had something to do with reality. Look at it, it’s beautiful.↩