At a glance, you can't tell the Radar Pace from the standard issue Radar Path—and that's a compliment in a wearable market that seems intent on turning us all into Robocop. I was pleased to find they come equipped with Oakley's Road Prizm lens, which, for my money, is the best sunglass lens on the market.
The glasses come equipped with all the standard internal sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, pressure, humidity and proximity. (Note: The Radar Pace does not have a heart rate monitor; add that to the list of desired features).
A pair of removable earphones fold down from the temple and plug easily into your ear, and there's a trio of microphones built into the frame to capture your audio. If you're riding with the Radar Pace, you can easily flip up or remove one of the earphones so you can hear periphery sounds as needed (highly recommended). The kit also comes with an aero clip intended for high wind situations; however, we thought the clip greatly improved the accuracy of the voice-activated system and ended up using it regardless of the scenario.
The hardware is paired with an app used to input key metrics like gender, height, age and weight, plus some details about your current fitness level and workout goals. This info helps the system tailor a training plan based on what you want to achieve. Oakley execs say it improves the more you work out with it, learning tendencies and weaknesses over time and adjusting accordingly.
Of course, as a triathlete myself, I wanted to know exactly where these training plans are coming from. Can't trust just anyone, after all. But, Oakley—being, you know, Oakley—gathered the world's top runners, triathletes and cyclists (they wouldn't name names, although we know the aforementioned Craig Alexander is a contributor) to ensure the plans stood up to elite training standards. As of press time, you cannot upload your own workout program (sorry Training Peaks), but a representative told me this is on their roadmap for the future.
And yes, the Radar Pace will play music using the app of your choice. (Editor's Note: This is the No. 1 question I have been asked about the product, and inspires a level of delight that is frankly baffling to me. All that technology, and playing the new Kanye West album is your chief concern? But I digress.)
To activate the system, simply press the Oakley logo at your temple and say, "Ok, Radar," which is a phrase we came to love by the end of the trip, and then, "What's my workout today?" The system will respond based on the previously created training program; for example, my first run was supposed to be four miles long with about 200 feet of climbing (thanks for the hill workout, Oakley). You can also free run or ride anytime by selecting the option in the app.
Just next to the logo/power button on the left temple is a touchpad where you control functions like turning up the volume and answering calls with simple taps and swipes.
The Radar Pace connects to ANT+ and Bluetooth, so although it can't sync with Garmin's proprietary system, you should have all the data you need from your power meter and heart rate device. The device has a four-hour battery life (more if you're not using all of the functionality) and a standard rechargeable USB port. It never died on me during training, however, so I'm hopeful they just underestimated to curb expectations.
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