Back in June we got our First Look at the Recon Jets and we were quite excited. Here was a product that promised to revolutionize how we interacted with our cycling computer. No longer would you have to look down (away from the road) to see your heart rate, speed or power. Unfortunately in June we were limited to press releases and videos, but last week we finally got to play with a prototype – and while we didn’t think it was possible, now we are even more excited!
Before we dive into our impressions lets rehash the specs. The Recon Jet is comprised of two separate pods connected to a pair of tinted glasses (four tint options will be available at launch). One pod contains the CPU and screen and the other contains the battery. The Recon Jet runs Android and comes packing GPS, an HD Camera, ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 yet weighs in at only 60g. The display is VGA and for comparisons sake is similar to viewing a 30” screen from 7 feet away. Onboard there is 5 gigs of storage that should be enough to capture images and some video during a ride. The battery should last from 3-6 hours, however the battery is swappable (since it is contained in a separate pod) and you will be able to bring multiple batteries on your rides.
Our Time with Them
At Interbike we had the opportunity to try out a prototype version of the glasses as well as a more production ready version of Recon’s snow goggle based version. The current version of the prototype has the screen in the perfect location, low enough that it is not blocking the road but not so low that your eyes have to go hunting for the information. Recon says that the final version may push the screen a bit lower but our fingers are crossed that it does not move by much. Actually reading from the displays is easy. The screen is bright and dynamic. We quickly were able to navigate the menus and get a feel for how the glasses would work when riding at 30mph.
The computer is fairly quick, however using the goggle version we did notice a small amount of lag but nothing critical (though something we will test a bit further in the final version). The goggle version uses a remote control you tether to your wrist, but the glasses versions initial control is via a small touch pad on the side of the glasses (though a handlebar remote may be available in the future). One of the small but smart touches the recon team has included is that if you want to take a picture with the glasses you simply have to double click the touchpad, a very apple-esque solution.
With the Bluetooth integration you no longer will need to pull over every time you hear your phone ring. Instead the Jet will display the incoming call and let you choose whether you want to stop now or return the call later. For those that leave a worried family member at home, this is a huge win.
There is little doubt that this is a very innovative product that will change the way we get data on the bike. More than that, it provides a way to interact with all of our electronics and metrics while riding in a way that is both safer and smarter than we have done in the past. The 20 minutes we spent with the glasses was not nearly enough and only left us wanting more. The team is still on target to deliver their first batch of units in December so hopefully it will not be that much longer before we can get our hands on a pair for a long term review.