Taking on a goliath like Garmin is a massive undertaking, as well as a giant gamble. But that’s just what the guys at Leikr, the company behind a recent Kickstarter campaign, are doing.
Leikr is asking for your help, and ultimately your money, to help fund their Danish designed GPS. But unlike Garmin’s GPS watches, the Leikr sports a massive 2-inch color screen that can show up to 6 quadrants of data simultaneously. They also say that the Leikr will be able to acquire a GPS signal in 30-seconds or less using what seems be an in-house GPS chip in combination with WiFi. In my experience, Garmin’s watches, most recently the Forerunner 610, can take up to 2-minutes (or more) to grab a signal, which can be frustrating if you’re looking to walk out your door and immediately start running or biking.
Leikr promises that you’ll be able to download custom workouts directly from them, and upload your feats to Endomondo after they’ve been transferred to your computer via WiFi or Bluetooth. They’ve also packed in ANT+ connectivity for adding a heart rate monitor, and yet still promise a 6-hour battery life by launch, which is set to occur this June.
Though some might not regard the 2-inch screen as “big” since many smartphones are 3.5-inches or larger – trust me it is, especially for a wrist-worn device. However, that begs the question, is it too big, and will the tactile buttons (read: not touchscreen) be enough to accommodate athletes? And to play devil’s advocate, why not just opt for smartphone in place of such a device? I’ll tell you why: a smartphone isn’t water-resistant, or as lightweight. Leikr says that the current iteration of the device has been tested extensively in “Danish pouring ran” without any problems and plans to seek a waterproof certification as they move closer to production. The maps are based on Open Maps – I’ve never used them, but by all accounts they seem detailed and powerful enough to guide one through a workout.
That all said, the Leikr is clearly targeted at the hardcore athlete. I run and lift weights, but I’m not trying to compete in a marathon or take on the best in an Ironman. So the Leikr is beyond and above what I need or would even want to use. Nevertheless, the price is reasonable – $300 – especially in light of the marketplace’s current offering.