Karoo review

Chat about Hammerhead's Karoo in general.
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Post by Steve » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:20 pm

Interesting review here -

Particularly interesting is the mention of a slightly updated Karoo, smaller, with audio.

Maybe it's just me, but the review reads to me as if think Karoo has only just been released. They talk about upcoming features as if this is understandable with a new product. They don't seem to have grasped the glacially slow progress with new features, which unfortunately means many of those new features are likely to be a very long way away indeed.

Their conclusion about it being the "best" GPS computer seems bizarre given the lack of features compared to the competition. The screen is the best, in theory, but we all know that currently this isn't made best use of, with terrible map contrast (a fact that acknowledge) and the lack of configurability options for the data screens.

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Re: Karoo review

Post by JohnJ80 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:35 pm

You know, I could sort of see a review like this if you got one ride with the Karoo and it was one where it happened to do everything right. But that’s not enough to pronounce it the “best ever.” When it works, it works well so it could be possilble to get this sort of a perception with limited exposure ... and if you’re an overly optimistic about the glass being half full. So, a poor review. It’s not like there isn’t other data out there (FB group, here, and HH’s own forum) that don’t cast a more realistic view.

The points he made about the cellular modem being underutilized and the screen formatting - two of three of Karoo’s main differentiators - were so overly optimistic as to be silly. These are the things that differentiate Karoo from other hardware and having the softwere there to exploit them should have been the discussion in that part of the article as well as challenging HH to update the roadmap to address these issues.

I do think things are changing at HH though. They spent all summer screwing around with ineffective updates and then suddenly around September, it’s like some adult supervision showed up and we’ve seen 3-4 decent updates that are making forward progress. That’s all good.

But this review? Not realistic at all.

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Re: Karoo review

Post by dthempel » Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:48 pm

Compiled a not-comprehensive lists of things that would have caused a "good" reviewer to deduct points. These are probably not all of them. My snarky comments in parens.

Review was also done -- or the screenshots were taken -- with a quite old version of the software. Note the changes to the pull-down status bar and other "old" screenshots.

And still a score of 4.5/5 or 90%. "A-"? Really? Makes me question the reviewer's ability to review *anything*, frankly. Objectivity is a beautiful thing.

----- 168g it's about 50g heavier than other top-end units...

...I don't think the mount is the best though, especially for heavier computers like the Karoo. Overall it just feels a bit flimsy for the weight it's carrying, and the click engagement on the supplied BarFly mount isn't especially positive, so the computer doesn't always sit exactly straight on the mount. It's okay, and I don't have any particular worries about the Karoo falling off... (Clearly hasn't read any of the forums, Facebook posts, or even HH's own site where they've had to redesign the mount.)

...and it certainly doesn't feel like a phone made to do GPS duties. (Is this a PRO or CON?)

...although I found that after about four or five points the app on the Karoo itself tended to get pretty laggy and it crashed from time to time...

...There's no hardware for sound, so the Karoo doesn't beep to notify you of directions...

...If you turn the screen off, the Karoo won't turn itself back on to warn you of an upcoming or missed turn...

...Turn by turn instructions are generally good; the only one that isn't is roundabouts, where the Karoo just warns you there's a roundabout coming rather than telling you which exit to take...

...The route I'd created on the phone didn't have turn-by-turn instructions – I'm not sure why, probably because I didn't leave enough time for the system to generate them – so I just followed the wiggly red line back to the finish... (Isn't this supposed to be one of the defining advantages of the Karoo? How does it get an "A-" when not living up to this?)

...At the moment the layout of the screens doesn't make the best use of of the screen real estate that's available... (Ya think? Been mentioned since Day 1.)

...The Karoo lost the heart rate data after my mid-ride stop and I thought it was maybe the battery in the strap itself, but turning Bluetooth off and back on again fixed the connection... (Have you tried rebooting your head unit lately?)

...(RE: Use of the SIM card) At the moment, that's about it: the Karoo doesn't have a microphone or a speaker so you're not ever going to be making emergency calls, and though it has a three-axis accelerometer that could in theory detect a crash and notify an emergency contact via SMS, it doesn't do that as of yet... (Along with a lot of other things the SIM could be useful for...)

...Hammerhead is pretty open about the things that are coming to the Karoo... (Really? Which HH did you speak to?)

...The physical unit will be updated at some point in 2019 too; it'll get a bit smaller and lighter, although the screen and the internals will most likely remain the same with the possible exception of the addition of some form of hardware audio... (Where is this info coming from? Will those of us that were early adopters have a good "upgrade path"?)

...It doesn't do all of them yet but the pace of development is pretty quick... (No it's not.)

...Battery life is pretty good, considering the size of the screen. Hammerhead claims up to a 15-hour run-time, but like all battery claims that's very much an absolute-best-case scenario... (And also completely un-attainable unless you have no sensors.)

...No doubt about it: the Karoo feels unfinished... (No kidding?)

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