Oakley Radar Pace
JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU’VE SEEN ALL THE FITNESS TECH THERE IS, ALONG COMES OAKLEY’S TRAINING SHADES
Oakleys seem to be the go-to for semi-serious athletes, renowned as they are for being pricey, slick and probably slightly unnecessary. Its latest shades, though unsurprisingly costly, are more than just eye defenders – they’re also smart, with a voiceactivated coach within the frame. Radar Pace is aimed squarely at runners and cyclists looking to better their performance, but it’s more than just a stats machine. Radar Pace delivers a range of fitness metrics, much like you’d get from a cycling computer or fitness watch, but crucially, it’s a training companion too, thanks to built-in training programs designed to help you achieve your goals.
Once you’ve input things like your fitness level and what you’re looking to achieve, Radar Pace will tailor a schedule for you. If you miss a training day, it will simply adjust your plan to suit. For less hardcore runs or rides, there’s a Freeform option, so you can just go out and enjoy yourself and get data feedback without the regime.
Just say ‘OK Radar’ and you’ll activate the Siri-like voice assistant, ready to take your every training request. Want to find out your current speed or heart rate? Just ask and Radar Pace will tell you. The built-in in-ear headphones, which are three-way adjustable, deliver the info straight to your eardrums.
Radar Pace can pair with external sensors such as heart-rate monitors, enabling it to get the metrics it needs to maximise your training.
Aside from the occasional Bluetooth interference, the voice system is near flawless. The issue is that the mic can get overwhelmed with wind noise at high speed. An aero clip-on helps, but at 30km/h you have to shout to be heard, and even then it can mishear you.
While you exercise, Radar Pace will regularly give you feedback on your performance without ever being intrusive, spurring you on when you’re behind or telling you to ease up if, for instance, you’re pedalling too fast for your specific training program.
Curiously, Radar Pace drops voice in favour of a touchpad integrated into the frame for controlling the three main non-training functions: phone, music and volume. A long press of the pad activates Siri or Google Now, giving you access to your phone’s plethora of voice commands, but with so many different interface options Radar Pace feels a little clunky to use when you’re in the thick of things.
Tech nuances aside, the Radar Pace glasses are, as you might expect from Oakley, wonderful things to wear – comfortable, with great vision and epic build quality.
On its own, Radar Pace is a great tool for training, allowing you to improve your fitness without having to formulate your own complicated training plan, but if you’re already a stats-heavy user you might want to pair it with a second screen for instant gratification.
ABOVE They look like regular Oakleys but nestled inside that slicklooking frame is a load of smarts to help sports fans ABOVE RIGHT A touchpad built into the frame gives you access to Radar Pace’s lifestyle functions