Thursday, December 03, 2015

Purpose - Technical Cycling and Triathlon wear for Asian Climate

Singapore-based Cycling and Multisports Wear Brand Purpose Launches

Creating fine technical wear for cycling and triathlons; built for the Asian climate

Singapore, SG: There’s a new name in cycling and triathlon wear. Purpose, a
Singapore-based brand launches last week, November 26th with an online presence . Mid-2016 will see Purpose venture into retail distribution as a strategy to grow both locally and internationally.

With an aim to cater to the growing participation in cycling and multisports in Asia, Purpose’s mission is to create products that are specific to the needs of these athletes in Asia. “Heat and high humidity affect a large part of cycling and triathlon in Asia. Most of the current range of cycling and triathlon wears available in the market were not designed and built with this in mind,” said Noor Aziz, founder of Purpose.

Noor is an avid runner and cyclist, having completed several full marathons and long distance cycling events himself. “One of the challenges I found in long distance running and cycling in this weather is that we sweat at least 3 times as much as in cooler climate. The choice of fabric and what we wear for these rides or runs affect our sweat patterns as well. Sadly, there aren’t many cycling clothes made of a good enough material to be able to keep us in comfort beyond a certain distance due to excessive sweat and heat. Purpose want to change that”.
The launch series of Purpose, focused on cycling for now (with triathlon running
clothes to be added in January of 2016) is made primarily of two types of technical materials - lightweight 4-way stretch nylons/polyester in most part of the body, together with ultra-permeable mesh fabric in areas where faster dissipation of heat is required; namely arms, shoulders and upper back.
Purpose Flow
“These technical materials aren’t new,” says Noor. “They’ve been around and are used by elite athletes in professional races or tours. Pro-teams don these special kits during races where hot weather and humidity are major factors. What they wear during Tour of Dubai is different from the Tour de France, for example. Yet even so, these hot-weather fabrics are very rarely available to the general masses, and only in expensive limited edition ranges.”
Purpose Victory
With the goal to fuel the sports of competitive cycling and multisports in Asia,
Purpose’s every intention is to make these highly technical fabrics available to the general masses.

Purpose Ambition
“Purpose is making top quality, technical performance wear accessible to everyday champions” added Noor.

Purpose wears are available for test and reviews. To request one, or for an interview with Noor Aziz, founder of Purpose, please send an email to .


About Purpose: Founded in Oct 2015, Purpose aims to be the voice of Asia that contributes to the growth of the sports of competitive cycling and multisports. Purpose was founded on the believe that the right clothing can and will create improvements in the self, as well as in the sports we are passionate about. Purpose is here to help people with their purpose.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Jabra Celebrates 9th Anniversary - Contest and Discounts

Enjoy special storewide discounts nationwide and promos – 9 lucky winners win 9 smartphones in 9 weeks

KUALA LUMPUR 30th November 2015 – Jabra, the leading manufacturer of innovative audio solutions, marks its 9th year in Malaysia and it looks to celebrate with you – the consumers who have helped make it the premium audio Bluetooth brand it is today.

In commemorating its 9th “birthday” to reward customers, from November 15, 2015 – January 15, 2016, Jabra is offering special discounts on all products nationwide throughout all stores.

In addition, to the discount, 9 lucky buyers will have the unique chance to win 9 smartphones in 9 weeks under its Jabra Rewards programme. This includes an iPhone 6S 16GB, a Huawei Honor 7 and many others. Check out Jabra Malaysia Facebook ( for more details. 
There is also the #Jabra9 photo contest. Just take a cool / unique or exciting photo related to music or sports. Upload it to your Instagram or Facebook account and hashtag #Jabra9. Now, you’re in the running to win a Jabra Sport Pace.

There are nine to be given away so don’t delay, get your photos up today! Just check out Jabra Malaysia’s Facebook page weekly to see if you’ve the lucky winner.
“The 9th Anniversary End-User Rewards Program is just our way to say thank you to all of you who have been with us on this incredible journey. Since our beginnings in Malaysia since 2006, we have grown from strength to strength and progressively have become a household name here thank to you.

We’d like to celebrate this success and reward all who have given their vote of confidence and approval to Jabra. Here’s to many more milestones ahead,” said Ann Goh, GN Netcom’s Sales Director, Central Asia, Consumer Solutions.

About Jabra

Jabra is the brand of GN Netcom, a subsidiary of GN Store Nord A/S (GN) - listed on NASDAQ OMX.

A world leader in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of a broad range of communications and audio solutions, Jabra has a reputation for innovation, reliability, and ease of use that goes back more than two decades. Jabra’s consumer and business divisions produce corded and wireless headsets, plus mobile and in-office speakerphones that empower individuals and businesses through increased freedom of movement, comfort, and functionality. Jabra employs close to 1000 people worldwide and in 2014 produced annual revenue which amounted to DKK 2,871 million.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hi-5 Dreamy Adventure with Enrich Junior Malaysia Airlines Berhad

1-2-3-4 - Hi-5! If you have heard of this chime before you are either parent with kids or have nieces, nephews, cousins that most probably have heard and sang with the team of 5 very energetic host on TV Program or via live show in Malaysia.
Today, I would like to share a good news brought to you by Malaysia Airline Berhad (MAB) Enrich Junior Programme partnership with one of the world most anticipated children musical tour - The Hi-5 House of Dreams Live in Concert tour.

This provide a good opportunity for us to look back and cherish the precious moments spent together with our loved one. I was told that Hi-5 performers will be bringing you through a journey through jungles, fairy gardens, underwater, even outerspace and of course into the world of dreams come true. Imagination, as they say, are endless power. 
Hi-5 and Enrich Junior Programme, will bring our the inner child in you and journey into the most exciting "slumber party" of the year. The zestful and lively showcase by the Hi-5 team of dynamic interactive casts is sure to captivate the hearts of many, adults included!

Did you know that the #EnrichJunior Programme was introduced to reward young Enrich members since 2014? It was conceptualized to ensure that not only will you experience a #EnrichUrLife experience; your little ones will also be treated to a fun-filled yet knowledgeable experience! Find out more about #EnrichJunior here.

Win Tickets to the Hi-5 Concert!

Now, how would you feel if I tell you that you can win 4-VIP tickets worth RM1,216 for you and your family to meet the Hi-5 crew... and I’ve got you covered with these step-by-step guides:

In order to win the contest, You WILL NEED TO (and please follow the instructions below):

Step 1: Post a video of your child singing a Hi-5 song OR Name your child’s favorite Hi-5 song and character (extra brownie points if it is a video!). Please provide the link to the video either on Facebook or Youtube or any media sharing sites, I will view this and will rank it!

Step 2: Caption it with a simple sentence, “I deserve to win these tickets because...” (in 20 words or less)

Step 3: Post it in the comment section below in my blog and your Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube), please use the hashtag #todayishere, #malaysiaairlines, #EnrichUrLife, #EnrichJunior when posting in social media. Please provide link to the sharing in the comment box below

Now, if you by any chance do not want to go through the trouble of trying to win the tickets, all you need to do to enjoy a 10% discount is to be an Enrich members with promo code - enrich10, for any Hi-5 House of Dreams Tour in Malaysia 2015 tickets purchased.

Winner announcement for the contest will be made on my social media Facebook Page

Terms & Conditions
1. Contest period lasts from 11- 23 November 2015.
2. The final selection of winners is subject to the approval from Malaysia Airlines.
3. Winners are chosen based on the most creative submission. The contestants’ stand a higher chance of winning should they post a video of their child dancing or singing to Hi-5 songs.
4. Winners will be announced on my Facebook Page no earlier than 28 November 2015.
5. The winners will require collecting the prize tickets from RallyBuzz at the IPG Mediabrands office from 30 November - 9 December 2015.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Camelbak Podium Ice Bottle Review

I have been a long time user of Camelbak Podium bottles. It started when the quest for that "perfect" bottle that does not spill, do not alter the taste of the liquid, high-flow and no need for any biting of the nipple (valve) to start drinking. My first purchase of the Camelbak Podium (2x21oz)was the original bottle and I obtained the Podium Chill (4units of which 2x21oz and 2x25oz)aka insulated bottle a few years later. These bottles has been serving me since 2007 and they all has story to tell on their own. All surviving bottles (4 out of 6) is very much still functioning despite the scratches and broken valve. I lost 1x25oz Podium Chill coming down from Frasers Hill about a month ago. 
Latest Addition
Recently I received some of the newest products from Camelbak Malaysia and the Podium Ice (21oz, RRP RM110) was one of them. I thank Universal Fitness & Leisure (UFL) for this opportunity to review this as a user. 
In 3-color. I naturally go for the Blue bottle to fit my Colnago Dream Mapei livery.
The Podium Ice is the top of the range bottle for cycling that claims to be able to keep water cold up to four times as long. I believe this benchmark is against a non-insulated bottle. How this will be achieved is via the Aerogel insulation that keeps the liquid inside cold for longer. 
All the feature for the Podium Ice
The Podium Ice only comes in 21oz size instead of the other choices of 21+24 for Podium and 21+25 for Podium Chill. For the metric people like me, this simply meant the volume of 620ml (21oz), 710ml (24oz) and 740ml (25oz). Depending on your ride distance and availability of fuelling stations along the way, a 620ml will be good for up to an hour of activities and the typical 2-bottles setup will allow you to ride 2-hours before needing to re-fill. You may want to refer to my 2013 article on optimum hydration and electrolyte if you are looking for more guidance on this.
Nicer when compared to brochure
The Podium Line-up
Having own the many iteration of the Podium, I get to compare how each model changes in terms of build quality and finishing. My first Podium(Original) was bought back in 2007 and that meant the bottle has close to 8 years of service life despite having the valve bitten off by my son when he was 3 years old. 
From Left to Right : Ice (21oz), Big Chill (25oz), Chill (21oz) and Original (21oz)
The Chill 21oz and 25oz came about 4 years later when I bought them in Singapore during a race kit collection and that has been very much the bottles I've been using for my 4 Ironman races carrying enough liquid fuel (for dilution) for the 180km cycling. It has served me really well and has taken up many drops and bruises. Testament of how well built these Camelbak bottles are!
Close up of the bottle cap with Jet Valve
Do take note that the Camelbak Podium bottle cap did not change much between 2007 to 2011 where the valve (known as Jet Valve because water shoots out like Jet from these valve), the locking mechanism (twist and lock) and most notably the "Camelbak" brand is embossed on the top cover. You will see the exact same on these bottles pre-2015 and the reason for this comparison is to highlight the differences when compared to the 2015 (Podium).
Total change of the bottle cover
The Jet Valve has grown in diameter and noticeably larger than the older version. The twist lock too has became bigger assuming it will allowed gloved hand to able to twist it over easier.
larger diamter Jet Valve. Take note of the embossed "Camelbak" vs the printed on the Ice
One thing I found surprising is that the 21oz Ice is the same size/as tall as the 25oz Chill. Does this meant there is at least 4oz (or 120ml) worth of Aerogel that insulate the Ice, providing the 4x longer/cooler/colder retention? Maybe.
size printed at the bottom

Now, before we go to a small experiment I devised, the internal of the bottle cover remained unchanged that they actually looked almost identical saved for the two "indention" on the Chill bottle (it's a stopper for the twist lock on the older model)
Chill (grey) vs Ice (white)
Curiosity got to me and I interchanged the bottle cover to see how it will fit the 2015 (Ice) model. Happy to report they all fitted perfectly and remained leak-proof. So this is a good indication for replacement cover if you needed them. Also, the new Ice bottle cover (and I assumed the 2015 range) allow the Jet Valve to be fully removed for cleaning. No more dark yucky stains ;-) Compare this with the older pre-2015, you can remove the rubberised nipple but not the whole valve. I attempted to do it with both and managed to remove (and put them back). Honestly, I find no reason to remove them as long as we wash the bottle and valve properly after every use. 
Ice with Chill bottle cover
Ice with Original bottle cover. Yes, the rubber valve was bitten off.
Ability to Keep Cool?
The Ice is priced at RRP RM110 which is much more expensive compared to the usual Chill bottle that can range between RM65 to RM80 depends on sales. I do not know the RRP as the last I bought was back in 2011! So does the additional price paid justify the ownership of Ice? What I did was to freeze water in three different bottle. A non-insulated (which I used another brand as the Camelbak Podium original need a heavy scrubbing after years of non-usage/retirement), the Chill and the Ice. All of them are filled about half way with boiled water from the same source. Time started was 1030hours and I intended to leave it in there for at least 7hours or up till 1730hours. This setup is typical for me when I leave my water to freeze overnight before the ride the next day. From experience, I know the non-insulated will freeze within 3-4hours while the insulated will take that 7-hours to actually get 80% frozen/slushy. How long will it take the Ice bottle with Aerogel? My bet is never.  
 My freezer temperature was left as it is as to simulate real freezing condition.
Looking forward to frozen water later
After 7hours, I removed the bottles and as expected, the non-insulated has frozen over. The Chill has slight movement of water inside, indicating not fully frozen (expected as with every time I store them overnight in freezer) and the Ice has some ice forming in it. 
1730. You can see the non-insulated bottle frozen
 First the Podium Chill - not all frozen after shaking it more vigorously, the ice broke
Podium Chill
 And the Podium Ice has significantly more liquid vs ice
One sign of the Ice insulation working is that the Ice bottle has significantly lower level of condensation when compared to the Chill bottle. Meaning, the Aerogel is keeping the liquid inside cooler without it being lost to the ambient temperature despite being insulated.
Ice, Chill and Generic. You can see the level of condensation on the non-insulated vs the Chill and very little on the Ice
Closer look. Smaller condensation on Ice vs Chill

I then let the three bottles sits at the corner (room temperature) and checked when the ice in the non-insulated bottle melts. I will pour the content of the Chill and Ice out onto two separate cup to show the level of condensation. This will provide sufficient proof that the Aerogel is working to retain the temperature. So after almost 4hours later (9.23pm)...the Ice managed to make the glass frosted!
The condensation test after 4hours (from 5.30pm to 9.30pm) left in room temperature
Had to pour the water out else can't really show the condensation. Non-insulated, Ice and Chill.
 Looking closer...
From experience, the Chill bottle can or will retain the coolness of the liquid up to about 2hours (meaning it's still cool and not room temperature) which by then, you should technically finish all the liquid, assuming you are biking. What really makes the differences is the ability of the Ice bottle able to keep the liquid inside much cooler as it takes longer to lose the temperature. This meant even at your last gulp (as the Jet Valve shoots liquid out like..well...jet), you will still get a big gulp of cold iced liquid to keep your core temperature down on a hot day ride... and you have the assurance it will keep cold 4hours later even when left in room temperature.

Impressive Camelbak Podium Ice!

Note: This unit of Camelbak Podium Ice is courtesy of Universal Fitness & Leisure (UFL) the authorised distributor of Camelbak in Malaysia. You can view and purchase these at World of Sports, UFL Outdoor Bangsar and other authorised resellers. Recommended Retail Price RRP is RM110. Opinions and test/experiment is my own and you please offer any suggestion to better show the capability of the Aerogel. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How My Ironman Malaysia 2015 Will Be Raced

52 more days to Ironman Malaysia at Langkawi. Training has been consistent even though the work travelling was hectic. Constant and minimum 30minutes every day on the trainer with weekend sometimes exceeding duration for an Olympic distance race were a norm. The need to always “do more” drives the constant fear of not able to complete the 226km journey to become Ironman (again). Within the last 10 months, I’ve clocked about 5546km which covers all swim, bike and run distance.

The excitement builds up towards the race day and those of us that have raced it before, more so in Malaysia would know the biggest challenge is the weather. Everything from overcast sky to overly hot day, calm sea to sea with strong current, running in dusty condition with sunset burning down your back – make no mistake that Langkawi remains as the second toughest Ironman route. Coincidently, this race hold a high percentage of non-finishers (read: DNF or Did Not Finish). A stat rolled out by in 2012 is still very much valid for any newcomer/Iron-virgin looking to complete their first race in Malaysia. In fact, it is sort of like a “baptism of fire”.
Understandably, the pressure to train to complete is very high in every Ironman hopeful’s priority. Being in Malaysia and perceived to be “acclimatized”, take it from me that the race always spring a few surprises. The 2014 race saw the return of a major climb up towards Datai, where the total elevation for the 180km course was in the range of 3200m. In comparison, the Putrajaya loop returns about 1000m over 90km (of 70.3 loops). Now, with the 2015 route changed in terms of T1 and T2, only the cycling route remains similar to 2014.
The swim will now be 2-loop at Pantai Kok, which then will see the triathletes heading out to climb Datai within the first 15km of the race. With so much “fresh” energy, I would need to ensure I have the climbing power and endurance to sustain the next 90km before the second climb up Datai happens. Having said that, the Lisram Highway will need to be conquered twice… and that is a pain itself. T2 would be at Mahsuri Expo centre – a first it seems for an air-conditioned T2. I bet many are looking forward to this after being out in the sun for 180km. Just make sure it doesn’t make you want to stay in Transition longer than you should. The run this time around would be a 2.5loop of flat road around the airport landing strip. I am excited about running with the sunset on my right as I run out from Mahsuri Expo towards the seaside where the wind will provide awesome breeze. Best of all, you may strike a drink or two as you run through Cenang beach with tourists and locals cheering you on into the night. I can’t wait!

With my travel plan all set since November, flight was cheap at RM750 return for whole family. Lodging has not been booked but it will likely be nearby with Pelangi Meritus to be the closest to the finish line. However, Langkawi Island is only that big. Staying in Kuah may make sense especially for food and shopping for the family that comes along to support the race. 17hours for many of us would be the ultimate cut off time, and it is totally different for non-competitor to be out for the same hours supporting you. With all of that said, 52 days to November 14, 2015 looked all set. Many of you that made the decision to race this has been training hard. Putting in the time, improving yourself. Finding and searching the soul to fight the demon inside that says “No”. Part of the battle has been won when you decided to sign up and train for it. I know that was how I felt at least. It will be my 5th Ironman race and I am looking towards racing a day after my birthday.

Now imagine, after coming out knowing you survived a 3.8km open water swim in the water known for jellyfishes and strong current; I look at my Garmin and it says 1:20. Smiling and hi-fiving everyone along the beach as I enter T1. Never mind I’ve likely swallowed sea water by the liters as I brave the hands and legs of confused triathletes like me. You then grab your T1 bag, wear your socks, shoes, sunglasses, helmet in that order. Stash a few Hammer Nutrition Gels into the back pocket while gulping a serving of Montana Huckleberry flavored HammerGel, drinking in some water as you swallow 4 Endurolytes and 2 Anti-Fatigue (only those that takes these know how hard to obtain the AF nowadays). You ran a little, hobbling in your cleat shoes careful not to scratch the carbon bottom and counting the bike aisle. There is nothing more embarrassing than to arrive at the wrong bike rack; panic to see your bike not there, when it was just across the other aisle away from you. Of course you will be very embarrassed, but no one is looking, as everyone is as anxious even if this will be their n-th race.

You pushed your bike out of T1. Mounting it only as you pass the line, else risking penalty time. You start to pedal and clip the shoes on, hoping you get it right the first time or suffer the humiliation (again) of falling in front of cheering crowd.

Calm Your Nuts Down Stupe.

As you pedals out, you glance over your shoulder to see your training mate close to you, smiling knowingly that today’s journey will be all about personal glory. Your own race. The 180km will be your longest hours on race day. Key is to remember to eat and hydrate every 40mins and 20mins respectively. It’s not a choice, it’s compulsory. Unlike your usual weekend ride, Ironman is a non-drafting race. You will be alone. Deal with it. For once, you are glad those days you cycled alone, not sucking wheels are slowly paying off. And oh…those hill climbs over Bukit Hantu, Bukit Tangga, Janda Baik, Frasers, Gohtong Jaya… the hills over Datai is now looking flat, if not flatter. Yet, the burn in the quads is as bad if not worse.

As you cycle the last 2km to complete the 180km, spinning more consciously at 90rpm to rid the lactic acid from the system. You are glad you completed and have more than sufficient time for the last 42.2km. Time check. A decent 6:00 on the bike. My time now stands at 7:30, including an easy 10mins T1. If I could hack a 5:00 marathon, I will be clocking a PB of 12:30 easy.

The run was strong. All y injuries picked up over the years and the one that tested me big time (ITBS in 2014 15km into the run) stayed away. The tempo as good. Body felt superb, legs felt strong. I could envisioned the finishing line with every steps and pace I took. As with all mind-games goes. I nailed the marathon in not 5:00 but a 4:45, shaving off more time and running strongly towards the finishing line – head high and smiling. 5th Ironman in Personal Best timing. Win.

Ee-Van Lim (in typical mat salleh style) - YOU ARE AN IROOONNNMaaaan.

Now, back to reality. If only the previous paragraphs in today’s blog entry holds true for me. As luck has it, I have pulled out as of June this year due to work. I will be away during the race week and won’t even make it back to register myself before the athlete check-in by Thursday, November 12 by 5pm. My meeting will only end on November 12, 5pm, even with a private jet, it will be near impossible to be back by then. I have to let this race go and will be supporting from far.

For those of you that has signed up, been training for it, soaking up the pain and joy of training, for those that has been taking part in local races to fine-tune the transition and flying mount, long ride that perhaps rocks your marriage (because you are away whole day on weekend), suffered multiple sunburn within the same weekend, I salute you. Train smart, keep injuries away – I be rooting for all of you. 

Friday, September 04, 2015

Hugo Boss - Boss The Scent

Seduction has become too easy, too available in our post -modern world: Instant visual gratification obtainable without any effort.

HUGO BOSS believes in a different type of seduction. Slow, steady, tense with anticipation, the BOSS way of seduction is an art, which finds a perfect balance between confidence and nonchalance. Tapping into what women really want, it is a masterful orchestration of all the senses. It lasts and is not easily forgotten.

The BOSS man has a presence that delivers seduction in his own unique way. He knows that a whisper can be louder than a shout. Seduction as he plays it is slow, passionate, refined - an experience to be savoured and returned to time after time; engaging all five senses rather than merely one.

The SCENT, the new fragrance, reveals a different aspect of the BOSS man. It pays tribute to his personal rather than professional achievements. This is a man whose success has always proved seductive. It is evident in the way he carries himself, the cut of his suit, and his self -assured charisma.

Now he can discover these qualities in his scent. This distinctive statement about seductiveness marks the brand’s new major fragrance, taking it into the territory of emotional rather than intellectual intelligence.

The Fragrance
BOSS Parfums believes in seduction that invades the mind to leave an enduring mark.

The fragrance that creates this impact is utterly unique. BOSS THE SCENT boasts an exclusive ingredient from Africa: the aphrodisiac Maninka fruit, evocative of passion fruit and rum. However, the Maninka also evokes something deeper and more profound: the tug of desire and the pull of memory. Set on a virile leather base, its effect is potent, original, never to be forgotten.

Top note: spicy ginger makes a spirited and beguiling first impression.
Heart note: the rousing maninka fruit fuses with lavender to swathe the skin in sensuality.
Base note: an intense, burnished leather, lingering like memory, conveys pure, magnetic masculinity.

And, of course, there is another essential ingredient: the BOSS man, who lends his own seductive charm to make an unforgettable impression.
BOSS THE SCENT’s flacon presents an evocative amber juice, set in a silver cage, as if capturing the spirit of seduction before it unleashes its dynamic power.

The Ambassador
The face of BOSS THE SCENT is the charismatic Hollywood actor, Theo James - known for starring in the dystopian sci-fi blockbusters, the Divergent series, and for making an unforgettable impression in Downton Abbey.

Theo James is the personification of the seductive side of the BOSS hero:
confident in his physical presence as he is unselfconsciously aware of his allure.
“I’m honored to be representing BOSS Parfums as an Ambassador in their latest perfume campaign. I have for a long time admired BOSS for achieving the perfect balance between the classic and the contemporary. This campaign encapsulates the iconic spirit of the brand and reflects my own tastes and attitudes towards a truly unique fragrance.”

Theo James, BOSS THE SCENT ambassador
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Theo James to the BOSS family as ambassador for our most luxurious and seductive fragrance to date: BOSS THE SCENT. Theo’s confidence and magnetism make him the perfect choice to represent our stance on seduction today. His personal style and attitude reflect the distinctive urbanity of BOSS, and we are delighted to be working with him”.
Gerd von PPodewils, Senior Vice President Global Communication HUGO BOSS AG.

The Campaign
The film accompanying BOSS THE SCENT has been produced by acclaimed American director, screenwriter and film producer, Darren Aronofsky, famous for Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan and Noah. It is a mesmeric creation, shot in a w arm amber light, a paean to skin, scent and seduction.
Photographers Mert & Marcus directed the print advertising - images that speak of lingering seduction.

BOSS THE SCENT will be available as an Eau de Toilette nationwide from September 2015 onwards. Recommended retail prices are listed below:
BOSS The Scent EDT 50ML RM272
BOSS The Scent EDT 100ML RM360
BOSS The Scent Deostick 75ML RM96
BOSS The Scent Deospray 150ML RM96
BOSS The Scent After Shave Lotion 100ML RM272

Monday, August 24, 2015

Garmin Forerunner FR225 Unboxing and Review

Officially launched on April 13, 2015 in Malaysia, the Forerunner 225 or FR225 retail for RM1299 including GST in Malaysia. It is an iteration of the original FR220 running GPS and what separate the FR225 from FR220 - and very much the other Garmin devices is the ability to detect and read heart rate via a light emitting diode (LED) placed under the watch casing. 
HR on the go. Awesome with no-straps needed
While the technology is not new, a few manufacturer such as Samsung and Jabra has them in their products. Closest competitor that has GPS and built-in HR will be Tom Tom Runner. I would not be able to compare Tom Tom Runner but I will be able to provide feedback from a few current users later in this post.
In order not to clutter up the posting, I've created photo-grids out of the original photos to save space and make it easier on the mobile browser. 
The FR225 comes in a simple box that shows the watch face with a sticker notice the heart rate. All basic information of the watch capability can be see on the box outer marketing details. The simplistic and easy to read/understand and is sufficient. 
DO you take your time to read? I did!
Good to know that the FR225 is Bluetooth Smart and pairs with ANT+ devices. This will meant the power saving potential from linking with mobile device (Bluetooth) and pairing of external heart rate monitor and footpod will be possible. Removing the unit from the box (tip - do it from the bottom of the box if you love to keep packaging) reveal only 3-things: the FR225, Charging cradle and Manual.
Hands up, who read manual?
The FR225 had a sponge to hold the strap to prevent it from moving while in shipment. One thing I noticed after a second look was how the strap clasp were designed and built like a two-pronged fork.
The strap is softer than the usual Garmin I have (910XT, Fenix and 920XT). It already gave an impression it will be comfortable. I noticed that at the bottom of the watch face, there are soft silicon around it. I supposed this is to ensure the LED lights does not escape when worn, and that provide better accuracy and data-transient time.
Soft silicon as demonstrated above
Firing it up the first time indoor doesn't allow me to lock onto GPS signal to correct the time of the day. It was set to GMT based on the time I unbox this and also fired it up. The unit came charged at less than 20% and will be sufficient to tease you with the setup and also basic functions.
On left wrist
Size wise, it is slightly bigger than the 920XT that I use as a daily watch and thicker as well, likely due to the sensor built-in. However, it's super light and some people with no exposure to these watches may think you are wearing a toy-watch. 
My 920XT watchface doesn't help to make people think it's a Toy. Sadly, FR225 can't customise the watchface.

Setting Up First Time Use
Excitement as firing up a new device meant you get to set it the way you want.
Before we go into depth, the FR225 navigational button is laid out on both left and right side of the FR225. On your left is the power and backlight button (i like to set it to manual and not automatic to save battery), scroll up and scroll down button (3 in total). On the right is the multi-function RED button used to unlock (press twice), start Run, Stop run, Save or Discard and basically function as an "Enter" button. The lower right is the "escape" or "back" button. 
Top - right side. Bottom - left side.
Resetting the device will also prompt you to re-configure the unit again especially when you want to clear the unit off any data and setting if you decide to sell it to another future user. 
Simple easy to follow on-screen setup. Make sure you set activity tracking to be ON if you want to count steps, daily distance and estimated calories burned
Once the unit is up and running, you will see the face for "Run". The red bar on top is the GPS signal and this unit capture GPS very fast. Using it for 3-days (to date where I do this write up), it captured the GPS signal in less than 15seconds, and less than 5seconds on a clear sky day. Originally, the watchface time was in blue fonts. Indepth setting and customisation allow you to set up many things to your liking. You can spend a good 10minutes just fiddling and exploring the options, which I did.
Everything is straight forward. If you set something wrongly, just go back and do it again.
The unit came with Firmware 2.3 and GPS 3.3. As of today, there is a new firmware at 2.4 which I will sync via cable later.
While the FR225 is not as highly customisable compared to the more feature laden Forerunner, it does provide the usual customisation of a Garmin unit. The unit autolock itself once you exit the "run" sequence. To unlock, just press the Red button twice. Once in, scroll to the bottom automatically brings you to the other features : Training - History - Records - Activity Settings - Heart Rate Monitor.
Scrolling through

I would like to show more on the Activity Settings as that is the core of why you get the FR225. In the Activity Settings, you will be able to further customise the "screen" of data you will see. FR225 limit it to 2-screens with 3-datafield (can't be reduced to 1 or 2 datafield) in each screen. Meaning, you will be able to see up to 6-running metrics. The more feature laden 920XT (as example) has 4 screens, with 4-datafield each (can be reduced to just 1 datafield), not including ability to put in other running dynamics. Yes, if running was not easy to start with, you data junkies will not be dissapointed with the amount of data on your wrist. So...back to FR225...

As mentioned, you can set two screen with 3-datafield. By default, Screen 1 is enabled and locks on your pace-distance and elapsed time. Datascreen 2 is disabled by default and I did not enable it yet. Moving down the screen is the HR-page which is also disabled by default. Enabling it show 2-datafield. Datafield that can be inserted include any "lap" related data (assuming you does lap training), elevation, calories, cadence, HR related (including average, zone and current). Optional page is the Heart rate zone gauge page (the one in the first photo), clock and total stpes taken for the current time.
Alert Setting
Other customisation is the Alert function where you can set it to stop or pause tracking when you are not moving (so your prized average pace doesn't drop when averaged over the time ;-)) and auto-scroll over all the datafield so you do not need to press the button to see. Available as standard is the alert if you start to walk instead of run. Auto-lap functions comes in handy to track your progress every "X" distance you want.
Via ANT+ compatible accessories
The FR225 allow pairing up of two more sensors which is an external chest strap HRM (if you much prefer that option) and a footpod if you want more accurate steps/cadence. As to why the secondary heartrate strap, it meant you can still use the unit away from the unit like on the bike where you mount this on the handlebar. It does speed only and that limits the use as a full cycling GPS watch. However, if you already have a cyclocomputer (non-GPS) and just need a HR monitor without strap, this is a plausible option.
Running Indoor and more
The FR225 itself has a built in accelerometer which allow you to track your pace, cadence and distance when used indoor/treadmill. Bear in mind the accuracy of this will also depends on how fast your hand swings. Expect the reading to be off between real GPS vs treadmill by up to 20%. The idea of this, in my theory, is that the handswing and cadence is related. However, if you are the type that do not swing your arm when running, or swing excessively, you will see differences - and this could be used to help correct your armswing and strides!
Other customisation features include ability to create and upload your own WORKOUT via Garmin Connect app (both PC and Phone). You can shape your interval runs, HR zones training and upload into the FR225 via cable or Bluetooth functions. Because of the ability to connect via Bluetooth, you will be able to use the Garmin Connect App to "share" your workout live. This  of course will require mobile data plan (and charges is applicable based on your service provider).
Battery life
Charging of the battery is via USB and the supplied cradle. You need to align the cradle with word "Garmin" right side up and snap it from left to right to fit. The edge of the cradle will not scartch your FR225 watchface on normal charging, so don't worry. Charging completes in approximate 2hours max on normal USB wall charger.
Take note of the orientation for fit
Based on the experience with the FR620 where the battery life did not exceed 7hours, I was interested to see how the FR225 would hold up in this department. Granted that the FR620 records more metrics and has more features, we learnt that disabling some of the functions greatly enhance the battery life (of the FR620). For this test, I set it to monitor the Genting Sempah  -Frasers ride I did on Sunday. On full GPS, HR and Bluetooth function, my intention was to benchmark it on it's full connectivity for battery life verification.
As it turned out, the FR225 lasted a whole 9hours plus (no pause, elapsed time) with still about 5% battery life to spare. The notification of "low battery" came up at approximately 8:45 hours (8km to Genting Sempah)
Important to capture this as part of the experiment
After the ride, the battery life was more than sufficient to last another day as long no GPS are used, I believe.
FR225 Battery life : >9hours passed!
I have two friends using the Tom Tom Cardio GPS watch and both confirmed that their unit can't last past 6hours on full tracking (cycling mostly). They were surprised when I showed them the FR225 battery life on full tracking. They were both there with me cycling to Frasers and using their unit (of Tom Tom)
Heartrate On Wrist
I saved the best for the last - the star of FR225 was obviously the ability to use optical LED to measure heartrate. It works by detecting the tiny vessels blood movement under the skin. Garmin recommended a snug fit. I found out on me, an usual fit, with ability to slip a finger through the strap when worn were sufficient. So far, I've not had any issue that the unit can't read my HR. 
Sufficiently snug
The HR detection device or optical LED is placed at the bottom of the FR225. When activated, it will emit green light which will reflect on the skin and picked up by the unit as blood vessels expand and contract with blood flow. It then convert to readable heartrate. The soft silicon at the bottom acts to shield the sensor from stray light, which is why the advice for a snug fit (read: not constricting, but comfortable)

Lighted and not lighted
There will not be any uncomfortable or harm of the LED lights if you are wondering.  The science has been adopted including how your handphone can be converted into a HR reader using the phone camera flashlight, next to the camera. Same concept, but way more efficient and without bright lights.
On watchface (not Run mode), HR can be read quick. Above pic shows unit searching for HR (none as it's not in contact with skin surface).
Everday Activity Tracker
The FR225 comes with ability to track lifestyle activities specifically steps, calories and distance (covered by the steps) and sleep (automatically, no additional button to activate unlike 920XT, as an example). In Watch mode, you can scroll through the metric by pressing the lower left button (scroll down button).
Scrolling through. HR info appears after calorie burn
The activity tracking can be sync-ed to your Garmin Connect account. You have the choice of doing it on cable using Garmin Express (need to be installed on PC) or via Bluetooth to mobile Garmin Connect app. Linking the unit to phone (testing iPhone 6) was easy. I have not tried to link it on my Android Kit Kat. The updated Garmin firmware allow linking of 2 Garmin devices to one mobile app, which meant you have the ability to automatically link the devices without having to search and pair again.
Settings can be made via mobile app as well
Comparison of Data against Garmin 920XT
As the 920XT is my main watch, I wore both of them on Saturday and Sunday while training. The details and comparison between the two unit is per the photo below.
Saturday HIIT
HR, Cadence, Distance and pace within 10%
The 920XT were on my right hand and the FR225 on my left. We ran in oval (track) and the differences between the GPS (FR225) vs GPS+GLONASS (FR920xt) over a small footprint/area due to accuracy of capture of the unit. However for recreational and amateur level basis, the information is more than sufficient and doesn't really bother you. If you take notice as well, all the metric falls within the +/-10% variation, which is acceptable for this short distance. 

Sunday Frasers
Better accuracy over longer distance
On bike, the 920XT were on my left wrist and the FR225 on my right. This allow me to monitor if there is huge differences if the FR225 were to be worn on either wrist. Based on the details above, the differences is more acceptable. The time differences and hence, average speed were significantly different because I set the 920XT to be recording only when moving and the FR225 were on full tracking to test the battery. Another data outside the window seems to be different as well (FR920 at 1:13 hour and the FR225 at 5:25 when I was going downhill). So the extreme reading could be wrongly represented. Again, no significant issues where data integrity is concerned.
The FR225 is a very good mid level GPS-enabled device that provide good features at a step or two down from the more advanced model and a few steps up when compared to the basic FR10 or FR15 as an example. I will be testing this unit including drop test (hey, we all drop things right), and immersion in water overnight (if you swim that long). Should you get it? I guess the choice is yours between a Smart Watch and a full featured running watch that provides sufficient data to help your daily training. 
  • Light at 54grams. Easy to use.
  • No straps needed for HR. Ready on Wrist at scroll of the button.
  • Reliable GPS chipset. Fast satellite detection
  • Capture main running metrics including cadence and stride length
  • Activity (lifestyle) tracking which include automatic sleep tracking
  • Good customisation adequate for the purpose of the watch usage
  • Standalone usage without any need for Phone interaction to use GPS etc
  • Very decent battery life
  • Waterproof down to 5atm or 50m. More than sufficient to stand a storm if you are running in one (which I advise you not to)
  • Price are more expensive compared to many other activity tracker, some say even iPhone
  • Can't communicate like a Smart Watch as no notification push
  • No WiFi communication ability
  • Limited use as a cycling tracker. Unable to link Cadence and speed sensor for cycling
  • Silicon seal under the watch may require changing. At this point of time, still too early to verify how much abuse it can take or how long before it hardens up and break.
This unit of FR225 is sponsored to Team 2ndSkin by AECO Technologies, the authorised Distributor of Garmin Malaysia. RRP for FR225 is RM1299 including GST and available at all authorised resellers. Please buy from authorised reseller to ensure peace of mind when it comes to warranty. At time of writing, the FR225 is sold out/out of stock. If you are interest, you may want to speak to the reseller to book an unit when the new stocks arrive.