The newly released Vivoactive marks a significant upgrade from previous iterations. There are quite a few new features here which make it a significant upgrade from previous Vivoactive wearables, which traditionally lacked many features found in the forerunner series. This new model seems to bridge that gap, making the Vivoactive 3 a serious contender, and possible alternative, to the forerunner and fenix ranges. Let’s take a closer look.
Author Archives: Andy Kumar
Kindle Oasis (2017) – Hands on and first impressions
I’ve been using the original Paperwhite which I purchased back in fall 2012, and it’s proven to be an invaluable tool for my reading addictions. Over the next few years, Amazon have released a number of upgrades to the original Paperwhite, improving the contrast resolution and specs, as well as expanded the Kindle range with the likes of the Voyage and Oasis. The temptation to upgrade to one of these later models has been ever-present, yet I managed to move my cursor away from the “add to basket” icon on countless occasions. A few months ago, I dabbled over the thought of buying a Kindle Oasis for a while, but noticed that stock levels seemed to be scarce. This was not without reason, as I quickly became aware that a new revised update to the Oasis was on the way.
Roll on to the 11th of October, and I received an email from Amazon, inviting me to preorder the all-new Kindle Oasis, thus confirming these rumours. ‘Now’ is the time to upgrade, I thought! I received my Kindle today on the 31st of October and it was on-time and well packaged. The box itself is compact, and very minimalist. Inside we have the brand-new Oasis itself, a charging cable and some documentation. So, what new features does the Kindle Oasis have over the original, and is it worth the upgrade, particularly if you’re coming from a 5 year old Kindle like me. Here’s what’s new.
Apple Watch Series 3 – Stainless Steel Space Black
A few weeks ago, I upgraded my launch Apple Watch (Series 0) to the newly released Apple Watch Series 3. I opted for the aluminium Sports model in Space Grey; the same model and colour I owned before. I was in awe. The new model was faster, had a vastly improved battery life, was now water-proof with GPS, and overall, provided far better watch experience. I was happy. However, I then decided to return this model in favour of the LTE version. This cost £70 more, but had double the storage (8 to 16GB), the option for LTE (should I wish to activate this in the future), but perhaps the biggest reason I decided to go for this model was the ceramic back. The non-LTE version features a composite (plastic) back, and I was concerned about scratches. Okay, so I wore the new LTE model with a ceramic back for around 3 days, before having buyers remorse once again. Shouldn’t I have just opted for the the stainless steel model? I had always liked the look of the Space Black stainless steel version. I thought about this briefly, and then finally pulled the trigger.
Royal Parks Half Marathon 2017 – My toughest race ever
After pacing the Royal Parks Half Marathon last year in 2016, I was absolutely delighted to obtain a ballot place for this year’s event. This was the first time that I had been successful in securing a place to run, and having paced it last year, knew how electric the atmosphere is. This is probably the second best race for crowd support in London (if not the UK), after the London Marathon, in my experience. This was one of my A-list events for 2017, and I was really looking forward to it. My goal back when I first found out I had a place was to be race-ready for a PB, so anything better than 1:23:14. Unfortunately, I had a minor ulcerative colitis flare which started in July. Things were manageable, and I completed Ride London and a couple of smaller road races in August. Things got progressively worse, and I just managed to do the London Duathlon in September. After this (although probably not related to any events), the colitis got very much out of hand. Being in and out of hospital over the past few weeks and on 40mg of prednisolone, it has been a testing time. I was in hospital just last Sunday (1st October), and based on my symptoms and disease severity, convinced that running Royal Parks in just 7 days would be nigh impossible.
Apple Watch series 3 – Worth the upgrade?
I have owned my original Apple Watch since it launched back in 2015. I was immensely excited, and wore it almost every-day over that summer. However, I continually found myself turning to my fenix 3, and my love affair with the Apple Watch soon started to dwindle. Sure I continued to use it, but probably not as much as I had initially anticipated. It was a nice enough watch, but I often found it slow and lacking in features. The fenix 3 really was my watch of choice for the vast majority of 2016. In April of 2017, I then upgraded to the forerunner 935. And for the past 6 months, I’ve been using the the 935 as both my daily and sports watch, wearing it pretty much 24/7. At this point, my Apple Watch had not been switched on in months. After watching the WWDC Keynote by Apple in June 2017, I took notice of how far along the Apple Watch had come, and with the promise of Watch OS4 on the horizon, began to pay interest once more. Roll onto the September Keynote, Apple finally unveiled the Apple Watch Series 3. Coming in 2 flavours, both LTE or GPS, I knew that the Apple Watch had not only progressed in terms of OS, but hardware, too.
After some contemplation, I ordered the Apple Watch Series 3 on the 26th of September, taking delivery for it the following day. My model of choice was the 42mm Space Grey aluminium with a grey sport band. I opted for the non-LTE model, as the LTE version is only available with EE in the UK. I may have been tempted to fork out for LTE, but there still seem to be a few technical kinks to iron out, stock issues as well as my mobile being with O2. Perhaps sometime in the future then for LTE. But for now, even GPS is a huge incentive over the launch Apple Watch. So, was it worht the upgrade?
London Duathlon 2017 race report
The London Duathlon has now become one of my firm favourite events, and a highlight of the year. I love running. I love cycling. Combing the two disciplines is simply an amazing experience. I managed to get a free place for this year’s event, after achieving a PB last year. It has been a very troubling few weeks for me (health-wise), and right up until race morning, I was debating on whether I should even do the event. I absolutely hate mentioning this, but it is a huge reality and affects my performance full circle. But I firmly believe that how we perform under duress is what truly defines us. Philosophy and reasoning aside, how did this year go?
A brief review of the eve Mattress
After a recent refurbishment, I was in the market for a mattress for my new bed. I always try to do my ‘research’ prior to a purchase, particularly one of such significance and expense. I sleep an average of 8 hours in a 24 hour period (more or less!), which equates to 1/3 of my life spent in my bed. Now if I live until a fair old age of 90, that equates to 30 years (on average) spent on your chosen mattress of choice! Definitely not something to be frugal about. I saw an advertisement for eve mattresses on the London underground (several times), and have always been drawn to them. Positive advertisement? None-the-less, an online search returned favourable reviews. The price of a king size (EU) mattress was £700, and when compared directly with other more well-known brands, was not considerably more. One thing which often confuses me is the range of different types of mattresses available. Cheaper options all the way to high-end. Not to forget the plethora of different filling types. Eve have a single range, the only variation being size. Now this does seem to be a one size fits all business strategy, however, after reading several reviews and watching a number of videos, I was keen to try eve out. In no short part because they offer a 100-day trial period, which added to my peace of mind. I simply had nothing to lose.
A long overdue race report of the Bupa Great Birmingham Run 2014
This is a very long overdue race report of the Bupa Great Birmingham Run from October 2014. For various reasons, I did not get around to writing a formal write-up of this event. I have thought about this event, somewhat critically, for a long while. I believe the reason I did not write a race report for this event was due to a somewhat bitter taste left in my mouth, reasons for which will become apparent as you read on. It is a race in which I, arguably, was at the peak of my running ability, ran the strongest and learned a lot about myself. Before I continue much further, I should add that 2014 was the year in which I began to run seriously. A few weeks before (5 to be precise) I had only just managed to break a sub-40 10k, and was absolutely elevated. I had no idea that within just 4 weeks, I would achieve a half-marathon PB of 1:23:39. This was a week before this race at the Oxford Half. Feeling stronger than ever, I was super excited about Birmingham.
Pride 10k 2017 race report
I first ran the Pride 10k last year. It is an event organised by London Front Runners, held every August. The race takes place in Victoria Park, and has become somewhat of a regular in my running diary, and I have already pencilled in the date for 2018.
Team MAD at RideLondon-Surrey 100
After yet again being unsuccessful in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 ballot, I was fortunate enough to secure a charity place with Crohn’s and Colitis UK. I was (and still am!) already raising money for this charity, which is very close to my heart, by running 2017km in 2017. You can read more about this on my just giving page here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Andy-Kumar?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_content=Andy-Kumar&utm_campaign=pfp-share. I approached them and asked if I may ride with their team on a charity place as I was already fundraising, to which they kindly agreed. So dismay was turned into happiness, and so began my journey!