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A cycling-specific Android operating system, instant Strava mapping and 10 hour battery life in full navigation mode: is the new Hammerhead Karoo a Garmin rival or better?

A young New York start-up, Hammerhead's previous flagship product was a uniquely-shaped navigational tool that simply told you which way to turn via bright LED lights in conjunction with their mobile app. The Karoo sees their attempt at a full-blown GPS computer, and looking at the spec list there are numerous features that set it apart from the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt and even Garmin's top end computers. 

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Hammerhead Karoo
The Karoo doesn't appear any bulkier than its rivals, and is compatible with Garmin mounts

The Karoo runs off a cycling-specific Android operating system, that has a whole host of bespoke apps for navigation, exploration, training, and sharing that constantly expands via over-the-air updates. Detail in design and simplicity in use is the mantra here, with a high-res, non-reflective touchscreen sourced from military suppliers and made of Gorilla Glass topping off the head unit. You can operate the touchscreen with gloves on, and it's also not affected by water droplets. Phone connectivity allows you to keep your phone charged and stowed away without having to stop and sync - everything, including mapping, can be recorded and logged instantaneously, which means you can record a Strava route and have it fully mapped and stored in the device before you've got home.

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The all-day battery is truly all-day, and the Karoo can operate for ten hours with all the mapping functions turned on. The positioning technology combines GPS, GLONASS, mobile triangulation and sensor data (accelerometer, compass and barometer), making for rapid satellite pickups. As well as plenty of third-party compatibility, Karoo offers its own training modes and programs too, including 
pre-loaded standard tests like FTP, and 
goal alerts for specific power, heart rate or speeds. It will be sold with a barfly out-front mount that's also Garmin-compatible, a smart move from Karoo in anticipation of reeling in previous Garmin users. 

If you're sold already unfortunately an RRP hasn't yet been given, although the cutting edge tech and long list of features has us guessing high rather than low. The Karoo will be sold direct via Hammerhead’s website, and they aim to start shipping the first units in August to "a number of countries", the UK being one of them we're told. You can join Hammerhead's mailing list for info on updates, pre-order discounts and possible test unit availability prior to general release… speaking of which, we’ll be looking to get our hands on one soon for an in-depth review, so keep an eye on our Reviews section over summer. 

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since.  He joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.