The Cateye Padrone Smart Triple Wireless kit is a great idea for a cycle computer that uses an app and your smartphone to get the most out of your bike ride. In the kit you get the computer, a speed/cadence sensor and a heart rate sensor. The kit only works with certain phones, though, so check out Cateye's list of compatible devices here before you purchase.
It's very similar to the Cateye Strada Smart that Dave Atkinson reviewed recently. The big difference – the Padrone's big appeal, quite literally – is the size of the screen. The Padrone's is much bigger – the unit itself is 67.5 x 43 x 15.6mm (the Strada is 47 x 32 x 13.2mm) – meaning you can see everything on the screen clearly and easily while you're on the bike and when you're stopped.
Like the Strada, the Padrone works in two modes, Mirror and Sensor Direct. Mirror Mode connects the computer directly to your phone, but lets you leave your phone in sleep mode so it saves on battery life and you can tuck it away safely out of the weather. As well as displaying ride data provided by your phone's GPS, it tells you if you have a text message, a call or an email. Sensor Direct, as the name suggests, provides speed, cadence and heart rate information by connecting directly with the sensors via Bluetooth, so you don't have to take your phone with you.
Although it all looks simple enough to install if you know what you're doing, if you've never had a device like it then the instructions could be a little confusing and you might need to look online for extra help.
After reading the instructions, installing the Cateye Cycling app and mounting the bracket, you have to pair everything together. To pair the heart rate and speed sensors you simply activate them. There is a fair amount of fiddling about following app instructions (keep the paper instructions handy too), but I paired everything with no problems at all. Configuring the computer is straightforward too: you just set the time and which units you want. The Padrone and the associated app are Bluetooth only, so if you have any ANT+ sensors (such as a power meter) they won't work, even if your phone is capable of receiving ANT+ data, which many now are.
Pairing your phone with the computer is really simple too, and once all that is done, you should be able to just hit record and go. The computer records data at regular intervals and has an auto-pause feature, meaning it pauses your ride when you stop, which is handy.
In Mirror Mode it works really well. The connection between the mounted computer and my phone was seamless. The unit makes it easy to see all the data you want and is simple to work. You can view your heart rate, speed, distance and so on with ease.
There are two main data fields. The one at the top defaults to speed, but you can switch it to heart rate or cadence if you prefer. The bottom field clicks through whatever other data is available, and that'll depend on how you're using the computer. There's total distance, elapsed time and two trip distance counters. Plus there's altitude in Mirror Mode and heart rate, cadence and power from any paired sensors. Average and maximum values for speed, cadence, heart rate and power are also available.
Initially, in Direct Mode it had problems connecting to the sensors, so I contacted Zyro, whose technical experts were extremely helpful, and discovered that the sensor was faulty. Since replacing it I've had no issues with connection.
The computer takes a CR2032 lithium battery, which Cateye says will last for around four months. Our experience of the Strada Smart, however, was that six weeks was a good run. I can't help thinking Cateye missed a beat here by not making the unit rechargeable.
For £180, the Cateye Padrone Smart might not be for everyone. Mirror Mode would be its primary use, although having Direct Mode too does make it flexible. The price point makes it an individual choice, but it will save your phone battery life compared with running an app constantly – and possibly your phone's life as it can be tucked away safe from harm.
A good bike computer that makes use of your smartphone's capabilities, with a clear display, but the price will put some off
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Make and model: Cateye Padrone Smart Triple Wireless Kit
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Cateye says: "Smart technology meets our most popular display, the Padrone. Download the free CatEye Cycling app, stash your smartphone away safely in your jersey pocket or saddlebag and hit the road. Use Mirror Mode to get GPS-powered ride data, SMS (Text), call and email alerts from your phone displayed on the Padrone Smart's screen while your phone is kept safe from the elements in sleep mode, preserving the battery.
"When carrying a phone isn't ideal, use Sensor Direct Mode to get speed, cadence, heart rate and power data directly from Bluetooth® Smart wireless sensors."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Current speed： 0.0(4.0)～105.9km/h
Total distance： 0.0～9999.9/10000-99999km
Trip distance 1： 0.00～999.99km
Trip distance 2： 0.00～999.99/1000.0～9999.9km
Elapsed time： 0:00'00"～9:59'59"
Average speed： 0.0～105.9km/h
Maximum speed： 0.0(4.0)～105.9km/h
Wireless transmission： Bluetooth®
Clock： 0:00'～23:59' [1:00'～12:59']
Pace arrow： Yes
Auto power saving： Yes
Auto mode： Yes (Auto/Manual start/stop)
Dual tire size： Yes
Tire size： 100mm～3999mm (default：2096mm)
Compatible sensors： CatEye brand ISC-12 Speed/Cadence sensor / HR-12 Heart Rate sensor
* Also works with other brand Speed, Cadence, Heart Rate, and/or Power sensors conforming to Bluetooth4.0 CSCP/HRP/CPP
Battery： CR2032 X1
Battery life：Approx 4 months
Dimension： 67.5 X43.0 X15.6 mm
Weight： 30 grams
The factory-loaded battery life might be shorter than the specification above.
Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
In Mirror Mode, connected to my phone, it worked very well, and after some issues getting it connected to the sensors in Direct Mode (and some help from Zyro), that worked really well too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The large, clear display.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, when it worked.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 34 Height: 158cms Weight: 61kg
I usually ride: Giant defy My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking