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Sigma introduced ROX 12.1 EVO a few months ago. A new flagship computer that should provide a top-notch navigation experience. Is that really so? In this review, you’ll find out!
I’ve been using it for the last few weeks to find out how easy to use it is, what features it offers, and most importantly, how it compares to Garmin, Wahoo, and other best bike computers.
In summary: The Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO is an intuitive bike computer that does the basics well and offers a great navigation experience. On the other hand, it has short battery life and not so bright display. It’s also a shame that it doesn’t have a multi-band GNSS and Climb-Pro-like feature.
Continue reading for more info.
Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO Pros & Cons
These are the main pros & cons of ROX 12.1 EVO I found during its use.
- Responsive display (even when using with gloves)
- Customizable via a smartphone app
- Easy to use
- Combination of control buttons and touch-screen
- High flexibility when setting data fields and their layouts
- Great navigation experience
- Maps can be updated via WiFi
- Features rich (including Crash detection and more)
- USB-C charging port
- Short battery life
- Slow startup time (~50s)
- GPS accuracy is not on the level of multi-band GNSS devices
- The display is not too bright
- No ClimbPro-like feature
- No live tracking feature
- Outdated design (thick bezels)
- Poor controllability when the display is wet
What’s New Compared to the ROX 12.0 EVO?
It took a while (5 years) before Sigma released the ‘.1’ update of the 12.0. The changes between Sigma ROX 12.0 EVO and 12.1 EVO include:
- Redesigned form factor
- Shorter battery life (16 vs. 14 hours)
- Switch from MicroUSB to USB-C
- Added Bluetooth connectivity (so it can show your phone notifications, for example)
- The RIDE app is easier to use and has new features (target navigation, easier sharing to 3rd party apps)
- Added crash detection feature
- Added e-bike and radar support
- Optimized UI (reduced complexity)
- Improved map style
Unboxing & Setup
The package includes:
- Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO
- Out front mount + stem mount
- USB-C charging cable
- Komoot voucher
To set 12.1 EVO up, you have to download a smartphone app and scan the QR like on Wahoo ELEMNT bike computers.
Then you pair the sensors, and you are good to go. However, I always go through settings to find out more about the possibilities, and I also adjust data fields.
I like the possibility of changing the number of data fields displayed and their layout. Everything can be done directly on the device or in the Sigma Ride app.
I’ve been using Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO for a few weeks now. Here are my main takes:
- The navigation experience is great – on par, maybe even better than Garmin’s.
- The display is responsive, and the bike computer is easy to use.
- The battery life is below average.
Let’s now talk about individual features in more detail.
The display size of the Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO is 3 inches, with a resolution of 240×400px. This means the resolution is slightly better than on Garmin Edge 540 or 840 bike computers.
It’s still a touchscreen, but despite its size, it feels compact. However, even after a significant redesign from the previous generation (ROX 12.0 EVO), I still find the bezels too wide.
Here are the screen sizes and resolutions of some of the ROX 12.1 EVO alternatives.
- Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM v2: 2.7in (240×400px), non-touchscreen
- Bryton Rider 750: 2.8in (240×400px), touchscreen
- Hammerhead Karoo 2: 3.2in (480×800px), touchscreen
The ROX 12.1 EVO has decent readability but relatively low brightness and not-so-contrasty colors. I can still read everything in direct sunlight, but I can imagine that people with poor eyesight may have issues. Its finish is also glossier than Wahoo computers, reflecting more glares.
It has an ambient sensor, so it can adjust the brightness based on the outside light conditions to save battery life.
The ROX 12.1 EVO can fit up to 10 data fields on one data page, and you can also choose from multiple layouts available for each data page.
It’s a shame that it can’t zoom in and out through data fields like ELEMNT computers to make the data fields larger or smaller.
On the other hand, you can customize the background color of each data page to color code the same types of data (watts, HR, speed) or match it with your bike’s color. This is honestly a cool feature. Furthermore, this settings is more flexible than on most bike computers. It’s one of the highlights of 12.1 EVO.
The claimed battery life of ROX 12.1 EVO is up to 14 hours, which is low in 2023. I would expect at least 20 hours. I hate recharging a bike computer every week or two.
The question was how long will it last in standard use (with HR monitor, power meter, cycling radar, and phone connected).
I was able to squeeze about 13 hours and 24 minutes from it. For comparison, Edge 840 lasted about 24.25 hours during my testing.
By the way, the following chart shows the battery life of the best bike computers:
This bike computer has a battery saver mode but is only available when an activity is in progress. You can access it by pressing the power button.
It would also be great if Sigma could display the remaining battery life when turning off the device. The small icon at the screen’s top can be easily missed.
Lastly, it’s important to mention that 12.1 EVO has a USB-C charging port.
Control & User Friendliness
The ROX 12.1 EVO offers several significant benefits, with ease of use being one of the key advantages. Although it may not match the Wahoo ELEMNT’s level of simplicity, it provides more extensive functionality.
The Sigma head unit is user-friendly and boasts a touchscreen and button-based controls. You can choose the one that suits your preference or combine them.
What’s impressive is the responsive display and powerful internal components, ensuring a smooth experience throughout the system without any lags. For comparison, I noticed that Edge bike computers become sluggish when using long courses.
During testing, I also checked the touchscreen’s reliability in wet conditions and while wearing full-finger gloves. While the display handled well my full-finger gloves, it struggled with water. Watch the video below.
As mentioned before, you have two options to set up the bike computer:
- Using the Sigma Ride smartphone app or,
- directly on the device.
However, I noticed that the smartphone app lacks some settings, such as WiFi connections and map downloads. It would be great if Sigma unified this experience.
Maps & Navigation
The main focus of the ROX 12.1 EVO is on cyclists who value excellent navigation. So I was naturally curious about it.
The good news is that you can conveniently download and update maps wirelessly, unlike on Garmin Edges.
Moreover, you have the option to prioritize road types for navigation, like favoring tarmac over gravel or dirt roads.
With 8 GB of internal storage, you can download numerous maps. For instance, the UK map takes up 480 MB, while US states range from a few MBs to a few hundred MBs, and Germany occupies about 1 GB.
During my use of the Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO, I encountered some confusion when trying to set a home address. The available countries for selection were limited to downloaded maps, so I had to download the map of the Czech Republic first to set my home address.
On the positive side, loading and calculating routes are pretty fast, taking only a few seconds, and the turn-by-turn instructions appear at just the right time.
However, the biggest drawback is that this head unit lacks a ClimbPro-like feature. But Sigma is working on introducing it soon.
Notably, there are multiple navigation options available with the ROX 12.1 EVO. It can guide you to Points of Interest (POIs), a selected point on the map, back home, a preloaded route, and more.
I like the “Draw my route” feature. Simply draw a route on the map, and the navigation does the rest.
The 12.1 EVO doesn’t support multi-band GNSS satellite systems as the higher-end bike computers. So, how does this translate into GPS accuracy?
I went to my favorite segment in the forest, where I test all the bike computers. The accuracy was pretty bad. The ride recorded was completely off-road in a few places.
I honestly don’t understand why a navigation-focused, flagship bike computer doesn’t have multi-band GNSS.
Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO has ANT+, Bluetooth, and WiFi connectivity. It can download and update maps wirelessly.
Of course, ROX 12.1 EVO can automatically upload your activities to 3rd party apps like Strava or TrainingPeaks, or control your smart trainer.
Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO Alternatives
Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO FAQ
Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO Technical Specifications
Here is the summary of the main features and the technical specification of the Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO.
- Battery life: 14 hours (USB-C charging)
- Screen size: 3in / 76mm
- Touchscreen: Yes
- Weight: 110g
- Strava live segments: Yes
- Smart trainers control: Yes
- Smart navigation (rerouting): Yes
- Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
- Waterproofing: n/a
- Internal memory: n/a
- Sensors: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo
The Sigma ROX 12.1 EVO is a bike computer that appeals to a very specific group of people. Despite being a new flagship model, it lacks some features commonly found in cheaper bike computers, like the ClimbPro-like feature* and multi-band GNSS.
*Sigma is working on adding such a feature, but they didn’t confirm when they will release it.
I like how much flexibility the interface offers in terms of data pages and fields. It’s on par, maybe even better than Hammerhead Karoo 2 interface.
ROX 12.1 EVO is cheaper than Garmin Edges (840 and 1040) but more expensive than the compact yet similarly capable Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 or less-known Chinese alternatives.
Personally, I don’t belong to the group of people considering buying the EVO 12.1. This bike computer is more suitable for those who appreciate sophisticated navigation features, e-bike riders, and those who don’t mind short battery life focused on performance.
Maybe I will change my mind once they introduce the ClimbPro-like alternative. But I really started to hate bike computers that need to be recharged every week.
After considering all the pros and cons, I believe the price-to-performance ratio of this head unit is not favorable. This is true even though there is a significant difference between the Sigma 12.0 EVO and 12.1 EVO.
However, it’s worth noting that these two versions are five years apart. I feel that Sigma missed the chance to make a bigger impact and introduced a product that is already outdated in some areas.