Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 42 total)
  • Perennial question: What fitness watch?
  • Premier Icon atiredman
    Free Member

    I’m in the market for a fitness tracker that will be my only watch – so will get plenty of wear. Because I plan to keep it for 4 or 5 years, I’m not that price sensitive, but I am a Scotsman – I want value and maximum bang for the buck.

    I am deep in the Apple ecosystem for 15 years, but I don’t think it’s an Apple watch – not sure it is good enough for fitness. And battery life is still terrible.

    So – Polar or Garmin. What have you got, and what would you recommend? I’m currently following a coached plan on Training Peaks if that makes any difference?

    A new Vantage is rumoured to be dropping imminently (but after my b/d, which my wife is aiming for). Hold out for that or plump for something like a Forerunner or Fenix? Sleep and recovery tracking are critical for me.

    Lots of previous threads – any updates to the standard advice?

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    I like the Garmin offerings, had the Vivoactive HR, 3 and now have the 4. These are their smart watch type offerings, have all the sleep tracking, body battery stuff that you desire. I use them for running, biking, hiking and been nothing but happy with them.

    I’ve no need for navigation, so never went for the Fenix type, YMMV.

    I kept the 3, as they were only selling for 70 quid used, it’s a handy back up for either my 4 or the wifes 4s.

    Never tried Polar, don’t know anyone in my running club that uses anything other than Garmin tbh.

    I’ve had 16 hours GPS battery life form the 4, and in general running or biking most days, it lasts about 5 days between charges.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    If you aren’t wanting Navigation, an Instinct Solar.  It does do Navigation quite well, just not colour/TBT.

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Full Member

    Been happy with my Apple Watch S3 for day to day activity tracking and Strava. I get good enough HRM from the wrist sensor. I like the bluetooth music stuff for running. I have the bigger one (that does better on battery) and it lasts for 6 hour rides with Strava going, or 2 days of normal activity. Had Garmins before but I just like the Apple Watch for everyday.

    For the Garmin route, the Fenix 5 Plus is £369 at Blacks right now. Does all the fancy stuff like Garmin Pay, Spotify music, maps navigation, etc.

    Premier Icon jeffl
    Full Member

    I recently bought a Garmin Vivoactive 3. Does the health side of things pretty well, doesn’t look too silly on my wrist. Wife has the Vivoactive 4 which adds things like body battery, pulse oximeter and I think animated guides for Yoga.

    I don’t really use any of the smart functionality which is basically notifications and quick responses to messages (not sure if responses work on Appple so you may want to check), control of Spotify and a weather app.

    Quite like the Garmin store as there are loads of apps and watch faces out there that will fill most of the gaps.

    That being said if you’re an apple fanboi then surely the default is the Apple Watch 6? https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2020/09/apple-watch-series-6-se-and-apple-fitness-service-launched-complete-details.html

    Oh and Garmin pay works with very few UK card providers so that’s a bit of a waste of time.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    I have the Polar Vantage V.

    Main pro points:
    1. impressive battery life about a week with continuous HR measurement active.
    2. Excellent sleep stats and analysis
    3. GPS seems very reliable / accurate
    4. Optical HR seems good

    Premier Icon grum
    Free Member

    I have a Fenix but would probs get a Vivoactive if buying again. The Fenix is very bulky.

    Apple watch is ugly and cheap looking imo, which is odd for a design led company.

    Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    I really like my Apple Watch, the integration and slick-ness seems way above what you get with the other options. I just wish the exercise screens could have more data – then it would be perfect and I could do without my again Garmin Edge 510 on bike rides. Apple could just update the software, although they haven’t over several iterations so far.

    The HRM seems really good – it’s very rare for it to be off IME.

    Apple Pay on watch is really useful since my phone requires Face ID which doesn’t work with face masks (I know, this is the Firstiest of World Problems!).

    Even with my most active days (5hrs+ riding) I have never come close to running the battery out in a day (in fact, it’s rarely < 60% when I put it on charge). Since I don’t like wearing a watch in bed, it’s easy to put in on a charger. Non-issue for me.

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Full Member

    This one looks excellent value, and is a rival to Garmin watches at least 200GBP more expensive:

    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2020/09/coros-pace-2-in-depth-review-multisport-running-power.html

    Premier Icon timmys
    Full Member

    And battery life is still terrible.

    I will never understand this point of view. It lasts all day*, you charge it at night.

    *well two actually.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    I have a Fenix 5 plus, and it’s been really easy to live with. It’s easy to use, the nav page is a bit mleh, but as a back up it’s pretty good. You can customise the display, the info, the sports, damn near everything, and it’s seems robust and stable, even loads Spotify on it, and music on the go is dead easy The glass is v scratch resistant, and tough, and the intervals between charging even if you use it a couple of times a week, is weekly rather than daily. Would recommend. It’s been far and away the easiest bit of Garmin kit I’ve ever lived with.

    Also tried the Suunto 7 for a while, and all the things I’ve said about the Garmin is also true of that watch as well. with the added benefit of swerving the Garmin Interfaces (both Connect and Express are far and away the worst aspects of Garmin ownership…the fact that there are two distinct systems really does tell you a lot about how dysfunctional the whole thing is)

    Edit: Oh, and there’s the “shop”; Connect IQ, so in fact 3 distinct interfaces…’sigh’

    Premier Icon Del
    Full Member

    Have been happy with my Garmin forerunner 435, which is basically fenix 5 without the enormous case, but the altitude sensor now appears borked so I have to connect to my pc to get it to true-up. 🙄 great battery though. I use GPS up to 6 times a week and only need to charge it once a week which it’s very quick to do. Ability to respond to messages with a quick ‘ok’ or ‘on my way’ while riding is useful too. There’s a newer version out now, inevitably.

    Dcrainmaker is a good source of information

    Edit to respond to Nick’s comments above – I hear people slate Garmin’s software all the time but I find it absolutely fine.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    I will never understand this point of view. It lasts all day*, you charge it at night.

    Depends what you use it for eg if I go bike packing I want my watch to record GPS and HR for the whole trip in one go.

    I also wear my watch 24/7 as I want the sleep / recovery data, so the fact it only needs 1hr charge a week is quite handy.

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Full Member

    the added benefit of swerving the Garmin Interfaces (both Connect and Express are far and away the worst aspects of Garmin ownership…the fact that there are two distinct systems really does tell you a lot about how dysfunctional the whole thing is)

    Edit: Oh, and there’s the “shop”; Connect IQ, so in fact 3 distinct interfaces…’sigh’

    I quite like Connect, rarely if ever use Express, but I agree Connect IQ is awful.

    I will never understand this point of view. It lasts all day*, you charge it at night.

    That’s exactly the main issue with Apple (and other smart) watches – crap battery life. My Fenix 5 needs recharging less than once a week, and that’s using it for at least an hour of GPS-activated sport a day. (On the flip side of course I can’t control my phone from my wrist, but TBH I’ve never really seen the point of that anyway).

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    I will never understand this point of view. It lasts all day*, you charge it at night.

    *well two actually.

    Aye, if you don’t use the GPS. A watch which offers sleep analysis, but you need to charge it overnight? aye, very good!

    Premier Icon gonefishin
    Free Member

    It takes about an hour to charge my S2 apple watch from flat to full so it’s pretty easy to do at any time, mine is currently sitting at 50% having charged it before I slept last night. People do it overnight because it’s easy, but it doesn’t take the whole night to do.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    rarely if ever use Express

    How do you install map and hardware updates?

    Premier Icon jam-bo
    Full Member

    Battery life was my biggest concern when I went from a garmin to apple.

    In reality, it’s never been an issue. It only takes an hour or so to charge, I generally drop mine on the charger early evening.

    If I was a rufty, tufty adventurer scaling high mountains and deep gorges I’d get a fenix solar, but I’m not so an Apple Watch will do just fine…

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    you charge it at night

    Alternatives have much better battery life so can be more easily used for sleep tracking (and on my new Fitbit Versa 2, oxygen levels which it calculates as I sleep).

    I use Apple products but absolutely will not consider an Apple watch until they improve the battery life on them.

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    What Jam bo said. I’ve had Garmin watches since they first came out. My current Fenix 6x Pro is now reserved for holidays with an Apple Watch 4 as my daily driver.

    I stick mine on the charger when I’m sat at my desk or when in the car; battery life could be better, but it’s not a deal breaker.

    The new Apple Watch 6 has an oximeter too.

    Premier Icon jam-bo
    Full Member

    I use Apple products but absolutely will not consider an Apple watch until they improve the battery life on them

    They won’t, it’s pretty clear from the last few iterations that the focus is doing more with the battery capacity rather than making it last longer.

    Premier Icon mickyfinn
    Full Member

    I don’t charge my Apple Watch overnight I charge it at night for an hour while I’m sitting with my feet up. Long trips away from a plug socket I have a small Anker power bank which can charge my watch and phone about 4 times each.
    The built in Workout App does lack in customisation but tbh WorkOutDoors is so good that I don’t use the stock app anyway.
    Yes a Garmin battery lasts for ages but tbh I’m not that bothered. Others obviously are so each to their own if we all had the same preferences the world would be a boring place.

    Premier Icon peajay
    Full Member

    Fenix 6 sapphire, no complaints so far. I like a tool watch and it fits the bill.

    Premier Icon beaker
    Full Member

    I can reccommend the Garmin Instinct Solar. I like the 12 days between charges especially! It isn’t a watch for navigating (although it does basic nav) but health tracking stuff is very good.

    Premier Icon loum
    Free Member

    There’s a new 745 out if you go Garmin.
    Personally very happy with suunto, but would be looking at polar grit if mine packed up. Good for OHR, GPS, sleep, running and Battery life.
    These things don’t last forever, the battery does end up deteriorating a bit. So if it’s a “keep for 4 or 5 years” job then I’d prioritise strong battery to start, losing a bit from a week is less problem than losing a bit from a day.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Full Member

    How about the new release Apple watch 6/

    It’s the first one that’s made me think maybe…

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    Edit to respond to Nick’s comments above – I hear people slate Garmin’s software all the time but I find it absolutely fine.

    I just think that they could be better. Connect is the least worse, and it’s the one you use day to day I guess, but  connecting kit to it via bluetooth is flaky. For example; for some reason it thinks I have 2 Edge 520’s..the one I always use and the one I never use…There’s so much rubbish on it that finding anything on the Connect IQ website is a PITA, and then for added joy and amusement to get updates…there’s another programme! as God forbid that I can update the watch over the wifi via Connect…It’s not terrible I’ll admit, but it’s by far and away the least good bit about Garmin.

    And compared to the Suunto experience which manages perfectly well to have all that on a page on my phone…It’s horrid.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    On the SW front, I really like the Polar iPhone App. The watch connects to the phone via BT for exchanging data and getting updates. It syncs in the background every hour or so, so the phone app normally has reasonably up to date HR / sleep data whenever you look at it. It doesn’t sync whilst you’r recording an activity, you have to wait till its finished and then it syncs automatically if the phone is within range. All pretty slick.

    Premier Icon chestrockwell
    Full Member

    I had a Garmin Forerunner 35 then upgraded to a Vivoactive 4 which is great and just what you are after by the sounds of things. Plenty of features, looks decent, doesn’t get in the way and the battery lasts well.

    I bought my wife a Apple watch for her birthday and it’s a very slick looking thing but think my Garmin is the better product overall. The battery life is so poor that we thought it was defective and nearly took it back to the shop!

    Premier Icon drew27
    Free Member

    I had a Fitbit Ionic for over a year but ended up moving to Garmin after 2 warranty replacements and I wanted something more running focused.

    The fitbit app, I think, is a better user experience, especially from a lifestyle view.

    Garmin I feel really lacks in this department. Yes, Connnect tells you average rhr/ sleep but the way it’s done I think is lacking. The fitbit app made me want to look at trends and stats every day, Garmin I just don’t bother.

    However, the forerunner 645 is miles ahead as a watch vs the ionic for running. Much more customisable.

    If the Garmin watch could feed into Fitbit, I would be a happy bunny.

    Not sure this helps but I would focus on what you want the watch for.

    I was about to buy a forerunner 235 when I spotted that Argos were selling the Garmin 645 Music for £199.

    Its a birthday present for myself for tomorrow so havent tried it yet, but on paper it seemed a good deal.

    Premier Icon Aidy
    Free Member

    Oh and Garmin pay works with very few UK card providers so that’s a bit of a waste of time.

    It supports Curve. So basically any card except Amex works with it.

    I’ve a Fenix 5 Plus. Really like it, but a couple of niggles.

    Charging port is always a faff. I’ve got a cover for it now, but it still needs cleaning thoroughly each time. Fortunately it goes over a week between charges, so it’s not too painful.

    Sleep tracking (because you mentioned it) isn’t amazing. It only catches sleep around the times that you set, if you suddenly have a weird schedule it doesn’t catch it. Nor naps. I don’t think it does well at tracking sleep stages, either.

    I’m a bit disappointed that Garmin don’t bring new features to their older devices. That’s not really a big problem, but it’s a bit lame that their top end models don’t get at least *some* of the new features backported.

    I’ve had to disable location stuffs in Garmin Connect, it can get into a weird loop if there’s no data, and kill the phone battery. That means I don’t get weather data on my watch. Which kinda sucks, it was useful.

    All that said, I’d still buy another Garmin. Pros outweigh the cons.

    Premier Icon Aidy
    Free Member

    and then for added joy and amusement to get updates…there’s another programme! as God forbid that I can update the watch over the wifi via Connect…It’s not terrible I’ll admit, but it’s by far and away the least good bit about Garmin.

    I find it’ll do software updates over bluetooth (haven’t tried wifi, I don’t really get why wifi is a feature), but not map updates. That’s particularly annoying for me when I run Linux and have to borrow a computer to run Garmin Connect (better now I’ve upgraded and can run a Win 10 VM), especially annoying when a SW update on my 820 broke the maps that were on it.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    It supports Curve. So basically any card except Amex works with it.

    Hmmm never heard of curve, need to investigate.

    Premier Icon Kuco
    Full Member

    I swapped my Vivo Active 3 music for an Apple Watch Series 3. Mainly because the Vivo didn’t play well with my iPhone. Really happy with the Apple watch and it does me for the biking and running that I do and a great day to day watch.

    If I was really serious about the training I would go for one of the much better sport-specific watches. My personnel problem with a lot of the Fenix and Suunto watches is I have a small wrist and they look big and stupid on me.

    Apple watch is ugly and cheap looking imo

    Compared to my Vivo Active 3 that looks and feels like it came out of a Christmas cracker the Apple watch looks like the crown jewels.

    Premier Icon lotto
    Free Member

    Casio G-Shock GBD-H1000. GPS and HRM.

    Premier Icon mikertroid
    Free Member

    I’ve had a few Suunto (Ambit 1,2&3) and moved to Garmin, first a Fenix 3, then Instinct and more recently a VA4. I still have the Instinct.

    I will probably get a Fenix 6 Pro Solar any day. The Instinct is tough, the VA4 has garmin pay and a few other extra features I use frequently, and I may as well combine the 2 into the Fenix. I suspect I’ll sell the other 2 on; I do a lot of watersports and the VA4 screen is a pain when wet when trying to access functions.

    The VA4 is an excellent fitness watch, however, and makes a great day to day watch you can wear to a meeting at work. Its also good value. The Instinct is also superb, majoring on durability.

    PS. Do research into Curve’s anti fraud guarantee. I use Starling and Revolut on G-Pay and it’s superb.

    Premier Icon Del
    Full Member

    Casio G-Shock GBD-H1000

    <span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>Dcrainmaker made some observations about those in his review of the new instinct solar. Not terribly favourable ones.</span>

    Premier Icon Del
    Full Member

    Wtf goes on with the text editor on this site?

    Premier Icon superdan
    Full Member

    Side note, is anyone else having more crashes and instability on their Garmin watches recently? My Fenix 5 has started locking up or randomly restarting sometimes, particularly when trying to follow routes.

    I’d love to use any other brand, but a big selling point for me as a T1D is having an Xdrip blood sugar readout as a widget and as a data feed during activity. I haven’t found a way of doing anything similar for the other sports watches yet.

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