1. StraightlineBoy's Avatar
    After about 6 months of owning a Nike edition Apple Watch I've sold it and put the money towards a Forerunner 935, the latest multi sport from Garmin. I thought I'd share a few thoughts on why I sold, my experience with the Apple Watch and the first few days with the Garmin. I intend this to be balanced and respectful; I won't be saying the AW is terrible and everyone should buy a Garmin or anything like that, just in case that's what you are expecting.

    I originally bought the AW Nike as running is my thing and the addition of GPS to the series 2 watches was a big draw for me. At that stage I owned a Garmin Forerunner 920XT; functional but ugly as sin. Having a watch that did music and GPS was precisely what I wanted.

    The first bump in the road was the Nike app. Nike have your data and don't want you to share it with any other service. As a long time Strava user this wasn't what I wanted. Updates came but none that improved that situation. Hacks were available to get round this but you know they'll break at some point. Other platforms were going to bring out Watch apps that supported GPS so with patience this should improve.

    The bigger problem for me, the real deal breaker, is the touchscreen and specifically how badly it responds to moisture, be that sweat or rain, both pretty day-to-day circumstances for an all-season runner. I lost at least one GPS trail because the watch recorded a phantom screen press and stopped the workout. It's kind of like Apple didn't test the watch for real world running at all because I very quickly found this flaw.

    It hasn't been all bad by any means. I've looked to fill my activity rings every day which can only be good. Apple Pay on the watch is really good. Walking round the supermarket and ticking off items on the AW is nice too. Getting texts and notifications is also good. I've used it for sleep tracking too. I've either been lucky or the watch has been quite rugged; I was able to sell it and describe it as being in as new condition despite having used it for 6 months. And as with most Apple products, the resale value is healthy too; I got about two-thirds of my money back.

    So onto the new Forerunner 935. It's a plain black watch with a circular face and has 5 buttons around the outside. It's quite chunky but not excessively so and it looks fine. The display uses a different technology to the AW, so you've got an always-on display, but not close to being as bright and vibrant as the AW screen. I've gone for a simple analog watch face with the date, step count and battery percent within the face. The big plus with this type of display is battery life. I charged 3 days ago, have done 2 long bike rides with GPS, 1 long indoor bike ride using the heart rate sensor and am at 67% battery remaining. You get a lot of detailed data related to your running through the Garmin app, particularly if you opt for their chest strap with accelerometer (I use this as I already owned it from my old Garmin) or the new pod that attaches to your waist band which is really cool along with the optical HR sensor. The forerunner does all of the basic activity tracking that AW/Fitbit etc does (Step count, floors climbed, sleep tracking etc)

    In terms of the Smart Watch stuff the Garmin obviously is weaker. In a premium priced device I find the absence of music playback to be bordering on being a crime. My iPod shuffle will remain in service for another couple of years! It does a reasonable job with notifications from the phone. Clearly the notifications aren't interactive as with the AW because Apple doesn't offer that to 3rd parties but that's not a deal-breaker...I never replied to iMessages from my watch anyway. I can see if I've got a message and the first line or so of it which is generally enough to know whether I need to reach for my phone or not. I have been able to add an app called Maker to my Garmin watch which offers simple IFTTT triggers so I have basic control of my Philips Hue lights from my watch which I didn't expect.

    I guess the other key downside of the Garmin to note is price. Usually it's Apple being criticised for hefty prices, but the AW is quite a chunk cheaper than a Forerunner 935.

    Overall remember that I'm not knocking the Apple Watch. At the moment it's early days for Smart Watches. Think of the early days of the iPhone and how new features flip-flopped back and forth between iOS and Android, and now both platforms have a lot of functionality and both are pretty good and it's about personal preference over brands. With the watches we're not there yet. With Garmin there's some big wins, with AW there's some other big wins but there's big compromises whichever camp you go for. Perhaps in the next few years they'll both borrow from each other and then the consumer will able to buy either and be happy with either. I will continue to keep an on AW and see what series 3 then series 4 brings. My experience with AW wasn't terrible so I'm definitely not ruling out getting another in the future if a few key things change.
    doogald likes this.
    05-29-2017 12:16 PM
  2. eyecrispy's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing. Food for thought from a fellow runner.
    05-29-2017 02:11 PM
  3. NexusGirlX's Avatar
    My local news did a test on the accuracy of several watches, the Garmin and Apple watches being two of them.

    The Garmin was the least accurate of any of the watches tested.
    05-29-2017 07:27 PM
  4. eyecrispy's Avatar
    My local news did a test on the accuracy of several watches, the Garmin and Apple watches being two of them.

    The Garmin was the least accurate of any of the watches tested.
    Least accurate in what way?
    05-29-2017 11:21 PM
  5. StraightlineBoy's Avatar
    It's difficult to answer sweeping statements in any constructive way. It doesn't say what model (with which firmware) and what was inaccurate about it.

    Best guess is it can only really be talking about GPS accuracy or optical heart rate.

    GPS accuracy is always an approximation on any device and I've found my previous Garmin to be consistent if not always perfect. An example of this is that I run along the path next to a canal and the GPS trail will often look like I've been in and out of the canal, and yet my 5k runs always are within a few steps of each other so that's fine by me. I can't comment on the new watch yet other than to say that I've seen nothing that worries me so far.

    Optical heart rate is an evolving technology and seems to vary from person to person and from device to device as to how good it is. I had some issues with the optical heart rate on the AW while running (I've posted screenshots on these forums in the past) and so far the new Garmin has seemed fairly accurate but it's early days.
    05-30-2017 01:01 AM
  6. doogald's Avatar
    Which Garmin? Least accurate in which way (GPS? Heart rate?)

    I'm not saying anything about your local news, but dcrainmaker.com is probably the best site for reviewing athletic and fitness devices like these. Here is the review for the Forerunner 935:

    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/03/...th-review.html

    tl;dr: There are some issues with heart rate during the start of cycling, but otherwise it's very good. GPS is very good, even during an open swim.

    Apple Watch Series 2: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/02/...on-review.html

    tl;dr: Run pacing stability for the stock workout app during a run is unreliable. Open water swim GPS accuracy is among the best. For heart rate, it takes a few minutes at the start of a run to get a heart rate lock, but they do not tell you that it does or does not have a lock, so early results are unreliable. Occasionally it loses heart rate and just stops sampling for a few minutes. GPS tracking of runs tends to be short. "Ultimately, neither the Apple Watch’s GPS or optical HR performance is anything to write home about. It’s below average at best. Not horrible for optical. But not great either."

    If you have a link to the local news story about this, maybe we can see which Garmin they were comparing to other watches.
    05-30-2017 05:34 AM
  7. NexusGirlX's Avatar
    Least accurate in what way?
    They used a few people on treadmills being monitored by EKG machines. All the women had watches on and the Garmin they tested was the worst at tracking the pulse as well as calories burned.

    I don't remember what Garmin watch they tried and I really didn't care which one it was. The Apple watch turned out to be the best at pulse monitoring.

    This was sometime last week so I don't remember a whole lot about it now other then what they said about the Garmin being one of the worst.
    05-30-2017 07:14 AM
  8. StraightlineBoy's Avatar
    There's too many variables for any watch to be able to give a meaningful calorie figure. It's somewhat of a pointless measure that I doubt any athlete uses.

    Optical heart rate still has a long way to go in general and there's plenty on DC Rainmaker's site about the subject. In particular they're usually poor at adjusting to a changing heart rate, for example if you're doing interval training. I did an indoor ride yesterday wearing a heart rate strap and my Garmin and the numbers were very similar. The big problem is when people with little knowledge wear these devices and accept whatever they say as always being true. I've done enough training that I can look at the HR number and have a good guess whether it's right or not.
    doogald likes this.
    05-30-2017 07:35 AM
  9. rangerdeyo's Avatar
    Great insight on both watches. I'll stick to my Apple Watch though. While I consider myself a runner, I run because I enjoy it and the stats arent a motivating factor. I do like seeing how I do on a run but I figure as long as I am using the same measuring stick every time, it really doesnt matter how much more accurate one is over another.
    Spencerdl likes this.
    05-30-2017 09:07 AM
  10. doogald's Avatar
    They used a few people on treadmills being monitored by EKG machines. All the women had watches on and the Garmin they tested was the worst at tracking the pulse as well as calories burned.

    I don't remember what Garmin watch they tried and I really didn't care which one it was. The Apple watch turned out to be the best at pulse monitoring.

    This was sometime last week so I don't remember a whole lot about it now other then what they said about the Garmin being one of the worst.
    Were they just reporting on this story from last week about fitness trackers, and maybe you are misremembering the Samsung Gear S2 (which was judged by that study to be the worst device tested for both heart rate and calorie burn) for a Garmin (which wasn't a brand that was tested)?: https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...research-shows

    And, to be fair to the Gear S2, the heart rate was still reasonably accurate - it was just the worst of the devices tested at both heart rate and caloric tracking.
    05-30-2017 09:43 AM
  11. StraightlineBoy's Avatar
    Great insight on both watches. I'll stick to my Apple Watch though. While I consider myself a runner, I run because I enjoy it and the stats arent a motivating factor. I do like seeing how I do on a run but I figure as long as I am using the same measuring stick every time, it really doesnt matter how much more accurate one is over another.
    Completely agree. As long as your device is consistent with itself then you can monitor progress and whether it 100% matches some expensive piece of scientific equipment doesn't matter greatly.
    05-30-2017 01:07 PM
  12. pkcable's Avatar
    Great write up! Very balanced and fair! I can see as a dedicated runner might want a Garmin or other fitness watch (I have an Amazfit as a backup watch myself), BUT for me, for over all general use for a lazy old fat guy and Apple Watch suits me best. I DO try my best to complete my rings daily, and I LOVE the breath app. But my favorite feature is the notifications from my various apps such as CNN, Yahoo, and Philly.com for example.
    05-31-2017 09:46 AM
  13. StraightlineBoy's Avatar
    Great write up! Very balanced and fair! I can see as a dedicated runner might want a Garmin or other fitness watch (I have an Amazfit as a backup watch myself), BUT for me, for over all general use for a lazy old fat guy and Apple Watch suits me best. I DO try my best to complete my rings daily, and I LOVE the breath app. But my favorite feature is the notifications from my various apps such as CNN, Yahoo, and Philly.com for example.
    Thanks. It was certainly my aim to give a balanced view rather than one of those "I've switched and therefore everyone else must do it too" pieces that litter the internet. I think Smart Watches are at least a couple of iterations away from the one device that serves virtually everyone, as we are with the latest phones. The competition is also good, in the same way that Android and iOS pushed each other along, smart watches will improve faster with more than one big player in the market, so we all should win.
    rangerdeyo and pkcable like this.
    05-31-2017 11:15 AM
  14. rangerdeyo's Avatar
    The competition is also good, in the same way that Android and iOS pushed each other along, smart watches will improve faster with more than one big player in the market, so we all should win.
    Couldn't agree more with this statement.
    05-31-2017 11:20 AM
  15. eyecrispy's Avatar
    Great write up! Very balanced and fair! I can see as a dedicated runner might want a Garmin or other fitness watch (I have an Amazfit as a backup watch myself), BUT for me, for over all general use for a lazy old fat guy and Apple Watch suits me best. I DO try my best to complete my rings daily, and I LOVE the breath app. But my favorite feature is the notifications from my various apps such as CNN, Yahoo, and Philly.com for example.
    I can't stand the breathe app. Lol. It bothers me at the worst time! Finally disabled it.
    pkcable likes this.
    05-31-2017 08:04 PM

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