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Smart Watch Users

  1. #1
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Smart Watch Users

    Been wearing a specific Timex Ironman model for years because it has a highly legible screen, easily adjusted count down timer, and multiple alarms. Here and there I'd scoped out the Casio ProTrek, which added features like compass, altimeter and temperature.

    The Apple Watch adds a lot of smartphone integration but doesn't seem particularly "outdoorsy." Garmin, Suunto and others make watches with a host of other functions, including GPS, tracks, Bluetooth, and even music storage.

    Just went skiing with a guy who had a Garmin Fenix 3. At the end of the day he pulled up all the data from the day: vertical feet, linear distance, top speed, pulse rate, and an overlay of the trails on a trail map I'd Sunapee. Pretty amazing. Garmin has just introduced the Fenix 5/S/X so price of the Fenix 3 has dropped dramatically, but the 5 is a significant upgrade: the 5X can display maps.

    Are any of you using these watches? What features have proven useful? Our boat and car already have GPS, and I have a Zumo for bikes as well as a smart phone, so I'm wondering what features get used and what are gimmicky.

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    Last edited by Garandman; 03-25-17 at 09:52 AM.
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    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    I'm wearing an original kickstarter Pebble and love it. It's a watch that does awesome as a watch first, and also does the smart thing. Sadly, it's also a dud now that Pebble is no more, eventually the software will stop working.

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    All I can say is that I am not impressed with Garmin service or longevity of support. My Zumo 450 is just 10 years old, and hasn't been supported by Garmin for 5 years now, the one time I sent it to them for repair, it took 3 weeks and cost me 3-5 times as much as the 3rd party shop that has a 5 day turn around from my door. In total, it's been in for repair 3 times (once back to garmin, 2 times to the 3rd party guy) even then when I got it back from Garmin, it didn't boot up and I had to call for phone support to find out I had to jump start the battery and charge it by USB

    My Suunto KB14 compass is 45 years old, still supported by Suunto, its been back to Suunto 2 twice for complete rebuild in that time, (replace card, jewel, fluid, glass & seal) last time was about 8 years ago, although last time, I had to pay twice as much for a rebuild as what I paid for it new ($60 for a compass I paid $28 for new, but they are $165 now) I also have a Suunto Clinometer, also 45 years old, never been rebuilt and still works as good as new, but it doesn't get anywhere near the use and abuse the compass gets Smart Watch Users-compass-jpg

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    Last edited by RandyO; 03-25-17 at 12:17 PM.
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    Lifer SteveM's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Smart Watch Users-img_0307-jpgMy sextant is vastly superior to any smart watch. It has only been serviced 4 times in the last 300 years.


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  5. #5
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    Garmin has just introduced the Fenix 5/S/X so price of the Fenix 3 has dropped dramatically
    I'd be willing to bet that they won't support the 3 within the next 6 months or as soon as they deplete their stock

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  6. #6
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    I thought the whole idea of phone integration with a watch was silly. Then I started dating a girl who wears a fit-bit. Getting notifications on your wrist is way cooler than I thought.

    Naturally a fit-bit isn't good enough for me. I need something with more HP than a cray. I've had my eye on the Fenix as well. A guy at work wears a Fenix 3 every day and it is HUGE. Like distractingly huge. The 5x just seems too damned big to me. And I'm not clear what upsides there are to the regular 5 vs a clearance 3. Word has it the Fenix 3 HR is really nifty. I have one on my wish list.

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  7. #7
    Bizarro Zoolander Petorius's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    It would seem that the Fenix 5 has started shipping... has anyone tried one yet? I'm particularly curious about the actual size of the 5X.

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    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    The 3 is pretty big. Couple friends of mine have the Huawei watch. I'm not sure its functionality compared to the Garmin, but it looks really cool.

    Or just get the one made by Suunto and you are good to go for the next 50 years (or when AI takes over the earth then we're all screwed anyways....).

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  9. #9
    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    what's the battery life on these type of smart watches?...seems like it's just 1 more thing you have to charge...more like a phone than a watch

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  10. #10
    Lifer Not Sure's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Real watches everywhere are insulted with the subject line and content of this thread.

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  11. #11
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    My Zumo 450 is just 10 years old, and hasn't been supported by Garmin for 5 years now...
    You do realize the world is rapidly changing, right? 10 years ago is a lifetime ago man. It is so long ago that people were still rocking blackberries, the motorola razor had just gone out of style, and we had things called "nights and weekend minutes"!

    Where I live, new buildings come up everyday, new POIs get added by the tens if not hundreds, streets get converted to one ways, one ways get changed back to two ways. Having 'static' maps on a GPS unit is itself going out of fashion fast in the age of dynamic maps that can pull real time traffic overlays, so I'm surprised Garmin's still in the GPS business. No wonder they are trying to branch out to other product lines.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    My Suunto KB14 compass is 45 years old....I also have a Suunto Clinometer, also 45 years old...
    OK, what is a "clinometer" ? And why do you have so many things that are 45 years old? Is your Zumo the newest gadget you own?!

    I haven't looked closely at smartwatches in a long time, so someone who is familiar with them probably knows more than me. My impression from say 18 months ago, was that they were gimmicky and didn't truly add a lot of value. i.e., the sensors on them that counted steps (3d accelerometers), heart rate, distance etc. were not nearly as accurate as purpose built devices that did the specific thing. If the accuracy was always going to be +- 15%, the data doesn't add a lot of value to collect. The screens were too primitive and didn't allow for any decent content consumption (though samsung shipped me one of their watches last year and it had an OLED screen which I thought was a huge step up from before) So if your watch buzzed, you still needed to pull out your phone anyway. Battery technology, like all battery technology, wasn't up to snuff so they needed frequent charging.

    I would not be surprised if these issues have since been addressed. 18 months is roughly 2 if not 3 generations in wearables, so I'd bet they are quite far along now.

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  12. #12
    Lifer jasnmar's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    I'd guess that a clineometer is a tool to measure incline or slope, but I'm guessing.

    I have a Asus Zenwatch 3. I had an Asus Zenwatch 1 as well. Form factor of the 3 is MUCH better. It doesn't do heart rate things. It's extraordinarily accurate on step count. It hates when I use the angle grinder and burns through battery in just a few hours.

    I built a stand for it and just charge it overnight. It lasts the day easily (as long as I'm not grinding things).

    My favorite things about it are the ability to know whether or not I need to pull my phone out of my pocket to do something about a notification, as well as the ability to set reminders / timers without getting the phone out.

    It's also remarkably good at tracking runs (when I do them) being one that isn't exercise specific.

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  13. #13
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    what's the battery life on these type of smart watches?...seems like it's just 1 more thing you have to charge...more like a phone than a watch
    Depends on watch and function. The Casios have solar power. Most of the "really smart" watches have a charging port. Every two weeks down to a day or two if you are using GPS full time. Some of them can slow down the GPS sampling rate to increase battery life.

    Spoke to an Apple Watch wearer last night. He likes the functionality, says V3 is coming out in September.

    A guy posted on Arider that he feels the Garmin Vivoactive does everything he wants.

    Quote Originally Posted by Not Sure View Post
    Real watches everywhere are insulted with the subject line and content of this thread.
    What sort of pocket watch do you wear?

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    Last edited by Garandman; 03-31-17 at 04:44 AM.
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    Lifer LuvDog's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    I have the Fenix 3... I moved to it from a Suunto.

    It definitely has more functions and collects more data. I thought using it for text notifications would be nice, but I have trouble reading the text on the watch in dim light... so unless I have my reading glasses or it's bright out, I can't always make out all the words. I can usually get the main topic and then decide if I want to get my phone out to read or reply.

    The GPS is faster to acquire signal, and there are more programs and add ons for it versus the Suunto.

    I will say the Suunto was easier to use though... probably because it had less functions, and also because I had it longer.

    My main use for the watch is for logging my jogs. I don't really use it to monitor altitude or vertical feet... haven't had much use for that lately.

    Overall, both are great watches.

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    Lifer Fitz's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    I have one of the first gen apple watches which is my go to for daily use. Battery life is fine for 1-2 days but will need a charge by mid evening on the second day.

    Hiking/ outdoor stuff I prefer my ProTrek. Again, apple watch simply doesn't have the necessary battery life to support 203 days off grid.

    Fitz

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  16. #16
    Lifer LuvDog's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Forgot to add. My Fenix 3 will go 4-5 days if I'm not using GPS. If I'm going for daily runs then it's 2-3 days. If you were running it all day hiking or skiing then it would probably need to be charged every day


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  17. #17
    Just Registered jcbell1007's Avatar
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    Smart Watch Users

    Quote Originally Posted by Petorius View Post
    It would seem that the Fenix 5 has started shipping... has anyone tried one yet? I'm particularly curious about the actual size of the 5X.
    DC rainmaker on YouTube did a review. The 5X looks to be the same size as the 3. With the 5 and 5S being smaller.

    GARMIN FENIX 5: HANDS-ON DETAILS! - YouTube


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  18. #18
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz View Post
    I have one of the first gen apple watches which is my go to for daily use. Battery life is fine for 1-2 days but will need a charge by mid evening on the second day.

    Hiking/ outdoor stuff I prefer my ProTrek. ////
    Which ProTrek model do you have?

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  19. #19
    Senior Member OneCheekRider's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    my original Fitbit HR finally broke so I think it's time to step up my game. I primarily would like to track my fitness (especially in the pool) but reading texts and getting additional data would be sweet. I'm an android user if that matters.

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  20. #20
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Quote Originally Posted by OneCheekRider View Post
    I'm an android user if that matters.
    It does, because it eliminates one of the more popular and well-executed (IMHO) smart watches from consideration.

    FWIW if anyone who's an iPhone user is still tracking this thread, I've had an Apple Watch 3 (non-cellular version) for awhile now. My health insurance offered a steep discount on it as part of a wellness program incentive. I wouldn't buy it at full price... just not worth it to me. But at roughly 1/3 off it was a no-brainer.

    Apple is all about integration across devices, and it works well. Whatever you get on your phone, you get on your watch. Appointments, notifications, text, calls, etc. It's all there. Of course, you have to buy into the Apple ecosystem... that's the mixed blessing part. If you're an Apple hater you'll hate the watch just like you hate everything else Apple makes, so move on.

    It's important to understand what an Apple Watch actually is. You can think of a tablet as kind of a giant phone. Same apps, same user experience, you do the same stuff, it's just bigger. So it's tempting to think of the watch as if it were a tiny phone. That's wrong-headed. The watch is an accessory for your phone. It shines when you're doing the kind of things that force you to stop, take out your phone and mess with it when you don't want to. Text, calls, stuff like that. Think of it that way and you'll be a lot happier.

    The Watch 3 adds GPS and it's waterproof. It also stores music, has Bluetooth, etc. so the earlier post about that is not accurate.

    I found that I like it a whole lot more than I thought I would, and use it for more different things than I anticipated.

    It is definitely more of an "urban" device than a rugged outdoorsy thing, but I'd say that's true of any smart watch.

    Screen is very sharp and bright. I have REALLY poor vision without my glasses and even I can read the face without them.

    Yes you have to charge it every day or two. Plan on buying GOOD accessories and it's painless (seriously, just suck it up and buy 'em). I have a pair of charging stands that accommodate both my phone and my watch, one on my nightstand and one on my desk at work. When I get to work in the morning, I plunk the watch and phone onto the charging stand and both are topped up or close to it by the time I've finished my morning coffee/email routine. I could do the same at night, but I use the watch to track sleep (which is amazingly accurate, at least with the app I use), so most of the time it's just the phone.

    Cool stuff:

    - To dismiss notifications, calls, alarms, you name it... you just cover the watch face with your hand. Dead simple and completely intuitive. A bigger deal than you might think... and it's oddly satisfying to stifle someone you don't want to talk to by slapping your wrist. I have an old-school Casio chronometer with the usual forest of buttons and I have to read the damn manual every time I wear it so I can remember what sequence of buttons I need to press to set and shut off the #()@@! alarm.

    - "Theater mode" is dead easy to set and it keeps the watch face dark unless you touch it. It also silences alerts and such. Turn it off and the watch wakes up when you raise your wrist (and that, by the way, works a hell of a lot better than my old Fitbit did).

    - Getting text messages on your wrist is way cool, but the really awesome thing is that if you want to reply, just press a button on the screen and talk. The voice recognition is amazingly accurate. You do get the odd autocorrect faux pas, but overall it's great. You can even insert punctuation just by saying what mark you want ("Like this period" --> Like this. ) (PS you can do this with the iPhone too, but it's very convenient on your wrist).

    - Simple stuff can be done with Siri. Say you're cooking and have both hands messy... hold the watch up, say "Hey Siri, set a timer for ten minutes" and it happens.

    - A variety of watch faces available and you can customize what's on them within limits (this is also a bit too limited IMHO). Just swipe to move between the faces you've chosen to load onto the watch.

    - Apple Pay is AWESOME. I go to BJ's, scan while I shop using the BJ's app, get to checkout, scan the barcode, push the button on my watch and hold it up to the reader... and the receipt prints out and I'm on my way while others are still emptying their carts for the cashier. I go to the bank and the watch gets me in the door and accesses the ATM without having to pull anything out of my pocket at all. I'm sure the other payment services are similar.

    - Apple Maps gives you tactile as well as audio cues for upcoming turns and which way to turn.

    - There are a variety of surprisingly good workout apps (e.g. 7 minute workout, plus some gym-oriented ones). The best ones use the watch to cue you.

    - Reasonably good security. You can set the watch to lock when you take it off your wrist, so without your PIN nobody can access sensitive stuff.

    Misses:

    - A lot of third-party apps are so slow to update when you open them that they're basically useless. Weather Underground is one.

    - The app store is full of apps that are pointless on the watch. Like your phone, you'll find a few killer apps and use them all the time.

    - Stupid watch faces (Mickey/Minnie Mouse, Toy Story, a few others) and limited ability to customize the ones that are there. At least you CAN customize them... would just like to see more of that.

    - Absolutely absurdly expensive Apple bands. Fortunately there are many realistically priced third-party bands that are just fine if you don't like the one the watch came with.

    Overall, I'm quite happy with it as part of my EDC.

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  21. #21
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Quote Originally Posted by OneCheekRider View Post
    my original Fitbit HR finally broke so I think it's time to step up my game. I primarily would like to track my fitness (especially in the pool) but reading texts and getting additional data would be sweet. I'm an android user if that matters.
    I'm pretty nuts about my garmin fenix. Although it turns out I'm so out of the habit of wearing a watch that I only really wear it when active now. The fit bits are tiny in comparison. I am not sure I'd be wearing a bit more if I owned one instead.
    The UI is a bit rough around the edges though and IMO more of the data interpretation is left up to you. My wife is a bigtime runner. She has and uses a fit bit a lot. The strap broke so I took the initiative to buy her something with HR and gps. I bought one of the sleeker garmin units for her and she hated it. Said the UI was unusable and it didn't do "anything" her fitbit did. So she has another fitbit that just does steps again now. She is an android user.

    So if you like the fitbit analytics and UI, stick with them and avoid garmin.

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  22. #22
    Bizarro Zoolander Petorius's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    My wife is a bigtime runner. She has and uses a fit bit a lot. The strap broke so I took the initiative to buy her something with HR and gps. I bought one of the sleeker garmin units for her and she hated it. Said the UI was unusable and it didn't do "anything" her fitbit did. So she has another fitbit that just does steps again now.
    I feel your pain. I got my wife a Fenix 5S and it basically lives on her bedside table. I'll admit that it took me a solid month or two to really figure out my 5X, but I love it now that I understand how to use it. Having maps on my wrist got me out of trouble once on a long hike in England. Of course, I only got into trouble because I had maps on my wrist and tried a questionable alternate route. Battery life on the 5X is phenomenal, more than a week without GPS, 12+ hours using GPS.

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  23. #23
    Lifer LuvDog's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    The galaxy gear sport has an easy to use UI. My wife has an older Gear S2 and loves it. When/If it dies that’s what i’ll Be replacing it with.

    I may pick up the Gear S3 Frontier for myself even though I have an iPhone. I hate my Apple Watch.

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  24. #24
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Competitive sailors are replacing very expensive electronics with iPhone apps fed to an Apple Watch. This season my wife’s fleet is “suggesting” / requiring an app that tracks course and speed. After the race they can replay the whole race.

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  25. #25
    Senior Member OneCheekRider's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Watch Users

    Thinking about pulling the trigger on this thing: Amazon.com: Amazfit Stratos Multisport Smartwatch by Huami with VO2max, All-day Heart Rate and Activity Tracking, GPS, 5 ATM Water Resistance, Phone-free Music, US Service and Warranty (A1619, Black): Cell Phones & Accessories

    edit: after another day of countless youtube reviews I just bought the Samsung Gear Sport. Hoping to give it a thorough swim test as soon as it arrives.

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    Last edited by OneCheekRider; 07-10-18 at 07:51 PM.

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