alfadriver MegaDork
7/28/23 12:38 p.m.

So we've been running with gps watches since we started in 2009. My current watch is a polar one, but they have required that I give them my health data just to use the app- which means I can download data, or update activities, or probably even change the time on the watch. Making it pretty pointless to have. 

I have had garmin watches in the past- but don't know if they require that you submit data just to use it. And I know of Apple Watches. 

This isn't to wear all of the time, just for activities like running, kayaking, swimming, etc. 

anyone have recent experience with garmin watches? Or if Apple Watches are accurate enough?

93EXCivic MegaDork
7/28/23 1:02 p.m.

I have a Garmin Instinct that replaced a Garmin Forerunner 35 cause I somehow lost the Garmin Forerunner 35. I have used them for biking and ultimate frisbee. The Garmin Instinct adds the ability to do GPS directions on the watch but I have never once used the GPS function tbh. The Instinct has a little hole on the side for the altitude sensor and it get clogged with sweat and dirt and the altitude gain gets crazy. It is a pain to get it cleaned out. Tbh I wish I had of bought another Forerunner 35. It was cheaper, more reliable, easier to use and did everything I needed. They both sync up well to Strava if you care about that via the Garmin app. I don't remember the Garmin app asking for any health data.

I can't speak to notifications or anything because I disable them since they annoy me. I am also on Android so I have no idea how they compare to the Apple Watch.


BenB HalfDork
7/28/23 1:36 p.m.

I've used a Forerunner 35 for years. I only wear it when I'm running but my wife wears hers all the time. I don't recall having to provide any personal data beyond the basic age, weight, height, etc. so the app can calculate VO2 Max and such. There are a lot of functions I don't bother with. I just use mine for my stats for each run and to keep up with how many miles I put on my shoes. The heart rate sensor seems to be optimized for running. It doesn't keep up with HR very well during weight training or when my wife rides her spin bike.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
7/28/23 2:54 p.m.

I've been wearing a Garmin Forerunner 45S for three years now and I like it a lot.  I do remember when Garmin was being held up by cyber criminals and their systems were offline in 2020 (they were offline at their offices as well as functions like their apps) the phone app was entirely useless and the watch wouldn't log anything.  You could still time your runs, get distance covered etc so the basics worked but it wasn't going to add it to a log for the day or anything beyond the basics.  

I think any activity watch is going to be like that, where processing of the data is done via app and an internet connection.  

I'm surprised that the Garmin Instinct mentioned above uses an on-board air pressure transducer for altitude since it can be derived straight from GPS as well.  Garmin is so GPS-centric with their solutions to problems that it's especially surprising.  

In any case, two thumbs to Garmin's offerings in this area, they seem to be the general standard by which these things are evaluated.

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/28/23 3:11 p.m.

I'm using a Garmin Fenix 6 as my everyday watch. IIRC the Connect app doesn't require much unless you want to track things like weight and such. I gave it my weight, height, and age. That's about it. 

alfadriver MegaDork
7/28/23 7:13 p.m.

So garmin it is- that many positive posts are a good thing. Thanks for the help. 

Funny thing about Garmin- we happened to go into a Garmin specific store recently on a trip, thinking SWMBO replace hers to get a HR monitor on her wrist (and the battery is dying- it's pushing 10 years old). And now my watch is driving me to get a new one. 

Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/31/23 10:30 a.m.

+1 from me on the Garmin Instinct. I have the Instinct Solar.

93EXCivic MegaDork
7/31/23 10:53 a.m.
pres589 (djronnebaum) said:

I'm surprised that the Garmin Instinct mentioned above uses an on-board air pressure transducer for altitude since it can be derived straight from GPS as well.  Garmin is so GPS-centric with their solutions to problems that it's especially surprising. 

Yeah it is a bit surprising me too. I also wonder if I wouldn't have the same issues I have if I wasn't using in a fairly dirty environment (mountain biking).

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/31/23 12:37 p.m.

My wife, the runner, wears a Garmin.  Not sure which model, but I know it’s not her first one. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
7/31/23 1:09 p.m.

In reply to 93EXCivic :

The watch is supposed to be made for activities exactly like that.  I looked the watch up and it looks like it's an older model.  I'm wondering if they wised up and stopped using an actual air pressure sensor.  

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/31/23 5:34 p.m.

I'm a long-time Garmin fan, back to when it meant running with a brick on your wrist. I had the first Vivoactive wrist monitor, and have had a Vivoactive3 for a long time now (maybe 5+ years)?  Overall it was a very good value, if you want more accurate HR data I use my old chest strap, but the wrist one works well enough for most things. Altitude can be a bit wonky, I typically take mine off my wrist when connecting to GPS and that seems to lead to more realistic numbers. But distance is spot on, the Connect app works well, and it pairs well with my phone for notifications, etc. I'm a fan, and would stay in the Garmin ecosystem when it's time to replace mine.

grover GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/2/23 12:09 a.m.

I had never used a watch to track my heart rate and things while running until this year. I was running a 25 mile trail and my phone was off by a good bit on distance when I lost signal. Since I knew I'd be running a lot, I had some REI dollars, and I was getting a pretty large bonus- I caved and bought my first daily watch...and I'm 43. 

I got the Fenix 7x sapphire solar because I like to buy once, cry once. 
I've not regretted it for a moment. It's amazing at tracking my heart rate and running stats, sleep cycles etc. I also use it for golf and some other things. 
it was pricey ( but heck, Watch prices are insane) but it's been worth it. 

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