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Fitness watches?


Original Post
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

So my wants in a fitness watch are a tad different than most. I've got a Fitbit Surge whose battery is near the end of it's life. There were enough fit and function issues that I won't be replacing it with another Fitbit.

I'd like a GPS watch that tracks my workout. This includes speed, elevation gain and loss, Max speed, and average. I also want to be able to download it and look at the maps of my adventure.

I'm an odd ball that doesn't want to carry my phone unless I'm pulling the baby trailer. So I want it to have standalone GPS, not utilizing the one on a phone.

I don't care for HR, step counting, or most of the other "smart" functions. They aren't a deal breaker but the more options I can turn off, the better.

I don't even care if it downloads online or just to my computer. I'm not an active member of those fitness stroke fest websites.

Really, it seems like I want the Strava phone app on my wrist, turned to private, with no phone. 

Does this exist?

Forgot to add, bike, running, hiking, and skiing is where I'll use it 

Chris treggE · · Madison, Beersconsin · Joined May 2007 · Points: 9,480

Wife just got me a Garmin Forerunner 935 which may be overkill for me and for you, but it fits your criteria -- I used it for the Birkie last weekend and it was pretty slick.  One of the cheaper Garmins probably would work for you too.  

Jacob Walsh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Suunto Ambit3 Peak or Vertical both sound like what you're looking for. I have the Peak and love it.

David Kutassy · · Charlottesville, VA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 5

I've been using a Garmin Forerunner 920XT for a few years and love it. Bought it used for $180. Great features and very user friendly. Battery life while tracking GPS is about 12 hours straight. Without using GPS it lasts a few weeks on a single charge.

Jared M · · Oakland, CA · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 80

The Forerunner 935 may be overkill for you, but it's a great option if you want a do-it-all watch and aren't on a tight budget. 

Battery life is great compared to the others I've owned (Fenix 3 and an older Forerunner), and the wrist-based heart rate sensor is more than sufficient for all but those doing serious training for triathlons, etc.

The Garmin Connect app is pretty good too IMO

Chris treggE · · Madison, Beersconsin · Joined May 2007 · Points: 9,480
Jared M wrote:

The Forerunner 935 may be overkill for you, but it's a great option if you want a do-it-all watch and aren't on a tight budget. 

Battery life is great compared to the others I've owned (Fenix 3 and an older Forerunner), and the wrist-based heart rate sensor is more than sufficient for all but those doing serious training for triathlons, etc.

The Garmin Connect app is pretty good too IMO

Yea I didn't mean to downplay how great the watch is.  I can't believe how little battery it uses, how quickly it connects to GPS, and the app is really nice.  I've had Suunto products before and they never seemed intuitive to use, whereas the Garmin is very easy to figure out.  I'm still not sure I needed a $500 watch for my purposes but I didn't comparison shop.  

MikeSLC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 40

refurbished garmin vivasmart hr+ for around $70.

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20
Carter Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 10

I have the Suunto Ambit 3 Peak, more of a mountain watch. But if you can find it on sale it's super worth it. 

Martin le Roux · · Superior, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 229

If elevation gain and altitude readings are important then get a watch with a barometric altimeter as well as a GPS. GPS elevation readings are noisy and don't respond quickly to small changes in elevation. That would rule out many of the less expensive units.

Plenty of reviews here: https://www.dcrainmaker.com

GPS accuracy reviews here: http://fellrnr.com/wiki/GPS_Accuracy. Lots of variation, it's not easy to squeeze a GPS antenna into a watch unit without some compromises.

Victor K · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 165

I've been using an Apple Watch 3 with the cell phone functionality.  If you're already part of the Apple ecology, it fits the bill. The review of it on DC Rainmaker is objective and worth reading. I use mine for the same activities you do.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 322

I’ve got a brand new Sunnto Spartan for sale ($350) if you’re interested. It should fit the bill! 

rock hopper · · San Diego, CA · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 0

I've been using the Garmin Fenix3 and love it.  It does everything you want it to do.  I especially love that you can upload trails onto the watch so if your trail is covered in snow you can navigate no problem.  Its pricey though- and don't buy it from the Garmin website.  I'm 99% sure you can get it for under $400 elsewhere.

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

Just one more crazy idea. Is there a watch that has the ability to transmit my approximate location to friends? Like if I were to hike a loop with multiple exit/entry points, so friends could join me and have an idea when to meet me. Almost certainly without cell service of course. 

For the one or two times a year this would come in handy, I don't know if it's worth it. It just seems like a cool idea.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 322
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:

Just one more crazy idea. Is there a watch that has the ability to transmit my approximate location to friends? Like if I were to hike a loop with multiple exit/entry points, so friends could join me and have an idea when to meet me. Almost certainly without cell service of course. 

For the one or two times a year this would come in handy, I don't know if it's worth it. It just seems like a cool idea.

That tech requires some sort of modem, either cellular or satellite. Unfortunately all of which are too big for a watch at this point in time :(

The Garmin inReach does that though! 

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

I expected as much. It'd be cool. I know there are units for dogs, usually used on hounds for mtn lion and coon type of pursuits. I doubt the range is more than a mile.

I think there is value to being able to go somewhere you can't connect. Fun idea though.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 322
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:

I expected as much. It'd be cool. I know there are units for dogs, usually used on hounds for mtn lion and coon type of pursuits. I doubt the range is more than a mile.

I think there is value to being able to go somewhere you can't connect. Fun idea though.

There was a device that I came across that allowed cell phones to connect peer to peer. As far as I remember, a little Bluetooth radio transmitter thing would connect to your phone. Then the phone would use the radio transmitter to text with other phones using the same thing in the area. 

Richard Ross · · Passo del Tonale, IT · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

To piggy back off this, have any of you got a preferred HR watch? I’m in the market and the reviews are as clear as mud.

Beean · · Canmore, AB · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0

I have a Garmin Vivoactive Hr. It's cheap and has decent battery life (11ish hrs with GPS), nowhere near the Fenix but it's a fraction of the price. On long days I take a cable and charge from my phone at lunch time.  

Matt Sutinen · · Milwaukee, WI · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0

I think the vivoactive 3 might be a good fit?

sandrock · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 115

I have been happy with the Garmin Forerunner 235

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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