Smartwatch wars: Apple Watch beating Garmin

I’ve gone totally the other way. Despite some bad experiences with their “support” department and numerous watches going wrong I used to use Garmin all the time and got the AW to see what it was like. I tend to average about 20 hours a week exercising and never planned to replace the Garmin with the AW.

However I immediately found that Apple did a far better job tracking swimming than Garmin ever did. For cycling I’ve always used a separate bike computer. For running the AW is improving and now, I find, it’s only really let down by the battery. I can do a marathon with the Apple Watch but do have to think about battery use beforehand. Usually I have the Garmin on too but that’s only because I’ve never set my Stryd foot pod up with the Apple Watch (dunno why though as Stryd and Apple are supposed to work well together).

Having the phone connectivity on the watch is a huge bonus – and something it seems Garmin aren’t even trying to do. From what I’ve seen their watch 4G implementation is strange.

Not fussed about the built in HR tracking when exercising as I use a HR strap for that.

Everyone is different so I hope you keep enjoying the Garmin – and I’ll hope for a longer lasting battery sometime. When and if you find that all your runs are at an altitude of 30,000 then good luck! (Although if you don’t wear your watch swimming you’ll probably be ok – I think pool chemicals clog the altimeter holes). Keith

Keith was responding to this article. He makes some good points and I would not for one moment diss the Apple Watch because I still consider it the best all round smartwatch on the market.

For me the wearing of a smartwatch, and actually how it looks, is a bigger factor, but I kind of agree that Apple is better at fitness tracking than many give it credit for. In this case swimming has never been a factor for me because I am allergic to chlorine and so pools are out of scope, and alas I have never enjoyed swimming for some reason.

It’s interesting how Keith is not concerned about HR tracking, a feature that is extremely important for most people, because of an HR strap and that he uses a Stryd Foot Pod. This is a man who clearly concentrates on fitness, an area that Garmin dominates, and yet he is using the Apple Watch. It highlights the capabilities inherent in the product, but I do tend to look at smartwatches on their own, without connected accessories, and their overall capabilities. I do this because I believe that this is how most people will use them and one specific advantage I see with the fenix is the standalone capability over longer periods of time.

It all comes back to the battery for me. The charging every day is a problem that goes outside of the simple task of charging. It has a wider impact and one that meant my wife stopped using the Apple Watch because she could not use it for a marathon, and she could not speed up enough to keep pace with the diminishing battery on the Apple Watch. One point I have noticed, however, is that when Wi-Fi is enabled on the fenix for transferring music (and left on) it can drop 30% or more in 1 day. This suggests to me that the capabilities of the Apple Watch (superior screen, 4G, streaming music etc) have a harsh impact on battery performance and that this is unavoidable. It is more likely that the competition is avoiding these features until they can power them for long enough. It is up to the individual as to who is taking the right approach.

So, thanks to Keith for highlighting the fitness capabilities of the Apple Watch. I cannot deny what he is saying, all I can say is that for me the Garmin suits better. Of course if you know me, that will almost certainly change in the near future…😗

Categories: Apple, Articles, Smartwatches

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