Hamilton Khaki Field Auto / Garmin Vivosmart 5 / iOS 16

The Hamilton Khaki Automatic is, to me, the quintessential watch. I owned one when I first got into watch for approximately 1 hour. A purchase from eBay, but alas the one I bought was way out and lost over 10 minutes a day. The seller was nice, but he had no other stock and so I left the watch alone, presuming they were all like that.

Of course they are not all bad and the movement inside is actually very impressive for the price, a modified ETA 2824-2 with 80 hours of power reserve and a 6 beats per minute second hand. This means that you can actually see the second hand judder from time to time as the human eye can see ticks below 8 per second, but in a way this adds to the feel of the watch. Mine is currently 2 seconds slow a day which is brilliant.

As a watch, the finishing and design are just about perfect to me- not flashy in any way, kind of a tool vibe and a design that looks good on any strap, and in any situation.

This was the first ‘proper’ watch I bought and it’s the latest. I would love to say it’s the last, but I like watches so we know that won’t happen.

Whenever the Vivosmart is photographed some of the text disappears…

The Vivosmart 5 is Garmin’s latest update to the only adult wrist tracker it makes. A variety of fitness watches come out from Garmin, but the Vivosmart has long fell behind the rest and was in dire need of an update.

And so Garmin releases the Vivosmart 5 which on most accounts is also way behind the competition and was in dire need of an update as soon as it arrived. The styling, or lack of, and monochrome screen look like a 2016 creation and there is nothing about it that creates any positive emotion.

I have worn it for a few weeks while I put the Epix away and wore the Hamilton. It has proved to be much easier to use than the Vivosmart 4, the screen is visible in all conditions and the single button on the front makes a huge difference. It is bigger than I expected and close to impossible to wear in bed for sleep tracking, but alas Garmin sleep tracking is never great anyway no matter what device you use.

Overall I would rate it as a competent fitness tracker and it works well alongside the Garmin Connect software, but the phantom step issue remains. I painted an old desk over a period of 30 minutes and got 4,500 steps for my efforts. 4,500! Driving also adds steps which is annoying to a similar level to what the Epix does and I remain perplexed by the fact that the Apple Watch does not do this.

If you want fitness tracking it is hard to know what to choose, but I am coming around to the fact that Apple seems to do it better in almost every metric apart from battery life- that should change later this year.

iOS 16 has been an interesting beta(1) this year. Totally stable for me, a bit of a drain on battery performance, but otherwise it feels fairly complete.

The new Lock Screen feature is a nod to customisation, but it falls well short of being anything other than a different Lock Screen. I prefer the notifications at the bottom and aside from that it doesn’t seem to do much at this time. Hopefully it is the start of something that will grow, but until that time it feels somewhat experimental.

Of all the new features, most of which will not gain many headlines, the ability to unread a message is huge for me. Being able to edit a message, pull back emails is useful, but leaving the notification live for a message I need to go to later feels like the ticking of a final box.

Nothing about iOS 16 wows me in any way and I don’t think that’s possible anymore, but there is no way I am moving at this point. It’s there, I am here and I guess that’s enough which sounds like a sad state of affairs when I consider the cost of these devices. The problem is that it does so much for me and so my inclination, and energy, to move is simply not there.

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