Apple Watch 2 or Garmin Fenix 3?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Mollan, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. Mollan macrumors member

    Mollan

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands/Italy
    #1
    Hello,

    I am interested in replacing my Garmin Forerunner and the two main alternative are the Apple Watch 2 and the Garmin Fenix 3. Both of them have enough functions for my personal usage.

    The design of the Garmin in beyond any doubt better, but I do not trust much their software, especially compared to Apple's one.

    Since the price is similar, which one would you recommend? Did you ever have a chance to compare them side by side?


    Thanks :)
     
  2. Relentless Power macrumors G5

    Relentless Power

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    #2
    The Garmin is likely more accurate, when the Apple Watch is more a basic fitness Watch. I have not tested the GPS on the Apple Watch 2. I completely agree Garmin's software is riddled with issues.
     
  3. iJeremy, Sep 25, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016

    iJeremy macrumors member

    iJeremy

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Location:
    San Clemente, California
    #3
    I had the fenix3 HR, returned it and picked up the Apple Watch series 2 earlier this week at my local apple store. I don't know how accurate the fitness data is on the apple watch yet but the OS in general seems far more stable. The fenix3 HR firmware was always buggy and it's fitness tracking unreliable. In fact, it was all over the place. With each new upgrade of the firmware, they fixed some issues (like not recording intensity minutes), but replaced them with new issues. It's a mess and I lost confidence in the watch's tracking capabilities. However, I loved it's looks, the always on screen and the 2-week battery life.
     
  4. daflake macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    #4
    Garmin all the way. I have a Fenix 3 and while it was buggy in the beginning, it isn't any longer. I use it for cycling and hikes mostly and it works great!
     
  5. BigBen4711 macrumors newbie

    BigBen4711

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    #5
    I own both watches. It's pretty simple:

    Go for the Fenix, if you are a fitness-geek.
    For anything else, go for the Apple Watch 2.

    I use the Fenix 3 for over a year and i'm pleased with fitness-usage but not as a smart watch. Notifications for example sucks. This is where the Apple Watch shines: Basic fitness-usage but very, very good smartwatch features.

    btw: I charged the fenix once a week, the apple watch needs charging every day.
     
  6. AccPy macrumors member

    AccPy

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2016
    Location:
    FL
    #6
    I've owned the Fenix 3 Sapphire for a while now, but decided to change to the Apple Watch. Personally, I think the Fenix 3 is much more durable, but remember it doesn't come with a touchscreen or fancy screen as a result either. The Fenix 3 would get updates every couple of days which was honestly quite annoying. They should've just waited every other week and packaged the updates as one. Also, a big annoyance I had with the Fenix 3 (and I didn't notice this right away so it probably happened in an update and might be fixed by now) where it was trying to show my notifications in a square shape on a circular screen...which meant that I would miss a word in the corners of the screen because they weren't visible. Other than the fact that the Fenix 3 didn't have a built in HRM (had to buy the chest strap), it was nice that it tracked a lot of metrics without needing a phone (ex. I think even though some of the tear down videos of the Series 2 show that it has a barometer, I don't know if the apple watch still needs the phone to calculate elevation). The other thing that is great about the Apple Watch is that you can respond to texts. It also can use third party apps. The Fenix 3 had 10 days of battery life with minimal gps usage during the week whereas the Apple Watch gets 1-2 days depending on usage. Also, even though the Fenix 3 sapphire came with both a sport and a link band...it could never pass as a nice watch for fancy events.
     
  7. Fthree macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    #7
    i have a Fenix 3 used it up until i got my 630. I run a lot and like the metrics that you get with the HRM strap. One thing that garmin calculates that I look at everytime i do a workout is the training effect. The running metrics are amazing and include (vert Osc, left to right ratio, GCT, stride length etc.) If you are not serious about data I'm sure the apple watch will be adequate.
     
  8. AccPy macrumors member

    AccPy

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2016
    Location:
    FL
    #8
    It was nice how it calculated how long you should rest until your next run depending on how much effort you put in. But do the HRM Run also calculate vertical oscillations? I've only just recently been using an Apple Watch (Best Buy had a good sale for the gen 0 where it paid for the new band and longer charger while I wait for my series 2), but is there a way to use all of the HRM Run metrics other than just the heart rate with the apple watch?
     
  9. Fthree macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    #9
    Yes garmin calculates that, which is why i havent bought the aw because at this time i have not seen this available on it.
     
  10. tafb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #10
    I have the original AW and the Garmin Fenix 3 HR. The new series 2 AW addresses my biggest issue (GPS), but I still prefer the Garmin F3 HR. I have not had any glitches or software issues with the Garmin. It has been solid and accurate for activity tracking and running. I think your primary usage would matter most in the decision (activity/fitness vs smartwatch). I am less interested in the smartwatch/apps aspect of a watch and more interested in the fitness/running functions. The Garmin does exactly what I want for running and can be customized in detail. I love it, and it has helped motivate me to run more and improve my times. However, the Garmin is not a good smartwatch and will only provide basic notifications. That's enough for me as far as the smartwatch functions go. If you want to text or talk to someone from your watch or use siri, then the AW would be the way to go. The display and battery life are also areas where your preferences may help you decide. The AW display and Garmin display are apples and oranges. The AW is a very nice colorful display. The Garmin display is ok but not nearly as colorful or bright (reminds me of a Kindle type of display). The AW is great indoors (when it activates), and the Garmin is best outdoors in bright sun. I absolutely hate that the AW does not have an always on display showing the time and series 2 does not fix that issue for me. This is a big deal for me (may not be for others). If I am going to put a watch on, I want to see the time. It annoys me to no end when I lift my wrist and the AW screen stays off. It would be nice if Apple gave me the option to have an always on screen (like the MS band) and let me decide to live with the consequences to battery life. The Garmin has the ability to have the time always on - so I can see the time without having to lift my wrist. My AW would easily last a full day for battery life but required a nightly charge. I can wear the Garmin for a week with 3 or so runs (about 3 miles each run) before charging again. I travel frequently, and I like the fact that I can leave for a few days without worrying about taking a separate charger for my watch. I like the always on display of the Garmin and the long battery life - so I am willing to compromise on the screen. In addition to the AW and Garmin, I have owned/currently own the MS band, the MSband 2, the Moto 360 sport, the Samsung gear fit 2, Huawei watch, and Fitbit. They all have pros and cons.
     
  11. Mollan thread starter macrumors member

    Mollan

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands/Italy
    #11
    Wow, thanks for the feedbacks! :)

    I'm not particularly interested in smart watch features, since I barely keep my phone in the pocket, especially at work, where is always on the table. Since I'm using all Apple products, I would have notifications from AW, iPhone and Mac...and it could be definitely annoying unless the notifications were just sent to the AW and not to other devices.
    Siri works pretty bad with a single language (Italian in my case) and even more terribly with multiple languages (try to play a song with a German or an English title), so I'd still have to answer from the phone to everything.
    No purpose at all for messages with smileys and heartbeats..

    So it seems that the Fenix 3 is the winner, in my personal comparison. I was just worried about the software, but apparently even though is not as good as Apple's, it is still reliable. Also the battery life is a plus, especially since I'd like to track the heart rate at night.

    Probably the AW will became more mature in the next iterations, in particular if/when they'll make a round, nicer version.
     
  12. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    #12
    The AW is least useful to me when I've got my other Apple devices nearby, and especially when I'm at my MB Pro. So I'm with you on that part.

    But, the rest of the time, it lets me leave my phone elsewhere, like on a bedside stand, in my wife's purse, or in a pocket during dinner with friends, and keeps me connected. I don't need to have my phone in my hand all the time anymore.

    For notifications, iCloud sends them to the device you're currently using, then if you don't acknowledge them, they'll appear a minute or so later on the next device. So if it pops up on your computer and you click "Close", it won't pop up on your phone and watch and iPad; or, if it taps your watch first and you dismiss it, it won't ping your phone -- or if you ignore the watch, it will appear on the phone.

    So, yeah, just depends on how you'd use it. I wear mine at night, mostly as an alarm clock, but I can also track my HR, too. It's even more comfortable than almost any of my other watches.

    Don't expect a round version, though.
     
  13. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #13
    What software do you not trust for the Fenix? The core features are second-to-none. I have played with a few custom screens and apps for my 735XT (same as for the Fenix), and they work great.

    That said, these are two very different devices and only have overlap in basic smartwatch features (notifications, custom apps, custom faces, etc.). Garmin is the world-beater for a rugged, long battery life, accurate, fitness and activity tracker. The AW is the world-beater for a computer on the wrist. If fitness, activity, long battery, and data analysis are valuable to you, then Fenix. If customization, extensability, Apple Pay, etc. are important, then Apple Watch.
     
  14. Mollan thread starter macrumors member

    Mollan

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands/Italy
    #14
    I always had a few software glitches with all my previous Garmin watches (e.g. the Forerunner 410 with the touch ring badly controlled by the software, or the Forerunner 20, with a few problems in the step count). However, I love how they developed the Garmin Connect app and the web interface, and since fitness tracking, sports and hiking (need a long lasting battery!) are my primary focuses, I decided to buy the Fenix 3 Sapphire HR :). I already own 3 heart straps from Garmin (another reason not to buy the AW), so I just ordered the watch. If you are interested, I found it at 509€ (instead of 599) on Amazon Italy, shipping included.

    Thanks for all the suggestions :)
     
  15. Claw87, Sep 26, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016

    Claw87 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2016
    #15
    I've sold my fenix 3 for the Apple Watch Series 2 after having used it every day for nearly 1.5 years. Running at least 3 times per week and going 2-3 times to gym, it always was a good companion, though missing some functions that were more important for me than all the metrics it delivers.
    The following points made me decide for the AW S2:
    1. Instant pace using just the fenix' GPS was extremely bad, nearly useless running under some trees. The instant pace was only accurate running over fields. I've tried all possible configuration settings concerning GPS, but it was always too bad to use it for serious pace-training. Instant pace for me is more important than metrics like "vertical movement" etc., which I don't need as a more or less experienced runner.
    2. Tracking sports like training in gym is possible, but it lacks the option to save training plans for individual sets on the single weight lifting devices. I know, this is not, what fenix 3 was made for, but I'm looking forward that my new AW can store my training plans including weights, sets, etc..
    3. Fenix 3 doesn't have the possibility to store and play music, meaning I always needed to carry my iPod nano with me. AW + Bluetooth earphones ➙ no external device needed.
    4. Fenix' interface is very slow and can't be compared to the AW's
    5. Optical HR monitor on the AW seems to work better than the fenix 3 HR's one. At least that's what can be read out of the fenix 3 forums and the AW tests. The fact, that I've had the device without optical heart rate, made the switch to AW even easier :D Will buy an additional heart rate strap from Polar which will also work with the threadmills etc. in gym (which didn't with Garmin's straps)
    6. Smartwatch functions are rudimental, meaning you can't interact with messages etc., just read them

    What made me think of sticking to Fenix 3:
    1. It's an extremely solid device concerning the case. I've smashed several times a squash racket on it without leaving any kind of scratches or something like that. So I've never been scared of braking it, what ever I've done :)
    2. The battery life is much better than the AW's. This was always perfect if I went hiking. But in combination of the AW S2 and the iPhone's GPS (got my iPhone always with me when hiking in case of an emergency or something) I'm looking forward that the battery of AW S2 will be good enough to last for the day. Over night I'm going to load it using a powerbank ;)
    3. Fenix was made for sports, so this is, what it's good at: metrics, metrics, metrics. Do I need all those metrics? For me the answer was definetely "no". The mean metrics I need are the HR (which will be acquired by the AW as well) and a GPS giving me a reliable instant pace. And that's the point! Fenix failed in delivering one of those for me important metrics, meaning it lacked a reliable instant pace (even thought the track in garmin connect looked pretty spot on after the workout). This made me angry from the first minute.
    I was sticking to fenix 3 for 1.5 years, because there was no real alternative for me (every other sports computer was lacking one or more functions, e.g. vibration alert, swimming compatibility).
    After I've heared that the new AW would offer GPS, swimming compatibility and all its smartwatch features it always had, I knew I'd sell the fenix for this, and so i did :)
     
  16. fitshaced macrumors 68000

    fitshaced

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    #16
    The Fenix 3 display is quite annoying as it doesn't work well in low light. It's much lower quality in pixel density as well compared to the Apple Watch. Having both afenix 3 and Apple Watch original, I find I want to wear the Apple Watch more but feel like I'm cheating myself a bit if I don't wear the Fenix when running. But, the Apple Watch 2 needs to prove it can be as accurate as the Fenix 3 in gps tracking. Saying that, my Fenix 3 always measures long, by about 100 meters per 1.5 kilometres. Not great.
     
  17. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #17
    Aaah. Yeah, those were rough watches. The 400 series, in particular, was probably the worst in Garmin's history. They discontinued that line after the 410. The current crop of watches is amazing.
     
  18. Fthree macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    #18
    before everyone jumps on the inaccuracies of the Fenix 3 gps bandwagon we should first see how well the AW works in the same environment. I CANNOT imagine that the AW2 would be better MAYBE on par. From a fitness perspective i say with all the metrics the Fenix measures it is superior (this is of course me saying that without actually trying a AW2---although i did preorder the Volt nike + edition on the day preorders opened) Given the specific running metrics that have made me stick with Garmin so long (over suunto) I have to say that if a review comes out that says that in every way the AW2 succeeds at all the things I am monitoring then it'll be a winner.

    FOR THE RECORD-- I own both a Fenix 3 and a Garmin 630. The only reason i bought the 630 was because of how light it is. Garmin connect is not bad at all there are times that there are some syncing issues but with all the data being recorded and transferred I have to be understanding.
     
  19. zhenya, Sep 26, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016

    zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #19
    If you are a serious runner/athlete/outdoorsman who needs a durable device that has excellent battery life and all the data you could want to geek over, get the Garmin. Get the Apple Watch if you are more casual and just want something to track your activity. Garmin does have issues with early firmware releases, but they do react quickly, and I've never had a Garmin lose my data. The AW is actually considerably less reliable with run/activity tracking at this point. It's much more difficult to interact with on the go, and there are (currently) no 3rd party apps that can use the native GPS in the new watches, which means no way to export your data to other services or to use the platform of your choice. I have the original AW, a Fenix 2, and a Forerunner 225. They all have their strengths - and for me, as someone who runs most every day, I wouldn't be without my Garmin's for running, but really like my AW for the rest of the day. If I had an AW with a GPS I would run with it (sometimes) as soon as I can get my data to Strava, but I would not want to count on it as my only running watch.

    One question I have - do you really need the Fenix 3? There are many less expensive models that provide most of the functionality of the Fenix.
     
  20. Mollan, Sep 26, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016

    Mollan thread starter macrumors member

    Mollan

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands/Italy
    #20
    Thanks again for all the answers. You are making me even more convinced of my choice, since notifications were definitely at the bottom of my priority list.

    I checked also the 735XT, but for only 100€ less, I was getting a simple plastic watch with an average design imho. Still better than the squared shape of the AW, but not as good as the F3. The Suunto Spartan could have been one good rival, but for the moment it's more expensive and the software has problems..

    This will be the band I'm going to order (a few modifications needed to adapt it for the HR sensor), but the results it gorgeous I think.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Location:
    Sweden
    #21
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2017 ---
    Both watches are great,but there are some differences.
    The Apple Watch has lots of apps for almost everything,but it has less battery life,and it's not suitable for water activities like swimming or snorkelling. It's obviously also,depending on the design with the crown that can be rotated and/or pushed not as durable as the fenix 3.
    The fenix 3 has less apps available,and is more useful for hiking,running or other physical activities. The best things with Apple is the apps,the best with the fenix 3 is the battery life and the fact that it's waterproof,and has a screen that does not get scratched that easy.
    Comparison,battery life: we tried both watches,and only as timepieces,with all other functions set to off,fenix 3 needed recharge after about 12-14 days,the Apple Watch lasted for 36-38 hours. When using all functions in similar way,Apple lasted 11 hours,fenix 3 about 5 days.
     
  22. Fthree macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014

Share This Page