Apple Watch - Heart Rate Monitor Replacement

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Pitsy1971, May 12, 2015.

  1. Pitsy1971 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Location:
    UAE in the Sandpit
    #1
    So,

    My question!

    I don't really feel the watch as a watch, I like a classic watch (current favourite is an Omega!)

    However I train a lot and use a heart rate monitor and want to know if the Watch would be the best idea for training and activity tracking?

    Is anyone using the watch as a fitness tracker?

    Fitness I do
    Gym Work
    Running
    Cycling
    Some swimming - but mainly only on a beach ;-)

    TIA

    Pitsy
    :)
     
  2. ifarlow, May 12, 2015
    Last edited: May 12, 2015

    ifarlow macrumors regular

    ifarlow

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    Location:
    Georgia
    #2
    If I were considering wearing a traditional watch during the day, and the Apple Watch during exercise only, I would not get the Apple Watch. I would instead get the Garmin Fenix 3, the Suunto Ambit 3, the Garmin 920xt, or something similar. Those are far, far better at tracking activity that the Apple Watch is, at least currently. Besides, you mentioned swimming... despite all the claims to the contrary, the Apple Watch is not designed to track swimming or to be used while swimming. The devices I mentioned as better alternatives are, however.

    I still have my eye on the Garmin Fenix 3. Very nice device that is a much better fitness tracker. I am interested in the Apple Watch, however, because I am willing to compromise a bit on the activity tracking to get a watch that is more capable in general, and has more potential for future growth than the Garmins, Suuntos, etc. That's the deal, as I see it: the Apple Watch represents a compromise of less robust activity tracking (especially after-activity review) and more robust smartwatch functionality.

    I plan to wear the Apple Watch all day long because the compromise works for me to the point that I don't want to wear a traditional watch or a dedicated sports tracking device. However, if I ever feel that the activity tracking is too much of a compromise, I will replace the Apple Watch with the Garmin Fenix 3 but I don't expect that to happen, especially as the Apple Watch matures.
     
  3. lchlch macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2015
    #3
    It depends on what type of exercise you are doing. For cardio you should be fine with only the watch. For cross fit or weightlifting the watch can still be used but you should pair it with a HRM chest strap for best results.
     
  4. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    #4
    Simple answer: No. AW at this stage is, maybe, a fitness tracker, inline with a Fitbit Charge HR. It is not, however, a good sports watch. For that you need something designed specifically for that purpose.

    I have done a few runs with my AW, Garmin 620, and iPhone running the iSmootRun app all working simultaneously. (Felt like a mule with all that equipment strapped to me -- literally in some instances). Bottomline: the AW HRM is more accurate than the Fitbit Charge HR, but still not reliable if you are depending on it to stick in a HR zone.

    I love the AW as a watch, disemminating simple info to me on-demand, saving me the burden of digging for my pocket. But I think other uses need refinement. It feels very much like the first iPad -- cool device that is in search of complex uses. I think the iPad found that a year out and expect AW will too, but it takes devs times to get comfortable with the device. Hard to design only off a simulator.
     
  5. SHNXX macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    #5
    Interesting discussion. So the consensus is that it's not a great fitness tracker if that were the only purpose?
     
  6. ifarlow macrumors regular

    ifarlow

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    Location:
    Georgia
    #6
    That's my take on it. That's not to say that the Apple Watch is bad, but Garmin and Suunto devices are significantly better. They offer more finely detailed recording during exercise and more finely detailed analysis after exercise. They excel at what they are made for: fitness tracking.

    I believe the Apple Watch, in its current form, does well enough for many people because it offers decent fitness tracking coupled with excellent smart watch functionality. But it's no Garmin or Suunto. Not by a long shot.
     
  7. Pitsy1971 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 24, 2014
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    UAE in the Sandpit
    #7
    Thanks Guys,

    Great answers and I will look at the alternatives or wait for AW V2

    Pitsy
     
  8. ifarlow macrumors regular

    ifarlow

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    Location:
    Georgia
    #8
    Garmin just announced the Forerunner 225 which includes a built-in heart rate monitor made my Mio. Just so you know, Mio is one of the best optical monitor manufacturers out there, at least as far as I understand it. I have had a Mio Link and it worked very, very well. Very accurate, so I would expect this Garmin to be the same.

    https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/into-sports/running/forerunner-225/prod512478.html
     
  9. Fireball Dragon macrumors 6502a

    Fireball Dragon

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    Nov 26, 2012
    Location:
    Chigwell, England
    #9
    Hey Pitsy,

    I own the Garmin fenix 3 and have to say, that it is a fantastic watch (although haven't received my Apple Watch yet).

    I have also been comparing them extensively, and really think that there is a place for both, especially in the life of a regular runner/athlete.

    My review and comparative take between the 2 is here if you are curious: http://andykumar.net/2015/04/28/garmin-fenix-3-review/
     
  10. Janana macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    #10
    I found that after the update my apple watch calculates my calorie burn much better almost the same as my nike sports watch and better than the sunnto
     
  11. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #11
    I am still waiting on my Apple Watch... And I am a seasoned distance runner, bicyclist, swimmer, and triathlete.

    It depends on priority and importance. The AW is more of a light weight health and wellness tracker than a true fitness device. It lacks its own own GPS, and it has minimal water resistance; therefore it is not meant for serious exercise. I only run with my iPhone on long weekend runs (when I may be alone, in the middle of nowhere) with great weather. I would never run with my iPhone in the rain. So, the AW would not work for me as a fitness and training tool.

    If you can afford two devices, get the AW plus a Garmin 920XT. This is my plan when my 910XT craps out.

    If you can afford only one device, then get the Garmin Fenix 3. The Fenix does some of the smart watch phone integration, like receiving text messages and music control. Plus, it is acceptable as an everyday watch.

    My hunch is that Apple may be many generations away from a device that could replace a purpose training and fitness device. Here is my list of must-haves before I (happily) dump my Garmin. My gut is that stand-alone GPS plus 5 hour battery life could be a deal-killer for many years.
    • Stand-alone GPS (no iPhone tether required)
    • Minimum 5 hour battery life with GPS active
    • Minimum IPX6 water rating, 5 ATM preferred
    • Ability to us an optional chest strap HR monitor
     
  12. papbot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    #12
    I think it's a great fitness tracker and I'm really coming to rely on it for that. In fact since getting it and still having the new device thrill I've actually been much more active and have lost weight.

    But if that's your primary interest there are certainly cheaper and less complicated devices. This is primarily a communications device that frees you from always having to check your phone. It's great as a fitness tracker but if that were all it did I never would have paid this much. That's just an additional reason to consider it and not get, or possibly replace, your fitbit devices.
     
  13. whatRubicon macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2014
    #13
    I personally think the apple watch sucks as a heart rate montitor compaired to my fitbit hr. My fitbit instantly gives me my heart rate and the apple watch takes like 30 -60 seconds when i ask it for my heart rate. The apple watch is just a gimmick for now.. Just one mans opinion...
     
  14. papbot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    #14
    A very heavily used "gimmick". But if you have no interest in its communication abilities and only want some fitness/exercise monitor there are certainly cheaper and better devices out there. Certainly uglier ones that I wouldn't be interested in, but that wasn't my primary interest. It's just a useful extra for me.
     
  15. lchlch, May 23, 2015
    Last edited: May 23, 2015

    lchlch macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 12, 2015
    #15
    I find it strange that the Fitbit gives you your bpm immediately. The only ones that can do that are hrm monitors that monitor your heart rate continually ie basis peak.

    Are you sure it's accurate?
     
  16. papbot macrumors 6502

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    May 19, 2015
    #16
    I'm a respiratory therapist in a hospital that uses pulse oximetry to track oxygen saturation and heart rate. There is nothing that gives you "instant" heart rate other than a cardiac monitor that has leads connected to your chest. The watch uses essentially the same mechanism to measure HR as a pulse oximeter. I even have an app on my phone that uses the camera flash to measure this when you hold your finger against the lens. It's actually as accurate as our oximeters but takes 10 seconds to get an actual reading.

    The watch has been quite accurate in my case and I'm not so much interested in a one time reading. I prefer launching the Health App to see the trend through some specific time span.
     
  17. tdbrown75 macrumors member

    tdbrown75

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    Apr 28, 2015
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #17
    Remember when google maps first came to iPhone? It was not a good replacement for a dedicated Garmin or TomTom at the time, but the concept was good.

    Over time the software improved to the point where the dedicated GPS tracking device is no longer necessary (unless you don't own a smartphone).

    I see the Watch the same way. For now it's a little rough around the edges, but its just a matter of time before those fitness trackers go the way of the dedicated GPS tracker.

    Tim
     
  18. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #18
    We are part of the way there already. The Garmin Fenix 3 does many of the cool things that AW just introduced. Fenix gets all the phone's notifications, can change faces, has apps that do stuff. And, the Fenix can last weeks on a single charge in watch mode, since it is designed for >20 hours of battery life with GPS active. (It can't send doodles and heartbeats.) The downside is that the Garmin Fenix is not part of the Apple ecosystem, so it does not have the market base for the thousands of diverse apps out there.

    The difference is that the Fenix 3 is a fully capable sport watch with some decent smart watch features. Apple has the challenge of massively improving the fitness capabilities of the watch before it will ever displace a purpose unit. They may elect never to get there, but settle for the 80th percentile.

    I am in the opposite camp in the car navigation analogy. I have a pretty good in-car nav, a relatively new 5" Garmin unit, and an iPhone 6. In terms of all around usability and benefit, I would rate the in-car unit first, the Garmin second, and the iPhone 6 a very distant third. My iPhone 6 will get by, but it simply is not as good as a dedicated mapping tool as the Garmin unit. For one, the iPhone 6 is useless without phone coverage. And when on all of my family vacation trips and some business trips, a lot of the driving has been out of cell coverage. The in-car wins because it is always there for me in the last-second without any hassle. I travel with the portable Garmin unit and use the phone as a supplement if needed.

    The sports watches are the same. Until an AW (or other smart watch) can meet 100% of the needs for an athlete, the AW will get passed over for a true sport watch.

    I see this as a both-and space for the long term. Light weight users will be happy with a sport watch that meets 80% of the needs. But athletes will always have a dedicated sport watch.
     

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