Apple Watch primarily for fitness

Cybbe

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 15, 2004
302
85
I am looking at getting a fitness watch for reading HR and providing data including GPS when going on runs. I'm not the most serious runner, but the more functionality the better. Furthermore, I want to listen to music, and being able to carry only one device a big plus. I've been using my phone for this in the past (bar HR-tracking), but less so after getting a plus model a few years back (they look a bit silly on an armband).

There aren't that many fitness watches with both GPS and HR monitor that also support music playback. I've pretty much only found the Apple Watch and an option from TomTom which gets a bit meh reviews. (There's also Android Watches, but not too interested as I don't have an Android phone.) Garmin seems to produce the best fitness watches, but they don't have (independent) music playback.

I realise there are better sports watches than the Apple Watch out there. They tend to be cheaper too. But I would then need a separate device for music playback, and I could use the Apple Watch for other stuff too (I wouldn't be comfortable wearing a Garmin or TomTom with a suit, for instance, which I generally wear for work).

For those of you who have used both the Apple Watch and other fitness watches (Garmin, TomTom et al), what is your preferred solution for fitness tracking + music playback while running and working out?
 

musicpenguy

macrumors 68000
Oct 29, 2006
1,575
558
I’d say start with the Apple Watch and if your needs grow then you could double watch it (some reasons why people use 2 watches - battery life and some people believe the current pace is more accurate on dedicated watches) - for long long runs I could see myself getting a dedicated watch that tracks the run and continue wearing my LTE Watch for music/podcast, and staying in touch with friends and family via LTE and notifications
 

Resqu2

macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2011
756
176
I run all the time with my S2 AW, anywhere from 5K’s to 1/2 marathon and I couldn’t be happier with the way it works. It’s on my wrist 23 hours out of every day. It pairs with my Bose SoundSport wireless as soon as I turn them on. Love the setup.
 

Fireball Dragon

macrumors 6502a
Nov 26, 2012
841
209
Chigwell, England
If you need/want to see data like VO2 max, ground contact time, vertical oscillation, etc. I would recommend a proper running watch like a Garmin.

If you're just looking to track basic data like speed, distance, time, etc. the AW should suffice.

I personally don't use my AW for running. It just doesn't provide the metrics I need and use for my training.

PS: I don't listen to music in races. I do sometimes when running solo, and use an iPod nano (easily fits into my running shorts).
 

MJ22

macrumors regular
Oct 3, 2017
232
168
I’ve been running for 23 years and am very competitive—I love the new Apple Watch. I don’t bog myself down with my phone, even with an armband. No hip pack, nothing. I do listen to music from time to time so the built-in playlist has been helpful. I use Powerbeats and no issues.

Despite being a pretty hard core racer, I don’t want anything besides distance, time, and current pace. The HR is nice, and the native Workout app shows four of those things as you’re running. When you sync with your phone later it shows a map of your route and some additional basic data. I have Runkeeper as a backup option but prefer the Workout app. When I do interval workouts I do them on a track, so I already know the distance. I use the Timer app because GPS is not accurate on a track often anyway.

As a runner, just a word of advice, don’t get so bogged down in all the data details. Really. In local races I rarely finish outside of the top 2 or 3 women and I’ve won awards in large half marathons and other races. You don’t need all that stuff. Just run.

I primarily wanted this watch to have a safety lifeline and it’s been great.
 

satchmo

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2008
2,125
1,973
Canada
Just run.
This.

Far too often, we 'geeks' love analytics, specs and features.
If Apple has stood for anything over the decades, it's simplicity (perhaps less so of late), and experience.

Unless you're training for some high level race, leave all those metrics for Olympians and world class athletes.
Good to check on from time to time, but don't worry about it too much.

With respect to devices, on other smartwatch is the Fitbit Ionic. It does music and GPS. Tried one on the other day and it's a bit large and feels rather cheap. I do like it's slimmer profile though.

The new Garmin Vivoactive 3 looks great (round face), but lacks music. At some point, I hope Garmin will implement music storage on their watches.

For this reason, Apple's pivot to focus on fitness has been the watch's 'killer app'.
 
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MJ22

macrumors regular
Oct 3, 2017
232
168
Can the AW even do simple lap splits? (genuine question)
The workout app gives you your Mile splits. I haven’t tried to use Strava but that might. I also haven’t tried to do that with Runkeeper, as I said I just use the timer app for intervals.
 

Fireball Dragon

macrumors 6502a
Nov 26, 2012
841
209
Chigwell, England
The workout app gives you your Mile splits. I haven’t tried to use Strava but that might. I also haven’t tried to do that with Runkeeper, as I said I just use the timer app for intervals.
Cool, thanks. I've only tried Strava on the AW once back in 2015 so don't know how much it's changed since then.
 

Cybbe

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 15, 2004
302
85
Thanks for all your replies. I guess you all more or less recommend the Apple Watch for my usage, so I'll give the new series 3 a try. It's mainly to have a motivational tool and music when running.
 

a.y.n

macrumors 6502
Jul 7, 2009
263
43
San Francisco
From what you described, the AW3 + LTE will be perfect for you. Besides the built-in Workout and Nike apps, the Strava watch app is pretty good if you use Strava, and the iSmoothRun watch app is also great and gives you a lot of controls like what data fields to display during runs, as well as structured workouts.

The main disadvantage of the AW over dedicated run watches, imo, is the lack of physical buttons. I use the lap and pause buttons at the track a lot and real physical buttons are way better than force-touching and tapping a small tapable area on the tiny screen. Some apps do and will support pushing both the crown and the side button at the same time to do something, but that's just 1 event and I really need both lap and pause events.

For runs off the track, the AW works great though.
 
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