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dj1891

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
632
335
Northern Ireland
Spot the difference??

So for those who don’t know what All Systems is, it’s basically you have access to all available Satellite constellations (there’s something like 5), not dual band but a step below. Apple implemented this from the AW7 without much fuss or mention.

Garmin implementation as you can see is much better. This is a forerunner 255 vs an Apple Watch 8. Don’t get me wrong Apples is much improved but should be better, Garmins is with a foot or two, apples a couple of meters.

Distance is basically identical in the end but is runners have a fetish for GPS tracks and Garmins is definitely sexier
 

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Significant1

macrumors 68000
Dec 20, 2014
1,624
756
I am team Garmin myself and double watch with a ti AW7.

But shouldn't you compare with AW Ultra to be fair and have multi band vs multi band.

I did a half marathon last Sunday with FR 955 + AW 7 41mm using workoutdoors and they actual did a very good job both them.
 
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dj1891

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
632
335
Northern Ireland
I am team Garmin myself and double watch with a ti AW7.

But shouldn't you compare with AW Ultra to be fair and have multi band vs multi band.

I did a half marathon last Sunday with FR 955 + AW 7 41mm using workoutdoors and they actual did a very good job both them.
No as the 255 was set on All Systems, not All Systems + Multiband. So both were basically on the same setup.
 
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Duffman19

macrumors member
Jun 1, 2022
32
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I am team Garmin myself and double watch with a ti AW7.

But shouldn't you compare with AW Ultra to be fair and have multi band vs multi band.

I did a half marathon last Sunday with FR 955 + AW 7 41mm using workoutdoors and they actual did a very good job both them.
I run with the exact same setup: 955 for metrics accuracy and a 41mm ti AW7 for connectivity. I only sometimes track my runs with the AW just to see how the two compare.

What’s your take between the two when it comes to accuracy, specifically distance? I’ve found the AW7 is pretty close to the the 955 (using multiband) when on the road, coming up short about .01-.02 per mile. On trail runs, though, the AW is significantly short, sometimes by up to .05-.10 per mile while in the forest.

I’m really hoping Apple adds multiband GNSS to the regular AWs. It’s the only thing keeping the Garmin on my wrist during runs. And I just can’t wear an Ultra all day. Probably won’t happen soon as it’s too big of a hit to battery.
 

Significant1

macrumors 68000
Dec 20, 2014
1,624
756
I run with the exact same setup: 955 for metrics accuracy and a 41mm ti AW7 for connectivity. I only sometimes track my runs with the AW just to see how the two compare.
I track with Apple Watch mostly for backup and to make sure I can trust Garmins analysis. The heart rate sensor in AW is much better than garmins, I therefore use a Polar Verity Sense on my upper arm connected to the Garmin. I helped a lot.
What’s your take between the two when it comes to accuracy, specifically distance? I’ve found the AW7 is pretty close to the the 955 (using multiband) when on the road, coming up short about .01-.02 per mile. On trail runs, though, the AW is significantly short, sometimes by up to .05-.10 per mile while in the forest.
I don't have that many comparisons outdoor (I actually have had to skip run training this year to help my mother, so doing a half-marathon only on HIIT/cross fit without endurance training was tough!) and indoor I have used Stryd. But the distance between the two on the half-marathon was actually spot on. Apple Watch was 50m longer, but that is easily explained by that fact it was backup and started well in advance and after the race, while the Garmin was started/stopped at the start/finish line.
I’m really hoping Apple adds multiband GNSS to the regular AWs. It’s the only thing keeping the Garmin on my wrist during runs. And I just can’t wear an Ultra all day. Probably won’t happen soon as it’s too big of a hit to battery.
That is not the problem for me. The sensors are good enough for me. It is the lack of analysis. I am with Fit Gear Hunter (YouTuber) here. I tried making AW my do all device, but just didn't work. Furthermore, I don't want to pay subscription for a range of third party apps, which data I don't trust. Garmin's data are very accurate for me, if I use external heart rate sensor. I had a head injury many years ago, so Garmin's recovery metricses are gold for me. The other thing is lack of buttons and not being able to fully control the watch using buttons (touch display and sweaty finger are just not a good match).
 
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ChrisA

macrumors G5
Jan 5, 2006
12,649
1,796
Redondo Beach, California
I'm not a runner, my knees are too old. But I ride a road bike and use a Garmin bike computer and it compares well with my iPhone GPS. It is clear that Apple knows how to do GPS well but chose not to on the watch. Likely for good reason.

I think the issue here is that Garmin makes specialized devices for sports and Apple has to appeal to a wider audience. Apple could put a better GPS antenna in the watch and spend more battery power and resources processing the signal. But then Apple would have to decide to cut something else or make the watch physically larger.

The same goes with the heart rate sensors. My Polar arm-band heart rate sensor has a green LED that is almost blinding if I look at it. The sensor is very accurate, but it is almost as large as a watch and the battery charge only lasts 8 or 10 hours. My Fitbit holds a usable charge for almost a week and is smaller than an Apple Watch, but Fitbit trades off some features, the green LED is dim and the heart rate sensor lags and it uses the GPS on the phone as it does not have its own. This is an engineering trade-off. One is not "better". I use Polar (and Garmin) on the bike but I'm taking the Fitbit on my upcoming 120 mile hike in the Sierras.

Polar is designed or interval training where I need to know heart rate second by second. The Fitbit is more for general activity-level monitoring, where averaging the rate over time is OK. It's a trade-off. You can't have it both ways.

It is all a fixed-sum game, adding one thing means taking off something.
 
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NME42

macrumors 65816
Sep 15, 2019
1,237
699
I'm not a runner, my knees are too old. But I ride a road bike and use a Garmin bike computer and it compares well with my iPhone GPS.

Don’t forget: the faster you move, the more accurate your tracks look. So road cycling is easy for all GPS devices.
 

cubodado

macrumors regular
Nov 28, 2022
186
256
Torino
From a test I saw and personal experience with friends ‘ Garmins AW is faster to catch GPS signal but slightly less precise GPS. Slightly better HR sensor and much better sleep tracking.

I think that in running and walking AW interpolates GPS with accelerometer, it works on tunnels too.
 

dj1891

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
632
335
Northern Ireland
I track with Apple Watch mostly for backup and to make sure I can trust Garmins analysis. The heart rate sensor in AW is much better than garmins, I therefore use a Polar Verity Sense on my upper arm connected to the Garmin. I helped a lot.

I don't have that many comparisons outdoor (I actually have had to skip run training this year to help my mother, so doing a half-marathon only on HIIT/cross fit without endurance training was tough!) and indoor I have used Stryd. But the distance between the two on the half-marathon was actually spot on. Apple Watch was 50m longer, but that is easily explained by that fact it was backup and started well in advance and after the race, while the Garmin was started/stopped at the start/finish line.

That is not the problem for me. The sensors are good enough for me. It is the lack of analysis. I am with Fit Gear Hunter (YouTuber) here. I tried making AW my do all device, but just didn't work. Furthermore, I don't want to pay subscription for a range of third party apps, which data I don't trust. Garmin's data are very accurate for me, if I use external heart rate sensor. I had a head injury many years ago, so Garmin's recovery metricses are gold for me. The other thing is lack of buttons and not being able to fully control the watch using buttons (touch display and sweaty finger are just not a good match).
Had the same issue. I tried to just use the AW but it wasn’t enough, it’s the lack of analysis. And apps like Chipr, Athlytic all gave different results, simply not up to the job. And sadly Apple seem to have no interest in exploring this area or they would have by now which is such a shame, if they did I think they would do Garmin some serious harm.
 
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DontGetTheCheese

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2015
411
291
Just on GPS, I found the recent Garmin’s to be less accurate than the AW. A trail I regularly ran has mileage markers, and the AWU tagged them, the newer Garmin stuff didn’t, although the F5’s did. In the grand scheme of things it’s not relevant, just an observation.
 

DontGetTheCheese

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2015
411
291
From a test I saw and personal experience with friends ‘ Garmins AW is faster to catch GPS signal but slightly less precise GPS. Slightly better HR sensor and much better sleep tracking.

I think that in running and walking AW interpolates GPS with accelerometer, it works on tunnels too.
Sleep tracking, especially all-night pulse ox, is a train wreck. It kind of gets total sleep in the ball park, but my O2 at night looks like a track made by a drunk driver who just blew .28. And, please, no apnea / sleep study comments, I’m very aware of what was causing my sleep issues and it isn’t apnea and the Garmin’s all-night tracking isn’t accurate.

The AW is still the better HR sensor but the Epix Pro is better than prior Garmin’s.

One last point, on analysis, if you want a platform to track your run history, metrics, etc., Garmin is better. However, Apple Health, in its entirety, makes Garmin look like a pile of Goat Poop. There’s just no comparing the two things. Apple Health needs a massive improvement in it’s UI, and needs to commit to what it is, but what it does, med tracking, medical history, accuracy, even some of the running stuff hiding in there, it’s got so much more than Garmin that it’s just not comparable.
 
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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
14,638
7,828
One last point, on analysis, if you want a platform to track your run history, metrics, etc., Garmin is better. However, Apple Health, in its entirety, makes Garmin look like a pile of Goat Poop. There’s just no comparing the two things. Apple Health needs a massive improvement in it’s UI, and needs to commit to what it is, but what it does, med tracking, medical history, accuracy, even some of the running stuff hiding in there, it’s got so much more than Garmin that it’s just not comparable.
What are some of the stuff that is hiding in there?
 

ChrisA

macrumors G5
Jan 5, 2006
12,649
1,796
Redondo Beach, California
Don’t forget: the faster you move, the more accurate your tracks look. So road cycling is easy for all GPS devices.
I think it is the other way around. A GPS typically reports position once per second.. If movig slow the position fixes are closer together. In the ultimate "slow" case with stationary antenna the GPS canaverage the signal for hours or days and be quite accurate.


But Apple's location service is not just GPS. It uses several sources of data, even wifi and cell phone towers.

Also my bike has a wheel odometer sensor so I get velocity data even in a tunnel. Garmin can use velocity to estimate position and the Apple iPhone can use cell signals to estimate position

All the devices are different but in all cases, you get the best data if you are stopped dead for some minutes.
 

NME42

macrumors 65816
Sep 15, 2019
1,237
699
I think it is the other way around. A GPS typically reports position once per second.. If movig slow the position fixes are closer together. In the ultimate "slow" case with stationary antenna the GPS canaverage the signal for hours or days and be quite accurate.

That’s why I wrote „looks accurate“.
In your example, leaving a GPS watch in the same place, the recorded track looks messy, as long as no additonal sensors are being used for correction.
 
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