How accurate and useful is the AW really for health/fitness?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by sartrekid, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. sartrekid macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2014
    I am contemplating on getting a watch to use exclusively to monitor and track my health data.

    Are any of you using the Apple Watch for that purpose or is something like the Garmin Fenix or a Suunto the way to go? What about something like fitbit?

    How do you rate the usefulness of the Apple Watch for fitness compared to other offerings?
  2. cmbauer macrumors regular


    Sep 27, 2016
    It all depends on your goals and how exact you want to be.

    I Crossfit 6/7 times a week and run 3 times a week. I track all my workouts. I gave up the calories games along time ago. Now I use the watch to just track workouts, fill rings and use the notifications. I enjoy the watch alot for all that it does. Can really compare the Fenix to the Apple Watch. The fenix is amazing for activites but lacks in smartwatch. The Apple watch does not do nearly what the Fenix can, but does smartwatch much better

    If you are a hardcore runner or hardcore calorie counter then you may want something else.
  3. metblack328i macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2016
    Agreed. I have used the fitbit surge and the apple watch along with other heart rate monitors. Apple watch is sometimes way off and also translates to incorrect calorie count. But i mainly use it to fill the rings and smart watch functionality like notifications of email, msgs and few extra apps like nest thermostat. One thing to note is that apple watch does not to native sleep tracking like the fitbits.
  4. Maui19 macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2007
    I have just decided to rely on my AW for all my fitness tracking. I was using a Fitbit Charge HR previously. For a while, I was using both. One thing that kept me using my Fitbit long after I got my AW is that my Fitbit showed me taking many more steps each day than the AW. I have decided that it doesn't matter how many total steps each one shows as long as they are consistent from day to day.

    With the AW, you do need to use a couple apps to give you want in fitness tracking. For example, I have started using Sleep Tracker to monitor my sleep because it has automatic sleep detection--something the Fitbit always did very well. All of my activity gets pulled together by the Heartwatch app, which is comprehensive, however it displays so much data that there is a steep learning curve.

    The bottom line for me is that the AW requires some time, thought and research to produce the information you want in a fitness tracker. But with the help of a couple apps, it gets the job done nicely.

    FWIW, I don't think either the Fitbit or the AW are very accurate at tracking heart rate, especially peak HR during heavy exercise.
  5. roccobladr macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2011
    Just one thing I'd like to point out as a dietitian nutrition counselor, especially when dealing with self accountability/tracking calories etc. Most devices and apps are usually way off. Old school pedometers are still the best at step tracking, though wrist based devices tend to give you a fairly good ballpark of where you are. Calorie tracking like MyFitnessPal can be way off as well. Research shows that some people may be underestimating by 400-600 calories per day!

    That being said, the upside is that you have a gauge. It may not be perfect, but as along as you can see trends, it will be valuable. Same thing with scales. Say your home scale is showing that you are 5 pounds heavier than your doctor's room scale. As long as they both show downward trends, you will benefit. The accountability and mindfulness is the key.

    I'd love to see if anyone has any data on devices such as Apple Watch calorie estimates vs direct calorimetry.
  6. midloman macrumors regular


    Feb 10, 2010
    Midllothian, VA
    If HR tracking is important to you during the workouts, the AW has the capability to sync with and use a bluetooth HR monitor (chest strap, dedicated wrist based). This is something the Fitbits will NOT do.

    I've had good luck with the Polar chest strap.
  7. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2015
    If you are more of a weekend warrior or average Joe fitness guy, I highly recommend the Apple Watch - especially if you want more than what a fitbit offers. If you get tired of checking heart rate or steps, you end up throwing away your FitBit. :) Appearance of the FitBit is also blah compared to the AW.

    I rely on my Apple Watch for so much more than HR and Steps. It can't compare to a Garmin or similar for runners/bikers, etc. If you are in need of better GPS and accurate splits and able to run a Marathon and need the splits for pace, the Garmin wins. Just my opinion.
  8. DeepIn2U macrumors 603


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Excellent feedback and probing inquiring about calometric data comparison.
  9. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
    Great for walking the dog but I also use it to track all my gym activities as well. And the numbers are rather good compared to what the gym kit tells me.
  10. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    If you just want to use the built in fitness app and don't want loads of data, then the AW will be fine.

    My primary use for my watch has always been fitness tracking and while I wouldn't say I was anywhere near a serious runner (I run nearly every day but just for pleasure), I do take my running seriously and like looking at stats and data about my runs, which is why I was using 3rd party apps (tried Strava, Runtastic, Runkeeper and many others). However, I found 3rd party apps to be horrendously unreliable (failing to start, failing to keep running, crashing, missing bits of runs off, etc, etc.).

    After putting up with poor quality apps for 18 months I finally gave up and got myself a Garmin Forerunner 235 and I much prefer it as a running watch: It's rock solid reliable and gives me all the data I could ever want :)

    As a watch, it's nowhere near as good as the AW (bigger, not as well built, not as good a display, notifications aren't interactive), but I'm happy to make the compromise on those and am now wearing it as my all day watch simply because it works better as a fitness device.

    My personal view is if you want a nice watch that will also track your activities, then get the AW. If you want a watch to help you with your running and whose primary focus is fitness, then you may be better off with an alternative
  11. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2014
    Thank you for the great feedback, everyone. Your responses help me a lot!
  12. riverer macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2012
    Thanks for the helpful comments, I've been looking at getting one myself.

    One thing I would like to use it for is the heart rate, I currently have a pebble classic which I've been using with my iphone and runkeeper to track my running. This works fine for me, but the pebble is giving its death rattles with a messed up screen.

    I'd like to see my heart rate over the course of my run, see the heart rate as I run so I can maintain a certain level and compare runs over time to see how I improve. I'd also like to see my resting heart rate (hopefully!) go down over time as I get more in shape.

    On top of that I want to play pokemon go with the apple watch (Yay!) and respond to notifications (does it let you reply to whatsap?).

    Would apple health let me do all that or would I need to continue using runkeeper?
  13. MauriceMoss macrumors member


    Aug 20, 2010
    I bought one specifically to track/inspire/remind me. I've changed how I eat and live. If I'm craving something I know is bad for me, I look at my Watch to see the rings, and use it as a reminder of the goals I want to achieve.

    I've started a couch to 5k program and use the Watch to track heart rate and give me audio cues (run vs walk).

    I bought the Watch on October 29 and I've lost 40 pounds.

    I still have a long way to go, but I really like having the Watch as a motivator. Yeah, there are probably better "fitness" wearables out there, but none have the look, ease of use, and Apple ecosystem integration that the Apple Watch does. As a new runner, it has all I currently need.
  14. raqball, Dec 20, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016

    raqball macrumors 68000

    Sep 11, 2016
    I have an Apple Watch (series 2) and a Garmin Fenix 3 HR...

    The Apple Watch is noticeably lighter and the display is much brighter in direct sunlight. My main use of the watches is for cycling, running and swimming. I can care less about steps or it telling me to stand after a period of time.

    So far since getting the series 2 I have not really had the desire to use my Garmin.. The Apple Watch 2, now that it has GPS and can be used to swim, is a killer watch.

    Pricing wise, I think I paid like $600 for the Garmin and $600 for the Apple Watch..
  15. riverer macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2012
    Thats good to hear, sounds like you use it very similarly to how I plan to.
  16. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    I completely agree with this - when I first got my watch I'd just started my fitness journey and it helped me massively in the early / mid stages as it's easy to understand and provides good motivation.
  17. Ffosse macrumors 65816

    Nov 5, 2012
    Just anecdotal, but my Apple Watch 2 is miles better at locking on to GPS and monitoring my walks than the Sony Smart Watch 3 ever was - that device was glitchy while I've had no problems with the 2.

    I'm recovering from cancer so am only going for small walks (1 to 3) miles whilst I build up my immune system again. I can see on the map in the activity app where I've been and other info like steps, time, calories etc.

    also love the Breathe app - it helps me calm down when I'm feeling nervous.

    Hope this small post helps your decision.
  18. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    My AW has proven itself as a better daily wearer than my bulky (and discontinued) Garmin 410. Any all-day metrics, like steps or whatever, can obviously be measured better with an all-day gadget.

    It's also extensible. I could get a Bluetooth chest strap if I wanted to get even more accurate HR data (and, they say, less battery drain during workouts). I could use other apps to manage workouts differently (although some are better at coordinating with Apple Health than others, TBH).

    tl;dr: It's accurate enough for me, and because it's easy to wear all the time, it's more useful.
  19. ipedro macrumors 68040


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    I don't generally run indoors but the weather was terrible so I jumped on a treadmill in my gym and asked Siri to track an indoor run. Off I went. I put my hands on those heart rate tracking metal pads on the treadmill and bam! Exactly the same BPM number as on my AppleWatch. I was expecting it to be off by a few BPM's but it kept exactly the same number as on the $3000 treadmill with a medical grade ECG.
  20. raqball macrumors 68000

    Sep 11, 2016
    The only bummer is battery life.. I can get 12-15 hours of GPS on time with my Garmin but the Apple Watch only gets about 5 hours, if you are lucky.... Maybe less if GPS signal is weak..
  21. Long Run Nick macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2016
    Florida Panhandle
    40 pounds in 53 days is an awful,lot. I hope you are being medically supervised with your weight loss program. Rapid reduction in weight like you presented can be very dangerous.
    Think of it this way, did you gain those 40 pounds you lost in 53 days? If you make a commitment to live a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life, the pounds will drop off gradually. Nick
  22. IJBrekke macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Beach, CA
    Best wishes on a full recovery for you.
  23. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    I'm hoping he bought it on October 2015.

    I spent six months losing 30 pounds, and whittled off another twenty across a year or two after that. That was six years ago.
  24. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2014
    You've all given me invaluable information. Thank you for that! I think that, given my situation and based of what many of you have reported, the Apple Watch might suffice, as I'm only beginning fitness again and I'm pretty much starting at zero.
  25. Julien macrumors G4


    Jun 30, 2007
    WHAT??? 40 lbs (of fat) is 140,000 kcal or a negative 2600 kcal a day!

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