How accurate is the Apple watch when it comes to fitness?

rockitdog

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Has anyone found any major discrepancies when it comes to tracking their fitness/ workouts with the Apple Watch? Considering to switching to a Fitbit due to the lack of options for workouts like lifting weights or playing tennis. I feel like the heart rate on my Apple Watch is always faster than it should be as well.
 

Newtons Apple

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Has anyone found any major discrepancies when it comes to tracking their fitness/ workouts with the Apple Watch? Considering to switching to a Fitbit due to the lack of options for workouts like lifting weights or playing tennis. I feel like the heart rate on my Apple Watch is always faster than it should be as well.

You need to do some reading in this forum. The Apple Watch is not the best fitness device for sure. It does do things that work well with you iPhone but if serious about fitness, you need to look at Garmin or FitBit. My AW is very poor in tracking my HR.
 

rockitdog

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You need to do some reading in this forum. The Apple Watch is not the best fitness device for sure. It does do things that work well with you iPhone but if serious about fitness, you need to look at Garmin or FitBit. My AW is very poor in tracking my HR.
I'm not serious at all about fitness which is the point I am trying to get to. I want to just get motivated to live a more active lifestyle. I'm considering picking up a FitBit HR. If I stick with Apple am I sacrificing a lot by it not being so accurate given that I am not super into fitness. (in the gym 3-4 times a week on the elliptical). I only want to wear one thing though - I have friends who wear both.
 

Newtons Apple

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I'm not serious at all about fitness which is the point I am trying to get to. I want to just get motivated to live a more active lifestyle. I'm considering picking up a FitBit HR. If I stick with Apple am I sacrificing a lot by it not being so accurate given that I am not super into fitness. (in the gym 3-4 times a week on the elliptical). I only want to wear one thing though - I have friends who wear both.
If not super serious, get the Apple Watch. It should serve your needs and it will do a lot of little thing that make is very handy indeed. I bet you will enjoy. There is no risk, go and buy it and if you find you do not like, you have two weeks to return.
 

OneMike

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Oct 19, 2005
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I exercise most days and find the apple watch accurate enough. You work harder you burn more calories. Work less. Burn less.
 
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matrix07

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Don't have any problem with accuracy. When I run on treadmill it's just a few 10 metre difference than the watch. Heart rate is also close enough. (I wear the watch very snugly)
 
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Totally

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I have read over the years that the AW is not the optimal fitness device. The heart rate monitor is at best sub par. Disclaimer, I don't own one. And this is part of the reason why.
 

matrix07

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Jun 24, 2010
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I have read over the years that the AW is not the optimal fitness device. The heart rate monitor is at best sub par. Disclaimer, I don't own one. And this is part of the reason why.
From my real life experience I don't think that's true. However, if you want extremely accurate result then all wrist monitoring devices are not for you.

https://www.groovypost.com/unplugged/apple-watch-accuracy-heart-monitoring/
https://www.wareable.com/apple/apple-watch-is-best-for-heart-rate-monitoring-3357
http://time.com/4527843/accurate-wearable-apple-watch-fitness-tracker/
 
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bjet767

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Oct 2, 2010
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I own both an AW and a real chest strap HR monitor for workouts.

Here's the truth:

The AW HR is accurate when it is tightly against skin.
The AW updates every 5 seconds while a chest monitor is around one second.
The AW calorie algorithms are estimates only because there is no way for the Watch to measure actual work or force. When comparing directly to actual force, as in a bicycle DFM, the Watch tends to be optimistic, more active calories burned.
In the big picture any disciplined exercise program will help meet desired goals. The Apple Watch will help the dedicated person meet their training goals, but so will the competing devices.

Choose what you want to wear.
 
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honglong1976

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Jul 12, 2008
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I use an Apple Watch and a Fitbit Blaze.

If you want really good notifications and an ok fitness tracker, Apple Watch.
If you want a really good fitness device and ok notifications, fitbit.

Comparison:
Steps: Apple watch is much more accurate and doesn't count as many steps when driving or on a bus
HR: Apple watch takes a reading every 2-16 mins. Fitbit Blaze every 5 seconds. HR is accurate on the Fitbit
Auto activity recognition: Fitbit detects cycling, walking, running, etc over 10 mins automatically. Apple watch doesn't
Stairs: Fitbit only :)
App: Fitbit app is better, showing resting HR, and a graph, steps, stairs, auto activity. Apple Watch activity app is too basic. Even when going for a run it doesn't show much.
Notifications: Both are good. Apple Watch has a better vibrate.
Battery: 5 days for Fitbit, 2 max for Apple watch
Sports bands: From CEX about 5-£8 - AW £12+

Hope that helps!
 

BarracksSi

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The AW is accurate enough for me.

I have a Garmin 410 with a HR strap and a bike speed/cadence sensor. I could add other ANT+ devices like a Quarq or SRM power meter, foot pod, etc., but I never got that deep into it.

After a few years with the Garmin, I realized that I didn't care much about the quantity of data it accumulated. If I were cross-referencing it with my body weight, dietary intake, different bikes, race results, and things like that, it would have helped -- but all I was doing was staying physically healthy and keeping fit, not trying to win my age group at the next sprint triathlon.

Because the 410 is bulky and has zero smartwatch-like functionality (I'd call it a portable exercise lab monitor that happens to be wrist-sized), I don't wear it much. After the newness wore off, I never wore it as a daily-wear watch, either.

Fitbit-style bands: I've never bought one. They feel very cheap to me, my cousin and her husband have had to get theirs replaced multiple times because they fell apart, and their limited functionality doesn't make them interesting enough for me to wear regularly.

What the AW is for me is a good enough exercise logger, a good enough activity tracker, and a very good smartphone extension. It's also comfortable to wear and reasonably aesthetically pleasing, which helps me feel good about wearing it daily.
 

ahostmadsen

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Time Health stated the same, but they used the same study source, The Cleveland Clinic, as the one you linked.
Yes, but I vaguely recall that there have been prior studies (perhaps when the AW just came out?) that showed the same.
 

SDColorado

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Yes, but I vaguely recall that there have been prior studies (perhaps when the AW just came out?) that showed the same.
That may well be. I was interested in your link, because I thought it was maybe from a different study than the Time Health one.

I did see some other article, sadly I cannot recall the source, that said the results varied by 10%, which was better than a majority of fitness bands, but of course nowhere near as accurate as the chest straps.

I don't think anyone would argue that the chest straps are far and away superior if accuracy matters, but as that article I was reading pointed out, the accuracy of the Apple Watch was good enough for many, as long as the inaccuracies were consistent, so that you had a baseline to work from.

Edit: Actually I did recall. It was from WSJ, but I believe you may have to be a subscriber to read the article in full.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fitness-bands-with-heart-rate-tracking-are-missing-a-beat-1418759929
 
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Grayburn

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Since Strava have had a watch app I've used it every day for my 15 mile ride to work and my 15 mile ride home from work and it hasn't let me down once. Route is always spot on, avg & max speed and elevation gain are also correct and not off like some Garmin readings from fellow riders on my route.

As for the Workout app when I use it for lunchtime walks, that also is always correct.

Thumbs up all round for me, no complaints.
 

SDColorado

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One of the biggest issues my wife and I had with the Fitbit, before switching to the AW, aside from them falling apart, was (mis)counting steps. Often in the car, but more often when on the motorcyle. Go riding for the day and Fitbit would happily report 10's of thousands of steps for the day. I have not noticed AW doing the same, at least I haven't noticed any signficant increase in step count. It is hard to miss 10's of thousands.

A posted mentioned above that Fitbit has Auto Activity recognition. I wonder if that is sometimes a detriment, where it detects some activies incorrectly?
 

satchmo

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What are the chances Apple will beef up their built-in fitness apps?
Or do you think they'll leave fitness up to third party developers?
Hopefully we'll learn soon enough at the upcoming WWDC in early June.
 
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honglong1976

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What are the chances Apple will beef up their built-in fitness apps?
Or do you think they'll leave fitness up to third party developers?
Hopefully we'll learn soon enough at the upcoming WWDC in early June.
I am sure they will as fitness is the main feature of the Apple Watch. It's way behind Fitbit as a fitness device but with an update, it should surpass it :)

I will use my Fitbit Blaze till WWDC :)
 

Cycling Asia

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Mar 19, 2016
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I have read over the years that the AW is not the optimal fitness device. The heart rate monitor is at best sub par. Disclaimer, I don't own one. And this is part of the reason why.
The other day while cycling, I tried a chest strap HR monitor to see how the apple watch compared to it. Apart from those occasions where the watch failed to record the HR (due to rough road and HR above 180) it was within only 1 or 2 bpm from the chest strap monitor.

Also, using HR monitors for fitness doesn't require super accurate results. The goal is to get your HR into the range at which you're improving fitness. The apple watch is more than accurate enough for that.
 

UL2RA

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I've actually read that the Apple Watch is one of the most accurate monitors among other watches. Nothing will be as accurate as the chest strap, but it's close enough to where it's not usually an issue. I'm sure it will continue to get better with the next release.

Here's a couple of articles:
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-apple-watch-has-the-most-accurate-heart-rate-monitor-according-to-new-research-2016-10
https://www.wareable.com/apple/apple-watch-is-best-for-heart-rate-monitoring-3357

The problem with many of these monitors is they get less accurate the harder you're working, which defeats the entire purpose of monitoring your heart rate. If all you're doing is walking, then any of them will work fine.