How's the GPS on the Series 2?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by zw-gator, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. zw-gator macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2005
    I'd like to replace my Garmin 220 with an Apple Watch. The only way I can justify the cost is if the GPS accuracy is on par. Are there any reviews on the Series 2, specifically for running?
  2. exxxviii macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2015
    So, I will go all consulting on you and expand the considerations a little. Plus, it is still probably a little early to get some good feedback on GPS performance, since folks have only started getting the AWS2 10 days ago...

    So, think about your tolerance and importance for each of these:
    1. GPS accuracy: Combination of accuracy and precision. I have had a few Garmin watches, and those are precise to within 0.01 mile standard deviation over a 5 mile run. My experience with Apple iPhone-based apps has been closer to 0.1 mile SD.
    2. App Stability: The native Workout app is pretty good; however 3rd party apps may be more prone to crashing or failing to capture a run. So, get some good information here and compare that to your expectation.
    3. Ease of Use: Garmins have dedicated buttons for core functions and operate without having to look at them. Depending on the AWS2 running app, you may have to contend with touch screen and touch actions to start/lap/pause/stop activities.
    4. Display Metrics: What metrics do you want the watch to display while running, and can the native Workout app do it, or will it require a 3rd party app.
    5. Data Analysis: Do you use Garmin Connect for performance and trending analysis? The native Apple Workout and Activity apps have limited metric presentation. For example, I do not think they show split-level details for HR, elevation gain/loss, cadence, etc. And, I do not think there is any presentation for comparing performance across runs.
    6. Data Sharing: Do you use Strava, Training Peaks, Golden Cheetah, etc.? The native Apple apps do not integrate, and there are no 3rd party apps that share yet, because none have been updated to use GPS.
    7. Strava Live Segments: This is the hot thing. Probably the 3rd party Strava app could support it, but it does not use GPS yet. (And, I thought the Strava running capture app totally sucked when I tried it last year.)
    8. Ruggeddness: The AW has a glass screen and metal case that may need a little more careful care than a typical running watch.
    9. Battery Life: If you do long runs, you may need to charge after the run to make it through the day with the AWS2.
    The quick answer is that the AWS2 GPS will probably prove to be very good. But, depending on your personal preference and expectations in a running device and your running data, it may not offer all that you are accustomed to.
  3. Azelizabeth macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2016
    I think it really depends on whether you are an athlete or not. I am a 52 year old woman that likes to run/walk while my daughter is at cross country practice. I have used it twice now and I love it. It was accurate, easy for me to figure out, gave me the data I wanted, and has another purpose beyond sports... so it was a far better option for me than a Garmin. Now if I was a serious triathlete... it would most likely not be enough. Really happy with my 42mm Aluminum sport white band.
  4. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2015
    I would stick with my Garmin for now, especially if you value using sites like Strava, Garmin Connect, Training Peaks, etc. Currently there is no way to get your all of your data .. particularly map data to Strava or GC. RunGap does a decent job with the pace, hr, and cadence data, but that's it for now.

    I have been running with the Series 2 this week, mainly because I like running with as little hardware as possible. Just the watch and BT headphones is all I have to bring now to get HR, GPS Tracking, and Music. Just wish there was a way to get the GPS data to Strava.

    As to your original question .. I have found the GPS accuracy to be superior to my Garmin Vivoactive which was actually pretty terrible anytime you got near trees or tall buildings. The Series 2 seems to do fine in those scenarios thus far.
  5. purpleparrotuk macrumors 6502a


    Jun 26, 2010
    Can you export the data as a file from the watch?
  6. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2015
    No, there is no access to the data on the watch. Data can be exported from Apple Health using an app like RunGap, but not the map data.
  7. oftheheavens macrumors 68000

    Jul 9, 2008
    cherry point
    wow I don't even use GPS on my AW2 (well at least yet) but came in here for interest and am amazed no one replied to your thorough reply to the OP that should really help him/her decide. Good post man.
  8. racingbull macrumors regular


    Aug 16, 2013

    Spot on.

    I am a casual runner and run just for fun. I am looking forward to leaving the iPhone and the wired headphones at home and run with the AWN+ and Airpods.

    As an athlete you would rather rely on dedicated HW+SW.
  9. passedpast macrumors newbie


    Jan 10, 2007
    Google D.C. Rainmaker's recent Apple Watch Nike edition review.
  10. PaladinGuy macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2014
    Keep in mind that the Apple Watch has GPS and GLONASS. I am not hyper sensitive to this GPS accuracy, but as far as I can tell, it's accurate. Everything I've ever read says that every GPS unit has some variation from others.

    Just keep in mind that you'll lose a few of the metrics the Forerunner 220 gives you.

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9 September 21, 2016