Took the AW Series 2 on its first run & swim today with disappointing results

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by JoeKozy, Oct 23, 2016.

  1. JoeKozy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #1
    Just thought i'd share this to see if people have had better luck with their GPS or have had similar problems to me.

    Running

    I run a 5k every week and know the route extremely well. I usually take my phone and use Runkeeper, with it giving me audio cues every 500m. Because of this, i know pretty much exactly where each .5k point is on the route - the Apple Watch was inaccurate right from the beginning.

    I left my phone at home and the disconnected from phone icon was showing at the top. I had the watch track my walk to the start point in the hope that this would give it time to get a GPS lock. As you can see from the screenshot of the walk, it appears to have done so part of the way into my walk...

    http://imgur.com/XLAxLd4

    However, once i started my run soon afterwards, it failed to get a GPS for the first section and just assumes i ran in a straight line from roughly where i started to when it got its first GPS lock. This suggests ending an activity (as i did with my walk to the start point) causes the watch to completely start from scratch when finding a GPS signal again - incredibly annoying as there is no cue for the user to let you know when it has GPS and has stopped guesstimating from the accelerometer. It should be noted that i run 2.5km and then double back on myself, hence the two lines. The line from the green pin is the start of my run - to my eternal shame i walked the last 1km back as i've had a few weeks not running and it was horrendously hot; this may have helped the GPS, as it certainly had a better lock on the way back.

    http://imgur.com/QFTz3VW

    Throughout the route, it sporadically lost GPS signal, each time making the timings and distance less accurate. This could be due to trees etc., it's hard to say.

    http://imgur.com/UkveaiE

    This route is on Hong Kong island so it's on the side of a hill and has some trees occasionally blocking line-of-sight to the sky, but on my phone it generally hasn't caused a problem - as can be seen here from a Runkeeper screenshot of a far more successful run.

    http://imgur.com/ZEH6MoE

    I'm borrowing a Garmin 920XT from a friend, so on my next run i'll wear both and compare.

    Swimming

    This was far better. In swim mode i did 40 lengths of a 25m pool. I noticed that if you raise your wrist to wake the screen when out the water, the screen comes on and shows your stats, but the same movement underwater does not. Pressing either of the physical buttons brought up the screen and allowed me to check how many lengths. There was a slight issue with it always being one lap behind, i assume because it thought i hadn't finished the previous lap (maybe it waits for a sudden movement in the other direction before recognising the lap has changed) so i had to mentally add one to the lap count each time i checked. When i'd finished my 40th and final lap, the screen said '39' but when i ended activity it changed the counter to 40 (i guess recognising that final lap must have been finished).
     
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #2
    You should run with both a few times to improve the watches accuracy. I'll see if I can find to post on apples forums but someone posted the exact issue as you which cleared up after a couple of runs with both the watch and phone.
     
  3. JoeKozy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #3
    I can see how that would perhaps help calibrate the accelerometer (as it could compare what the watch thinks it's doing accelerometer-wise with the GPS of the phone), but it seems strange that that would help the raw GPS. That said, i'll give it a go.
     
  4. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #4
    Maybe the function gap is that the AW needs to explicitly tell when you it is searching for its GPS lock and when it has it.
     
  5. JoeKozy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #5
    Certainly for running. Their 'it just works' approach to GPS just means it's way off in terms of accuracy for the first part of your run and you have no way of knowing - it had 5-10 mins before i started my run and then 12 mins in it was still sometimes losing signal according to the map. I was hoping doing an activity just before with GPS would speed up the lock the second time.
     
  6. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #6
    Sounds about right. My GPS running watch takes about 10 seconds to acquire a GPS lock. But if I start the run before it has the lock, it takes it 2-3 miles before it acquires a lock while I am moving.
     
  7. Long Run Nick macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Location:
    Florida Panhandle
    #7
    I am experiencing no issues with the AW GPS. Actually my FR235 seems to have slowed down acquiring a lock. Use to take 5-10 seconds. The AW seems to connect right away. I have run over 110 miles with the AW and my 235. The AW consistently shows from .04-.09 more distance- this on runs from 5-10 miles. The HR seems to take awhile to settle down and usually shows about 5-10 increase in average HR compared to my 235- a lot of times using the HR strap.
    I think it will smooth out. The watch may be telling you to get out and run more:)
     
  8. JoeKozy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #8
    Next time i'll try starting a run as i'm walking to the start point and then leaving the activity 'paused' - hopefully that'll give it longer to find a GPS lock and i'll un-pause and start the run with a much better signal. A little annoying that we have to find workarounds, hopefully app developers have the freedom to display whether there's a strong GPS signal or not in their own apps.
     
  9. Mike84 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #9
    I actually took the AW2 out today for its first run. The first go, I had my phone. On my return back I disconnected the phone and let the gps on the watch paint the route. When I connected it to my phone, I was very I pressed with the route. So far, I am impressed.
     
  10. Not A Fanatic macrumors newbie

    Not A Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2016
    #10
    Not having any issues like listed at the top. It locks on very fast, although the first 20-50m are not absolutely in the correct spot on the track, it is very close eventually showing which side of the road I have been down and exactly where I cross from one side to the other. Times are spot on as is the distance each time.
    I did carry my iphone first couple of times, and start from home each time so maybe in a new area this may be a bit more laggy locking on.
     
  11. auser1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #11
    How are guys seeing the map of route? Is that a default ape app or some other app? I don't see a way to do this on my AW2.
     
  12. Not A Fanatic macrumors newbie

    Not A Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2016
    #12
    On phone, go to Activity App, chhose the day, scroll down to the activity, swipe across, at the bottom will be a thumbnail of the map. Press on the map to get a breakdown of where you went on a larger map. you can also see split time for each KM
     
  13. JoeKozy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #13
    Speaking of the app, is there a way of getting granular control of the distance times? For example, is there a way of seeing the times for every 500m rather than just the breakdown of every km?

    This is less of an issue for running, but for swimming it's a little annoying that you can only see times for every 100m. Seeing times for each lap (e.g. if you're swimming in a 50m pool, how long it took for every 50m lap rather than having to guesstimate by halving your 100m time) would be far more useful.

    Also, marking where each km was completed on the map a la Runkeeper would also make that view more useful. Hopefully Apple are proactive in making what seem like simple tweaks to avoid driving users away to third party apps.
     
  14. ibookg409 Suspended

    ibookg409

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    Apr 20, 2016
    Location:
    Portsmouth, NH
    #14
    So what is officially the best app to use while jogging without an iPhone tethered?
     
  15. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    Jun 14, 2010
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    US
    #15
    May I ask how you're liking the AW in comparison to the FR235? I have the latter and am considering an AW. Thanks.
     
  16. Vilacr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    #16
    Check out dcrainmaker for reviews of sport watches. You will see his results for the AW and many other watches. My AW is a terrible heart rate monitor.


    By the way I do alot of HIT, strength training and treadmill amongst a few other exercises.
     
  17. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    Jun 14, 2010
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    US
    #17
    Last I checked, he hadn't done a full review of the AW2 yet. Let me know if that's changed.

    HIT/HIIT is a problem area for HR monitoring due to cardiac lag, particularly with short intervals. The typical smoothing on optical HRMs adds to the issue. Additionally, strength training is a problem area for wrist-worn optical HRMs due to muscle tensioning/relaxation interfering with the blood volume measurements optical HRMs use to determine HR. (as I understand it, though I could be wrong) In both instances you're far better served to use a chest strap HRM; I don't know if there's an option for that with an AW as there is with the Garmin and Polar devices.
     
  18. Vilacr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    #18

    As I understand the AW and AW2 have the same heart rate monitor. If so the results will be the same. I have since purchased the polar m400 and H7 chest strap. These work as expected.
     
  19. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    US
    #19
    There's your fix, as I suggested.

    More I was curious if you'd tried other optical HRMs -- i.e. whether you'd discerned whether there was a real difference between the AW and other optical HRM watches.

    Same hardware doesn't necessarily mean same software on top of it. I'll be curious to see DCR's results.

    Anyway, I'm just commenting; I don't own an Apple Watch of any sort. I currently use a Garmin FR235 and will occasionally use my Garmin chest strap if I really need something better than the inbuilt OHRM.
     
  20. Vilacr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    #20

    After a few weeks with the AW and struggling with the heart rate monitor I purchased the polar m400 and the H7 (about 6 months ago) the struggles are over. The H7 does work with the AW but the M400 is so much better for what I do. I use the Aw as more of a casual watch now.
     
  21. Long Run Nick macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Location:
    Florida Panhandle
    #21
    I have been impressed with the AW2. Have run over 120 miles with it and the Garmin 235. HR pretty close- even when I have run with the Garmin HR strap. GPS distance on my runs usually 8-10 milers theAW is always .04-.09 longer. Pretty tight. Average pace is pretty close with AW giving me a little break- reflects 3-5 seconds faster.
    I bought the AW2 as a smart watch. I love my Garmin 235- definitely more suited for "serious" runners. That said, I now run with both watches, Ray Maker(DC Rainmaker) watch out:)
     
  22. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    Jun 14, 2010
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    US
    #22
    @Long Run Nick Thanks for the input. I'm a far less serious runner than I used to be, yet I do still like to know mileage, approximate pace, and HR (within what OHRMs can deliver), as well as post-run stuff on Garmin Connect. Everything also syncs over to Strava just to have an alternate platform.

    If I may ask one more question -- any particular app / web platform you've found you prefer in lieu of Garmin?

    Thank you again
     
  23. Long Run Nick macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Location:
    Florida Panhandle
    #23
    I have been with Garmin for years. It is the only one I use. Oh, I also use the old fashion method- I have manually logged all my runs over the last 40 years on calendars.I have a large drawer full of old running calendars. I usually put temperature, distance ,HR, avg pace and total time. If it was a strong run I will note.If it was crappy or I was tired.
    I started a manual spread sheet that lists each year- by month of total miles run. I also have a spread sheet for my 526 races. I even have kept track,of mileage of my shoes. Now Garmin does that, but old habits die hard.
    I find it pretty easy to go back and see my training or when I felt an injury-usually over-use symptoms.
    Sadly, tracking this stuff,shows me how I have slowed over the last 4 decades. I am sure you are glad you asked:) Nick
     
  24. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    US
    #24
    LOL, yes that is very old school. I still have spreadsheets from earlier years before getting my first garmin.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  25. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a

    Ciclismo

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #25
    Doesn't the AW rely purely on GPS? This is usually bad in built up areas or where there are line-of-sight obstructions. Phones, however, use aGPS and aGLONASS, so they are triangulating off cell phone towers and WiFi signals around you to compensate, hence the higher accuracy. On top of that, the iPhone learns frequently visited locations, making it more accurate.
     

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