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Runnerbean

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 24, 2020
2
0
Hi All,

I'm a very keen runner and use a Garmin Forerunner to track all my runs. I want to buy a AW6 to use as a day to day watch, but switch to the Garmin for runs (I need the longer battery life and programmed workouts etc). Does anyone have any experience of using both? Does it all sync up and play nice with Apple Health? For instance, if I go for a run in the morning using my Garmin will the workout then show up in the activity rings on the AW? I've already connected the Garmin app with Apple Health on my Iphone 12 pro and it seems to work okay, but can take a while for things to transfer and it's sometimes not 100% accurate.

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

PatrickNSF

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
530
209
I still use my AW for music and LTE when I wear my Garmin for running. I don't have the Garmin app connected to Apple's Heath app but use RunGap instead. At this point, I only use the Garmin for structured workouts and races. The AW is fine for me for everything else.
 
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culo77

macrumors member
Mar 4, 2010
62
39
Chicago
Went from Garmin to AppleWatch and back to Garmin again.

It all goes through the health app in the phone and works well depending on your how you want to use your data or where you want to track it. Health stuff from the AW doesn’t get into garmin connect (unless you use HealthFit or RunGap), but the garmin data does go into Health. VO2 from garmin “eventually” ends up in the health app. HRV doesn’t. Workouts from garmin will show up in health and activities but from AW to Connect again you need HealthFit or RunGap.

If you use both at the same time for workouts, you will get duplicate entries in Activities, also if you are concerned about steps I have seen doubling.

It really boils down how you want to use the 2, then there may be a workaround for an issue that arises.

If you just want to get rid of the garmin, and still have structured workouts 100% actually 200% buy either WorkOutDoors or iSmooth Run! I found WorkOutDoors for 1 month before I gave up on the AW, the app was amazing and did everything the garmin did except the garmin import workout calendar feature. But structured workouts on the AW is better than the garmin because you can actually edit the fields for the structured interval page to whatever your heart desires.

edit: looking in health I cannot find a Garmin data record in VO2. I swear I saw it before.
 
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DontGetTheCheese

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2015
306
213
So, this isn't exactly an answer to your question, but since I do this, kind of, maybe I have some insight here.

I have an AW6, every version since 4, and every Fenix, including a Marq since the F5. Historically, I've compared the two and this is the first time the AW came off better. Here's why,

  1. Heart rate sensor is much better on the AW.
  2. GPS, which was a sort point on the AW is better, in fact it seems really close, at least closer to the Fenix. Much less swooshing.
  3. The battery has improved. Not by a huge amount, maybe 10% to 15%, but with some optimizing, I've noticed that walks / runs, without audio seem to eat less battery. You won't go 10 hours with it on a run, but you could easily run a marathon and it charges faster now. It charges faster too.
  4. The smart watch stuff beats Fenix by a mile.
  5. Garmin has its fair share of bugs, too many for a $1K watch.
  6. WorkOutDoors will get you close, not all the way, but close, to what a Garmin can do.
Finally, the Garmin stuff sort of needs to all be there to get value, if you see any, out of the FirstBeat metrics.

Now, if it would just stop hurting my wrist.
 
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MJ22

macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2017
588
760
Agree with previous poster. ^^
I’m a runner of over 20 years. WorkOutDoors is a fabulous running app - far more customizable than any Garmin I ever owned (though to be fair I’ve been using AW since 2018), and I’ve had, I think 5? The GPS on the S6 is definitely the most accurate it’s been. My S3 was good, my S4 not so good, my S6 better than both.

As far as battery - I used to have the LTE version and it ran down much faster. I got the GPS only this time around and my battery is SO much better. I can do a run that takes 2 hours and still have plenty of battery left at the end of the day. If you’re something like a 5+ hour marathoner or an ultra runner, you can tweak a few settings to extend battery life, or else I understand the need for a Garmin.

Lastly - I think there’s some setting you can fix so that you don’t get duplicate entries. I had tried using Strava for a little while (I’m back to the native app now) and was getting duplicate entries. I don’t remember exactly what I did, but if you dig around online you can probably find help. It had something to do with changing a setting where one of the programs only wrote data one way rather than back-and-forth. Whatever I did had it so only the Strava entry showed up on my list of workouts and the calories etc. only counted once.
 
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Runnerbean

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 24, 2020
2
0
Thanks everyone, very helpful.

Sounds like the consensus is that it will work switching back and forth, so I think I will get an AW6. I've heard about Rungap so will try using that to get everything to sink up. I've wanted an AW for aages but have been holding back due to my still wanting to use Garmin. All my other tech is apple and the Garmin is pretty junk as a smart watch. Seems like the only the thing that might be a problem is the step count, but I'll see...
 

Monkswhiskers

macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2018
446
305
I had both for a bit but hated messing around with 2 watches. I felt for the price the Garmin underwhelmed for what it did. I had convinced myself I needed long hours of gps tracking but the reality was I didn't. The convenience of the smartwatch features and seamless airpod integration won out. The dedicated athlete probably finds more use in a Garmin but the Firstbeat stuff is negated by the less than perfect ohr monitor.
 

culo77

macrumors member
Mar 4, 2010
62
39
Chicago
I felt for the price the Garmin underwhelmed for what it did. I had convinced myself I needed long hours of gps tracking but the reality was I didn't. The convenience of the smartwatch features and seamless airpod integration won out.
I feel the same way, and the AW was perfect for my uses, and increased when I found workoutdoors app. Sadly the multiple issues I had and multiple replacement AW I had made me give up on the AW and go back to Garmin.

I went back to an older Garmin I had, wanted to go the exact opposite and get more simple and less data over analysis. Feels liberating and think this is the way i will go forward, less is more.
 

DGGoingUphill

macrumors member
Jul 11, 2015
93
52
Tried a Fenix Pro for a couple of months, and while I loved the screen readability, body battery, battery life, and some other features, they didn’t outweigh what I gave up. Also, having to wear a chest strap to get a good reading was a pain. Back to AW, now with a six, and the new screen brightness outdoors is really an improvement for exercising. Also, now that I know what Garmin is about, I’m having a better time figuring out how to get the functionality I care about through apps on the AW.
 

DontGetTheCheese

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2015
306
213
Tried a Fenix Pro for a couple of months, and while I loved the screen readability, body battery, battery life, and some other features, they didn’t outweigh what I gave up. Also, having to wear a chest strap to get a good reading was a pain. Back to AW, now with a six, and the new screen brightness outdoors is really an improvement for exercising. Also, now that I know what Garmin is about, I’m having a better time figuring out how to get the functionality I care about through apps on the AW.
Chest straps aren't that bad, you can also get a forearm strap that's easier. But it is kind of irritating, OK, hook the Stryd to the shoe, get the headphones on and then a strap. Ironically, I find the forearm a pain in cold weather because I put on the UA gear and it's hard to keep the forearm strap in place but the AW will give similar problems under it with the touch screen.

The thing about all of that stuff is that Garmin has improved it, they are finally taking it in what I think is the right direction, actionable information instead of just information but it's still kind of pointless. You sort of know how long you slept, if your body battery is low, probably you are tired, and so on and so forth. The only metric I really liked was VO2 because it kind of gave me a goal, and the Health Kit VO2 is weird. Had it drop 10 points after recording a walk.

I don't know, I guess I'm kind of saying it's interesting, ok to have, just not that useful.
 

dk21

macrumors newbie
Dec 10, 2017
6
2
I use a Garmin Edge for outdoor cycling and Zwift for indoor cycling. In both cases, Garmin Connect syncs the data to Apple Health without any problems, though Garmin Connect needs to be open and in the foreground to complete the sync. On rare occasion it won’t sync and I need to force close Garmin Connect and reopen it.

I will note that Garmin Connect does not sync active calories, which based on some Googling, seems to be a very common problem. I’ve found that if using my Apple Watch for heart rate monitoring, though, which I do, the active calorie count ends up similar.
 

TTTedP

macrumors 6502
Nov 27, 2017
276
263
tl:dr For someone who never used a Garmin, they would probably be thrilled with AW6. Being a Garmin user the last 3 years, I'm not there yet.

I've had several versions of both and the new AW6 is very, very good. So much so that I wore both for almost a month and almost couldn't really pick. The lines are getting more blurred but I feel I still prefer Garmin overall. My $.02 why;

  1. Smartwatch: The deeper integration of iOS & AW is a plus but smartwatches are not my prime motivation. Battery and data are. I appreciate how "quiet" the Garmin is living on my wrist collecting data and not drawing attention to itself. AW I had to dim the AOD (too bright) and disable most notifications. I do enjoy the seamless music and podcast integration between AW and iOS. Garmin not supporting Apple Music is a negative but not enough to make me care too much. I do use Apple Pay, but not Garmin Pay (trust issue I guess).
  2. Battery: lasts for weeks on Garmin vs day(s?) on AW. A big plus that still outweighs most else. At a minimum I need a watch that can get me through a camping weekend on a single charge. AW isn't there without doing a lot of babysitting usage or a spare power pack.
  3. Case: I still prefer the round traditional look over the square AW.
  4. Synching: Garmin Connect has been fine if you stay in Connect. Garmin does manage to mess up their software time-to-time but nothing that affected me long term. Synching it to Apple Health works for many (but not all) data fields. Run Gap helps keep things synched and a must if living with both watches. Activities you complete on Garmin will show up in your AW rings. RunGap will synch AW activities back to GC. Steps will not synch from AW back to Connect. Ever. Garmin specifically doesn't allow it.
  5. HR broadcast - this is a feature I have grown to really enjoy and almost a must have. I ride with a 530 and dont always have a HR strap with me (plus kinda nice to have one less item with/on you). I understand Garmin wrist HR may not be as accurate but is "good enough" for me. I would argue that until this is possible from a AW, I am staying in the Garmin camp. Counterpoint to this is Apple's upcoming Fitness+. They will use the AW to broadcast to the AppleTV which is really awesome - but then, how come you can't broadcast the same data to another BT device? Despite being a deep Apple user, it's stuff like this that annoys me about them and going any deeper in their walled garden.
  6. other stuff - As others have said, Workoutdoors is a great app. I think you can easily replicate some of the Fenix / Forerunner features with this app on your AW. In the end it may come down to some of the other things and what's important to you. Like where do you keep your data? Garmin, Strava, Apple Health, somewhere else? this affects workflow and device pros or cons. Routes is another thing. On the fly address routing in Garmin 530 is infuriating but again, going Garmin means it all lives under one roof (and app) vs cobbling a bunch of apps (Easy Route, Strava, RunGap, RWGPS, etc) together. Another plus for me.
 
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