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Wearable Garmin?

Old 06-16-20, 02:43 PM
  #1  
dmanthree
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Wearable Garmin?

Looking for advice on a wearable Garmin (or other brand) GPS watch. It will be used with an iPhone for cycling and running.
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Old 06-16-20, 03:17 PM
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Lots of reviews of Garmin watches at https://www.dcrainmaker.com/
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Old 06-16-20, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
Looking for advice on a wearable Garmin (or other brand) GPS watch. It will be used with an iPhone for cycling and running.
Garmin watches have great features and build quality. Which one is best for you depends on what features you want. The Forerunner series is popular with both runners and cyclists, but the other product lines have interesting feature sets as well.
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Old 06-16-20, 06:21 PM
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Hopefully, Seattle Forrest will chime in for you.
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Old 06-17-20, 06:20 AM
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I'll take a look at the DC Rainmaker site. He's very good with this stuff.
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Old 06-17-20, 09:40 AM
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DC is awesome!!
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Old 06-17-20, 02:47 PM
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I've been using Garmin's Fenix line of watches for several years now. Absolutely love them. For context though, I hike, ski, and swim. I had an Edge (800) for most of a decade, and if cycling was the only thing I did, it would be a better option - mostly because of screen size.

The reliability of Garmin's watches seems much better than their bike computers, the watches just work. The BT connection to your phone is 24/7 and only breaks when you're legitimately out of range. That's kept me from losing my phone while hiking, the watch says it's disconnected, it never says that so I check, and sure enough my phone is gone. Backtrack until it connects again, use the "find my phone" feature, be glad at not having to buy another one. Everyone says BT is flakey on the Edge series, it's a mystery to me how one product line can get it so right and another can get it so wrong.

My watch works with my power meter and radar. It has maps and turn by turn, but the screen is small and it's not a touch screen, so the map is less useful than on a phone or Edge. The battery gets 54 hours of every second GPS, or about a week and a half in watch mode. It's amazingly rugged.

They have a lot of watches with different price points, feature sets, and aesthetics. Depending what you value, you can wind up with several options. DC Rainman is great once you've narrowed the field.
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Old 06-17-20, 02:54 PM
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Sorry, forgot to mention, and this is less about using it for exercise so I'm making a new post instead of editing an already long one that's hopefully more on topic.

If you use Android, a watch makes a great "smart lock."
(Meaning you leave your phone locked, but don't have to unlock it because the BT connection with the watch acts as a key.)

If you use your phone for music at home, the music controls in the watch mean you can skip or replay a song while you're cooking, change the volume, etc.

If you carpool - which kind of went out of style given the pandemic - you'll see the "I'm on my way" text while you shower.

It's not a full on smart watch, any of the Garmins. But it's enough smarts to let you set your phone down and forget it.
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Old 06-17-20, 05:18 PM
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BruceA78
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I've been using Garmin's Fenix line of watches for several years now. Absolutely love them. For context though, I hike, ski, and swim. I had an Edge (800) for most of a decade, and if cycling was the only thing I did, it would be a better option - mostly because of screen size.

The reliability of Garmin's watches seems much better than their bike computers, the watches just work. The BT connection to your phone is 24/7 and only breaks when you're legitimately out of range. That's kept me from losing my phone while hiking, the watch says it's disconnected, it never says that so I check, and sure enough my phone is gone. Backtrack until it connects again, use the "find my phone" feature, be glad at not having to buy another one. Everyone says BT is flakey on the Edge series, it's a mystery to me how one product line can get it so right and another can get it so wrong.

My watch works with my power meter and radar. It has maps and turn by turn, but the screen is small and it's not a touch screen, so the map is less useful than on a phone or Edge. The battery gets 54 hours of every second GPS, or about a week and a half in watch mode. It's amazingly rugged.

They have a lot of watches with different price points, feature sets, and aesthetics. Depending what you value, you can wind up with several options. DC Rainman is great once you've narrowed the field.
I've got a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus and love it but for cycling I am still wanting to get a Garmin Edge because like Seattle Forrest mentions the screen size is pretty small and also required you to take your hand off of the handle bars and eyes off of the road longer to take a quick peak. I also have a RTL510 rear radar which works with the watch, but would be much more useful to look at on an Edge Computer.
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Old 06-17-20, 10:31 PM
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I run and bike (touring). I've settled on Fenix 5 and am very happy with it.

If you are totally unfamiliar with the innumerable Garmin watch lines, you may want to learn a bit about them. My executive summary is that the Forerunner and Fenix series are very similar and you'll probably end up shopping in either/both lines. The Forerunner is aimed at tri-athletes, very light and robust with a decent battery life (enough to get you thru an Iron Man event). The Fenix is (supposedly) meant for hikers (more sophisticated navigation features, better battery life).

Once you've settled on a line, it becomes a question of pricing/feature set. Top-of-the-line Fenix watches offer mapping, amazing battery life and enough performance metrics to make you consider a PhD. Entry-level models offer less, not enough for my taste -- I went for the F5 because it has integrated HRM and breadcrumb navigation (useful for touring)

Other brands at the higher end would include the excellent Suunto (amazing autonomy). Or you may want to stay in Apple's ecosystem and purchase an iWatch, if you can live with a 24h autonomy (vs 2 weeks for Garmin/Suunto).

If you are considering an iWatch, you'll probably want to make sure that whatever sensor you wish to add will be compatible. Garmin is arguably the leader in activity wearables such that you'll easily pair a chest-HRM (better option for running -- wrist HRM have a tendency to capture your cadence instead of your pulse if you don't wear them sufficiently tight ), power meters, speed-cadence, temperature sensors. If you are either serious about running, or have an appetite for metrics, Garmin offers running dynamics sensors that provide interesting insights about your gait. You can also pair a bathroom scale.

FWIW (1) -- i've owned a FR910x, a VivoHR(something), and now F5. FR->VivoHR because I wanted 24/7 hrm. VivoHR->F5 because the Vivo didn't like salt water.
FWIW (2) -- the watch itself is a "small" part of a larger system. Sensors + software are just as important, if not more.
FWIW (3) -- several mentions of DC Rainmaker. Excellent resource. You may want to look here for a comprehensive list of options

Last edited by gauvins; 06-17-20 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 06-17-20, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceA78 View Post
I've got a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus and love it but for cycling I am still wanting to get a Garmin Edge because like Seattle Forrest mentions the screen size is pretty small and also required you to take your hand off of the handle bars and eyes off of the road longer to take a quick peak. I also have a RTL510 rear radar which works with the watch, but would be much more useful to look at on an Edge Computer.
you can (should) get an out-front mount for the Fenix. holds it securely (not more likely to fly off the handlebars than off your wrist. stow the bracelet in your pocket.
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Old 06-18-20, 08:19 AM
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Put it in your Pocket?

I have a pedometer watch, it's in my pants pocket. no data gain , on my wrist , on the bike..


...
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Old 06-18-20, 08:21 AM
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I have the Garmin Forerunner 235. I use the watch for running and gathering intensity minutes when I ride my bike. For my needs, the 235 is a perfect watch. Battery life is excellent, and as Seattle Forrest pointed out I use the watch to change tracks and adjust the volume on my iPhone when I run. To be clear though, I only use the watch for running and gathering intensity minutes when I workout. The watch is not my daily wearer.

Mrs. NoWhammies has a Fenix 5s and she wears her watch daily. I know she has loaded some music on the watch and pair the watch with her AirPods. She quite likes the ability to go for a run and listen to music without having to take her phone with her. She will also use the watch to gather walking/hiking information from time to time.

Honestly, I think the Garmin line of watches is pretty good. If you're looking for a Garmin wearable I say go for it.
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Old 06-18-20, 01:54 PM
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I wear my Fenix 6X all the time that it's not on the charger. I find a lot of the functionality useful, it fits me, and it tells the time as well as any other watch. Whenever I look at the time it also tells me things like the outdoor temperature and air quality index.
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Old 06-18-20, 05:27 PM
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Here's a band I got for mine. I like it, the look is great. Fit isn't perfect because the adjustments after less granular.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DST25DW..._8F.6EbA66ZT4K
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Old 06-20-20, 07:52 AM
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I use a 735 and find it great
but definitely check out rainmaker for reviews. He gets quite specific too
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Old 06-20-20, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
I have the Garmin Forerunner 235. I use the watch for running and gathering intensity minutes when I ride my bike. For my needs, the 235 is a perfect watch. Battery life is excellent, and as Seattle Forrest pointed out I use the watch to change tracks and adjust the volume on my iPhone when I run. To be clear though, I only use the watch for running and gathering intensity minutes when I workout. The watch is not my daily wearer.

Mrs. NoWhammies has a Fenix 5s and she wears her watch daily. I know she has loaded some music on the watch and pair the watch with her AirPods. She quite likes the ability to go for a run and listen to music without having to take her phone with her. She will also use the watch to gather walking/hiking information from time to time.

Honestly, I think the Garmin line of watches is pretty good. If you're looking for a Garmin wearable I say go for it.
I have the 235 as well and love it (used it for running and now that I am cycling it works great for that as well). I use it as my everyday watch. I love getting text and call alerts on it while at work so I don't need to have my ring volume on. You can also download various watch faces which is fun as well.
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Old 06-20-20, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Sorry, forgot to mention, and this is less about using it for exercise so I'm making a new post instead of editing an already long one that's hopefully more on topic.

If you use Android, a watch makes a great "smart lock."
(Meaning you leave your phone locked, but don't have to unlock it because the BT connection with the watch acts as a key.)

If you use your phone for music at home, the music controls in the watch mean you can skip or replay a song while you're cooking, change the volume, etc.

If you carpool - which kind of went out of style given the pandemic - you'll see the "I'm on my way" text while you shower.

It's not a full on smart watch, any of the Garmins. But it's enough smarts to let you set your phone down and forget it.
I love my Garmin vivosport. It's a fair HR monitor, but not good in that role for cycling. It's great for hiking, running, paddling, etc. It's small, and works with my iPhone to see/read texts, control music playback from whichever phone app may be in use, etc. Very inexpensive, quite durable. I get about 5 days per charge out of it.

*I don't EVER want to get a text from Seattle Forrest that he's on his way when I'm in the shower, though. Paradoxically, I take my vivosport off when I shower, so I might be surprised some day. And not pleasantly, most likely. Heh.
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Old 06-20-20, 08:09 PM
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Love my Fenix 5X. I know it’s a couple of generations old, but I picked it up last year for $200 at Best Buy. Rock solid and does everything I need it to do. It replaced my FR920 which replaced my FR620. Yeah, I’m a Garmin geek. BTW, the other two still work perfectly.
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Old 06-20-20, 10:26 PM
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Q about the Fenix for navigation: is it limited to 50 turns like my FR935?
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Old 06-21-20, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceA78 View Post
I've got a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus and love it but for cycling I am still wanting to get a Garmin Edge because like Seattle Forrest mentions the screen size is pretty small and also required you to take your hand off of the handle bars and eyes off of the road longer to take a quick peak. I also have a RTL510 rear radar which works with the watch, but would be much more useful to look at on an Edge Computer.
does the watch auto detect workouts? thats one f the featrues I want most. the nI ride I don't want to hav e to remember to start and stop the workout.
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Old 06-22-20, 08:50 AM
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Lots of good info here. Appreciate the replies!
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Old 06-22-20, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Geekage View Post
Q about the Fenix for navigation: is it limited to 50 turns like my FR935?
Never been a problem for me. You may want to read this. Looks like the limit applies to routes, but not to courses.
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Old 06-22-20, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by AdkMtnMonster View Post
*I don't EVER want to get a text from Seattle Forrest that he's on his way when I'm in the shower, though. Paradoxically, I take my vivosport off when I shower, so I might be surprised some day. And not pleasantly, most likely. Heh.
You mean you haven't been getting them?

In the pre-covid world, this was really handy for car pooling.
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Old 06-23-20, 11:18 PM
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Like others said, fenix series is the way to go for versatility, but you do pay for that ďjack of all tradesĒ piece of equipment.

Iím competitive in triathlon and do quite a bit of gym work, and also recreationally hike and snowboard, so my Fenix is super valuable since it can track all those with no problem.

With that said, itís a PITA on the bike looking at it and I keep track of stats separately on my Edge head unit, especially in a race. If I was casually using it, and not on a serious training ride, I wouldnít mind using my Fenix as I wouldnít care too much about stats - e.g. when I am on vacation as a tourist and riding bike share bikes.

i donít find its smart watch functionalities to be UX friendly, nor as a primary reason to get a Garmin (thatís what Apple or Android watches are for), itís more of a notifications only usability. I do use the Spotify premium connection quite often when running or in the gym when Iím too lazy to carry my bulky phone.
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