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Smart watch or dumb watch?

Old 06-14-21, 07:39 PM
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Murf58
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Smart watch or dumb watch?

Thinking of taking the plunge and getting a watch - I had a search of the over 50 forum and can’t find any specific threads.
I am interested in tracking sleep and recovery, as well as heart health (HRV etc) and basic riding metrics. Ideally something that is (very) easy to use, has good battery life and has some cool analytics to monitor health and performance. I have an iPhone so I don’t need music etc.
Happy to buy quality if it will last and meets the above specs.
Appreciate any advice, recommendations and shared experiences. Thank you.

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Old 06-14-21, 09:15 PM
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I LOVE my Apple Watch series 6. I dont track sleep. I use the Strava app with it and track all my rides with it. I love the fall detection and emergency 911 calling if I am unconscious. It has the heart rate monitoring and fitness tracking.
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Old 06-14-21, 09:52 PM
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Some Polar equipment does HRV and orthostatic HR. I've been using a V800 GPS watch for several years. Not made anymore, but still supported, on ebay, and never had a problem with one. I very much like the orthostatic HR feature which also includes HRV. Battery life isn't long enough to record long bike rides using GPS, my only complaint. 4 hours is probably the limit. I use my Garmin Edge for that.
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Old 06-15-21, 05:53 AM
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An Apple watch would be the obvious choice. I have a much cheaper Fitbit tracker, but I wouldn't recommend it. The model I have (Charge 3) has a pretty poor HR sensor (often reads way too low during exercise when sweating) and the display is impossible to read in bright daylight. HRV function is also next to useless. I'm not sure how much better the Apple watch would be in this regard, but it can't be any worse.

If I was buying this primarily for sports use, I would probably research the latest Polar and Garmin products. My Polar optical HRM which I wear as an armband and connect to my Garmin head unit is excellent. But if this was for general use as an everyday watch, then I would probably just get an Apple watch and pair it with my iPhone.
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Old 06-15-21, 08:55 AM
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If you want to investigate HRV, you have to have the right HR sensor. Wrist and optical sensors are useless for HRV and IMO for sports use. You need a 4 lead type of sensor like a Polar Pro strap or the new Garmin straps. The Polar H10 transmitter is probably the best. Then you put the Elite HRV app on your phone and you're set. It works with both Android and iPhones. IPhone and some Android devices don't have ANT+ capability, so Bluetooth is the way to go. Though as I said, my Polar V800 does HRV, the phone app is superior. I've been taking my morning resting and standing HR and HRV for many years. It's helpful. I do it with both the phone and the watch as a check.
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Old 06-15-21, 09:39 AM
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I would say Apple watch since you already have an Iphone. My series 3 Apple watch is still going strong. It was what I first started using as cycling "computer" The cycling portion of the fitness app gives a lot of information such as, total time, distance, active/total calories, elevation gain, heart rate info, avg speed, and a map or the route you rode. There is even a section that will provide avg speed for the splits. As mentioned above it works well with Strava. The only item I can not speak to is the sleep tracking with the watch. I know there are apps I just have never though of using them.
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Old 06-15-21, 09:41 AM
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I have a Garmin 645 which is a running watch but works as a tracker for sleep and HR. It also works for your riding but I use a Garmin 935 for my cycling. I like the 645 I would recommend it because it does everything in one.
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Old 06-15-21, 10:04 AM
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Years ago, when the “step counting” craze when from pedometers to wrist mounted devices, I had a Soleus brand “tracker”. Main function was step counting and IIRC, had a very basic HR monitor. After a while it failed and it was out of warranty, so it went away. FitBits became the rage, and I received a Charge 2 for my birthday one year. I was happy with its “smartness” (Bluetooth connectivity, multiple fitness modes, HR and sleep tracking). Not long after the warranty expired, the HR sensor failed and the screen developed a “crack”. Was able to get a 25% discount on another FitBit product. I gave that “discount” to my daughter and she bought a FitBit Versa. I then purchased FitBit Charge 3 (new in box) from a relative for a significant discount. Once again, just after warranty expiration, it too, failed to function properly. I was done with FitBit! Fast forward a month or so and I learn that my daughter’s Versa quit the HR tracking function (you guessed it, out of warranty). She got the “upgrade discount” and bought a newer model. Longish story short(er), I inherited her (no HR function) Versa as the other functions (for now) are intact. To be sure, I WILL NOT BE BUYING ANOTHER FitBit product!
Apple Watches are too spendy for me but I could/can see their appeal. Unless I can get one deeply discounted, I will have to do without a “smart watch” if the Versa takes a dump.
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Old 06-15-21, 10:06 AM
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A lot of people like them. After having a wrist watch since about 6 yo, I gave them up in the 90's before there was anything smart about them. I just don't think I'd get use to something on my wrist all the time again.

If this is for riding, then there are times currently that I can glance down at my device on a bar mount, but wouldn't want to take a hand off the bars to look at my watch. If you have both, certainly you can do both. My son uses both. He even has a heads up display so he doesn't even have to quit looking down the road.
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Old 06-15-21, 10:35 AM
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Last year our kids pitched in and got me an iWatch Series 6. I only use it on my rides and my wife uses it on our walks. Otherwise it sits turned off.

I like the HR and elevation info; and walking distance. For years I’ve used a wired bike computer that gives me distance, speed, etc.

I’m not too concerned about the absolute accuracy, but would “like to believe” it is reasonably consistent from one day to the next.

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Old 06-15-21, 11:41 AM
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I’ve been using a Apple Watch 5 for over a year now, works great except it does not have auto pause when at a stop sign or light. If you track average speed this really affects the results. Funny that the fitness walking app has auto pause but not the cycling.
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Old 06-15-21, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by sovende View Post
Years ago, when the “step counting” craze when from pedometers to wrist mounted devices, I had a Soleus brand “tracker”. Main function was step counting and IIRC, had a very basic HR monitor. After a while it failed and it was out of warranty, so it went away. FitBits became the rage, and I received a Charge 2 for my birthday one year. I was happy with its “smartness” (Bluetooth connectivity, multiple fitness modes, HR and sleep tracking). Not long after the warranty expired, the HR sensor failed and the screen developed a “crack”. Was able to get a 25% discount on another FitBit product. I gave that “discount” to my daughter and she bought a FitBit Versa. I then purchased FitBit Charge 3 (new in box) from a relative for a significant discount. Once again, just after warranty expiration, it too, failed to function properly. I was done with FitBit! Fast forward a month or so and I learn that my daughter’s Versa quit the HR tracking function (you guessed it, out of warranty). She got the “upgrade discount” and bought a newer model. Longish story short(er), I inherited her (no HR function) Versa as the other functions (for now) are intact. To be sure, I WILL NOT BE BUYING ANOTHER FitBit product!
Apple Watches are too spendy for me but I could/can see their appeal. Unless I can get one deeply discounted, I will have to do without a “smart watch” if the Versa takes a dump.
My wife’s Fitbit tracker also failed a few weeks out of warranty. Mine is still hanging in there, but they do appear to be junk disposable items.
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Old 06-15-21, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
If you want to investigate HRV, you have to have the right HR sensor. Wrist and optical sensors are useless for HRV and IMO for sports use
I’m sure you are right about HRV, but aside from that I have found the Polar optical wrist/arm band sensor to be excellent. I hate wearing a chest strap while riding and found this to be a great solution. DC Rainmaker was also a big fan of this sensor. I have the older version.

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.d...eview.html/amp
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Old 06-15-21, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
If you want to investigate HRV, you have to have the right HR sensor. Wrist and optical sensors are useless for HRV and IMO for sports use. You need a 4 lead type of sensor like a Polar Pro strap or the new Garmin straps.
Why do you need a 4 lead sensor to measure HRV? It seems like a very easy thing to measure.

From the Apple Health app:


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Old 06-15-21, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Why do you need a 4 lead sensor to measure HRV? It seems like a very easy thing to measure.

From the Apple Health app:
R-Rs are fairly simple to measure, only thing is, they aren't very interesting. What I watch particularly, the best gauge of my readiness level, is my standing HF (parasympathetic) power. I also watch the sum of my resting and standing SDNNs.

Edit: the other and more important issue is the reliability of the reading. If your heart does a reset or drops a beat, as happens to many fit people, and you have no visual of your cycle of R-R's, you won't know that happened. Those events have a major effect on HRV numbers and all the various stats associated with them. it can be hard or impossible to know if the number you're seeing reflects your reality or is just a glitch.
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Old 06-15-21, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
My wife’s Fitbit tracker also failed a few weeks out of warranty. Mine is still hanging in there, but they do appear to be junk disposable items.
My wife has a drawer full of old Fitbits that failed shortly after the warranty period. She just keeps buying the 'newer, improved' model.
I'm starting to think somewhere in the software they come with is a warranty timer connected to a self destruct mechanism.
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Old 06-16-21, 12:03 AM
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I am not sure about the reference to a dumb watch, The smart phone part seems pretty well covered. i have worn a dumb watch for 60+ years and the same one for the last 25 years. I try to carry a clean handkerchief and a pen knife every day, but obviously not when biking. There is no inherent virtue in any of this - it is just the influence of WW1 of grandparents.
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Old 06-16-21, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by IcySwan1 View Post
I am not sure about the reference to a dumb watch, The smart phone part seems pretty well covered. i have worn a dumb watch for 60+ years and the same one for the last 25 years. I try to carry a clean handkerchief and a pen knife every day, but obviously not when biking. There is no inherent virtue in any of this - it is just the influence of WW1 of grandparents.
I still have a small collection of nice dumb watches. They are more of a “man jewellery” item these days. Although my crappy Fitbit tracker doesn’t cut it as a watch because you can’t read it in daylight. But something like an Apple Watch or Garmin would solve that issue.
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Old 06-16-21, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
R-Rs are fairly simple to measure, only thing is, they aren't very interesting. What I watch particularly, the best gauge of my readiness level, is my standing HF (parasympathetic) power. I also watch the sum of my resting and standing SDNNs.

Edit: the other and more important issue is the reliability of the reading. If your heart does a reset or drops a beat, as happens to many fit people, and you have no visual of your cycle of R-R's, you won't know that happened. Those events have a major effect on HRV numbers and all the various stats associated with them. it can be hard or impossible to know if the number you're seeing reflects your reality or is just a glitch.
I recognize some of those words, but not their meaning. And except for "HRV", none of the acronyms.
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Old 06-16-21, 11:08 AM
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Garmin Forunner 55.

Does everything you want and has one of the longer battery lifes of 2 weeks and is reasonably priced.

One thing I like is that it broadcasts my HR to my Garmin Edge 530 screen while biking.

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Old 06-16-21, 11:27 AM
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I have no smart watches, but three dumb ones.

1) solar-powered Citizen eco-drive analog, inherited from my late father and having obvious sentimental value;
It keeps great time, but I have to advance the calendar on short months.

2) basic cheapo Casio F-91W workhorse digital; I like and use the stopwatch function

3) the dumbest and most valuable of the lot, the Vacheron and Constantin pocket watch awarded to my great-grandfather, a mining safety engineer, on July 4, 1922, by the Clinchfield Coal Company, following first aid training he had provided
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Old 06-16-21, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I recognize some of those words, but not their meaning. And except for "HRV", none of the acronyms.
In a "Thrones" voice, "I recognize some of these men, but not their meaning. And except for "HRV", none of their titles."
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Old 06-17-21, 04:20 AM
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I like my Apple Watch 6 but wish I didn’t have to charge it every night.
Not a hardship ofc but wouldn’t mind two full days between charges.
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Old 06-17-21, 09:33 AM
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I wear a Fitbit on one wrist - needs charging every 9-10 days, and a "dumb" automatic watch on the other - never needs winding, just a tweak every month. I use a chest band HRV on the rower (more accurate than the FitBit, IME), but its connection with my Garmin head unit is spotty, so I usually don't bother with the chest band on the bike.
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Old 06-17-21, 09:37 AM
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I use the Apple Watch it has some many functions that make life easy and it can be setup any way you want. My wife likes the walkie talkie function which I ca access with out reaching for my phone. Or I can answer a call or see a text easy As well as Tracy my workouts.
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