fitness band or apple watch

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Johnmcl7
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 20 Aug 2016, 00:21

We walked a lot on the Saturday, a lot further than I realised.

I don't know how useful heartrate is really as I've been measuring it with a chest strap to see if it was worth upgrading my Vivoactive to the new HR model but so far the numbers don't really seem to mean much. I'm quite consistent at a 155 bpm average, max 180 and otherwise fairly low when idling.

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Postby EviL Ras » 20 Aug 2016, 01:57

My Samsung galaxy s6 edge tracks my steps, as does my pebble watch. In fact the pebble tracks my sleep too. Average time to bed last week? 1am... Must sleep more..
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Postby Replicant » 20 Aug 2016, 06:52

I just use my S7 Edge for tracking at present. As its waterproof i dont care if its raining
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Postby Replicant » 30 Aug 2016, 21:53

Johnmcl7 wrote:Source of the post The 920XT is pretty big and expensive plus the Garmin stuff doesn't tend to work reliably with IOS, I have a Vivoactive (similar to the 920XT but less features, same Connect IQ core) and there's frequent reports of BT instability on the Garmin forums. I'm a big fan of the Vivoactive which I think has a good mix of fitness and smartphone functionality but it was irritating when my phone and it were misbehaving.

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Been thinking of getting one of these and/or an Edge.

Do you still recommend them John. Any major issues with either of them?
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 02 Sep 2016, 13:01

I saw your post on Facebook on my incredible 26887 bike ride and you're right, that is an Edge 520.

The Vivoactive is very much the jack of all trades, master of none - it's a mix between a smart watch, a fitness watch and a fitness band and I'd say it's not great at any of those but it's a good enough mix. As a smartwatch its functionality is very basic and its screen is quite low resolution, there are a few very basic applications but the only 'smart' function I use it for is really the notifications - it essentially just pipes the data in the notification bar on your phone to the screen which works most of the time but there's annoying quirks such as receiving two messages from the same person means it shows 'two new messages' instead of the message and Smartglass messages just show 'someone sent you a message'

As a fitness device it's limited in that it only does 'smart recording' where it spaces out the GPS points depending on your speed whereas the Edge offers per second recording so it means you get more jagged lines like this:

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Rather than following the trail like the Edge 800 did:

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It also lacks a barometric altimeter and instead uses GPS for altitude although to be fair the difference in the overall stats wasn't that much compared to the Edge 800. The bigger issue is that I like to be able to see the data as I'm riding and the VA screen is small and difficult to read during an activity so I tend to only use it when I don't have an Edge.

On the plus side the Vivoactive is quite small and light compared to other watches, the display is on all the time and uses ambient light - this means its power efficient and easily readable in the sun although it can be dim indoors, it does have a backlight which can be automatically triggered on an notification which works fine. The batterylife is superb in normal use (GPS hammers it quite a bit) and it usually manages 7-10 days with ease, I hadn't dug out the charger after being on holiday and it managed around two and a half weeks I think before it went flat.

I'd double check the Garmin forums to see if anyone is using a VA with your phone as it seems quite variable in its performance with phones, on my Note 4 it works perfectly and keeps a solid connection however at one point there was a dodgy FW on the phone and it kept dropping the BT connection which was maddening - I was close to getting a different smartwatch as I missed having it and the regular dropping made it useless. If there's any issues with your model of phone and the VA, I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole.

With regards to the Edge 520 vs a mobile phone, I guess it depends what you want from it. I originally bought an Edge 800 with the intention that I could record and follow trails as I go out in a group but then could never find where they'd gone when I went myself afterwards. In that role the 800 was largely rubbish as the screen is just too small and too low resolution, I did look at an Edge 1000 but I disliked the capacitive screen (since they're not great with gloves and rain). I went for an Edge 520 as I wanted the bluetooth functionality (It shows calls, texts and you can let someone track you online although it's basic compared to the Vivoactive) and to be able to use the Varia rear radar system.

For the road bike I find the Edge very useful as it means I can keep an eye on my speed, distance and particularly the gradient to ensure I keep a good cadence - without the Edge I find I don't take advantage on downhills by taking it too easy and on hills I push too hard so by keeping an eye on my speed and gradient I can adjust my gears as necessary which for long rides makes a noticeable difference. The rear view warning radar system is handy as it picks up cars at a good range, shows me how fast they're approaching and how many there are so if they're coming up fast behind me I know to get tight into the side of the road as I know they won't give me room. I realise you shouldn't have to do that but it's the reality.

On the mountain bike I don't find it quite as useful, the main use is to track the route and for livetracking which I don't need the Edge for, I tend to just glance at it for the time, temperature, how far I'm out and how much I've climbed. On races though it's very useful as I need to keep a good pace so being able to keep an eye on the time, distance, speed, elevation etc. means I can pace myself much better round each lap.

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fitness band or apple watch

Postby robbo » 08 Sep 2016, 18:42

Some tests for fitness bands and watches didn't go down well in accuracy tests for heartbeats and step counting. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/article ... p-counters

When I watched the programme (s5 ep1) it didn't say what models they were using but could definitely see an MS Band in there.
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Postby Tappy » 09 Sep 2016, 09:38

Television for the muggles really. Like, duh!
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 09 Sep 2016, 15:21

From what I've read although optical heart rate monitors aren't great particularly in responding to changes in heart rate, they're good enough for casual use and it's a reasonable trade off for convenience. Chest heart rate monitors aren't that great anyway for cycling as there's still a noticeable delay in changing power levels which is is where power meters come in as they can immediately and accurately register changes in power levels which can be matched to the course.

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Postby Replicant » 14 Sep 2016, 13:36

Been seriously considering the Edge 520 as the 820 looks like it would be overkill for what I want. Even the 520 could be considered expensive as my phone does the same job for free when allied with Strava. Because of this I am probably going to hold back for a while. Although, with the 520, I can just look down at the screen rather than stopping and fishing the S7 out of my pocket. hmmmm decisions...
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 14 Sep 2016, 21:10

There is the Edge 25 as well which has most of the functionality of the 520 but with a smaller display, still enough to see the important stuff like speed and distance. The batterylife isn't great though, I was out for a very long ride at the weekend and a friend's Edge 25 only made it around seven hours before it gave in. The Edge 520 managed around 14 hours with no BT or any other sensors and it claimed it still had around 40% left which I was impressed by as I had taken an external charger with me but didn't need it. The 520 is useless for navigating although I don't see the 820 or even 1000 being great for that either, I reckon I'd get a cheap Android phone or something if I wanted mapping.

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Postby Replicant » 08 Nov 2016, 00:23

Been looking into this again. Did you get the 520 package with HRM etc or just the 520 on its own.

Have you tried loading openstreetmaps onto your 520? Apparently quite easy to do.
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 08 Nov 2016, 00:53

No, i bought just the 520 as I already have an HRM and cadence sensors.

I did load the maps onto the Edge 800 but I found them fairly useless as the screen was too small and too low resolution, I ended up using my phone anyway so I haven't tried with the 520 since it screen is smaller than the 800.

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Postby Replicant » 08 Nov 2016, 14:59

DO you actually use the HRM and sensors? DO you find them useful at all?
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 10 Nov 2016, 02:30

The short answer is no, I never got the cadence sensor working properly and I didn't find the HRM data useful.

For the cadence sensor I received the original GSC-10 model I think it is which is the magnet one that you attached to the wheel, the chainstay and the crank arm. Aside from being fiddly to fit a friend had trouble with it dropping out during cycles and as it overrides the GPS speed, he was losing a lot of data. I did purchase the newer accelerometer version which simply straps onto the crank arm and uses the motion to work out cadence but I had constant problems with it dropping out making it useless so I gave up on it.

I started using the HRM to try and gauge my effort as you'll know yourself it's hard to tell by feel how hard you're pushing, there's times I've felt rubbish and slow then found out that was my fastest time ever and other times I've felt fast and the time has been unremarkable. I didn't find the data from the HRM that useful though, on pretty much every ride I'd average 155bpm and max out at 180 even when comparing short two hour rides that felt fairly easy and tougher seven hour rides. I've read that stage/interval training is extremely effective which is where you push really hard for a certain amount of time at max heart rate, drop down to a certain heart rate, move back up to max etc. The HRM is useful there to make sure you're correctly moving into the correct HR zones but it's not something I've bothered with, I would like to improve my performance but then I cycle for fun and that sort of stuff isn't much fun. Also at times I found the HRM a bit uncomfortable, if I loosen it off it starts slipping and if it's too tight it's noticeable when I'm hot.

Power meters sound interesting as you get a more direct response to power changes as your heart rate can be comparatively slow to change so if you hit a hill hard the spike in HR may come after the hill is finished. I do find Strava is useful on segments I've done before to get an idea how my performance was and I also find the gradient read out on the Garmin useful although more for the road bike where it's not always easy to tell if you're on a slight climb or downhill, moving up or down a gear or two and keeping a good cadence can make a surprising difference.

Obviously a lot of people do use the sensors and find them useful, I just don't take cycling seriously enough for them I think.

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