Com­fort and us­abil­ity are key to a good sports watch, with points for style

Australian T3 - - STATE OF THE ART -

The Ap­ple Watch is the most im­me­di­ately at­ten­tion-grab­bing of the three GPS watches on test here. The Watch’s softer cor­ners and raised 3D screen whis­per se­duc­tive things to your fin­ger­tips, invit­ing a touch, tap or swipe. Then it pings to life in mag­nif­i­cent colours. The dis­play is large and clear, and fit­ness apps start at the mere tickle of the screen. At-a-glance met­rics such as pace, speed and dis­tance are easy to see, even when ex­er­cis­ing. The Ap­ple Watch has two but­tons, but neatly one dou­bles as a dial, use­ful for zoom­ing in and out or chang­ing pages in an app. It’s also sturdy and water­proof.

Maybe it’s just in the name, but ini­tially the Ionic does have some­thing of a tracker, rather than a smart­watch, feel. The LCD screen bright­ness, how­ever, reaches 1,000 nits (the same as the Ap­ple Watch) and means you can view it even in bright sun­light. The Ionic’s de­sign is clean and sim­ple, even if the square­ness feels a bit Cold War mod­ernist; big and bulky and not as comfy as the other two on a thin­ner wrist. It’s water­proof though, so no need for faffing about ei­ther end of that post-run shower. Aes­thet­i­cally, it will di­vide

The Ap­ple Watch’s soft cor­ners and raised screen whis­per se­duc­tive things

opin­ion, but many of us don’t buy sports watches pri­mar­ily for how stylish they are.

The Garmin, mean­while, has a screen that’s clear, sharp and easy to read – even if it’s less colour­ful than its ri­vals – with a but­ton-ac­ti­vated light for darker con­di­tions. Trans­flec­tive tech­nol­ogy, mean­while, makes it clear and bright when light is shin­ing di­rectly on it. The five but­tons are sat­is­fy­ing to use and it’s a very light­weight (42g), at­trac­tive thing, es­pe­cially by fit­ness wear­able stan­dards. The rounded dis­play can make things a lit­tle bit con­gested when you’ve got four dif­fer­ent bits of data on one screen, but even then it’s fairly easy to read with a squint. The metal rim around the edge of the 1.2-inch dis­play both pro­tects the Go­rilla Glass 3 and makes it ap­pear some­how in­dus­trial and stylish at the same time. Once again, it’s water­proof.

The Ionic’s bands are re­ally easy to switch, and you can pur­chase sporty bands in var­i­ous colours, or smarter leather op­tions

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