FEA­TURES

Which of our watches of­fers the best sports at­tributes?

Australian T3 - - STATE OF THE ART -

All three de­vices have heart-rate (HR) mon­i­tors, a re­ally use­ful aid for keep­ing an eye on your rest­ing and all-day HR; for help­ing to avoid over­train­ing, gen­eral tired­ness or, more pos­i­tively, to see signs you’re get­ting fit­ter.

How­ever, wrist-based HR track­ing isn’t as ac­cu­rate as chest-strap HR mon­i­tors. In fact, with Garmin’s HRM-Run chest strap wire­lessly con­nected, the Fore­run­ner leaps ahead of ev­ery other sports watch: the chest strap is also a mo­tion sen­sor that tracks ca­dence, ground con­tact time and ver­ti­cal os­cil­la­tion – use­ful tech­nique data for those se­ri­ous about im­prov­ing their run­ning.

It all syncs to the Fore­run­ner for pe­rusal.

The Fitbit’s ex­cel­lent hook is the be­gin­ner­friendly Fitbit Coach, which pro­vides tai­lored work­outs that show you ex­actly what to do. You sup­ply post-ex­er­cise feed­back and Fitbit Coach de­ter­mines whether you need to go harder or ease up. Fitbit plans to in­tro­duce au­dio work­outs – which should avoid some of the mid-ex­er­cise wrist check­ing.

As you’d ex­pect, the Ionic is an ex­cel­lent ac­tiv­ity tracker, record­ing steps, dis­tance cov­ered, stairs climbed, calo­ries burned, how

The Fore­run­ner leaps into a new world where other watches haven’t fol­lowed

well you’ve slept, and re­mind­ing you not to sit still for too long. For atheletes, ac­tiv­ity track­ing is very much sec­ondary to ac­cu­racy and data for real work­outs, though.

All three watches have Blue­tooth and some in­ter­nal stor­age that you can sync playlists to – so you can leave your phone be­hind and still let Meat­loaf power you along.

Whereas the other two pieces are sports watches souped up to be­come smart­watches, the Ap­ple Watch has come at things from the op­po­site an­gle. The sports data is some­what ba­sic, but it be­ing Ap­ple, you can use third-party apps to ex­pand the op­tions. The range of met­rics tracked by the Nike+ app doesn’t match Garmin’s, but Nike’s so­cial plat­form is a great mo­ti­va­tor. And for daily ac­tiv­ity track­ing (in­clud­ing much of what the Fitbit cov­ers) smart­phone in­ter­ac­tion and apps, noth­ing re­ally matches Ap­ple.

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