Which of our watches offers the best sports attributes?
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.