GPS watch

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  • #7430
    LindsayTroy
    Moderator

    My Garmin forerunner 220 has bitten the dust (it only holds a battery for about 2 hours and Garmin cant/wont replace the battery). Im looking for suggestions.

    The key features I’m looking for are: battery life >12hrs, altimeter, HR chest strap option, and I’d like it to track steps and yell at me to move during the day (I get sucked into work and can lose hours).

    I’ve looked at Garmin and the forerunner 935 looks good (has anyone tried it?) and I’ve tried looking at Suunto but they have so many watches that are so similar that its hard to really sort through them.

    I’ll take any suggestions! I’m mainly using it for TFNA which is why I’m asking here.

  • Participant
    Jason on #7433

    Morning!

    Have the Garmin Fenix 5, which from looking at is VERY similar to the 935. Just bigger, 60g heavier, more robust casing? And I think slightly more expensive. Would definitely try them on if possible. DC Rainmaker has some good reviews on them. (have not read the 935 one)

    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/03/garmin-forerunner-935-depth-review.html
    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/03/garmin-fenix5-5s-5x-review.html

    It has been great except for had to return the first one per wild altitude swings. (would go +/- 65,000′, apparently I’m a space cadet while sleeping). Garmin would have swapped no issue, tho since I was still in REIs’ return/exchange policy, did that instead.

    My second one has been rock solid. Never had an issue connecting to my Ant+ HR strap(sometimes will auto-connect, sometimes I need to tell it). The battery life is insane. I only charge it whenever I shower, morning/after workout, and its never gone below +/-90%. I’m tracking things maybe 7-10 hours a week per the 8 week plan.

    Keymaster
    Scott Johnston on #7438

    Lindsay:

    I used a Garmin 630 for a few years till I lost it. Worked great: Samll(ish), light and easy to use. Discontinued now so you can find them cheap. Only had a GPS altimeter so when I lost it ai replaced with a 935. I had the Fenix but find them just too big. The 935 gives almost all the features of the Fenix but smaller and lighter. Have had it 6 months now and really like it.

    Scott

    Participant
    adamsc on #7444

    Lindsay,

    Piling on, I would recommend against anything Polar. I haven’t used any Garmin watches yet, but my Polar M400 won’t even last 4 hours if the GPS is tracking.

    -Adam

    Moderator
    LindsayTroy on #7449

    Thanks everyone! The forerunner is winning so far, I think.

    Adam, the AAC makes it so I’m only really looking at Garmin/Suunto, I hadn’t even checked Polar (or anywhere else).

    Participant
    Krusher01 on #7455

    I am using the Fenix 5x and really like it. The battery tends to last about 5-7 days if I have used GPS during the training session. The feature I have found the most useful is the integration with the structured workout in TrainingPeaks which has really made a difference with focusing my effort in a training session. I would not go back to using a device without the TP structured workout integration and it has been worth the extra money to have it. If you can find a cheaper device with the same structured workout integration it would be worth considering.

    One thing I discovered is that with the Fenix 5x you have to set your zones on both the device and Garmin connect to match those you set in training peaks – otherwise the HR AeT threshold alarm in the device won’t trigger at the correct HR.

    Keymaster
    Steve House on #7467

    Lindsay,
    I have a Garmin Fenix3 and am luke warm. I bought my wife a Suunto Spartan Ultra for Christmas and got a great online sale deal via the dcrainmaker.com site, which is a great site for technical reviews. She likes it so far but is still learning. The color screen is a big upgrade from what I have on the Fenix3. Happy shopping.

    Participant
    Nick K on #7492

    I broke a Forerunner 220 a year or so ago and upgraded to an Ambit3 Peak. I’ve been super happy with it, the battery life is excellent, and it’s easy to use. I find the Suunto software for uploading works far better than the Garmin, and the connection to Strava works better too. The GPS also finds it’s satellites wayyy faster than the Garmin.

    I’ve no idea about the HR chest strap, I stopped tracking HR long before I switched watches (just using nose-breathing as my metric). The watch does track steps, though I have no idea if you can have it bug you to move.

    The Suunto line is pretty bewildering, but if I remember my research correctly the Peak had the best battery life of all the options, in addition to the combo altimeter. It’s a little chunky at first glance, but in practice I have no complaints (and I wear it all the time, not just for training).

    Participant
    pshyvers on #7531

    I switched from a 920XT to a Fenix 3 a year or two ago. I can’t remember details, but I recall being much happier with the Fenix 3. I recall feeling that, despite the extremely similar feature list on paper, it seemed clear after using both that runners & triathletes would be happier with the 920XT and outdoors people would prefer the Fenix 3. Unfortunately, I really can’t remember much of why.

    Now that the 935XT has a body like the Fenix, the differences are probably narrowing even more, but I’d still personally be inclined towards a Fenix 5 instead of a 935XT if I was to upgrade.

    Either will certainly be a solid choice though, and overall I’m happy with the Garmin watches. My wife wears a Forerunner 230, and is happy with it, except for accidentally pressing buttons with her wrist sometimes.

    Participant
    deadpoint on #7533

    I replaced a Garmin Forerunner 405 w/HR with the Suunto Spartian Trainer w/HR and I much prefer the Suunto over the Garmin. Battery life is way better, GPS and HR is very accurate, it has tons of exercise “moves” that you can customize, and I prefer movescount.com for viewing the data (integrates with trainingpeak too). You can’t get the raw data files from the watch like I could with the Garmin, but I don’t really miss it so that’s not a big deal.

    Compelling review which closed the deal for me. Also if you an AAC member it’s only $195 after the discount which is a great deal IMO.
    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/08/spartan-trainer-wrist-hr-review.html

    Participant
    cramblda on #7534

    There’s some awesome info in this thread. I just want to add a cautionary note for others reading it that there is some apple vs orange in the mix – comparing watches that are several years old and several product lines up or down the spectrum of offerings.

    I think if you’re comparing the Garmin Fenix 5 series to the Garmin FR935 to the Suunto Spartan Ultra – then you’re getting a more apples to apples comparison on the best offerings from both Garmin and Sunnto.

    Both lines are great watches and miles ahead of the competition.

    Participant
    JK on #7535

    I have been using the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and have found it to be pretty good, though I have nothing to compare it to. The battery life is similar to the Fenix series, but it is much less obtrusive on the wrist. It has a rep counter for strength training that works half of the time, but it is easily editable through the watch interface and allows you to adjust to the proper amount of reps and add your weight used while resting. Although this data doen’t come into training peaks it does go into the Garmin Connect software. It also is quite a nit more affordable the the Fenix.

    Participant
    JK on #7536

    I have been using the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and have found it to be pretty good, though I have nothing to compare it to. The battery life is similar to the Fenix series, but it is much less obtrusive on the wrist. It has a rep counter for strength training that works half of the time, but it is easily editable through the watch interface and allows you to adjust to the proper amount of reps and add your weight used while resting. Although this data doesn’t come into training peaks it does go into the Garmin Connect software. It also is quite a bit more affordable the the Fenix.

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by JK.
    Participant
    Alan Russell on #7562

    I use a Suunto Ambit 3 Sport with a Mio Alpha (for optical HR as I was getting skin irritation from chest straps). I got both from ebay fairly cheaply. The Ambit 3 Peak has more features than the Sport, so could also be worth a look.

    You can also now get optical HR integrated into the GPS watch with battery life (on GPS and HR) of 30+hours. Good models to look at (several of which have been mentioned above are:
    – Garmin Fenix 5;
    – Suunto Spartan Sport;
    – Garmin Fexix 3 HR;
    – Suunto Spartan Trainer;
    – Garmin Forerunner 935;
    – Suunto Spartan Ultra.

    As others have said, dcrainmaker is excellent for reviews, and I’d also check ebay if you fancy looking for a bargain.

    Alan

    Participant
    sandijs on #7568

    I’m using Garmin 935 for about a year now, chose it over Fenix 5 because of lightness. Functionality is exactly the same between those two (Fenix 5x has maps feature in addition and is bigger).

    Battery easily lasts more than 12 hours, it has altimeter and counts stairs and steps. It can remind to move (I have disabled that feature) and display call information etc. 24 hour always on optical heart rate monitor (although you have to wear it quite tight around arm and it is not as good as chest strap). There is Training Peaks app for Garmins, but I have not used it yet.

    I moved to Garmin from Polar because Polar has only one and quite old model with altimeter and it is not clear how long it will be supported.

    Suunto Spartan at the time was not ready – many functions were not implemented at the time I purchased 935, probably situation has changed since then.

    Also note that Garmin 645 will be available soon which does all you need.

    Participant
    alpinist007 on #7590

    Lindsay,
    I upgraded to a Fenix Fs which now has 3-4 days of battery life after adjusting a few settings that Garmin happily helped me with. It integrates with the TrainingPeaks platform seamlessly, the altimeter is easy to calibrate, works with a HR chest strap, tracks steps, sleep quality and is pretty user friendly for a techy watch. Being small, the size of the watch was important to me. I’ve worn clunky altimeters for years. Although the Fenix 5s is not tiny, it’s super reasonable for small wrists. It is pricey but considering the level of support you get from Garmin, it’s battery life and integration with TP I’m super happy with it.

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