Author Topic: smart watches  (Read 169 times)

in4

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1188
smart watches
« on: September 28, 2017, 11:22:29 PM »
http://news.viewranger.com/interface/external_view_email.php?AO9398308985884710105433136532610&varId=&utm_campaign=Casio%2FOS+maps+offer_en&utm_source=emailCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=

Reading around the whole GPS debate and noting varying degrees of endorsement I was wondering if anyone had any experiences with so called smart watches.
The Casio is a new one to me and tbe Viewranger tie up caught my eye.
My God daughter has a Garmin Forerunner with all sorts of features, it syncs with her iphone too.
Then there is the Apple watch of which I've seen plenty, heard a lot,but personally think it's screen is too small.
I wonder, is the smart watch, combined with a phone set to become a useful combination for cycling. The  seeming variability of stand alone GPS devices may have created a niche.

Danneaux

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7163
  • reisen statt rasen
Re: smart watches
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2017, 11:56:07 PM »
Hi Ian!

Smart watches have to be recharged. That is something to keep in mind on longer tours, especially if you already have a GPS, smartphone, LED blinkys, LED wearable headlights, SteriPen water purifier, etc. to also keep charged.

On-tour, truly off-grid charging is a lifestyle, not an activity -- at least for me.  ;) I try very hard to buy gadgets that have user-replaceable batteries -- typically Eneloop AA and AAA size -- instead of embedded batteries that limit effective device life to a couple years before they need to be sent away for battery replacement. Having user-replaceable batteries also limits device downtime, important if you will use them beyond 12-15 hours/day. It is much faster to swap in fresh batteries than have to wait till your device can recharge.

These resources may prove helpful in answering some of your questions about smartwatches:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/a14436/apple-watch-which-smartwatch-should-i-buy/
https://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-gear/348794-how-often-do-you-charge-your-gear.html

I generally prefer a standalone GPS with my GPS-equipped smartphone as a fallback option for navigation beyond the paper maps and compass I always take on tour. My 28 year-old Casio black plastic watch is not a smart one but it is pretty bright. :D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMlaVeuFj8I
It remains waterproof so far, has 5 alarms, countdown/countup timers, an accurate thermometer with data logging so I know when it was coldest last night, and 23 time zones so I can avoid waking friends when I call them, and a compass and ID tag reside on the wristband. It sees constant daily use, I love it dearly and I'd be lost without it. Battery life with regular use of all functions is about three years though I replace the battery before each major tour as I do on my bike computer. Paired with a GPS or smartphone, it seems to be all I need. I have been pleased to find it escapes notice when traveling because people see "generic/cheap black digital watch", whereas I know several people who have been promptly robbed of their smartwatches while on-tour -- one twice.

Please let us know if you decide to go for a smartwatch...and how it works for you.

All the best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 02:59:52 AM by Danneaux »

Aushiker

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 52
    • Aushiker: Bicycling and Bushwalking in Western Australia
Re: smart watches
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2017, 01:55:07 AM »
I am a smart watch wearer, in my case I have a Motorola 360 gen 2 [Android]  and a Garmin Forerunner 230.

Motorola 360: This is my daily wear watch and is great for that purpose given the way it interacts with my phone. I use it to track my activities (steps) but that is it really in terms of cycling or running.  It could be used as cycling or running watch for sure as it has apps on it such as Strava but I personally find these to simple and don't offer the features I like (e.g., when running I want to be told when I have run a kilometre and then I can quickly check my time on the watch). Cycling I prefer to have a visual display in front of me. Of course this is all personal.

Touring with it? Not something I would do for the reason @Danneaux mentioned: charging.  The Motorola 360 is not charged using a normal micro USB cable, it has a "wireless" charger. Not something I want to have to take on the bike with me. Also it needs charging daily.



Garmin Forerunner 230: This is much more sports orientated and hence has more potential as a cycling watch. It is ANT+, has a running feature and a cycling feature. I have it paired to my ANT+ HR strap for running for example but could also pair it to my cadence/speed sensors. It is GPS enabled (no mapping but will track your route and when synced will show on your computer or in Garmin Connect etc on your phone) and also has Bluetooth. It operates independent of my phone.

For the reasons given above with the Motorola 360 I don't use it for cycling but I do use it as my running watch. 

It is also the watch I take touring but I put in airplane mode to save the battery (this disables the GPS etc) and find I can get around a week out of it as a watch/activity tracker (steps). All that said if you just want to track your ride data it would work fine for that purposes, subject to charging of course.

Synchronization is easy with the phone via Bluetooth. I have it set to sync automatically to Garmin Connect which is then sync to Strava, RidewithGPS and Endomondo using Tapiriik in the background. The same applies to my Garmin Edge 810 [now selling] and my Wahoo Elemnt.

Like the Motorola 360, the Forerunner 230 and I suspect the Forerunner series it has a non-USB charging (watch end) charging cable so would need to carry the specific charging cable. Not really big issue but another cable to loose and harder to replace :)



If you have any further questions do ask away.

« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 01:59:32 AM by Aushiker »

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2891
    • Andre Jute
Re: smart watches
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2017, 05:03:28 AM »
... it has apps on it such as Strava but I personally find these to simple and don't offer the features I like (e.g., when running I want to be told when I have run a kilometre and then I can quickly check my time on the watch).

You could try POLARBEAT. I don't use it on a smartwatch, but I use it to report to my iPhone on the handlebars, and the iPhone loudly announces every kilometer that my average speed was x kph or x miles per hour or even, probably more useful to a runner, x minutes per kilometer. It also announces average heart rate for that distance or time. You can switch these facilities in and out, of course. The POLARBEAT software works well with Polar's proprietary H7 belt (I had to have the belt replaced under warranty, which was a nuisance, and it is the priciest belt I own by at least three multiples) and the iPhone, but I found the combo doesn't play so nicely with other Bluetooth-capable belts. My iPhone is the long-obsolete 4S, chosen because then and now it has the biggest battery in the sturdier (all-ali-cased) versions of the Apple. However, battery life is still miserable. I carry a booster battery in the same dry bag on the handlebar as the iPhone and plug it in when I start riding. Without the booster, your day in the saddle had better not be longer than 6 hours, which leaves a bit of leeway for getting lost on your way to a plug. With the Blitzwolf booster, about an inch square and as long as the iPhone, that I now use I could probably go two full days, but that's without switching on the GPS: in fact, everything except Bluetooth and the phone itself is switched off to conserve power. Frankly I don't see how even my setup can be any kind of a long distance touring option. I manage on short local tours but I stay in a guest house every night, and my touring day generally keeps Irish time, which means that rain cuts it short sooner rather than later. So on a short tour, I'm never closer to a dead phone than the phone with 100% charge in it and another day's reserve in the Blitzwolf. In addition the battery for the electric motor on one of my bikes has a USB port and I could run the phone off that, but, except for testing that it works, I never have because it is a nuisance and the cables are aesthetically unpleasing. In fact there is a another smidgin of reserve as, though I operate the lamps day and night off the dynamo as DRL, there's generally something left to operate a charge system I built to recharge the iPhone but never even tried on the iPhone (it's irreplaceable, so I don't want to blow it up), instead using the Blitzwolf as my buffer; that's good on a day with plenty of downhills for another hour or so on the phone, but the little board sheltering under its own heatsink of a piece of angle iron is ugly, and I in fact have plenty of reserve, so I just mention the possibility.

***
I looked into smart watches a couple of years ago, but decided against them for not being smart enough -- none have enough battery power to report even my heart rate continuously, never mind blood pressure) -- and all of them suffer from insulting battery capacities for other functions such as GPS. I concluded that they're toys and gimmicks, though I expect them to grow up in the next few years. Currently they seem to me to be aimed at what you use yours for, reporting on a daily run, a couple of hours at most. The H7 belt coupled with an iPhone bypasses this difficulty by using the phone's power...clumsy, sure, but a lot more secure, I think.

Still, one day soon we'll all be talking into our thumbs and wondering why we ever carried around so much clunky communications gear.

ridgeback63

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 89
Re: smart watches
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2017, 06:41:34 PM »
I've got a Suunto ambit 3 sapphire which I use as a back up GPS,very rugged and great battery life,lots of great features and some pointless ones (well to me anyway)

mickeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1205
Re: smart watches
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2017, 10:34:44 PM »
I agree with Dan, I like AA (or AAA) rechargeable batteries.

I used to use the plain NiMH batteries, but I had bought Eneloops for use in my digital cameras but I only used the Eneloops in the cameras.  But a year or two ago I learned that Eneloops work much better in my GPS.  Apparently the low discharge class of batteries (including Eneloops) run a slightly higher voltage, and that was enough to make the low discharge batteries work a LOT better than the plain NiMH batteries in an electronic device that needs a minimum of a certain amount of voltage. 

I find my GPS usually quits working when the pair of AA batteries has a combined voltage of about 2.435 volts.  The regular NiMH batteries were only maybe half discharged by the time they got down to that voltage, but the low discharge class of NiMH batteries lasted much longer before they got down to that voltage level.

I bought some Ikea brand low discharge AA NiMH batteries a year ago, they mis-priced them so I bought a bunch of them.  And I found that they work as good as Eneloops or possibly even better.  I used the Ikea brand ones on my recent two week kayaking trip for my GPS.
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70303876/

Ikea also sells the plain NiMH batteries, I do not recommend them as I assume they are not the low discharge ones.

My dynohub does not work well on a kayak trip, so I brought a solar charger and USB powered AA/AAA charger.  Worked great when I had bright sun.  Photo attached.


Danneaux

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7163
  • reisen statt rasen
Re: smart watches
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2017, 02:18:53 AM »
Quote
My dynohub does not work well on a kayak trip...
;D I would imagine not! ;D

All the best,

Dan.