Category Archives: Watches

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro

I got the Mac Daddy of Fitness Watches, the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro.  It wasn’t the top of the line Solar or Titanium version but still wildly touted as the best fitness watch on the planet.

Is it?  We’ll see.

My favorite “Fitness Watch” is my Apple Watch Series 5 for a variety of reasons not the least of which is that it has a cell phone in it.  And while it fairly easily syncs with either Strava or my favorite 3rd party fitness application, RubiTrack, my absolute favorite fitness software is Garmin Connect.

 

What a dilemma that is! 😀.  Of course the way around that is to have a Garmin watch and carry a cell phone with you.  Not a problem while biking but not something I’d do while jogging.

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Garmin Instinct Mini Review

Garmin Instinct (credit:  Garmin Website)

Yep.  Another Fitness Watch Review.   This time it is for the Garmin Instinct.  I love fitness watches and specifically I love Garmin fitness watches because of their EXCELLENT ecosystem.

Garmin stuff JUST WORKS.  A lot of these fitness watches and smart watches have all manner of weird sync errors and glitches sometimes.   But typically you won’t get that in the Garmin ecosystem.  My watch is a refurbished watch from Factory Outlet Store..  Sure looked brand new to me when I opened it up.

 

Now before we dive in to whether I like this watch or not let’s discuss some of the advertised criteria.   One of the major claims that Garmin makes is that this watch is built to the U.S. military standard 810 for thermal, shock and water resistance.

Garmin Mil-Spec claim

Yeah, these kind of claims bother me.  I’m not going to say that this claim is untrue however I will say this about it.  Watches (or anything for that matter) that are tested and conform to Military Specifications are then placed on something called the Qualified Products List (QPL) and are then authorized to sell their product to the US government.

Right now, today, the only company authorized to sell watches to the United States Military is The Marathon Watch Company, ironically based out of Canada.  Not Casio, not Luminox, and not Garmin either.

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Garmin Vivoactive 4 Review

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Here’s yet another watch in my arsenal.  The Garmin Vivoactive 4.  I try not to perform the typical review that you can find by the dozens.  Basically somebody will cover the spec sheet and tell you how great it is.  I like to use the things and tell you what its strengths and weaknesses are.

First of all I’m a bit of a Garmin fanboy and have been using their products for many years whether it be a dedicated automobile GPS or a bicycle computer.   They work and they have an excellent software suite.

 

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 seems to be no different.  Even though I have read specs that say the Vivoactive 4 is not compatible with Garmin Basecamp………it seems to be.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 in Basecamp

The way to just see one track on the map is to create a new List which I named Vivoactive Clean Map.  I can then drag and drop one track in the folder at a time to view just that one track.  Then you can create routes or whatever you want to do.  Cool!

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All About Fitness Tracking

Trying to find THE fitness tracking eco-system is tough.  There is no shortage of Fitness Watches and Fitness Trackers and many of them, especially the Chinese entries have their own eco-system.  I suppose that is okay as long as you like it and you stick with it.

Amazfit app

This is the Amazfit Watch app and it actually does tie to other eco-systems and you can even export your activity to a GPX file so you can import it into other eco-systems.

What do I mean by an eco-system?  Your definition could be different than mine.

In my mind there are only several eco-systems such as Strava, Garmin Connect, Fitbit, and the 3rd party software such a RubiTrack.

With these systems you can do all kinds of stuff like view in a web page/browser, share your workouts with friends, and also compete against others virtually.  Strava will break your activity into segments and compare yourself against others who have Strava and who have used the same route.

For example one segment of my bike rides I usually traverse at 39 seconds only to find out there are guys who have done it in 16 seconds.  Oy Vey! No call from the Olympic Team this year for me.
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Fitbit Charge 4 Review – First Impressions

Fitbit Charge 4

I’m kind of on the search for the perfect fitness watch. So far nothing has changed my mind away from the Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular).  It does it all and it does it well.  The thing that pushes the Apple Watch over the top for me is the CELLULAR PHONE.

If you don’t mind carrying a phone (although you don’t HAVE to) you can save a ton of money and maintain a lot of functionality.  I ride a bike that has a rear rack with a bag so it’s no problem to carry a phone.  But I don’t like carrying a phone.

So it is with a bit of trepidation that I test the Fitbit because it is just another tracker without cell service. To my surprise though I really, really, really like this thing.

First and foremost it is minimalist, small, and very unobtrusive.  It is also super comfortable as well.  It’s probably the only fitness watch I have that you just don’t really know you are wearing it.

I own multiple watches and they all mostly do the same thing.  Track your activity with a GPS, and track your heart beat with a heart beat sensor.  Those two things though are very powerful and with the right software will let you analyze your performance and work on improving your workouts by understanding heart rate zones and spending more time in the right zones.

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Musings on Fitness Trackers

Fitness Trackers are currently my thing.   I have four now and I have plenty to say about all of them.  They are:

  1. Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular)
  2. Amazfit T-Rex
  3. Haylou LS05 Solar
  4. Garmin Vivoactive 4

Fitness Watches (click pics to enlarge)

Here are my thoughts:  You don’t NEED any fitness tracker.  You want one though.  Back in the day I ran and biked and swam with nothing electronic on me at all.  It can be done.

That being said, I do love tech. It motivates me to see my workouts and data and IMPROVEMENT.  I’m also on a diet and it is super convenient to work out and the watch automatically sends my calorie burn data to my diet program of choice.  Really, really makes it super easy and fun.  And it can be shared, not that anybody else wants to see it, but too bad for them 😃.

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Amazfit T-Rex Fitness Watch

Amazfit T-Rex Fitness Watch

Okay, I’m on a fitness kick, to include a FITNESS WATCH kick as well.   In my mind the best fitness watch on the planet is the Apple Watch Series 5 with GPS and cellular.

That’s not to say I shouldn’t be giving the shakedown to some other competitors out there and writing about it. 😃

In my mind there are a few different kinds of fitness watches.  Non-GPS, GPS on board, and those that either need or don’t need a smartphone.  The Apple Watch Series 5 with GPS and cellular is a complete package.  The Amazfit T-Rex is not.  It needs that smartphone to be viable.

It’s kind of hard to go backwards from the best but I did exactly that.  The Amazfit T-Rex can be had from Amazon for about $140. Sadly the only color Amazon has as of this review is the black one.  I wanted the Army Green one so I bought it from Adorama for less than $130 (found a 10% off coupon).

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Best Fitness Watch

I’ve never been known to buy one of anything.  In fact I’m somewhat obsessive when it comes to research on new toys.  My closet is full of stuff I have bought and tested that didn’t quite measure up to something else.   Here’s a great example, and this is the perfect example for this blog post:

NIKE FUEL BAND

Nike+Fuelband

This thing was a Piece ‘O Shit extraordinaire.

In fact this was like the 4th one I had on a single purchase.  The other 3 broke and Nike replaced them and the one in the picture is New Old Stock. I never wore it because………I knew it would break.

They came out in 2012 and already by 2018 Nike has discontinued support and service for the device on their Nike Connect service.  It is now a functioning piece of hardware that is worthless.

 

If you have one and it still works……….you can’t do anything with the data.  So from cradle to grave the mighty Nike + Fuelband lasted 6 years and was an expensive fitness watch at the time of its release ($150).  To my knowledge it doesn’t export its data to any 3rd party service either. It was proprietary.
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My Apple Watch Series 5 Review

Apple Watch Series 5

I’m a regular guy and while I’m a tech guy I find that most reviewers over-analyze stuff way too much.  I don’t care how many electrons there is in a pixel 🤪 or how far off sRGB that something displays in chartreuse.

Give me a fitness watch and I’ll tell you if it works or not from a regular guy standpoint.   And while people might tell you something is the greatest technical achievement ever that opinion isn’t worth a hill of beans if it is uncomfortable or gives you a rash when you wear it.

 

Case in point.  I have some large Casio Mudmaster watches and while I generally LOVE them I absolutely CANNOT strap one up and go jog with it.  It makes me sweat under the band awful and it slips unless it is so tight it cuts off my circulation.  Great watch for camping and hiking and doing woodsy stuff but utter crap while jogging.

So that’s what I’m going for. A review that may contain some technical aspects but while simultaneously explores real world usability.

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Best Tech of 2019?

So here it is, New Years Eve…….I’m up at 1 AM and reading “Best Tech of The Year” articles.  Either one of two things has happened.  Either nothing tremendously wonderful happened in Tech this year or the imagination and writing skills of journalists are now nearly non-existent.

Every list shows the latest cell phones or drones, or gaming device or newest TV offering.  I’m sorry, but that just isn’t that inspiring to me.   I may be a dinosaur but newer is not always better.  Case in point.  Look up the home entertainment category and most lists have some SONOS player.  That’s a networked streaming audio system.

I’ve been using Logitechmediaserver so many years it isn’t funny.  It streams Spotify, Tidal, TuneIn, Pandora (I dropped my Pandora subscription) and many, many more services.

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