After a very long period of deliberation, I finally got myself a watch for activity tracking – the Garmin VivoActive HR.
Technically, the choice shouldn’t be so difficult since there are myriads of choices from Garmin, FitBit, Polar. But in actual fact most of the watches or trackers do not have 1 important feature I need – Water resistance. Water resistance is only available for the higher end Garmin or Polar trackers. Those can cost about SGD 500 and they are really for professional atheletes. I’m just an amateur who can’t resist gadgets. :)
Anyway, the first brand I looked at was actually FitBit. Thanks to their marketing, fitness tracker = Fitbit, for me at least. My criteria was heart rate + built in GPS because I want it to be independent of my phone. The only model that has this combination is FitBit Blaze. But after looking the specifications, I realise that the watch is non water resistant. So it was dropped immediately.
The next 2 I looked at was TomTom and Garmin. Polar wasn’t in my list because non of their affordable watches had GPS and heart rate. And they were mainly still trying to sell their chest strap.
TomTom has this Spark Cardio that is quite decent. And it looked like a proper watch. And I trust TomTom to have good GPS hardware and software like Garmin. The problem is that this Spark Cardio has a couple of versions and it seems like it is the music player option that increases the cost of the watch. So TomTom was dropped.
So the VivoActive HR was the only choice left. The prices of that various watches are about the same so just for the water resistance portion, it’s already more value for money over the other 2. (I don’t want count MP3 player as a feature.)
The immediate test that I did with the VivoActive HR was swimming. I wanted to see if the lap tracking is accurate. And indeed with every turn, the lap count increases. And on top of that, the number of strokes are also being counted.
Garmin has an app that syncs with the watch and gives you nice looking stats. From what I understand, it’s really a mobile extension of their original Garmin Connect site. All workout and training stats are also uploaded.
There are alot of other smart watch features like notifications from phone, displaying my WhatsApp message etc. The only thing I’m complaining about this watch is that it doesn’t look as sexy as the the FitBits. Other than that I feel that it’s value for money. High end enough for comprehensive tracking but not too expensive to put me off.
Next, I will be trying HIIT tracking. I understand that the programs can be customised to incorporate training plans. Still reading on that. Will share more once I get around doing it.