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Author Topic: Shopping for a new sports watch - what do you use?  (Read 1683 times)

Posts: 6

Shopping for a new sports watch - what do you use?
« on: 03/28/18, 05:05 PM »

In the market for a new sports watch. Curious what everyone finds to provide the best option on the market these days for ski purposes. I generally prefer to not track anything and enjoy a boop/beep-free zone but have recently been wanting some of the functionality on tours and will be training for other outdoor pursuits so thinking it may be a good time to invest.

Biggest things I'm seeking are: altimeter, GPS, built-in HR monitor (not needing to connect a HR monitor chest strap), ski mode, overall durability, everyday functionality as a watch.

Current considerations in rank order are...

Garmin Fenix Line:
- Pros / Does everything I need it to do for outdoor-specific pursuits and more (altimeter, GPS, HR, ski mode, everyday functionality as a watch)
- Cons / Holy moly that is a lot of money, enormous (even the Fenix S is pretty big)

Apple Watch:
- Pros / Still expensive but way cheaper than the full-featured Garmins, get more every day use out of it (for life and not just athletics), not as gigantic on my wrist (both looks + function), provides basic ski functionality around altimeter and GPS (
- Cons / They generally seem a little annoying, they're watered-down in terms of functionality, dependent upon phone bluetooth connection for much of their performance

- Pros / Overall functionality
- Cons / Every Suunto I've ever had has had strap breaking issues, battery run out issues, etc. so I'm generally wary of them.

What are y'all using? What do you love/hate about them?
« Last Edit: 03/28/18, 05:18 PM by tornadoweather » Logged
flowing alpy

Posts: 1447

Re: Shopping for a new sports watch - what do you use?
« Reply #1 on: 03/28/18, 06:39 PM »

A Tag HeUer aquaracer automatic
big dial waterproof simple design

Posts: 209

Re: Shopping for a new sports watch - what do you use?
« Reply #2 on: 03/28/18, 08:23 PM »

I've been using an Ambit 2 since about 2013.  It's been very, very good with one band issue that was fixed by Suunto. 

I've currently misplaced it, or my house is a complete disaster and just can't see it.  If I buy a new one, it would still be a Suunto, probably the Spartan Wrist version. 

I tried the Fenix back in 2013 and liked the Suunto better, can't remember why. 
Charlie Hagedorn

Posts: 1910

Re: Shopping for a new sports watch - what do you use?
« Reply #3 on: 03/29/18, 10:27 AM »

I bought a refurbished Fenix in May 2014 that worked out well, save battery life, which didn't make it through long days in the mountains. It ingested some water after a soak in Yellowstone's "Boiling River" in January 2018, and died a week-long death. It had many days of swimming prior to that; I think the sharp temperature changes (~30 K/s) were a challenging environment for any watch.

As a replacement, I picked up a refurbished Fenix 3HR, and it is better in every way. Battery life is sufficient for intensive navigation on day tours. As a smartwatch, it requires charging once every couple of weeks.

Strap-breakage is likely with perhaps any watch. It seems like a good watch that gets used hard will wear out a strap in ~2-3 years.

With any of these watches, the smartwatch notifications are awesome, once you cut them down to only the most-important people/contacts.

Blizz Mountain

Posts: 78

Re: Shopping for a new sports watch - what do you use?
« Reply #4 on: 03/29/18, 06:04 PM »

I haven't found the perfect watch either yet, but here's my experiences:

Suunto Core: Do NOT get the black face / white digits - impossible to see except in bright sunlight. Indoors and nights absolutely horrible. Accuracy and functions are good, but other watches are easier to navigate between different functions.

Microsoft Band / Band 2:  I actually really like all the functions; however, gps locking in and syncing are horrible - absolutely horrible.  Have to factory reset all the time, delete and reinstall the app  - so essentially a FAIL until / if they ever get it right.

Casio:  My son has two Casio watches (one's a G-Shock but don't know model, another is one of their higher end pricey ones, don't remember model) , last for years, decent functionality, great battery life, not as high altitude resolution as the Suunto, but decent.

Posts: 315

Re: Shopping for a new sports watch - what do you use?
« Reply #5 on: 04/01/18, 09:12 PM »

Fenix 5 - I love it. Great battery life, smaller than the Fenix 3. I expect there should be some sales but yes, not cheap.

From the reviews when I was buying, the top Suuntos weren't any cheaper but had worse GPS and other functions. I actually wanted the Ti Suunto but really couldn't convince myself to buy it over the Fenix after my research. Things may have changed now with updates etc.

Posts: 111

Re: Shopping for a new sports watch - what do you use?
« Reply #6 on: 04/02/18, 03:33 PM »

Ambit peak 3 sapphire.  I have used this thing for training 5+ days a week for 3 years, including multi-day backpack hunting/skimo/powder trips and have had no glitches, and it has held up well.  Aside from training it is a really good tool for mountain navigation and maintaining pacing for big fast days.  The ability to program custom sports modes is a huge pro for me, you can program custom modes to save battery life and storage space so you can log multi-day tracks without recharging, or program modes for specific objectives so you can estimate your pacing for a particular route.

The Sapphire is worth the extra $$ if you are going to do any type of climbing around rocks or use the watch on extensive backcountry adventures.

Overall its a huge investment, but if you are going to be getting really serious about training it is certainly worth it, and, having a mini GPS on my wrist logging my location has saved me from some uncomfortable nights when animals have led me far astray from my intended path...

Finally, I would strongly recommend using a chest strap if you are serious about aerobic training, the non-strap options are O.K. for casual use, but chest straps are still the gold standard for training tools.
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