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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:49 pm
by wildgoose1uk
I've been thinking about getting an apple watch but have recently wondered if some sort of hiking watch would be a better buy for me. The plan was to use apple watch with viewranger but I wonder if something like a Garmin may be more suitable for Scottish weather in the hills?

I'd be interested to hear folks views.

Thx in advance


Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:15 pm
by iain_atkinson_1986
I recently got a Garmin Instinct (£169 Amazon sale - maybe worth having a look on Black Friday) and love it. It has an altimeter, barometer and compass but you can follow .gpx routes although it doesn't give you a colour display with terrain etc that more expensive Garmins/Suuntos do (I think). It also has the usual stuff, e.g. heartrate monitor, pedometer, weather forecasts and phone controls for calls, messages and music. Build quality is good and I reckon it'll take a lot more damage than a regular smartwatch.

The only downsides are that you only get 16 hours of battery life with GPS tracking (probably about a week without this running) and I don't think you can follow a route and have tracking at the same time. I would buy again but maybe look at getting the solar version just for the added reliability.

Without knowing your budget it's difficult to know if you're considering something high-end, e.g. Garmin Fenix, but the Instinct is a decent entry-level GPS watch that I'd imagine is about the same price as an Apple smartwatch.

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:37 pm
by Scottk
I have a suunto ambit 3 peak and I rate it but next time I will be going with Garmin due to the lack of support on the software and app side by suunto. I would not consider an Apple Watch or similar due to the lack of battery life.
I do overnights and longer trips but even long summer days would be pushing it and if you had a bit of bad luck or inadvertently took longer than expected, you could be badly caught out.
With the suunto and Garmin you can follow a route and track your activity.

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:48 pm
by Cooganss
I have the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro and although its a bit pricey there bomb proof. Very Rugged and battery on them is amazing,
14 days smart watch mode
40+ days in battery saver
36 hours gps
72 hours in maximum gps mode
Also has expedition mode for long hikes where gps is only recorded at 30min intervals(or what you set it too)

it has your ABC, incident detection, weather(storm warning), Records your routes and you can download .gpx files and load them into your watch quite easily. Its basically a satnav for the wild.

I also considered the Apple watch but after research binned the idea because the battery life is very poor and although it does loads more than what the garmin can do its still not as good. i think the apple watch is probably best suited for urban use or short walks.

I have heard that the garmin instinct is a cheaper alternative to the fenix but don't know much about it.

If you have any questions about it just let me know :)

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:59 am
by Wandererssolo
I bought a refurbished Garmin Fenix 5s from Amazon. Half the full price it works very well. Battery lasts around a week in general use. It has maps and the usual features, HRM, barometer, tracking. Links to my phone and has its own app Garmin Connect. I’m not sure I can justify the spend on an Apple Watch and if I did I wouldn’t wear it in places that I seem to be frequenting these days.

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:13 am
by WalkWithWallace
For me the Fenix watches are overkill, plus I wouldn't want to view a map on a tiny screen. I went with the Garmin Instinct Solar. Like Iain mentioned above you don't get mapping, but you can follow a route if you wish. The battery life is amazing and has everything else I need: Altimeter, compass, barometer, GPS, tracking, OSGR, HR, steps, thermometer and sunset, sunrise times.

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:19 pm
by wildgoose1uk
Yeah, the screen size could be an issue with maps, particularly as I need reading glasses. I wouldn't want to be in a position where I need to put my glasses on to make sense of the map. How useful are the maps and is the screen big enough for them to be useful? Am I better going for a text route display rather than maps?

One of the things I like about apple watch is the integration with viewranger. Question is if it is worth choosing it because of this. How much hassle would it be to load the route from my phone to a fenix or instinct?

I am only just returning to walking after some decades away so am currently building fitness. Overnight trips may come in time or may remain aspirational. Currently trips longer than a half day or full day seem unlikely.

Also the question of robustness comes into it. The apple watch may handle water OK but what about the occasional knock or scrape?

How well do the garmin watches work with my iphone?

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:35 pm
by Cooganss
The garmin fenix 6 pro works well with iPhone through the garmin connect app. I find it very simple a d any problems I had google answered.

To get routes you can either make them yourself or download them from walk highlands to your phone then open “files” and share the file to garmin connect and from there you just click save and send to device and it’s done

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:33 pm
by wildgoose1uk
Definitely leaning towards the fenix. Just a couple of more questions.

1. I wear reading glasses. Will I be able to read the screen OK with my glasses on? I am considering the 6x because of this. It's not that I'm blind without them but I'd rather keep them in my pocket and not get them out every time I look at my watch.

2. I had assumed the garmin maps were OS maps but it seems they are not. Are they OK to use? The reason for asking is that on the outdooractive app the topo map doesn't show all the walks in a local woodland whereas the free maps do.

Thx for all the comments thus far. Hopefully on the home straight now 😊

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 9:21 pm
by Cooganss
I can’t really comment on your first question because I’ve never used glasses but I can say the screen is very clear, even in direct sunlight (backlight options are good as well)

As for OS maps , I downloaded a map that I payed £11 for the uk and it shows contour lines and peaks . It seems to show all paths I’ve seen as small as they are but overall I’m pretty happy with the maps and use them every weekend for Munro bagging by downloading the course and following it on watch

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:10 pm
by wildgoose1uk
Good to hear about the screen...thanks for that.

Would that be the talkie toaster map you downloaded? I've heard good things about it.

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 12:08 pm
by maremalin
I have Fenix 5X with talkytoaster map on it.
Due to screen size map is ok just as a reassurance rather than fit for navigation purposes.
You can upload gpx file and follow it - or simply follow paths. Map is very accurate but zooming in and out - moving around is just too much - I usually have it set at certain zoom level and leave it there.

One thing I don't like about Garmin is rather complex software. This applies to both watch and apps.
Watch talks via Bluetooth to Garmin Connect app - but this application is very limited and not a lot can be done there.
To upload gpx or change maps (if you ever need to) you have to connect the watch to the computer and use basecamp software (free) . Basecamp is strange and it looks and feels like the development of it stopped at least two decades ago. Once you get going its fine - but figuring out how to start is challenging. Well, at least I found it challenging.
In a nutshell, I don't think there is a way to upload GPX without a computer (via USB)

Saying all of that Fenix is great and has tons of features. Probably bit too many. The battery is ace in comparison to apple watch.

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:46 pm
by Marty_JG
Aye, Basecamp is easy (and pretty great in some regards) when you have the basics figured but a nightmare till then.

A forum recommendation is EasyGPS, basically an easy-to-use Basecamp alternative. I am okay with Basecamp so I have felt no need to switch bit it might help others.

Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:56 pm
by malrobb
i have the Garmin Instinct and it is a great watch for the money. You can put it in UltraTrac, which records at longer intervals meaning longer battery life if that is a problem. I like the Garmin interface and it also syncs with Strava. I would go for the solar if I had the choice now as charging without power is a neat feature. I think if you are map reading on a watch then something has gone badly wrong and personally would not buy a watch for this purpose. DC Rainmaker on YouTube does very comprehensive reviews of smart watches that might be worth searching for on YouTube.

Good luck with your choices


Re: Smartwatch

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2020 9:07 pm
by Holly
I have done many a munro and multi day walk including the CWT with my Fitbit versa. The battery lasts about 5 days and links with my phone which has viewranger. Can then download when you have reception to upload to your phone. It can be set to monitor individual routes and they have a new version out that has its own individual gps. I carry a battery charger with my phone and use it on airplane mode which means it only needs charged once a day, if even that, using it for the gps, video and camera. The new Fitbit is advertising 6 days before recharge. Might be worth a look,, oh its waterproof too.