GPS watches or apps on your phone?

Are GPS watches redundant now with availability of GPS Phone apps?

21 to 40 of 43 messages
10/10/2011 at 12:09

I don't have a phone which does stuff like that, and have no desire to get one.

I use a Garmin for training and racing, especially to keep an eye on my pace.  A phone app may be able to do that, but it's much harder to read a phone screen than a gadget on your wrist.

Also it does monitor HR if you want, and it can stand up to a bit of rain and sweat.

So no, I don't think that phones with make Garmin-type gadgets redundant, especially as they seem to be less than accurate (from the posts above) in any case.

10/10/2011 at 12:27
Why do people automatically assume that you need to be able to see the screen to get a run-down on pace, heart rate, and so on?
10/10/2011 at 12:32

Because that's the way I do it on a Garmin?

10/10/2011 at 19:23
Having come from a phone to a Garmin, I can understand why the screen is useful...
11/10/2011 at 02:25
I couldn't wait to get my Garmin so I could leave my phone at home.
11/10/2011 at 08:25
^^ i'm the same, garmin is weather proof, i can look at my pace/distace etc at a glance, i dont need a sweaty uncomfortable arm band on or an unnecessary belt, much better.

and B is right about the accuracy, i did a comparison carrying my iPhone, an android phone and my garmin. this was my results.

11/10/2011 at 09:25

Another example as to accuracy, although as you can see the Garmin is not 100%

11/10/2011 at 09:28
That's similar to what I get. I've found that over distances of about 5 miles the clipping of the path due to less frequent samples on the phone seem to smooth out so the total distance measured ends up being roughly the same as the watch (<5% variance). Of course, over a longer distance that variance becomes significant. The inaccuracies on any given short segment do mean that pace calculations can be wildly out on the phones particularly if you are running slowly.

I think it is important to bear in mind that civilian GPS isn't 100% accurate anyway, particularly in bad weather, the woods or urban environments. Even on the watch I sometimes get wild differences on the same route showing me running through buildings etc. Having a device that gives precision to two decimal places for distance and pace seduces you into thinking it is more accurate than it really is.

If my training plan didn't require me to run at specific paces for given distances, I would have been quite happy with the phone provided it wasn't lashing down with rain. I still prefer the phone reading out my stats rather than having to fiddle with the touch screen on the watch to see what I want to know. I expect newer models of phone will eventually support 1 second sampling and be as accurate as the watches.
Edited: 11/10/2011 at 09:29
11/10/2011 at 15:33
I don't think that Smartphone Apps will make the Garmin redundant in the near future.

Most Smartphones include a camera and a clock but people still buy and use separate cameras and wear ordinary watches.

Smartphones are damn clever bits of kits and do lots of things moderately well in a single package. Some people will find that they are all they need.

Like a lot of the people here I'd rather use a tool specifically designed for a task if I get the choice.

Once the Smartphone has done away with the need for people to buy cameras then maybe the Garmin will be next but there is a long way to go before that will happen.
11/10/2011 at 15:49
Weevil - people still use cameras because the image quality from a camera is far greater than that from a phone's camera. There's more to it that than the final image (aperture, sensor size, speed of use, flexibility, and so on), but there's not much between getting GPS in-line with what a Garmin can do.

That said, receives 25 uploads per second, and those all come from iPhones or iPads.
11/10/2011 at 16:39
Intermanaut - Disagree that it is as simple as that. Lets face it the vast majority of people using cameras stick it on automatic and do point and click stuff and never print the pictures so a 5Megapixel camera on a Smartphone will probably do the job for 80% of the population. As you hint at "Traditional" cameras have the controls positioned in an optimal layout for taking photos. They aren't compromised by the fact that they have to use controls designed for other purposes.

In my mind the same is true of Garmin type device. I have both a Smartphone and a Garmin and when I'm out running I find the watch a more usable device.

Even allowing for a Smartphone being as accurate as a Garmin I'd still choose to use a small, dedicated, robust device made for the purpose with the controls readily available and accessible on my wrist than a larger more delicate and fiddly device in my pocket or strapped to my arm.

And while the sales of Garmins may decline as some switch to using Apps on Smartphones I think that there will remain a significant number of people wanting to buy and use dedicated devices.

But each to their own. I can see that many people will switch. The question was would it make Garmin devices redundant and my point is that there remain reasons why some people will prefer Garmins to smartphones. Like Smartphones and Cameras many people would argue that they aren't the same although they can be use for similar purposes.

11/10/2011 at 19:21
Well put
11/10/2011 at 19:22
I use run keeper on iPhone and it has been very useful - you can set up coaching, get updates on average/split pace etc, and it syncs with web account without the fussy stick. The web account it very nicely laid as well, whereas the garmin training centre in comparison is awkward. Also, when you have an iPhone the app is free or peanuts, proper garmin costs hundreds. However, as mentioned above, it's not very easy to have 'live' pace feedback on a phone, a bit fiddly to look at it (tough if you touch the screen it will give your stats in voiceover), I have to wear a separate heart monitor and finally I sometimes I feel a bit uneasy about having my iPhone on display. However, I will not switch to GPS garmin until:
- it works with run keeper web account
- 610 gets a bit cheaper
If that happens, a 610 with a small nano/shuttle is a great combo
11/10/2011 at 19:28
Garmin Training Centre is God Awful indeed (only use it for uploading programmes to my Phone). However, Garmin Connect is HUGELY better and I find this (and Fetch) ideal for uploading. I think I am about to stop using Run Keeper's website as it basically just makes things up - times, calories etc and transfers some of the data inaccurately from my Garmin as it seems to "re-process". No other site does this.

Have used RunKeeper for ages but now about to give up on it I think.. A pity. My Garmin 305 integrates absolutely fine into RunKeeper web account.
Edited: 11/10/2011 at 19:28
12/10/2011 at 00:09
when they make a rain proof iphone, i'll switch back again.
12/10/2011 at 01:12
They both have their place and i use both.

Quite a few do interval training too, whoever was asking. Cardio trainer can if you pay extra, adidas mi coach can for free.

Smartphone is bulky, must prefer a garmin for a race
12/10/2011 at 15:38
Some great answers there - many thanks. It`s obviously a subject more of us will be assessing. From some of the responses I can tell that it is also the level of awareness people have about the apps. There are a couple out now which are further improved [voice cues, more functionality, etc.]which people may not be aware of and some of the comments reflected that they weren`t aware of the latest ones. It does seem though that at the moment the practicalities of the phone on a run are a hinderance, battery life and concerns about it`s water resilience. Also the GPS may not be as accurate. It`s just that the price discrepancy is so huge, people buying for the first time are bound to try an app to see how well they get along with it. Having said that, what is the point of busting a gut to improve your 10k time by 20 or 30 seconds if the device measures inaccurately? I actually have route I do which I have a pretty good idea how far it is but I do know if I get around 10 seconds quicker then I have a new PB and it`s distance doesn`t matter. Pacing is useful there though.
Still interested in thoughts. Thanks.
12/10/2011 at 16:52
Watch everytime for me. I used Runkeeper when I first had a smartphone and was very disappointed. The accuracy wasn't great and it only actually worked 60% of the time. Compare that to 99.9% of the time to my Timex Bodylink and the latter is a clear winner. The Timex is old hat now but gives me all I need. I don't pay much attention to pace as I run to heart rate and don't understand the need for all the stats people bang on about. I'm happy to manually load my runs to a log (the Timex data recorder was rubbish and it's software some of the worst I've used for anything).

So, in summary, keep it simple and use the device most fit for task.
25/06/2012 at 08:36

Do any of the running apps auto-post an update to Facebook?

I have just acquired a wahoo dongle to pull data from my Forerunner 310XT and the associated wahoo iphone app will post the data to quite a few websites for running apps, but I would like one of those websites then to post any uploaded activities to Facebook. This is because I am about to start a walk/run holiday on Offa's Dyke and the Ceredigion coastal trail and I would like to send my daily progress automatically to Facebook without necessary remembering to manually do a status update. Thanks

25/06/2012 at 09:41

I own and love my iPhone.  But i'm now also the proud owner of a Garmin 610, and it's so much easier.

I don't have to worry that it's accidentally turned off, going to receive a call from work whist i'm running, etc...

The watch just does it's job.  When I start out I have to make sure i'm sweaty to get the HRM working properly as once i've had it really low for half a k until i sweat enough for it to work sensibly, and once it's done the opposite and shown my hr as 210 for the first half km, but once i warm up a bit it's perfect.  These two are both down to me probably not getting the connection damp in the first place.

I set the home screen to have what i want and for a straight forward run it's soo easy i just start, and glance down at it when I want.  Job Done 

No arm strap, or bumbag, or anything like that it's just simple it is daft, but I feel like i've got a little more freedom with my watch it's just me going out and keeping track.  When I use my phone I still feel tethered to the world :0


Edited: 25/06/2012 at 09:42
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