A few weeks ago I decided (after months of contemplating since I hate spending money) that I was going to purchase a Garmin Forerunner Activity Tracker. I’d read very positive things about their training plans, and really liked the additional metrics offered, especially when it comes to recovery and sleep tracking. I’ve been running it side by side with my Apple Watch Series 7 with the hopes that I could have some fun fodder for this page, but realistically? They’re not in the same league, and I can’t offer an apples-to-apples (all puns intended) comparison.
The Garmin is a no punches pulled activity tracker that produces every possible metric you could want, offers solar charging, and an optimized battery that (from my tests at least) lasts about a week. Built into the OS are workout profiles that every hardcore runner, triathlete, or even just a very active person could ever want. Training plans and coaching relative to your sleep, breathing, and past activity sessions, in addition to ones designed to help you meet your goals. As far as standard Smart Watch features go, it’s a little limited. It has a Credit Chip which allows it to be used at all locations tap to pay is accepted, and Spotify/Amazon Music built in for Phone-Free music, as well as what Garmin has always done best – standalone GPS, and a full map display.
Apple Watch, while it offers a lot of the above, it just doesn’t do it as effectively as Garmin – Sleep tracking often requires an additional battery charge at some point during the day, workout profiles (while expansive) struggle in the segment recording which is still a fairly new addition to the Apple Ecosystem. ApplePay is still the best tap-to-pay options out there (IMO), and offline music synchronization is a standard, however Maps require the use of cellular data and Bluetooth to your phone function, making it a much less “off-grid friendly” device.
Garmin now syncs with Apple Activity, allowing you to continue closing your activity rings throughout the day, and use Apple’s social features such as competitions and activity sharing, which is predominantly the reason I’ve had a hard time switching in all honesty.
I love both of these devices in their own right, but come the first of the year, I’ll be switching fully to Garmin for a little while – as I’m training for the Ironman 70.3, and completing at least one full marathon in 2023, having that additional training data, and a battery life that I’m confident will get me through the event when the time comes, is just what I need at this moment. Maybe in another year or two I’ll go back to the Apple Watch, and with all of the features they keep adding, who knows what the device will have to offer then! Maybe the Ultra Gen 3 Will actually be able to live up to its name?