Why I Switched From An Apple Watch to My Garmin

Image from Strava’s Press Kit.

I gave the Apple Watch 2 a shot shortly after it was released. I liked that it was GPS enabled and had a water-resistant housing for swimming. I like the options for a variety of apps. What could be better? I’m a fan of Apple products, so it seemed to be an obvious addition to my endurance gear. After some testing, I decided to go back to Garmin.

I was impressed with the Apple Watch at first. It was easy to use and had the potential for growth. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the watch to match my endurance lifestyle. If you have competed in triathlons, cycling races, or running races, you understand how important it is to have the right training gadgets. I wanted a gadget that was professional looking, recorded my training data and other physical activities, posted my activity to Strava automatically, and worked flawlessly with all of my other training devices, such as my power meter, heart rate strap, and indoor trainer. At first, the Apple Watch seemed to meet needs but in practice, it fell short.

Professional Looking

In the past, I used to wear the clunky Garmin Fenix 2. It was rugged and got the job done. The biggest issue was its size. Oftentimes, I couldn’t button my long sleeve shirts around the watch. I could have worn a separate watch for professional situations and switched to the Fenix 2 for training, but I wanted convenience. I desired a professional watch that doubles as a training device. The Garmin Fenix 5 series got my attention when it was released. In my opinion, the Fenix series was professional looking, fit nicely on my wrist, could easily be worn with dress shirts, and recorded the tried and true Garmin data. My Garmin Fenix 5s was the perfect replacement for the Fenix 2 and Apple Watch.

Training Data

I have been using Garmin devices for years. Garmin is trusted and reliable. Garmin has a great reputation in the endurance world. Their devices do a phenomenal job saving the data and uploading the data to Garmin Connect. After your sensors are connected to your Garmin and you entered in a few specs, most of the data recording process is automated. In time, the Apple Watch may get to this point, but it is not quite there. I tried many Apple Watch apps, including Strava, but it wasn’t a smooth process. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch doesn’t include Ant+ technology. Ant+ is the wireless communication language used by many sensors, such as power meters. There are power meters and other devices that use Bluetooth wireless communication, which would work with the Apple Watch, but the watch battery wouldn’t last a long time. So, Garmin wins in training data department.

Posting Training Activities

Strava has been the go-to social media for triathletes, cyclists, and runners. I use Strava to save all of my activities, analyze my training, stay connected with friends, and stay connected with a local bike club. The nice thing about the Garmin Fenix 5 series is that your training activity or workout is automatically posted to Strava. You just need to connect your Garmin Connect account with Strava. I love how my workout data is automatically uploaded. There is no need to connect the Garmin to your computer and manually upload the data. All of the work is done for you. If you want to get creative and add a customized caption and photo to your Strava post, simply log into Strava on the computer or use the mobile app.

This takes less than a minute. Some of you may be saying that you can use the Strava app on the Apple Watch to do the same thing. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch doesn’t connect to Ant+ devices and the battery is poor as described earlier. The Apple Watch wouldn’t survive a long ride or run.

If you are a professional that takes the endurance lifestyle seriously, then the Garmin Fenix 5 series may be the right choice for you. It is the one device that does all.