Why use a third party fitness app on the Apple Watch?

I’ve been using my Apple Watch very rarely outside of going for walks these days and one of the things I’m asking myself is – should I use a third party fitness app for my walks instead?

I find the built in workouts app to be just fine for my use and reading the privacy policy on apps like Strava where your data is sold I don’t see why anyone would use a third party.

Am I missing something here? Why do you use a third party app?

Apple Watch Series 5 and third party apps

Since using the series 5 somethings happened I wasn’t expecting – a much better experience with third party apps.

I’d tried to use third party apps on and off in the past but sync or performance always turned me off. Using the series 5 has me excited to use them on my wrist again as they perform really well. As you can see above my watch face (Meridian) is pretty simple and I’m using

  • Activity
  • Date
  • Things
  • Streaks

As I build a new system for myself I’m trying to keep a few apps core to the way I manage my goals and tasks.

I’m only at the beginning and I’ll be posting how I’m using them all soon once I’ve created a framework and it’s settled down.

Apple Watch Series 5 battery life

I’ve had a full day with a fully charged Apple Watch Series 5 with the following

  • Always on display
  • 3 workouts lasting a total of 35 minutes
  • Occasional check of task list or setting a timer

At the end of the day I’m on 34%, in comparison to my Series 2 where I’d be on about 50%. So we’re looking at 15-20% less with the always on display, which to me doesn’t seem too bad.

I’ll be charging overnight as I don’t go as far as sleep tracking. This means that as long as I end the day with 15-20% I’m good. Obviously haven’t tested a long day out somewhere yet but I’m hopeful it’ll get me through it ok.

What are your experiences?

Apple Watch Series 5 first impressions

I’ve decided to try to take control of my weight and thought I’d dig out my Apple Watch series 2 to give this whole rings things a good go. I’ve owned one since the original but in the last year I’ve all but stopped using it.

When put my series 2 back on a week ago I started to get on a run of walk and ring completion streaks and started to enjoy it but the series 2 was getting slow to use. The workout app was slow to start often missing the beginning of my walk and I’d get lag everywhere in the UI.

I decided to trade my series 2 back to Apple (£60) and use a little work discount to upgrade to the Nike Series 5 in silver. I paired it with my original black sports band, 5 years old and looks as good as new.

I love the black/silver looks and some of the new faces look great.

I’ve been using it for a day and I have to say that moving from a series 2 is a massive jump up. The hardware is more refined, that bigger screen is amazing and the speed improvement is huge. Having worn a mechanical watch or digital for a while I’m also appreciating the always on display. Something I’m still getting used to having and still find I’m raising my wrist like I still have the series 2.

I’m glad I went aluminium too, having briefly owned a stainless steel series 4 the lower weight makes it feel more like a sports watch.

I might write something up on my activity progress but first impressions are great so far.

Casio G-SHOCK 800 vs the Apple Watch

I feel like I’ve used the G-SHOCK enough now to get a feel for the differences I’ve experienced compared to using my Apple Watch and wanted to share a few thoughts on using both.

Comfort

For me the resin bands on any of the Casio models offer really great comfort. I’ve tried all sorts of bands on the Apple Watch but just couldn’t find one to match it. My default remains the sports band and when I wear an Apple Watch I’m on the original black band I had years ago with my original model. Now of course this is personal preference but I find the no fuss resin bands of the Casio more comfortable. One thing I would say though is the G-SHOCK band is thicker than your average Casio so does take a bit more to adjust to.

Price

Easy one here, Casio is £80 and Apple Watch whilst still cheaper for a series 3 is £299. You do get a lot more tech though so hard to compare here. You have to have a good think about what you’re looking to track.

Activity tracking

The Casio is nothing more than a step counter, no HR (Heart Rate) sensor but does have an accelerometer so does a great job of tracking how much you’ve moved throughout the day. When you’re walking you don’t set a workout going you simply go, I do set a timer but that’s for me to track my regular walking route. It’s not going to tell you anything other than steps and time. The Apple Watch is much more in-depth and if you’re ok with a lot of data and all day HR checking then the Casio cannot compete in this arena. You do of course get a tonne of battery life on the Casio (2 years) and although I don’t workout this way there are options for setting specific saved timers. I can’t comment on this as I walk for my exercise.

Smarts

Nothing on the Casio apart from the app and Bluetooth to connect. No notifications or apps built in, it’s a watch with simple step tracking. I like this about it, I forget I’m wearing it and can sync data to the app whenever I want to (although it does it on it’s own a few times a day). Of course you can pair the notifications of the Apple Watch down to nothing also if you want to but I still find I get distracted by anything on the Apple Watch.

Which should you get?

G-SHOCK is a massive watch brand and has a cult following, if you’re into G-SHOCK then this is probably the one to get. I also think it’s a good choice if you want to start to track how active you are and don’t want to put much data into the world about it, like the now Google owned Fitbit.

For me it was about simplifying my setup and tracking less, just seeing if I’d hit 10,000 steps is all I need.

Don’t get me wrong the Apple Watch is a great bit of kit but for me personally it opened up a world of information that I couldn’t track anymore (more on this in a separate post coming soon…). For most people though it’ll be a great choice, especially a series 3, the activity ring system is world class and a great motivator once you get streaks going.

Ultimately though it may come down to price and for £80 you can’t beat the G-SHOCK.

Apple Watch may outsell traditional watches but the brands don’t need to make one

Now I’ve been getting back into traditional watches I feel like I can weigh in a bit here and give my own opinion. Articles like this one seems to delight in the fact that they are losing some sort of smart watch war but they aren’t even in it.

Traditional Swiss watch makers, like Swatch and Tissot, are losing the smartwatch wars. Apple Watch is delivering a better product through deeper retail channels and appealing to younger consumers who increasingly want digital wristwear. The window for Swiss watch brands to make an impact in smartwatches is closing. Time may be running out for Swatch, Tissot, TAG Heuer, and others.

If you’ve even used a traditional watch for more than a few days and appreciate it’s simplicity, design and history then you’ll realise that the smart brands will never be in the smart watch game and stick to their roots.

For me now I’ve gotten to appreciate a more distraction free traditional watch I find I don’t want to go back to wearing an Apple Watch. Yes I can pair down notifications but for me it just looks like a screen on your wrist, the design isn’t actually that great.

Part of the appeal of a traditional watch (for me) is the design and history. The Apple Watch sat in my wrist with just a square screen and nothing on it just looks a bit rubbish.

As someone getting back into watches I tend to have a little look around at what people are wearing and when I see the “younger” crowd I’m seeing either nothing or a Casio, mostly F91w’s. I don’t think I personally know anyone under the age of 40 with an Apple Watch.

I’m not saying it isn’t popular or course but I think this article misses the point. Traditional watch people will stay traditional watch people, appreciating the design and history of a brand or having a sentimental connection to a particular watch they own.

The way I see Apple Watch these days is purely as a fitness tracker that can supplement a traditional watch. I’d love a redesign but that’s a story for another day.

Should you buy an Apple Watch Series 2?

I’ve got a complicated relationship with my Apple Watch, very much love/hate at the moment. On using it a little bit yesterday I’ve come to the conclusion that the Series 2 is a do not buy in 2020. 6 months ago I would have said it was ok but with the last couple of watchOS updates it does seem like the Series 2 has been ignored and performance has gotten worse. It’s almost at the point of being unusable.

In terms of screen and sensors all’s good but in day to day use it’s bad. It can take 10-15 seconds to load the settings app and more than that to start a simple workout. I find myself constantly frustrated using it and often make mistakes because of lag in the interface.

If you’re set on getting an Apple Watch then don’t get anything less than a series 3. It seems now that the series 3 is the bottom end of where Apple now tests it’s software.