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Data nerdery! I bought my first smart/sportwatch

yirarayirara Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member
Yay me! I finally caved in and bought a Garmin Vivoactive 4s. I still have a Fenix 6s on the way to me but I think it will be too big and thick for my wrists and jumpers, thus it's likely going back. :D So far I'm rather happy to be honest. Been wearing it for a few hours and actually got a resting HR that looks realistic, compared to what Fitbit provides me with. I also totally love the maxHR setting and how I can customize HR zones and set an alarm for low HR. Oh yeah, I'm coming from a Fitbit Charge 2. I do prefer the look of the new Fitbit devices, but their app/data analysis/maxHR/custom HR zones is just completely messed up.
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  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 1,777 Member Member Posts: 1,777 Member
    Congrats 😁 I love my Vivoactive, I hope you will too.
  • yirarayirara Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member
    I think I do! Hey, maybe you know: is there a way to switch off the screen and only on when tapping or clicking the buttons? Don’t need to show personal daya to other people 😅😅
  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 1,777 Member Member Posts: 1,777 Member
    Hm, not sure. You can play around with different watch faces though, maybe there are some that only show the time and no stats?
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,044 Member Member Posts: 10,044 Member
    I don't think you can turn the screen off on Garmin watches, most people want the opposite of that, but they put that into their Edge series so maybe. Their customer support page has a phone number, I've had to call to ask questions about the details of how something works and they were really good about it.

    You could add a new screen and put stuff on it you don't care about people seeing, leave that one active until you want to check your pace of whatever.

    The screen works differently on your Garmin and your phone. Lighting pixels up drains your phone battery, on your Garmin every color costs zero battery, it's changing the color of a pixel that takes power. I'm saying this in case you were wanting a blank screen to get more run time. 🙂
  • yirarayirara Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member
    Thanks a lot. I'm super happy with this watch actually. Just because I was wondering I ordered a Fenix (yeah, moar data!), but it's really that thick that it looks ugly. Thus the black small Vivoactive stays (I wish it was available in dark silver such as the bigger one - but Garmin always seems to think that women want gold, white, similar fugly colours. Look at the Lily!).
    So totally happy, and the data coming out of it is brilliant! Still trying to find a great screen without animation, but with all the data I want to look at.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,044 Member Member Posts: 10,044 Member
    I love my Fenix. I agree about super tall looking watches being ... unattractive. And uncomfortable. It hasn't been that bad for me in practice, so I hope it works for you.

    You can't change the color of the watch itself but you can get cheap quick fit bands on Amazon. Sometimes when it's been gray and rainy for weeks I'll start using brightly colored bands just to have more color around. 🙂

    If you love data, make sure to check the web version of Garmin Connect. The hamburger menu on the left has a reports option that isn't available in the mobile app, and there's good stuff in there. A lot of the data becomes more useful over time, you probably already know that from having a Fitbit.
  • MissBraeBeeMissBraeBee Member Posts: 25 Member Member Posts: 25 Member
    What would you recommend for a sportwatch noobie? I was checking the Fitbit versa 2 but still not sure.
  • yirarayirara Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member
    What would you recommend for a sportwatch noobie? I was checking the Fitbit versa 2 but still not sure.

    I'm sorry I can't comment on that. This is my actual first sports watch. I can only go based on my experience, which is probably quite unique in that sense. I have a very high maximum heartrate and as such depend on a manual override on such watches. In Fitbit it's been broken for nearly a year now, and thus every watch they offer useless for me. But hey, 68% of all people worldwide don't have problems with that, and another 27% not too much. I'm in the leftover bin :D Plus, as Fitbit now belongs to google I don't trust them with my data.
  • yirarayirara Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member
    Right-o. Found the first few things I don't like that much with the garmin: sleep tracking is odd. It seems to be less sensitive than Fitbit's. Ok, it seems to get the falling asleep time right. I'm sure I don't have as many deep sleep phases as Fitbit claimed, but possibly more than Garmin shows. It doesn't pick up the hour I was awake the last two nights and filed it under light sleep. On the other hand, it doesn't give me 30 wake ups like Fitbit does. I think the problem with that is that my breathing is still calm when awake, I don't really move much, and my HR might even be lower than when sleeping. Lets see if the software is learning in time or not.

    Also not good: recognizing activities automatically. It gets walking. Great. But so far has failed in cycling (might have been a few seconds too short) and running. In the end I synced my running app over to Garmin.

    But the data overall is so much better overall. The stress/body battery thingy seems spot on. There's a proper resting HR, and HR zones and custom settings work. Thus overall what is important for me works.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,044 Member Member Posts: 10,044 Member
    I funny think the sleep gesture works well on any wearable I've ever had. The stress feature is scary accurate though and offers good insight into also quality.
  • yirarayirara Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member
    I funny think the sleep gesture works well on any wearable I've ever had. The stress feature is scary accurate though and offers good insight into also quality.

    It's quite possible that I'm too naturally relaxed :D When I wake up my HR and breathing doesn't change much, and I might just lay in bed surfing the net. Not surprised such a thing thinks I'm still sleeping :#
  • karinkane2karinkane2 Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
    Fun! I love my Fenix 6s. You can change what the faces show, and what color the digits are, and things like that. It is a BIG watch even with the "s" sizing... but you get used to it. I swim and run and bike and Garmin is the only fitness watch I could find a few years ago that tracked all of those things. It's really great with the pool - somehow it magically measures laps and is always spot on. I had an Apple watch before that (again, this is back several years) and the GPS wasn't as accurate and it didn't track swimming at all.

    There are wristbands you can get, too, for the Garmin to customize it a bit, but it's a PITA to swap them.

    The sleep metric does make me cranky though. It tracks time when I'm reading as sleep. Guess that's my fault for not moving! I also grumble about the "Performance Insights" it shows- that I'm only faster than 30% of other users when running for example. Obviously it's tracking against other users but I'd kind of like something that says "but you're faster than EVERYONE who didn't run today... "
  • MaltedTeaMaltedTea Member, Premium Posts: 4,734 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4,734 Member
    I'm still going strong with my old Moto360 (Gen 2) and don't mind the data output (I use that data instead of MFP's calculations for the CO in CICO). However, this Garmin vívoactive 4 looks like a potential next move.

    Keep keeping us posted 🤓
  • yirarayirara Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member Member, Premium Posts: 5,891 Member
    MaltedTea wrote: »
    I'm still going strong with my old Moto360 (Gen 2) and don't mind the data output (I use that data instead of MFP's calculations for the CO in CICO). However, this Garmin vívoactive 4 looks like a potential next move.

    Keep keeping us posted 🤓

    I kind of suspect that Garmin might release a VA 5 in the third quarter as the VA 4 was release in the Q3 of 2019. If not urgent it might be worth waiting it out. I bought mine just because of Fitbit to be honest :D
    Still a few things to get to use with. I went for a walk today to test the exercise tracking, and somehow seem to have started a cycling activity. Oops. Thanks to that I won't get my steps for today.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,044 Member Member Posts: 10,044 Member
    Garmin watches are designed to be started when you want an activity to start, and told what you're doing. It only takes 5 seconds and you get better data that way, sometimes significantly better, as you've just seen.

    They might improve the auto detection in the future, and that's probably more likely if they hear about it from customers. A lot of people use Garmin watches in group runs and rides, and in races; they want exact time, distance, and speed metrics. I think the assumption is that auto detect isn't important to their customers and isn't worth investing in as a result. But I don't have any special insight, that's just an observation.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,740 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,740 Member
    yirara wrote: »
    I funny think the sleep gesture works well on any wearable I've ever had. The stress feature is scary accurate though and offers good insight into also quality.

    It's quite possible that I'm too naturally relaxed :D When I wake up my HR and breathing doesn't change much, and I might just lay in bed surfing the net. Not surprised such a thing thinks I'm still sleeping :#

    I dunno about being naturally relaxed myself, but I found the same thing you are, with my Garmin Vivoactive 3: The sleep tracking is pretty laughable. It regularly counts it as "sleep" when I'm in bed reading or using my phone. I think it's inaccurate for sleep in other respects, but not certain. (It doesn't correlate well with perceived sleep restfulness, though.) For sure, when I did a sleep clinic overnight, the sleep tech (who'd been watching my many monitors all night) and I laughed pretty hard over the Garmin sleep report, the next morning. Not at all accurate.

    I also found the activity auto-detection silly-wrong, but it's so easy/quick to start an activity once you have the set-up a little customized. (I think I may've turned auto-recognition off after it recorded me as swimming when I was bucket-bailing water out of a rowing barge 🙄🤣.) It gives me nice stats (some estimated better than others, admittedly) when I set the right exercise, so that seems worth doing.

    I'm always flummoxed when I see @NorthCascades say how scary-good the stress tracking is. It's not that I disbelieve him (for him), but I've never been able to get the slightest sense out of mine. Might as well be a random number generator, as far as I can see, for me. But I have a pretty low-stress life on average, so maybe its pattern recognition is confused?
  • SuzanneC1l9zzSuzanneC1l9zz Member Posts: 15 Member Member Posts: 15 Member
    I have a Vivoactive 3 that's still going strong and I'm still really happy with it. As far as the sleep tracking I listened to an interview with a sleep researcher recently and he touched on that. He said that none of the watches are accurate for that - any brand - but each one is consistent in its inconsistency if that makes sense. So potentially useful for seeing patterns, but not for raw data.

    I have no connections on Garmin. My username is Squeaksmom. If anyone wants to add me feel free.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,044 Member Member Posts: 10,044 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I'm always flummoxed when I see @NorthCascades say how scary-good the stress tracking is. It's not that I disbelieve him (for him), but I've never been able to get the slightest sense out of mine. Might as well be a random number generator, as far as I can see, for me. But I have a pretty low-stress life on average, so maybe its pattern recognition is confused?

    Bad storm today. It took 4 hours to get home from what's normally a 2 hour trip. The ferry crossing was downright scary. I just checked my stress chart, it's blue (restful) before and after but there's an orange (stressful) spike throughout the time I was on the boat. WSF has never sank but we were rocking pretty good and the truck ahead of me was literally bouncing. That's the scary part of scary accurate, it's not the first time I've had a stressful moment and been able to see exactly when it happened from looking at the data.

    I'm not training with a lot of intensity lately but it used to be the case that after a hard day on the bike it would be all orange even into the next day. When it was all orange and tall, I could ride but if I tried to be fast I just didn't have it in me. As if the stress feature could tell when I needed a rest day or to treat it as a recovery ride. Most people can just go by how they feel, but I seem to perform best when I have (slightly) heavy legs.

    Stress feature doesn't come up very often in conversation, I assumed it worked as well for everybody.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,740 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,740 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I'm always flummoxed when I see @NorthCascades say how scary-good the stress tracking is. It's not that I disbelieve him (for him), but I've never been able to get the slightest sense out of mine. Might as well be a random number generator, as far as I can see, for me. But I have a pretty low-stress life on average, so maybe its pattern recognition is confused?

    Bad storm today. It took 4 hours to get home from what's normally a 2 hour trip. The ferry crossing was downright scary. I just checked my stress chart, it's blue (restful) before and after but there's an orange (stressful) spike throughout the time I was on the boat. WSF has never sank but we were rocking pretty good and the truck ahead of me was literally bouncing. That's the scary part of scary accurate, it's not the first time I've had a stressful moment and been able to see exactly when it happened from looking at the data.

    I'm not training with a lot of intensity lately but it used to be the case that after a hard day on the bike it would be all orange even into the next day. When it was all orange and tall, I could ride but if I tried to be fast I just didn't have it in me. As if the stress feature could tell when I needed a rest day or to treat it as a recovery ride. Most people can just go by how they feel, but I seem to perform best when I have (slightly) heavy legs.

    Stress feature doesn't come up very often in conversation, I assumed it worked as well for everybody.

    FWIW, mine makes no sense to me at all. For example, this was Monday. The most perceived-stressful thing in my day happened probably around 3-4PM sometime, when I had a retinologist tell me I needed another bleepin' quasi-surgical procedure on my eyeball *soon* or my vision may not return to adequacy (from 20/150) in my bad eye, and that procedure might require me to be face down for 50 minutes of every hour for 2+ weeks. (That seems stressful to me, but seemingly not to Garmin?). Then I went grocery shopping, home, didn't do anything extraordinary the rest of the day that I can recall (no workouts, no stressors, just cooked dinner and noodled around). Nothing special was going on in that 10-something PM 'peak stress' period, that I know of. It seems totally random. Clearly, I have next to no stress overall (true dat), so maybe that defeats the algorithms?

    5e83c41ut2hr.png

  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,044 Member Member Posts: 10,044 Member
    That's odd, I wonder what the difference is.

    In general I don't have much trust in the activity tracking features. I don't see any value whatsoever in the sleep tracking results I get from Garmin or got from Fitbit. I know the wHRM is wrong sometimes which means I can never fully trust it. I'm not sure about the pulse oximeter either, every doctor I've been to has used my finger and told me to sit a specific way first. So I wasn't inclined to believe in the stress thing either. Especially knowing that it works on HRV and the watch can only guess at that without a chest strap.

    DC Rainmaker had said it's for body stress not mind stress, for what it's worth. On the ferry last night the rough water was setting my fight or flight off, I was thinking about how a person could get 3 miles to shore in an inflatable raft during a winter storm in the dark. 😳
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