fitness watch without a cell phone?

dralicephd Posts: 330 Member
edited May 21 in Fitness and Exercise
Hi there,

I have a Polar H10 chest strap monitor that I use with the Polar Beat app on my cell phone for indoor exercise. Now that outdoor exercise season is upon us, I'm thinking about getting a fitness watch to pair with it so that I can easily check my progress when I'm outside without having to pull out my phone to check the app.

Here is my question: Do all fitness watches require you to have your cell phone with you? I prefer to carry as little as possible while exercising outdoors.

Thanks for any input!


  • SuzanneC1l9zz
    SuzanneC1l9zz Posts: 330 Member
    My Garmin Vivoactive 4S doesn't. I can do my thing phone-free and download it when I get home. My Vivoactive 3 was the same.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,825 Member
    No, they don't. I have a Garmin Vivoactive 3, predecessor o the one Suzanne uses. I row, and don't take my phone in the boat. When I get back on land, end the workout I've started on the watch, it synchs to the phone, the phone synchs to the cloud, and I can access the data from my phone or computer.

    I do use a chest belt (that synchs with the watch) for rowing (because there's so much arm flexion in rowing that the wrist HR monitor is an unreliable guide). The chest belt and watch "talk" when I'm on the water, and the net results from both upload to my phone when I end the workout on my watch.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,903 Member
    I leave my phone at home sometimes when I go out and play. Works fine, and people can't bother me. Plus I can't lose or drop and break it. Also I hike where there's no reception.

    Runners don't like to run with their phones, for the most part. Garmin makes a lot of excellent watches and especially caters to runners, so their watches work beautifully on their own. They use GPS for distance, have enough smarts, many of them can even store music and send it to headphones without an actual phone. Your walk, swim, or whatever it is you want to track gets synced up to the cloud when your watch and phone reunite and tell each other about their day.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,353 Member
    Those devices that don't have a dedicated GPS chip usually require a phone to be brought along so that the phone gps can be used for recording routes/measuing distance/elevation/etc. If you chose a device with onboard gps you should be fine.
  • dralicephd
    dralicephd Posts: 330 Member
    Thanks everyone!! I appreciate the input. Time to shop... :)
  • ToffeeApple71
    ToffeeApple71 Posts: 92 Member
    I have a Garmin 245 it. No phone, can play music through it, can get a range of data while I'm running. Just bought the Garmin Venu for my son. Similar watch, but his is touch screen, which I don't like, but he loves. He's a professional athlete so loves the data he gets. My tramping buddy has a Garmin Fenix...she loves the data it gives. It has an altimeter which mine doesn't and she can even plan routes on it. I think my forerunner allows that but I haven't used that feature. Do research into what watch best suits you....touch screen Vs buttons, what data you need/want as you run/workout (the Fenix gives you more info on your watch before you download the workout) and obviously, budget. There are so many variations of smart watch/ fitness tracker that it can actually be a bit overwhelming.
    I also have a Suunto which is fab for tramping but a bit heavy for everyday use. I also found that moving my arm occasionally "pressed" buttons.
  • dralicephd
    dralicephd Posts: 330 Member
    There are so many variations of smart watch/ fitness tracker that it can actually be a bit overwhelming.

    It is very overwhelming. I have to really think about what I want before I make a purchase. Some of them are super expensive. I think I might go look at some at a store and see if the displays and size might help me decide.
  • dralicephd
    dralicephd Posts: 330 Member
    Update: After much debate, I finally landed on a Polar Vantage M. Since it is an older model, I found a decent deal on Amazon. I went back and forth between Polar and Garmin, but the good price and the fact that I wouldn't have to learn a new app (I'm using Polar's app with my chest strap) is what swayed me. I don't need anything too fancy, so this should suffice for my needs. It arrives tomorrow. I hope I like it! :)

    Anyhoo... thanks again for the input. I appreciate it!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,825 Member
    Maybe come back to the thread after using it for a couple weeks or so, let us know what you think, if yo feel up to it? I'm always interested in this sort of thing, and the community might benefit from a mini-review in this thread.
  • dralicephd
    dralicephd Posts: 330 Member
    Good idea, @AnnPT77 !

    I can give you a first impression update for now.

    Unexpectedly, I'm finding the sleep tracking pretty fascinating. I have no idea how accurate it is, but I can tell you that at the very least, it picks up my nighttime hot flash awakenings. It doesn't always pick up the right time for when I fall asleep (I often lay in bed and read or watch YouTube and it thinks I'm sleeping), but in the cell phone app, it allows you to adjust that. I woke up pretty tired and run down this morning and the watch is telling me that I had very little deep sleep last night, so that's interesting. I'm curious to see what my sleep trends are long-term.

    I'm also loving the activity tracking. It's supposed to track steps, and while I'm dubious on the accuracy of tracking steps with my wrist, it at least gives me a measure of when I've been a big sloth sitting in one place. I find myself moving around more to reach my activity goal, so that's a great thing for health (and a clean house and weeded/pruned garden! haha).

    Last positive thing I'll mention is the little activity programs it has embedded in the watch itself. So far I've done one "Dynamic Mobility" program that was about 20 minutes long. It has little cartoons on the screen to show you what exercise you are supposed to do (i.e. calf stretch, inchworm, etc.) and how to do them and then times you. When the minute is up, it vibrates to let you know to move on to the next exercise. That was pretty fun. I'll do a stretching one later today to try it out.

    On the negative side: You have to wear the thing pretty tightly to have it pick up heart rate well. This is physically annoying me. I went for a walk this morning and was wearing it looser than yesterday, and it kept missing some of my heart rate. When tight, it works beautifully, but wearing a tight watch hurts after awhile. I have a chest strap HR monitor, but have so far been unsuccessful in getting it to pair with the watch. I'll have to work on that some more and see if I can figure it out. The other negative thing is that it is hard to read the screen indoors. I don't really understand how this works, but outside it is very easy to see. Inside, it is super dim and I require my reading glasses and a strong light. Not a deal-breaker, but annoying.

    Overall, I'm happy with it. I'll let you know if how I feel about it changes as I use it more.