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Dedicated GPS and Watch or combined solution?

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 SuperstarDJ 30 Jul 2020

Hi,

I was thinking of getting a watch to use while running or cycling with a few more features than the very basic Huawei Honor Band 5 and phone/strava combination I use now.  I was thinking of the Garmin Forerunner 45 as it seems popular on here.  I notice it also has a GPS feature which would be appealing for checking position when out hiking (I'm good with maps but extra comfort would be nice in fog or whiteouts on obscure Munros!).  Then I started to think 'should I be looking at a fancier watch, a Garmin Fenix 5 or 6, with more sophisticated GPS features and built in maps. But then I thought a dedicate GPS with bigger screen, in combination with a cheaper watch might be the best solution.  

TLDR - Should I get a smart watch that 'does it all' or two devices - cheaper watch and separate GPS? Anyone with experience of both approaches?

Thanks,

David

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 Route Adjuster 30 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Sort out a few 'use cases' to get a sense of what you need when, then find a watch or combination of devices to suit.

What might you use it for(in reality, not idealistically), in what conditions, how frequently and under what conditions.

i went through that process a couple of years back and decided that a basic watch with GPS (which would then give me an altitude) would fir the bill.  Anything extra would be a bonus. I ended up getting a cheap second hand Suunto watch off ebay and it does everything I need / want.

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 dread-i 30 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

A hand held gps will give you more than an on watch gps. A decent running watch will give you loads more info, than a dedicated gps.

Some watches, such as fenix, allow you to add widgets, so you can get an OS grid ref. Perhaps that might be all you need, in your use case above. The bigger screen on a gps makes following tracks and general nav easier.

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 abr1966 30 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Same situation for me a couple of months ago....I bought a Garmin Vivoactive 3....very good value and very pleased with it....

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 abcdef 30 Jul 2020
In reply to dread-i:

Didn't realise the Fenix gave coordinates - any idea offhand what models? Another reason to help me justify the outlay

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 steelbru 30 Jul 2020
In reply to abcdef:

Not sure about the really early Fenix, but 3, 5 and 6 ( there was no 4 ) allow you to have coordinates in OS form ( plus dozens of other formats ) as a data field whilst you are recording an activity.

However, they do not  give you the option of displaying the co-ordinate when NOT recording an activity, ie just on any of the normal screens you can cycle through.

There is thankfully, a widget in the Connect IQ store for those watches that support this, to add OS Grid Ref https://apps.garmin.com/en-GB/apps/2f30fe76-c14a-46e9-a606-76ced27dd776

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 bigbobbyking 30 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

There are various phone apps that will allow your phone to display your OS grid position. Assuming you have and carry a smart phone in the hills then maybe that would suit occasional use? Appreciate its not as convenient as having on your wrist, but just pointing out an alternative.

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 SuperstarDJ 30 Jul 2020
In reply to bigbobbyking:

Thanks - I have used this in the past and it's been pretty helpful (trying to find the start of Curved Ridge on the big Bucky!).  I though that if I was getting a smartwatch anyway it'd be good to have this feature.

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 dread-i 30 Jul 2020
In reply to abcdef:

> Didn't realise the Fenix gave coordinates - any idea offhand what models? Another reason to help me justify the outlay


I use the app linked below. If you the link below or the one steelbru posted it show the compatible devices. As for outlay, there is a garmin renewed section on amazon. I got my watch from there, it looks as good as new, battery lasts a week and it has a 1 year guarantee. Buy wine, chocolate and flowers with the money saved. Everyone's happy

https://apps.garmin.com/en-US/apps/07b03259-24c8-4828-b949-2e48ef04a2c5

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 StuPoo2 30 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

God of activity watch reviews:

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/11/garmin-fr230-fr235-review.html

IMO - buy two devices ... they all scuff up eventually - no matter how much you paid for them.

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 Ridge 30 Jul 2020
In reply to steelbru

> There is thankfully, a widget in the Connect IQ store for those watches that support this, to add OS Grid Ref https://apps.garmin.com/en-GB/apps/2f30fe76-c14a-46e9-a606-76ced27dd776

That's a data field rather than a widget, (although it's now uninstalled itself from my watch after the recent difficulties).

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 cpowell 31 Jul 2020
In reply to abr1966:

I have a vivoactive 3 and it is great - you can get a data field to display OS grid refs in the 'walking activity' which could get you out of bother on a foggy hill but of course a map is required.

More expensive Garmins allow you to set waypoints, I think, giving you almost turn by turn instructions but I think I would only use that on a new run or cycle that I didn't know.

Post edited at 09:09
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In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Get an app on your phone and try it for a few weeks before buying anything.

TLDR; watches have too small a display and don't have large enough batteries for a good GPS platform.  Phones have a much larger budget for electronics than stand alone-gps because it is paid for by their other functions.  So you get a far nicer screen and far more powerful processor.   The only thing a dedicated GPS can do better than a phone is ruggedness for extreme conditions.

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 dunnyg 31 Jul 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

And have cheaper replaceable batteries

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 abr1966 31 Jul 2020
In reply to cpowell:

Its good for the price isn't it....compared to some of the Garmin range it's not quite as good but is like £400 cheaper!!

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 bigbobbyking 31 Jul 2020
In reply to dunnyg:

And better battery life. If you try and use your phone for long periods of GPS tracking it will kill the battery. Especially in cold conditions and if you keep taking it out to look at the screen.

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 Ridge 31 Jul 2020
In reply to bigbobbyking:

> And better battery life. If you try and use your phone for long periods of GPS tracking it will kill the battery. Especially in cold conditions and if you keep taking it out to look at the screen.

This. A phone is far more fragile than a GPS watch, and is running so much other stuff in the background that even though it has a larger battery the battery drain with GPS is rapid. Not sure if it's something to do with the surface area for heat loss from a phone battery being large, they also drain frighteningly quickly in sub zero temperatures. Also it's no fun opening up an app on a touch screen in the rain.

Don't get me wrong, I used to use downloaded maps on a phone a lot (with a paper map as and a compass as back up). Since I've been running a bit more I've started to go back to a photocopy of a map and a thumb compass in one hand, and a quick check at OS Grid Ref and elevation on my watch as a cross check of my nav. Also concentrating on pace counting for distance etc stops me worrying about all my aches and niggles.

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 Sans-Plan 31 Jul 2020
In reply to steelbru:

> However, they do not  give you the option of displaying the co-ordinate when NOT recording an activity, ie just on any of the normal screens you can cycle through.

If you use the OS Coordinate widget they do (my 5 does) it's not a data field so you just need to make the widget viewable

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