As I wrote recently, my Garmin activity tracker watch stopped allowing me to record bike rides and walks. Those are my two main activit-ease, so I had to do something besides record everything as a run then edit it. My Strava friends were beginning to think I had taken up running. A Dude Don’t run. I can’t have people believing that! I have a reputation to ruin, sully, destroy, etc. So, after much Libra back-and-forthing it, I couldn’t pass up the steep discount offered for an upgrade. And voila! (or as we say in Tejas “voy-luh”) the new watch arrived. And it is GOOD!
The first thing I noticed was that the new watch was lighter weight, fit more comfortably on my wrist, and had a narrower band. Those all came as a relief, because I hadn’t been able to go check it out in a store. The heart rate monitor on the Vivoactiv HR is rectangular and the heart rate monitor is raised, so it made for a bit more of a clunky experience. A round watch is what I wore before making the switch, so it’s just a better feel. And that’s important for something on my body for 23.5 hours a day.
Second, the face is bigger, so it’s easier to read. I recall reading that the contrasts are better, too, and it does seem like I don’t have to squint to see the display in the Central Texas sunlight. Scrolling through the various settings and data screens is curved, so a bit odd, but feels logical. Another big plus is there’s just one button to push as opposed to two. So some thought went into upgrading the model. The start, done and save screens are much easier to read.
Third, the added fields for capturing V02 (the maximum aerobic capacity), stress levels plus REM sleep (though the latter is likely not terribly accurate). These are all cool things I will use. You can hit the stress readout and the watch coaches you to breathe in and breathe out to a four-count, slowing you down and reducing the stress number. Very cool, say if you are biking and you get cut off by a car in a close call. Just pull over, chill out, and then remount and pedal on! Of course you don’t need a watch to do that, but it’s there if you want it. The Garmin Connect app on my phone, which is needed to view the data, was updated to accommodate these things.
There are a few down sides. When my old bike glove velcro strap comes loose and touches the screen, it can actually pause or change which screen is showing. That is no bueno, as bike shop friend T often says; new gloves should fix most of that. Several times I noticed my ride had been paused. The USB charger cable is difficult to tell which end to insert into the watch and either it’s the same either direction or I may mess it up and need a new one. It’s a small thing that shouldn’t be an issue. Other concerns like trouble making swimming go down the list (til I can get pool access again) probably have more to do with me not knowing how to operate the watch totally yet. Oh, and it still doesn’t record naps. But these are small things compared to the many other features I haven’t even had time to explore so can’t explain yet.
Granted, I’m a few years late and they’ve moved on to the Vivoactive 4 and their higher-priced lines like the Fenix. But I’m a simple dude and this watch has plenty of features. Many of them I didn’t use before I may now, like notifications when I get a text. Some I have yet to try like the music functions, which I’ll probably have to get a Bluetooth speaker for and possibly a Spotify account to download up to 500 songs. I also need to research using Garmin Pay, the touchless system for buying stuff. It should use the same equipment and it’s really not a big deal to stick a card in the back of your phone if you have one of those little card holders. But cash doesn’t fit in there so if you have a bank card to link to it, it cold come in handy.
As I use the watch and get the music and other features up and running, I’m sure I’ll come to appreciate it a lot more. In the meantime, the point is to track activities, and that’s what A Dude does, tries to stay active on the bike as well as walking, yoga, and of course, writing these wonderful blog posts for you my dear readers. We aim to be very, very good here at A Dude Abikes. We offer you something tremendous, it’s really one of the best bike blogs in Austin, so tell all your friends and come back with cash. After you buy a Garmin watch, let’s go ride bikes together but apart. I wouldn’t touch you guys with a six foot pole. Because, coronavirus. Just kidding. It’ll be 10 feet to be safe. Sorry, I was momentarily infected with Trump Delusional Syndrome.
What do you use to track your activities? How much of an activity tracking geek are you? Or not at all?
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