At the end of August I bought a Garmin Forerunner 235 watch, to replace my Fitbit. It was somewhat of an impulse buy (who, me?), but I am completely satisfied with it.
I haven’t worn a watch in decades – this stemmed from a period in my 20’s when I worked in London, and became plagued with pressure urticaria – hives at pressure points, like shirt collar, cuffs and trouser waistband. That problem disappeared for good when I moved back to Brighton, but I’d gotten out of the habit of wearing a watch. In more recent times, when I got my first Fitbit, I was a little wary at first, but the problem never recurred.
So having worn a Fitbit for a year or more, I decided I wanted a step tracker that also told the time. I was still considering Fitbit options when I saw an offer on the Garmin 235 (£90 under RRP). I did half a day’s research and then jumped feet first.
The Garmin Forerunner 235 is a watch for runners and cyclists; being neither, I am not its target market. However, it also allows for the downloading of other apps that affect its use – either changing the watch-face, or allowing for other activities.
Running in default mode, it records steps throughout the day, together with heart rate.
Running in app mode, it still updates the daily logs steps and heart rate, but it also enables the GPS, allowing you to record in detail a particular activity. In the original watch this is either “running”, “cycling” or “other”. I currently have two other apps loaded – “hike” and “hiking” – and I am assessing which of these (including “other”) gives me the data I want – both recorded and on the watch-face. Something that I like is that you can hide functions that you do not need – in my case “running” and “cycling” – so you don’t have to scroll through them to get to the functions you actually use.
A recorded activity gives a wealth of information in an easy to digest form. GPS position, steps, pace and heart-rate, all coordinated and linked.
Obviously, such information is trivial for a 20 minute walk through Bury Saint Edmunds, but I think it illustrates the principle!
The watch is also excellent at tracking sleep – even more so than my Fitbit, which was pretty good. As I am using the device as much for sleep as for walking, this is a good thing. I am getting detailed reports of periods of light and deep sleep, and movement through the night.
With all of this, I am surprised that battery life with the Forerunner 235 is better than my Fitbit. Officially 9 days, it can be less than that with excessive use of GPS. However, the watch is so easy to charge (a simple clip on USB lead, requiring *no* disassembly, unlike the Fitbit Blaze), that I am connecting it to my computer almost every morning to download the previous day’s data and to top it up. So far, I don’t think it has gone under 70% of charge, and that was a weekend when I was busy and not hooking it up.
As for it fitting my freakishly large wrists, it did – just about – out of the box; I was on holes 1-4, depending on the time of day and comfort. However, as this earlier post shows, I’ve come up with a solution that makes the strap more than big enough.