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After scanning several older threads about wrist devices, I figured I'd create a new thread specifically to find out who's using a device on your wrist for riding in 2021—and how is it working out?

The obvious top options are Apple Watches and Garmin watches. (There may be others.)

I've been debating getting some sort of wrist unit, but I haven't seen anything (yet) compelling enough to make me pull the trigger. And here's the BIG reason I'm hesitant: my iPhone is also my camera, and I use it all the time. So if I've gotta have my iPhone handy anyway to take photos, then it's just as handy and available to look at maps, check my heartrate, identify a wildflower—whatever.

I think if I had a wrist device, I'd bury my phone in my Camelbak and never have any more pics from my rides (because I wouldn't want to dig my phone out every time I want to take a photo).

I've found the best way (by far) to carry my iPhone when riding: I use the clip holder that comes with Otterbox Defender cases and just clip the phone to the sternum strap on my Camelbak. It sits securely right on my chest, doesn't bounce around (if the sternum strap is fairly tight), never comes off, and it's super quick-and-easy to pop it out of the clip to look at the map or snap a photo.

So why should I get a wrist device? (C'mon—give me reasons! LOL)

Scott
 

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Ive had a garmin vivoactive 3 music for about 3 years. Dont use the music feature as much anymore, but its pretty nice when you want to leave your phone behind. I like knowing milage and time at a quick glance and like a semi smart watch in general but don’t want a fancy apple watch or to pay a bunch for a fancy head unit i will probably break in a crash anyway.
 

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I have an Apple Watch 4. The GPS track has been terrible. It won't deliver heart rate to any other GPS ecosystem. About the only way I can think of to make it work for heart rate and power would be to run Zwift and give up on GPS. It has in the past detected some workouts but cycling has not been among them. There are other things it does that I like a lot, like getting the whole Apple music and podcast ecosystem. In that sense it's like an improved and modernized Nano. But not for cycling. If I was buying a watch just for bike riding it would be a Garmin.
 

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I still think there are two choices here. A smart watch and fitness watch. You really get one or the other.
NB I still take a camera with me on rides, plus Garmin on my stem, Garmin on my wrist. Phone either in pocket or Camelbak!
 

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So why should I get a wrist device? (C'mon-give me reasons! LOL)

Scott
Sounds like it's not for you but I really like my Garmin watch. Tracks all your activities, tracks your sleep, tracks heart rate 24/7, tracks your training load, stress, steps, fatigue, hrv, respiration rate, weight, performance stats, notification alerts, it's a debit/credit card, gps map and probably a 100 other things. Also it tells the time.

Yeah I'm kind of a data nerd. Also I don't take that many pics.

Nearly forgot my favorite feature, it can find my phone!
 

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I too love my Garmin watch. I've been using a Instinct for almost a year now, before that a Vivoactive 3. I smashed the Vivo in a crash, and while I liked the profile and look of that watch better, the Instinct is much more rugged. I too like taking pics, but for me stopping and getting my phone out isn't a big deal. I usually only take it once or twice on a ride. Most daily rides, it doesn't come out. The last feature I really like is the LiveTrack. When I start an activity, my wife gets an email and can follow my GPS location. Thats a huge piece of mind for her and I both when 90% of my riding is solo.
 

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I have an Apple Watch 4. The GPS track has been terrible. It won't deliver heart rate to any other GPS ecosystem. About the only way I can think of to make it work for heart rate and power would be to run Zwift and give up on GPS. It has in the past detected some workouts but cycling has not been among them. There are other things it does that I like a lot, like getting the whole Apple music and podcast ecosystem. In that sense it's like an improved and modernized Nano. But not for cycling. If I was buying a watch just for bike riding it would be a Garmin.
Hmmm....I have a Apple Watch 6...and a 4 before that. I love the Apple Watch....Not sure what you mean that it won't deliver heart rate to other ecosystems...I use the Strava App...and on my rides, all my heart rate info is displayed....speed, elevation, heart rate, est power...all connected by GPS to a map. All from an automatic upload from the watch to Strava.

1943112

I also like the fall detection, the fact it can call 911 if it detects a fall and I am unconscious and send emergency services to my GPS location. Plus it can gather information from my health from all sources and display it in one place...so my digital scale that monitors, weight, fat %, muscle %, water %, BMI, Bone density, can send the info to my phone and my watch can send the workout info, and calorie burn throughout the day and I can see ALL the data in one place.

I think people assume you have to use the Apple apps for the watch, but the 3rd party apps are great...Strava for cycling and I like the Nike Run Club for running. Most are free for the basics, and you can pay for more advanced features.

Then you get blood oxygen level, ECG Heart monitor, Heart rate, can detect irregular heart rates, connected to your email, text messages, and your phone. Oh and I ike to snap pics every once in a while and while the Apple Watch doesnt have a camera, it can act as a remote and viewfinder for the iPhone...so you can set the phone up and see the preview on the watch and snap the pic...I have gotten some great shots by myself with th e iPhone and Apple Watch.

If you have an iPhone, there isn't a better companion than the watch...
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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I use a garmin instinct and have for several years now, on some pretty epic stuff (Iditarod, 100 mile races, etc). It works very well for me. Besides recording rides, it provides good quick data, like how far I've gone and how long I've been going, by looking at my wrist. I don't want a freaking navigation-map just to go ride my bike, so it's a good way to track without having to have a bunch of additional devices. It also interfaces with sensors, like HR and temperature. I find the temperature really nice to have in the winter, as I have the sensors mounted remotely on my bikes. Kind of helps me keep ahead of the conditions, making smart choices for clothing and other stuff.

For pictures, sometimes I use my phone, but I find one of the flat out best ways to take pictures is mount a go-pro, doesn't matter where as much, handlebars, chest, helmet, and set it to take pictures every 30 seconds or something. Great for group rides, great for epic landscapes, etc. And I can concentrate on riding my bike with minimal intrusion, don't have to stop to take pictures, I'm taking pictures all the time.

Mountain Sky Water Slope Highland
Bicycle Wheel Sky Tire Mountain
Tire Wheel Bicycle Sky Mountain
 

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I have had a Fitbit Ionic for over 3 years, worked great up until the last firmware update, the GPS just stopped working reliably in local populated areas where it was fine before (my other GPS devices work fine in the same area), and there is nothing I can do about it until another firmware release and hope the GPS issues are resolved since they don't support firmware rollbacks.

Was a good run, would have recommended if the device just died from planned obsolescence (who's to say that is not the case), but not sure I can now. I'll be looking for a Garmin GPS watch next I think.

reasons I use GPS wrist tracker:
  • can track activity without phone (also great for for trail running when going minimalist)
  • can track activity without using up phone battery
  • stats! stat! stats! (easy to see without stopping your activity)
  • heart rate monitor and tracking
 

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OP, I'm on the fence about getting some kind of smart watch as well. I'd really like the ability to answer the phone without taking my phone out of my pack, i.e. talk into the watch if needed. If I continue with that as a requirement, I think only the apple watch and galaxy watch do that. Otherwise I'd get a garmin and be done with it.

-DS
 

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I too love my Garmin watch. I've been using a Instinct for almost a year now, before that a Vivoactive 3. I smashed the Vivo in a crash, and while I liked the profile and look of that watch better, the Instinct is much more rugged. I too like taking pics, but for me stopping and getting my phone out isn't a big deal. I usually only take it once or twice on a ride. Most daily rides, it doesn't come out. The last feature I really like is the LiveTrack. When I start an activity, my wife gets an email and can follow my GPS location. Thats a huge piece of mind for her and I both when 90% of my riding is solo.
I have an instinct solar too... its great and totally packed with useful features (for the price). Due to my propensity for crashing, my missus has also now insisted on live track during my rides... (but I do it via my Edge) :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

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The Apple Watch is pretty good, and it actually works very well as a watch too. The Garmin (I have the 945) will analyze more data (and hold a lot of music) but sucks as a regular with with its awful screen. It does have better battery life (7-10 days) over the Apple Watch. I have both. While the Garmin is a better fitness watch, I rarely wear it anymore due to the dim screen that you cannot see in the dark and have to light up to see it. I use a Garmin 1030 Plus. I usually have my Apple Watch on.
 

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I've been on a Garmin 945 for over a year and a half and I'm not a huge fan. It's been reliable and easy for tracking rides (uploading to Strava). The extra data was interesting at first in the Garmin Connect app, but over time I've used the "extras" less and less. I've also not used the navigation as much as I'd hoped. That's partly because of COVID reducing my riding on non-familiar trails but also because the screen is so small. It is possible to use it to navigate, especially if you have good eyesight, but the larger bar-mounted units are much better. In hindsight, I think I might have prefered a cheaper and more versatile smart watch (Apple?), but it also appears they have issues for riding so?
 

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I have an OG garmin vivoactive and the thing won't quit. I bust out the bar mount garmin for big rides, but on shorter or familiar known loops, I only take the watch. I like the garmin because it also shows me distance to greens for the few times a year I get out to golf.
 

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I also forgot to mention, using a Garmin device, I really enjoy the challenges they put out through the Connect App. I’m not riding for training nor am I good at setting goals myself for ridding. But the challenges give me a nice target to hit.
 

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The Apple Watch is pretty good, and it actually works very well as a watch too. The Garmin (I have the 945) will analyze more data (and hold a lot of music) but sucks as a regular with with its awful screen. It does have better battery life (7-10 days) over the Apple Watch. I have both. While the Garmin is a better fitness watch, I rarely wear it anymore due to the dim screen that you cannot see in the dark and have to light up to see it. I use a Garmin 1030 Plus. I usually have my Apple Watch on.
One of the reasons I chose Garmin over Apple is battery life. For me it seems a fair trade to have to push a button in low light conditions vs the need to charge much more often.
 
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