Apple Watch Recommendations

gtmtnbiker

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Jul 15, 2005
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I'm thinking of getting the Apple Watch SE mainly for fitness tracking as well as other features. Anyone have an opinion? I did have a Fitbit a few years ago but only used it for a month before I gave it away. I have a few co-workers who have used their Apple Watches for years and love it.
It comes in two sizes: 40 & 44mm. I should go with 44mm, right?

Any opinions on getting vs not getting a watch or getting the SE versus series 5 or 6?
 

Pesky Pole

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I just went through this and placed an order yesterday. I went with the 40mm but my wrist is small. My wife has an old 38mm so I was able to try that on and see what I was in for. It may be worth seeing them if you’re in the middle there.

The 6 and Se are the newer generation chips and purport to have better battery life. As far as I can tell, it’s three features difference between the two (Oxygen sensor, ECG, and the always on screen). I’m a longtime Fitbit user who is annoyed by flipping my wrist around to get the display to turn on so I went with the 6. I think the other two are gimmicks but we’ll see. I also tend to keep tech for a while so the premium was worth it to me. The black one is on sale at Amazon (and Walmart) right now for $339 if you decide to go with the 6.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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I recently picked up the 6, and so far I love it. I use the 44mm, but the 40mm would also be fine, I just do not mind the larger size.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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I've worn a 44mm Watch series 4 since 2018. I appreciate the larger screen size and I've grown so used to the weight of the watch that I've been known to wear it with the battery dead.

Two recommendations:

1. I prefer the List view of Apple Watch apps to the default Honeycomb view. Here's how to set the List view: https://www.macrumors.com/how-to/view-apps-apple-watch-as-list/
2. I have a weekday watch face (with my calendar and other work-related reminders) and a weekend watch face (just the time and Dark Sky). You can use automations tab the Siri Shortcuts app to automatically switch the watch face based on parameters like time, location, or network. https://beebom.com/best-siri-shortcuts-automations/

The Apple Watch is a fine fitness tracker, but it's also been a godsend just for keeping my organized with just-in-time appointment reminders.
 

canderson

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Jul 16, 2005
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I’ve toyed with the idea of getting one but I have never wore a watch and I don’t think I’d be able to see / read it. Plus I am intimidated but the number of excellent yet expensive watch bands.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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I’ve toyed with the idea of getting one but I have never wore a watch and I don’t think I’d be able to see / read it. Plus I am intimidated but the number of excellent yet expensive watch bands.
When it's safe to do so, consider going into an Apple Store and asking for a demo. The Watch implementations of VoiceOver and Zoom are rather elegant.
 

Average Game James

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Apr 28, 2016
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For fitness tracking, I think there are better options, but if you want a wider set of features the Apple watch is good.

I've used a WHOOP for the past 9 months and think it's tough to beat as a pure fitness and sleep tracker (I've used a bunch of stuff over the past years including a Fitbit, a couple Garmins, and the Apple Watch 2, but never stuck with any of them longer than 6 months). The app gives you a ton of data (RHR, HRV, decent estimate of calories burned, sleep tracking), the recovery levels help you calibrate how hard to train on a given day, and it can also help you figure out how different habits affect your recovery (e.g. I've learned that what time I go to bed is hugely important to my sleep quality). From a functional perspective, I like that it's very comfortable and low profile, durable as hell (I wear it during crossfit workouts and never worry about damaging it), and that you don't have to take it off to recharge the battery (this is my biggest knock on the Apple watch - it takes about 3 hours to recharge every day so you sacrifice a lot of wear time or can't use it as a sleep tracker at night).

My wife has the Apple Watch 3 though and loves it. She likes the more simplified activity tracking (e.g. daily rings, hourly movement goals) and also uses it for a lot of texting and calendar stuff during the day. She is due for a replacement and we have been looking at the 6 vs. the SE - the real difference is the Blood Oxygen and ECG apps which she is unlikely to use so will likely go with the SE. The 6 also has the "always on" display as opposed to the other models where the screen turns off which I guess is just a matter of personal preference.
 

Van Everyman

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I got a 40 Series 6 for Xmas and love it. As a longtime Fitbit Flex wearer and periodic MyFitnessPal calorie enterer, I think fitness stuff is really good and the size is perfect. I particularly enjoy how it senses what type of exercise I’m doing and allows me to backdate a workout on my elliptical to when I started it.
 

milfordsoxfan

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I believe the 6 has a newer chip than the SE. It's the S6 vs the S5. I don't know exactly what the difference is, but wanted to note it.

I got the 40mm version of the 6, when I measured my wrist circumference to figure out the band size it was about 7 1/8". I think the 44 would be a little too big for me. I really like the braided solo loop band. Sized right it holds the watch nice and snug.
 

OurF'ingCity

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For what it's worth, I had a 5 (which had the always on screen and ECG) but then it broke so I got an SE and I haven't really noticed a substantive difference at all. I would say unless for some reason you really need the advanced health features, really want the always-on screen, or expect to be constantly draining your battery to the point where a bit more battery life will be very important, go with the SE instead of the 5 or 6.
 

luckiestman

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I read about using a watch for a fitness tracker and came away thinking it was mostly bullshit. I have friends that have the whoop subscription and some have the Apple Watch, but I don’t think these things are that accurate. The chest straps are apparently the way to go but they’re a pain in the ass.

If you think I’m way off base, I’d love to know because I would like to get something but I was disappointed by what I read when I looked into it.
 

VORP Speed

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I read about using a watch for a fitness tracker and came away thinking it was mostly bullshit. I have friends that have the whoop subscription and some have the Apple Watch, but I don’t think these things are that accurate. The chest straps are apparently the way to go but they’re a pain in the ass.

If you think I’m way off base, I’d love to know because I would like to get something but I was disappointed by what I read when I looked into it.
I have a Series 4 and have used it extensively with a Polar chest strap and the numbers are pretty spot on. It's not beat to beat, so it's a little slower to pick up changes, but I can't imagine there are many folks for which that would really matter.
 

luckiestman

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I have a Series 4 and have used it extensively with a Polar chest strap and the numbers are pretty spot on. It's not beat to beat, so it's a little slower to pick up changes, but I can't imagine there are many folks for which that would really matter.
The changes is the type of thing I was considering eg one minute between rounds recovery. I might get one anyway. I read the steps stuff is way off too but that’s not that important to me.
 

VORP Speed

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The changes is the type of thing I was considering eg one minute between rounds recovery. I might get one anyway. I read the steps stuff is way off too but that’s not that important to me.
If you get a good fitness app for it, it measures the HR roughly every second so I think it would be fine
 

gtmtnbiker

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Because of the Amazon sale, I went with the black series 6 for $330. Looking forward to using it. My wife rolled her eyes as she thinks I buy gadgets all the time.
 

FanRoy

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Aug 14, 2008
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From a functional perspective, I like that it's very comfortable and low profile, durable as hell (I wear it during crossfit workouts and never worry about damaging it), and that you don't have to take it off to recharge the battery (this is my biggest knock on the Apple watch - it takes about 3 hours to recharge every day so you sacrifice a lot of wear time or can't use it as a sleep tracker at night).
I know you acknowledged this in your opening sentence, but if the OP was looking at an Apple Watch, I don't think Whoop would be a functional alternative for their use case. Whoop does recovery well, but very little else.

Polar watches perhaps might do well as a fitness tracker watch, and they do recovery better than Whoop as their underlying data is (or at least can be) more accurate and reliable. I also do CrossFit and there simply isn't a good watch/wrist tracker that can track HIIT well (which is why I always wear a chest strap, something you are unable to do with Whoop). So My Polar Vantage V combined with a chest strap definitely gives more reliable data with which to calculate recovery. Sleep data with a Polar is also on par with Whoop, though has its own shortcomings.

If you're looking for more smart feature integrations, Garmin is a nice compromise on fitness watch and smart watch, though I am an Android user, so can't comment on how well it plays with iPhones. I don't think I'd want to interact much from my watch, but being able to see everything important that comes through has actually been pretty nice, even if I didn't think I'd appreciate that before I bought the watch. I also have a Fenix 6 and (when paired with my chest strap), it gives pretty good recovery and sleep data (not quite as detailed as my Polar, but there are other some aspects of this that actually make me enjoy the Fenix 6 more, anyways).