Watch out!

A lot of bloggers struggle to maintain one blog. I however somehow manage to maintain two. With good reason I hasten to add! One blog focuses on my professional life whereas the other focuses on my fitness life. But every so often, there’s opportunity for me to cross post as my personal and professional lives collide.

If you’ve got any interest in tech, you can’t have failed to notice over the past six months, that it’s all about the wearable tech, or to put it another way, the smart watch. We’ve heard rumours of the iWatch for months, and Samsung and Sony are getting their mitts into the marketplace with a watch each ($300 and $200 respectively). On top of that, Kreyos are launching the Meteor watch with a pre-order price of $149, or you could wait until November for the Adidas MiCoach watch, launching with a retail price of approx $450.

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When the buzz around smart watches began, my immediate concern was around battery life – I currently have a very nice watch which doesn’t need regular charging, and it does what I need it to do – tell me the time.

So why on earth would I need a smart watch? To notify me that my phone is ringing? Or that I’ve received a text or an email?  Or perhaps take a call through my watch? The Samsung device has a low res camera. Great! Now, a lost phone tracker would be useful, but I already have the iPhone finder app. The prices quoted above are rather high for what is effectively a bauble/ accessory to your smart phone. So, again, why on earth would I need a smart watch?

Well…

I’m a self confessed running hipster.

Since I rebooted my running three years ago I’ve tracked my performance via a variety of apps for my iPhone, from Nike to Runkeeper to Adidas MiCoach, to general satisfaction however whenever I’ve entered a serious distance race, I’ve found battery life on my iPhone to be seriously compromised by tracking via the app, and a race soundtrack. For instance, during the Ridgeway, my phone gave up the ghost around the 55k mark, and during Man vs Mountain, I only had 4% battery life left at the point where I had to ditch everything that I didn’t want to get wet.

So, I decided to invest in a sports watch. I had at what was available in the market place and I felt that anything over the $100 price point was too much of a risk for a product that I didn’t know if I’d like or not. So, I bought a Garmin Forerunner 10 for $99. The Forerunner is pretty basic as a smart watch. It tracks my performance, heart rate, distance, calorie count etc etc, and enables me to back up my data to my Garmin account. If I’m honest, it’s just ok. It does what I wanted it to do – take the strain off my iPhone but I need to plug it into my laptop to upload the data, and then there’s battery life. Charging my watch seems such an alien concept for me, but I need to plug the Garmin into my laptop to charge it up.

Garmin Forerunner 10
Garmin Forerunner 10

Ultimately, what I’m really looking for is some sort of synergy with a smart watch. I want the great data and tracking that I get from the app on my phone, without draining the battery.

The MiCoach watch is certainly attractive to me as it will sync well with my MiCoach app but I personally feel that Adidas would be better off focusing on software development rather than breaking into an already established tech marketplace. And $450 is a steep price for a new entrant.

Ultimately, I’m going to stick with my Garmin until I see the full potential of the iWatch. Realistically, I’m in the Apple universe, so I’m not likely to go down the Samsung or Sony route, and the Kreyos looks like a marginally more expensive version of the Garmin, and besides, as an Apple device, it’ll surely offer device synergy. And as long as Adidas make the MiCoach app available in iWatch form, I’ll be able to track my progress without burning my iPhone battery.

So… what’s a running hipster? That’s surely the topic for another blog.

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