So... I like technical workout watches, but I HATE how manly they look on my wrist. I'm a petite woman... and it doesn't take a lot for a fitness tracker to look like a monstrosity on my hand.
What I'm looking for
I'm not the hard core triathlete-type, so I was looking for a watch that would track my daily activities as well as the random things I like to do (i.e. stand up paddle boarding, rowing, long hikes).
I wanted a watch that:
- Doesn't look like a monstrosity
- Doesn't look like a workout watch / fitness tracker
- Tracks heart rate optically (on the wrist)
- Tracks GPS
- Isn't run, bike, or swim specific / can track many other activities
- Has a long battery life
My Pick: Garmin Vivoactive 3
Why I like this Watch: I really like the Garmin Vivoactive 3. It's cute, functional, and the battery lasts FOREVER.
- Long battery life
- Doesn't look like a giant monstrosity on my wrist
- Optical Heart Rate
- Great GPS Accuracy
- Convenience of Garmin Pay (yes, you can pay with your watch!)
The watch can last up to 8 hours on GPS and lasts for weeks when it's sitting around. I charge it about once every 3 days when I'm regularly wearing it. Also, when you do have to charge it, it charges FAST.
I also like that I can add custom workouts to the watch via the Garmin app. If you're doing HIIT, you can just add the moves to the watch instead of looking at a piece of paper... or your phone.
You can also set Waypoints, which is basically where you set a spot that you can navigate back to while hiking. Although the Garmin doesn't give you GPS directions, it has some of the more accurate GPS tracking in all the activity trackers.
This is how the black and white with stainless steel look. Did I mention it comes in Rose Gold? (Rose Gold is $40 more.)
Also, I highly recommend buying extra chargers & storing them at work, in your car, etc. They're super cheap and nice to have just in case you need them.
If you're short on cash, I would recommend buying the Garmin Vivoactive. It's less expensive, still has a low profile, and does most of the things the Vivoactive 3 does. I would still have this watch if it had not been stolen. (The thief's Strava activity is still being recorded to my account.) It's not as cute with its rectangular shape, but it gets the job done.
If you have tons of cash, I would go for the Fenix 5. It's a gorgeous watch with ALL the features- not that I think the casual adventurer necessarily needs this.
Why not the Apple Watch 3?
I don't like the Apple Watch because it only has 5 hours of battery life on GPS and you have to charge it every night. I already charge my car, my phone, and my laptop- I don't want to be stuck charging yet another device. Also, it's more of an every day tracker than a watch for an adventurer.