When I started working again, I soon discovered that I wanted (sort of needed) to wear a watch again. Normally I haven’t, primarily because I didn’t have a good, functional watch. I have one that’s functional (an old Timex Ironman, one of the metal ones, not the plastic ones) and while it works and I like it, the display is dim and hard to read after probably fifteen-plus years. I also have a nice Torgeon pilot’s watch, but it went glitchy a couple of years ago and tends to die after only a few weeks, even with new “two-year” batteries installed every six months.
As so many do in this day and age, my phone is my watch, as well as my always at hand internet connection, GPS map, book collection, movie collection, music player, camera, computer, and so on. But if I just want to get the time, it’s awkward to have to pull out every time I want to check, especially if I’m sitting.
I also need to get more mobile and active, especially now that I’m in an office at a desk job (more or less), so I have been looking at the watches and “portable electronic assistants” that will keep tack of your activity, steps, and so on.
There are a growing number of these devices that combine a little bit of all of that. The Apple Watch is at the top of the list, and I wouldn’t mind paying $350 or whatever for one, but for what I want there were a couple of drawbacks. One is that they don’t have internal GPS, but instead take it off of the linked phone. If you don’t have your phone, you don’t have GPS, which limits it as a watch for monitoring and tracking runs, walks, bike rides, hiking, or whatever. The other drawback is that, while they’re a bit “water resistant,” they’re far from waterproof. For $350+, it needs to be more rugged.
The device that I had my eye on was the Garmin Vivoactive smart watch. Garmin has long been a leader in sports watches with built-in GPS – I still have an old Forerunner GPS running watch that I got about four years ago. The Vivoactive is waterproof and reasonably rugged, and has all of the apps I’m used to in the Forerunner for running, walking, or biking. It also has built in apps for swimming or golf, with the ability to download a database of maps for every golf course in the US. Not that I play golf, but that’s still cool.
In addition, the Vivoactive will link to your phone and buzz to let you know you have a message, or do some simple changes to the music play list, or get the weather, and so on. It’s nowhere near as versatile as the Apple Watch, but what it does it does better. Since I primarily wanted and needed what it does, and not all of the potential things that an Apple Watch might do, and because most head-to-head reviews gave the Vivoactive much, much better battery life than the Apple Watch, and because the Vivoactive runs about half the price of the Apple Watch, I wanted the Vivoactive.
I was going to get one as a personal reward when I started the new job, but I was just too busy. Then I was going to stop and get one when I finished the first week of work. Then it was when I got my first paycheck. Then…
Then it popped up when I was doing my last minute Christmas shopping on Amazon, and I figured it was time to quit screwing around with the decision. I bought it for myself for Christmas.
So far I like it. We’ll see what it does over the next few days.
It wants me to target 5,000 steps a day, which should come out to about three miles or so. Today I’m only at 944 steps, which isn’t that bad considering I didn’t power it up and start it until well after noon, and I spent most of the day watching movies with The Long-Suffering Wife.
Yet another toy to try to save me from myself. But a nice toy. A clever toy.
AND it tells me the time at a glance!