Sport watch

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by Snake_Plissken, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. Snake_Plissken

    Snake_Plissken New Member

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    hi all,

    What kind of sport/smart watches and hr sensors you used during badminton session ? There is a lot watches with wrist measurement, does it works? Any recommends ?

    Br.

    S.P
     
  2. phihag

    phihag Regular Member

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    For Badminton, you don't need many functions:
    • You want your watch to tell time, to gauge how long you've done a certain drill, and for general planning, especially if you're the coach or training yourself.
      A surprising number of watches fail to do this, either because they don't have the current time as a field (thankfully, most modern watches can do this just fine), or need some kind of gesture or button press to turn on their screen (most Android&Apple watches).
    • Interval training with vibration is nice, again primarily if you're the coach or training yourself. For example, the 1v3 corners drill is commonly performed with switching feeder/runner and corner every 90s. If you can just set your watch to vibrate every 90s, then you can focus on the badminton.
    • For most people, heart rate (HR) is not nearly as important. It gives you a way to see whether you should take more breaks, both in competition and training. Most people can just feel this though.
      The resting heart rate can also give an indication of how much stress you can take.
      You can also use it for training control; for example, the first step of my warm-up is jogging until my HR reaches 160. When I've fallen out of bed into the hall (and am well-rested), this may take a while.
    • You can use recovery advisory to check if you're resting enough, and to set the intensity of training. Personally, with every new watch I have this enabled initially, but quickly disable it because it has limited use for me so far.
    That's it: GPS is useless and should be turned off during badminton due to high energy consumption. Pulse-Ox is only useful if you're doing endurance training, which does not fit the badminton sport profile. A barometer could be useful to judge shuttle speed, but you can just test the shuttles.

    The watch should also work an entire training day, or better yet, a whole training camp of up to a week, without needing to charge. Unfortunately, every watch has their own charging standard and do not use USB-C or Qi, so you need to pack an extra cable, which is easy to forget.

    Good current-generation watches can monitor your heart rate just fine. Watches released ~2017 and before often have a bit of trouble tracking during badminton, especially if you do backcourt work. Note that wrist heartrate monitoring requires a particular fit, snug and higher up the arm. If you prefer the watch to be a bit looser and closer to your wrist, accuracy will be diminished. Even with the current generation, I've found a heart-rate chest strap to be much more accurate. Thankfully, most chest straps can send Bluetooth and ANT+ by now, and serious sports watches can generally pick up one of the two or even both.

    A button interface works much better than a touch screen, because you don't have to look at the watch to start/pause an interval or the recording.

    Unfortunately, for many people a watch is a fashion accessory rather than a tool, and many manufacturers tend to optimize for looking good in a showroom and fancy features rather than basic functionality and usability.

    For badminton, I would look into the Garmin Forerunner 45 / 245 / 645 / fēnix 5 plus, Polar Vantage V, or Suunto 3 / 5.
     
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  3. speCulatius

    speCulatius Regular Member

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    Great points. I'm currently looking for a sports watch after trying a smartwatch (Ticwatch E, paid less than 30 € and was still disappointed). Having tried the smartwatch made me realize that's just not what I am looking for. I didn't know it before, so the 30 € spent for learning this were just fine, but now I'm looking at sportswatch and I was about to ask @phihag or create a thread here.
    I want a watch that I can use as a coach and as an athlete, this is not only limited to badminton, but also a little bit more, but I'm willing to compromise, since I'm also looking at the price.

    As a coach, this is actually the key feature I expect from the watch. I want an easy to access, easy to use interval timer. It would be nice to be able to store several settings, but if it's easy enough to change the settings, that's enough. I think for Gamin, a third party app/widget is needed for this, unfortunately it's not that easy to find out online and I didn't get to try one myself yet. Does somebody have more information? I need timers where It's very important to not only vary between 5 and 10 seconds, but I also need 7 seconds. If anyone has any experience with any sports watch, please share it!

    I would like to have a heart rate sensor build in, but I would not trust it too much for Badminton. They have gotten better, but they seem to even it out too much for a sport like badminton, where rallies often only last for seconds.
    What is more of an indicator for stress (and how much more you can handle) is the heart rate variability. When being relaxed and resting, without stress, the pulse is not steady, it's variable. I do not know if the optical sensors are accurate enough to really measure that though. More and more smart and sports watches seem to do that, but I do not know how much you can trust that. It would be interesting considering....
    This would be really interesting considering that there's many people who need to train for themselves. Most clubs in Germany will offer training for adults maybe once a week, that's not enough for the physical part. There's some research on block training that uses the HRV (Hear Rate Variability) to choose between different blocks of the training schedule. First results look very very promising. This would be great to have on your wrist. With a chest strap, I'd trust the results, only with an optical sensor? I don't know, but I'd like to try it. That way I could see if I recommend it to others.
    If you want to use your sports watch for bicycling, maybe running, hiking, ...., GPS is more than nice to have. Not a must, since your phone can probably track all that, but it would be nice, at least to me. Most of the watches will have it though, nowadays.
    The missing standard for charging is a pain in the butt, but if you're really looking into sports watches, they all should last a day easily. A Android Wear Smartwatch? Not so much.
    The option to pair a chest strap should definitely be there! The shorter the intervals are, the worse the optical sensor based measurements seem to be, so if you really want to track badminton, you want to have that option. Fortunately, this seems to be standard, too.

    One option that I was really missing in the past months, was open water swimming tracking. The optical heart rate sensor will most likely not give any usable results (often it is even switched off), but a rough estimation of the distance would be nice since I really cannot estimate that on my own. I never thought I'd miss that, but I did!

    What about the weight? The Ticwatch is very lightweight, so I didn't mind that at all, but I could imagine that having the weight of a racket on your left arm (Garmin Fenix 5 Plus for example) might be uncomfortable.

    What about sports profiles? Most tests seem to be running/triathlon based, so I didn't get much information on that so far.

    Do you have experience with some of these? What's the advantage of the Vantage V over the Vantage M? I thought the M should be just fine. Why are you missing out the FR 735? Very affordable now. What about Corox? Corox Apex seems to be reasonably priced. Any experience with the Garmin Vivoactive 3? Please share on why you think these watches are worth a look, but others aren't, especially if you have first hand experience!

    Please share everything you know about timers/timer settings, sports profiles and their adaptability and everything else I forgot!
     
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  4. phihag

    phihag Regular Member

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    [Updated and corrected 27th December 2019]

    Sorry for the late reply. It is so late that numerous new sports watches have been released in the meantime:

    The Fitbit Versa 2 now supports an always-on mode, but it only has two buttons; most stuff is handled by the touchscreen, which is not a good idea.

    Same for Garmin Vivoactive 3&4 / Venu and Apple Watch 5: These are Touchscreen watches (and even Apple now supports always-on, although you can expect barely one day of battery live), and thus not really suitable.

    But on to my short and incomplete guide. This summarizes information from manuals, YouTube videos, and various reviews.

    The Coros Apex (220€-250€ in Germany) is a Triathlon watch. Its has interval training and supports triathlon, but its other functions are very limited.

    The Suunto 5 (220€-250€) even has a dedicated Badminton profile. (Not that it's any special, on other watches you can just create a Badminton profile should you need one.) The watch supports simple interval training, à la 3x10s seconds. The display is rather small though, and the notification support is pretty sparse.

    The Polar Vantage M (~200€) has a larger screen and simple interval training as well, but no detailed training plans.

    The Garmin Forerunner 45 (~160€) is similar to the Suunto 5 in features: Simple interval training configurable on the watch, and basic notification features.

    The Forerunner 735 (~200€) is an older model, and supports open-water swims and triathlons. You can also set up very complicated workouts (not on the watch itself though, via Android/iOS app or website).

    The Forerunner 245 (~250€) or 245M(usic) (~270€) also supports configurable workouts, and the training guidance is much better, e.g. accounting for outside temperature. There's also the option to reply from the watch (I got a reply currently playing badminton, will reply later set up), but also mobile payments and emergency notification.
    Both watches support third-party apps and watchfaces. The app selection is not totally bad, but the apps tend not to be quite as polished as the built-in experience.
    The 245M is attractive not only because you can play music with your watch (which some people may like to warm up), but also because you have plentiful storage, even if recording many entire training camps with extended details.

    The Forerunner 645 (~280€) and 645M (~350€) add triathlon modes.

    The Forerunner 945(~510€) and Fenix 6 Pro(~590€/600€/660€ depending on the size) add built-in maps to the feature set of the 645M. There are third-party apps for maps on the 645/645M, but they require a connected smartphone. I could get the third-party map apps to run from time to time, but it was very spotty, and certainly not something I'd use in a sticky situation. The Fenix 6 Pro is quite heavy for badminton though.

    In general, I think the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is the best bang for the buck: It can do even complicated training steps, and it's a high-quality watch in general. If money is no consideration, having maps with the Forerunner 945 would be a killer feature for me. I hate that there doesn't seem to be any competition in the market for watches with buttons and advanced features.

    This shouldn't be a problem with any of the above watches. If you just want a vibration every 7 seconds (and then maybe 3 seconds of rest), all of them can do that. More advanced stuff like showing the name of the next excercise on the watch, and varying between interval lengths is rarer.

    Of the watches, the Suunto 5 can do limited HRV, and Garmin Forerunner 245 and up can do full HRV analysis. I don't hae any data about how good that is though.

    With the exception of the Corox, all of the above watches support external sensors, although the Forerunner 45 and 735 only support ANT+, and the Suunto and Polar watches only support Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). All other mentioned Garmin watches support both ANT+ and BLE.

    I didn't really account for this, since I'm focusing somewhat on badminton. All of the above watches with the exception of the Forerunner 45 and 245/245M support openwater swimming.

    Most of the watches above are about the same weight of the Ticwatch E (46g). Only the Fenix watches are heavier, with 60 to 83g.

    Sports profiles default certain settings. All watches with sports profiles I have encountered allow you to change the settings at will. So if worst comes to worst, you can just use Indoor Cycling for Badminton training, and configure it to your liking. But all the watches will have Other, and many allow you to create multiple sports profiles.

    By this comparison by Polar, the M does not seem to have an always-on display. [update This is wrong, see below. Vantage V is a touch watch.]

    Added both to this post.

    Yes, got one on my wrist right now. A nice smart watch (supports customized replies and third-party), but I can not recommend it for badminton, since it has a nasty tendency to activate the touchscreen all the time. Sure, you can lock it, but I always forget to until it's too late and I'm in a strange submenu or screen. Plus, you have to look at the screen and touch it at specific positions for ~5 seconds to start an activity, and that sucks. On the button watches, you can usually press the start button two times and off you go. This means I often forget or avoid to start the recording.
     
    #4 phihag, Dec 26, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
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  5. speCulatius

    speCulatius Regular Member

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    I have had the Vantage M for some time now (wanted to test some things I rarely use before writing a post here) and it does have an always on display. Polar probably just didn't think it's worth mentioning it, because it's not a touch display.

    Overall, I'm quite happy with it. For some reason, the interval timer is only accessable when tracking a training (all other timers are available without it), it has tons of sports profiles, everything else I was looking for and a good battery life.

    I do disagree here. I paid 160€ for the Vantage M which is a good price, but I have seen it again since. You can certainly get it below 200€. Unless you want the watch to be able to play music, I don't see an advantage in the FR245M.

    It might even be possible to create detailed trainings in advance, but I just did not get to test that yet. (The support said it's possible, but I have my doubts).

    The Vantage M is not perfect, but I'd buy it again. Design is very subjective, but I kinda like the looks even.
     
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  6. phihag

    phihag Regular Member

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    Personal note: Given @speCulatius's recommendation, I went ahead and spent some time with the Polar Vantage M. But it's not the watch for me; its UI feels cumbersome to me, and it lacks the killer features of structured workouts and message replies.

    The salesman assured me that the modern touchscreens are better in ignoring unwanted input, but I could not find any official claim by the manufacturers, so I remain very skeptical. The Garmin Vivoactive 4/4S has 2 buttons at least, which allows you to navigate somewhat without a touchscreen.

    I also tried out the map functions of the Garmin Forerunner 945 in person, and it didn't really convince me. It works, but everything feels clunky. Maybe maps do need a touchscreen.
    As a programmer, I like being able to program my watch, but Garmin Connect is somewhat limited, and 2020 is going to be my year of focus, during which I do not want to be tempted to start yet another development project. While the weight of the 945 is similar to the other watches, it seemed a little bit too large to me.

    In the end, I went with the safe option, the Garmin Forerunner 245M. If there is anything surprising to it and/or I'm missing apps&maps, I'll post here. For now, I'm just happy to be on court and have a very reliable time and HR display on my wrist.
     
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  7. phihag

    phihag Regular Member

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    Turns out that I misread the manual: The Forerunner 245/245M does support third-party apps. Unfortunately, it seems that even with the Music version, you're limited to 16 apps and cannot use the additional storage for more apps.

    I've corrected my post above and will try to keep it at least somewhat up to date with the newest releases.
     
  8. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Any chest strap monitors that you can recommend?

    HRV guiding training is very interesting.

    Wrist monitors seem to be behind chest strap monitors for HRV monitoring.
     
  9. phihag

    phihag Regular Member

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    Personally, I'm still using the venerable Garmin Standard Chest Strap Monitor [sic]. I've heard positive reviews though about the Polar H7, Polar H10, and Garmin HRM-DUAL.

    Unless you're going for the HRM-DUAL, check that the standard your watch supports (ANT+ or Bluetooth) is the same that your chest strap supports. For example, a Polar H7 won't work with a Garmin Forerunner 45.
     
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  10. speCulatius

    speCulatius Regular Member

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    I have no experience with chest straps, but I can say a tiny bit (not as much as I'd like to know) about the HRV guided training.

    I am not sure how much the HRV during a training really tells you, since that's always stressful for the body.
    The approach I know is to do a HRV test in the morning, before training, to decide which kind of training you'll do instead of periodizing classically.
    little stress/high HRV -> high intensity training
    [..]
    a lot of stress -> low intensity training
    too much stress -> rest

    Therefore you (or the watch) needs to set a personal baseline which will take at least three weeks when doing it manually.

    The program I know of (highly qualified coaches, some of the athletes will probably end up in the world's top ten - not badminton though) used at least 3 days of each training period and then decided to step down if the test suggests to do so.

    While chest straps are certainly superior to optical (wrist) sensors, it shouldn't make too much of a difference for the scenario of a HRV test (you being relaxed).
    I think the Polar Vantage M could do it when you ask it to (one of those things I have to test), it certainly does it at night automatically (when you wear it) as part of the 'nightly recharge' data. The nightly recharge seems to be more accurate than my personal feeling before training. That did impress me. I'm not completely trusting it yet, because I'm not completely satisfied with the heart rate monitoring, but so far it seems to be pretty accurate. More accurate than my subjective feelin as I could only find out after training.
    That should work with pretty much any smartwatch even, let alone sport watches. My only experience is with the Vantage though. Unless it really cannot measure the HRV in any way.
     
  11. speCulatius

    speCulatius Regular Member

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    This and the missing music feature are two points in favor of the Garmin 245M. The Vantage M also does not have a map function, but it does have a get home function with an arrow and the distance to your starting point which works rather well, even in cities.
    Quite funnily, I didn't get along with the Garmin UI when playing around with it before getting the Polar. I'm sure I'd get used to it, but I'd compare it to cameras: Give a Canon to a Nikon user and he'll tell you the UI is crap and vise versa.

    I still didn't get to test if it's possible to create your own workout, because more and more features are added, so I'll probably not be able to write a full review before the watch is outdated... One of the newer features is that the watch now gives suggestions for guided workouts and those suggestions seem to depend mostly on the ANS (autonomous nervous system) status, which depends on the watch's measurements of breathe rate, heart rate, and heart rate variability during your sleep, while also taking into account your past activities and taking care to give suggestions for cardio, strength, stability, and mobility.
    While the target group for these workouts probably is people with an office job who want to exercise more (and certainly not people training specifically for a sport), I intentionally didn't look at those measurements before training for around two weeks to pay closer attention to how I was feeling during and after training and compare it afterwards. The measurements of the ANS related values were able to predict how focused I was in training, how intensely I was able to train, while the measurements for the quality of sleep seemed to represent my subjective feeling of being (not so) well rested beforehand.
    This makes me even more interested in HRV guided training. This is not science, this is just my subjective feeling, but the ANS measurements are able to predict the quality of my training for that day. I'm impressed. I'm sure Garmin and other brands are capable of doing the same, I just don't have any experience with those.

    A quick note on the message features: I even switched off the 'smart' notification features, so I'm the wrong person to ask about that.
     

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