Garmin 920 v Apple Series 3

Review: Apple Watch Series 3 versus Garmin 920xt

Note: This review is 100% of my own words.  No products were provided to me in exchange for this review. I have linked to items on Amazon with my associates account.

 

As a runner and triathlete, having data is my jam! It is really important that I have a product that is accurate, easy to use, breaks down data properly and integrates well with multiple applications and systems for reviewing this data. 

I started out using a Garmin 910xt and quickly moved into the upgraded version, the Garmin 920xt.  This watch has served me well for a few years – but one of the biggest things I haven’t been a fan of was moving between the Garmin 920xt during workouts then to my Apple Watch Series 1 during the day.  Sure, data could be imported but it was just a ‘pain’.  This is why when the Apple Series 3 came out, I was ecstatic!  This Series 3 has capability for swimming and in watch heart rate tracking.

 

The Positives

These are a quick bullet list of my favorite aspects of each:

Garmin 920xt: 

  • Bluetooth connectivity – can view texts notifications on watch
  • Cycling data (power, speed, cadence)
  • Running data (
  • Battery life – up to 24 hours (I haven’t tested this, but it served me well through an Ironman 10+ hours)
  • Durability – I don’t shy away from being rough with it
  • Compatible with Apple, Windows, Android
  • Garmin Connect integrates well with many different online programs
  • VO2 Max levels
  • Custom set HR and Power zones
  • MOVE! – Watch can set to encourage you to move
  • Recovery check – uses heart rate to determine your recovery
  • Accessories to enhance use – running form, power/cadence

 

Apple Series 3 Watch:  

  • Tracking is accurate  – like the Garmin
  • No cell phone needed – can make calls, listen to music
  • Heart rate strap not needed – it is tracked from wrist
  • Automatic detection of swim splits and type of stroke (this actually awed me!)
  • Lighter weight and smaller wear than the Garmin
  • Can use to find my phone (chronic phone-loser here)
  • Wheelchair user functionality
  • Shares activity with other Apple watch users
  • Activity rings – visually see your daily progress + get prompts from watch

 

The Drawbacks

Garmin 920xt: 

  • Have to use a heart rate strap
  • No music or phone capabilities (Not a deal breaker for me)

 

Apple Series 3 Watch:  

  • Lack of cycling data (power, speed)
  • Lack of real time swim splits
  • Only compatible with Apple (but I’m an Apple fan so this isn’t a deal breaker)

 

Recommended sports: 

Garmin 920xt: 

  • running
  • multisport (triathlon, aquathlon)
  • cycling
  • hiking/rucking

 

Apple Series 3 Watch:  

  • running
  • hiking/rucking

 

Bottom line

It was slightly difficult to compare these two as I feel they aren’t entirely meant for the same type of athlete.  I’d highly recommend the Series 3 Apple watch for runners + newer triathletes.  The Series 3 is definitely a good runners watch – one that you can seamlessly wear and use all day during workouts and normal around your daily activities.

Until the Series 3 steps up and integrates the following I’m going to stick with the Garmin for my triathlon activities.

Needed:

  • Connectivity and tracking to cycling power meters and speed sensors
  • Capability to push for a “split” in swimming and see the results on screen, not after the fact

In complete fairness, the Apple watch isn’t advertised for triathletes or swimmers – so I don’t want this review to sound like the Garmin is “better” – it just has functionalities and data tracking that I specifically need as an athlete.  If I took cycling out the equation and focused solely on running and aquathlon (swim/run) I can see it being a “toss up” between the two as many functionalities are the same, pricing is relatively similar and the styles suit the average age group to elite athlete.

 

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