Data or looks

Never before have I ever been so paralyzed by choice than the past few months.
I have been on a personal data binge and have been looking at heart rate variability and running data specifically.
I could do a whole blog on HRV, and perhaps I will at some stage, but enough to say that you use a sensor to measure the beat-to-beat variability of your heart rate, the more variable, the more rested and ready for activity you are. Low variability means your body is hunkered down and is looking to rest. The thought/plan is that you take your HRV each day to get a feel for what stress your body is under (or not) and thus what you can throw at it for the day.
Alongside of HRV is also body temperature. It goes up and down according to how stressed your body is.
For a good many weeks, we have been using Terry’s old cycling heart rate chest strap and an app on my phone to take my morning HRV. The problem is, waking up and getting the strap on and such impacts the reading.
Long story short, I found a sensor that you can wear to bed and it takes both HRV and body temp while you sleep. It arrives in April. Longer than I would like, but eh, that’s what you get for living in the future.
(Obviously more about that sensor when it arrives and I get it settled into my life).

Running data is where the real issue has been.
I can either get a nice looking smart watch that gives me very poor running metrics, or I can get an ugly looking watch that is not very good at smart notifications, but amazing at running / activity data.
The nice one is really good looking, nice notifications, but somewhat poor readability outside in full sun and has about 18 hour battery life. The ugly smart watch has a very low power screen, so it will be hard to read indoors, but under full sunlight, it comes to life and is very easy to read. But as a result it gets around a week between charges. (Perfect for hiking in the Grand Canyon, which I don’t have planned, but would do at a drop of the hat).
The good looking one does not have a GPS, but could depending on which model I go with. Either way, it really does not matter as it simply tracks your route and does very little with the data points. The poor display has GPS and gives you a wealth of data of each point along the way, so it ties your running/hiking/cycling data to each location. Updated live on the watch and on the map when you get back and sync it.

My Fitbit Ionic was supposed to be an upgraded fitness tracker, but once I got it and started using it, I quickly found that it was both a very poor fitness tracker and smartwatch. I am considering selling it, but Fitbit have a fantastic API and so I can easily get my data out and into both Strava and groov. Both very important things for me. I will probably end up wearing both watches since both have their strengths.

Both the good looking watch and the ugly one have below average API’s so its going to be hard to get the data outside of their apps/web pages.

I have done the usual thing of splitting a page in half and putting the pros and cons of each on the page and every time I do it, no matter what angle I take (form or function), they always come out to be exactly 50/50.
Poor old Freddy has been driven mad as I try and come to a conclusion for what device to go for.
Either are pretty big dollar commitments, I have been saving for a long while so I have the money, but I can only buy once. We can’t afford both (and I am out of wrists at this point) and to save for the other as well is going to take months, my point is, money is not a consideration for either, I think it’s worth that much to me.

It’s also very personal. You wear the thing and it’s part of your daily life.
I thought about posting pictures and such here and asking you guys to vote, but its my watch, my wrist, my life, my data… Hard to ask someone else to chose for me.

So. Today. I chose ugly. Data over looks. Function over form.
Ordered it from Amazon. Should be there when I get home.


  1. Well put Dad, well put… I often wonder how the geeks of the day got by. I guess they made gadgets and gathered data with a pencil and paper. I mean, they were still geeks, people are born with different natures, they just are, so they were around. Not everyone was a born farmer.

  2. I had to smile. Here you are all caught up with technology, and yesterday I was talking to
    an elderly lady about hessian water bags, and the big long one in particular with a compartment
    under it for your butter.

    The point is – many people have lived and died without knowing their HRV.

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