VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

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VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby Lamont » Sat 12 Sep, 2020 11:25 am

Hi ho everyone.
I am looking for a very simple watch type device (not how I might use my phone please) that is;
-as small as possible in both diameter and thickness but readable,
-can tell me 1-distance covered, 2-average speed, 3-elevation change between checks (lost/gained) and
-time
Does such a device exist?

EDIT- after a stand alone device only. NO PHONE PAIRING INVOLVED.
All prices considered but really just looking for simple things above and wondered if such a thing is under about 100-150 spondoolics.
Would you please give me full details so I can hunt one down with the full name model etc if such a thing exists.
If you know of one that meets my needs and costs more please tell me anyway.
If I need to go to a runners forum or some such and you know the link please throw it up
Ta
Last edited by Lamont on Sat 12 Sep, 2020 4:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Watch type thing for walking.

Postby wildwanderer » Sat 12 Sep, 2020 12:10 pm

Id suggest the Suunto ambit 3. It's a bit over your budget but it will do everything you list (and more) and doesn't need to be paired to a phone.

List price has gone down dramatically as they have been superseded by the app based watches that synch to phones.

Ambit 3 now retails for $249. (They used to be 500+)

https://andrewskurka.com/long-term-revi ... ort-watch/

You may also get what you require from the latest Fitbit (which would likely be much smaller than the Suunto) but they are designed to be paired to phones.
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Re: Watch type thing for walking.

Postby Neo » Sat 12 Sep, 2020 3:54 pm

I wear a Garmin vivofit 4.

It does not do elevation.

I chose it because it does not have GPS and does not require charging.

Features are time, date, steps, distance, alarms, weather icon with temps, activity types/timers and is swim-proof.

Probably does a couple of other basic things.

You have to Bluetooth to a device with their app to update weather and download activity, to set the alarms of which there may be no limit. I find the forecast approximate...
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Watch type thing for walking.

Postby GPSGuided » Sat 12 Sep, 2020 4:05 pm

Now for something completely different, a Stryd foot pod!

I’ve acquired a Stryd a few months ago for my running and have been most impressed with it. It’s not your average step counting foot pod but a power meter for run training. It uses internal accelerometers as well as pressure sensors to figure out the power output of one’s runs/walks, along with all the usual distance, direction, steps, distance, speed amongst many other physical parameters. Very accurate. Paired with a smartphone/watch and their apps, it’s one powerful aid.

Of course, it’s not for everyone or a casual walk. It does cater for the data needs of those who desire it, especially those who are into serious trail running. The battery life is good for 100km ultramarathon runs.

http://www.stryd.com/

(I have no relations to the product or the company but a paying customer)


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Re: Watch type thing for walking.

Postby Lamont » Sat 12 Sep, 2020 4:23 pm

Just making a change to my original post.
MUST NOT rely on phone pairing please. After some more research I'm after solely a stand alone wrist watch type device and as mentioned a simple one to meet just the needs outlined in the first post. I'm after simplicity. :D

Thanks WW for the reference and the review link. :D I will have another look at the Ambit but it is a monster at nearly 20mm thick so I would struggle with it I think. Also has a lot of features that I'm not after. Although, I will do some more research and see if they may be useful.
Neo I believe after some research it must have GPS to give me variations in elevation, ta anyway :D
GPS Ta looks nice but not what I'm after -good luck with it :D
Thanks
Last edited by Lamont on Sat 12 Sep, 2020 6:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Watch type thing for walking.

Postby wayno » Sat 12 Sep, 2020 4:43 pm

I doubt you'll get a watch that doesnt need to pair with another device.., It would need its own direct internet connection.. all the gps watches pair, you can avoid pairing , it will work on its own, but you wont get the tracks uploaded on the net and you'll have to keep clearing the watch data to free up space
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby Baeng72 » Sat 12 Sep, 2020 6:39 pm

Not a watch, but standalone device.
Has GPS, altitude, temperature, barometric, way points, compass, etc.
Bit clunky in the UI, but OK for the money.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000325194671.html
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby ChrisJHC » Sat 12 Sep, 2020 7:32 pm

Way out of your indicative price range but the Garmin Fenix 5 meets all your criteria.

The Garmin 6 is even more expensive but can come with solar charging for extended trips.

The 5 happily stored all my data from a Larapinta E2E.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby wayno » Sun 13 Sep, 2020 4:35 am

garmin instinct is around $300
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby matagi » Sun 13 Sep, 2020 8:57 am

You might find something in this article that fits your requirements:

https://www.greenbelly.co/pages/best-hiking-watches
This makes me the first man to climb Mount Everest backwards, without oxygen...or even a jumper.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby Lamont » Sun 13 Sep, 2020 11:47 am

matagi wrote:You might find something in this article that fits your requirements:

https://www.greenbelly.co/pages/best-hiking-watches

Ta for that M, with yours ( I have the ultrathin Casio nonGPS watch in that article- it is has been on my wrist for two years night and day it's tough as and I don't even know it's there-it's a little ripper!) and WW's Skurka article and my own research it appears what I have found that does the job is towards $300.
So I don't know anymore. I think I need a good camera first.
Curses, foiled again!
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby Mark F » Sun 13 Sep, 2020 1:00 pm

"1-distance covered, 2-average speed," - need gps to calculate. Just curious why these are important. I have a rough idea of the distance I plan to walk and the breakup between key points along the route so can get an idea of how I am going with just a time readout but I am not trying to be an elite athlete or even a "wanna-be".

"3-elevation change between checks (lost/gained) and -time" My ancient Suunto Vector watch (17 yo) does this perfectly well.

You seem happy with your Casio so save your money and spend it on something made of dcf, cf or unobtanium.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby keithy » Sun 13 Sep, 2020 10:19 pm

Most people have covered this already, but in your budget of $100-$150 there are limited options to do everything that you want.

I think the minimum requirements to achieve your objectives,

1. Distance Covered (GPS or pedometer)
2. Average Speed (GPS)
3. Elevation Change (GPS or Barometric Altimeter)

For your budget, you are limited in choice. I will go through what I think are the minimums you need to achieve your objectives

Cheaper Advanced GPS watches
These are generally way outside your budget, but used options like:
  • A second hand Garmin Foretrex 101 or 103 - lacks an internal barometer so relies solely on GPS for elevation. A Foretrex 104 is good, and you might pick up a second hand one within your budget. The Foretrex 104 has an internal barometeric altimeter, and runs on 2xAAAs, and weighs around 80g with batteries, but is a little bulky in comparison to regular watches.
    The newer Foretrex 601 is well out of your budget at around $350.
  • Older Garmin models like the Fenix 3 (I've seen a few in varying conditions on Gumtree for under $200), or the even the newer Garmin Instinct, but the best I've seen for these lately is a shade under $300.
  • You can get a few models of Garmin fitness watches in the upper end of your budget, or slightly beyond - up to $200, but the cheaper Garmin Vivoactives models for example while they have GPS, lack a barometer for more accurate elevation reporting. So they may only accurately achieve your #1 & #2

Altimeter/Barometer Watch
These are great for elevation changes as long as you calibrate the barometer often. I calibrate mine to elevation (mainly using contours on topo maps). So while these are within your budget, these can achieve your #3 but not the other two.

I have used an alti/baro watch with built in pedometer to estimate distance, you enter your stats (either height or stride length), and it does a calculation based on steps to arrive at a distance travelled. This sounds good in theory, and may well work for short trips on flat ground, but in my experience it was woefully inaccurate usually adding significantly longer distances to what was actually traversed. As with ABC watches, it used a barometric altimeter to give elevation details, but does not provide average speed (so #1 & #3 of your requirements, but realistically using a pedometer to achieve #1 is dodgy).

Fitness bands
Fitbits, Mibands etc, these may have GPS built in and most can run without connecting to a phone and will display your #1 & #2 with some accuracy (#1 only achieved for those that have GPS built in). The ones that use the pedometer to estimate distance can be quite inaccurate as I mentioned. But typically the ones under $150 will not display elevation data.

Very Cheap Basic GPS watch
Back in 2015 I tried the Aldi Crane GPS Ski watch. It looked ideal on paper, and was originally $90ish discounted to about $30 on clearance. It could give distance, height (elevation) and speed. In practice however, it was very average. It took forever to acquire signal lock, the GPS signal would drift significantly, resulting in inaccurate distance recorded (greater drift = increased in assumed distance covered). The heights reported (being based solely on GPS) were not accurate, and there was no option to manually re-calibrate. And the worst thing I found was that it didn't keep time, when it was not able to sync with GPS time. For example if it was left indoors, even with full charge, over a few weeks it would lose accuracy. So it was returned.

[*]Cheap Obscure Chinese brand GPS watch
There are a plethora of obscurely named Chinese brands that make GPS watches. Some are better than others, and mostly in the $100-$150 range, but I've not tested any of the GPS versions. My current favourite ABC watch is from a Chinese company named "North Edge" and while it has a Suunto like display, the layout and firmware has improvements over the four Suuntos I've owned. I got mine almost 5 years ago, and I prefer it even to my three solar powered Casio Protreks as it displays both Ambient Pressure and Sea Level Pressure, and has a nice graph of those and retains a log of both elevation and pressure for 7 days.

There are models available like the North Edge XTrek 3, Sunroad FR930 which have GPS, and appear to be capable of achieving all of your requirements, and under $150 direct from China. Again though, I have not used any of their GPS models however, and have read varying comments on their quality control.

TLDR
To sum up, limited in products to achieve all your requirements within your budget.

Some options are:
  • Secondhand Foretrex 101 / 103 / 104 - Foretrex 101 & 103 lack a built in barometer, so uses GPS for elevation data. Foretrex are a little bulkier given they use 2xAAA batteries.
  • Secondhand Garmin Fenix - these may still command higher prices than your budget, even for the first releases, and for the early models (the Garmin Fenix 1 came out 7 or 8 years ago), I would be concerned about the life of the internal battery.
  • Cheap no named Chinese GPS watch - within your budget, and should be able to achieve your requirements. I have reviewed brands like Sunroad, North Edge and Ezon for example, but not their GPS units, so quality may be of concern, and you will likely have to self import this from China - and under covid times, you might not get it for 3 months.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby wildwanderer » Mon 14 Sep, 2020 9:44 am

Mark F wrote:"1-distance covered, 2-average speed," - need gps to calculate. Just curious why these are important.


I find it very useful for a few scenarios.

Average speed: allows me monitor if im going fast enough to cover the distance to camp by my planned arrival time. Or in alpine regions to ensure I make it over a high pass before forecasted afternoon storms etc

Distance covered: I use this on long ridges when I have a spur decent. Press the lap timer at the start of the ridge and then I can monitor how close I'm getting to the decent spur. Very useful when all the Spurs are running in the same direction and look the same (or even hidden) from above.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby Lamont » Mon 14 Sep, 2020 10:26 am

Mark F wrote:"
You seem happy with your Casio so save your money and spend it on something made of dcf, cf or unobtanium.

Yes I thought I might get something quite a bit cheaper and take a punt but the prices just seem too high for the few features I'm after, even the base models have all extras thrown in which I would never be able to learn how (I'm borrowing 'Cyber Cretin' ) to use or don't need.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby Lamont » Mon 14 Sep, 2020 10:38 am

keithy wrote:Most people have covered this already, but in your budget of $100-$150 there are limited options to do everything that you want.

I think the minimum requirements to achieve your objectives,

1. Distance Covered (GPS or pedometer)
2. Average Speed (GPS)
3. Elevation Change (GPS or Barometric Altimeter)

For your budget, you are limited in choice. I will go through what I think are the minimums you need to achieve your objectives

Cheaper Advanced GPS watches
These are generally way outside your budget, but used options like:
  • A second hand Garmin Foretrex 101 or 103 - lacks an internal barometer so relies solely on GPS for elevation. A Foretrex 104 is good, and you might pick up a second hand one within your budget. The Foretrex 104 has an internal barometeric altimeter, and runs on 2xAAAs, and weighs around 80g with batteries, but is a little bulky in comparison to regular watches.
    The newer Foretrex 601 is well out of your budget at around $350.
  • Older Garmin models like the Fenix 3 (I've seen a few in varying conditions on Gumtree for under $200), or the even the newer Garmin Instinct, but the best I've seen for these lately is a shade under $300.
  • You can get a few models of Garmin fitness watches in the upper end of your budget, or slightly beyond - up to $200, but the cheaper Garmin Vivoactives models for example while they have GPS, lack a barometer for more accurate elevation reporting. So they may only accurately achieve your #1 & #2

Altimeter/Barometer Watch
These are great for elevation changes as long as you calibrate the barometer often. I calibrate mine to elevation (mainly using contours on topo maps). So while these are within your budget, these can achieve your #3 but not the other two.

I have used an alti/baro watch with built in pedometer to estimate distance, you enter your stats (either height or stride length), and it does a calculation based on steps to arrive at a distance travelled. This sounds good in theory, and may well work for short trips on flat ground, but in my experience it was woefully inaccurate usually adding significantly longer distances to what was actually traversed. As with ABC watches, it used a barometric altimeter to give elevation details, but does not provide average speed (so #1 & #3 of your requirements, but realistically using a pedometer to achieve #1 is dodgy).

Fitness bands
Fitbits, Mibands etc, these may have GPS built in and most can run without connecting to a phone and will display your #1 & #2 with some accuracy (#1 only achieved for those that have GPS built in). The ones that use the pedometer to estimate distance can be quite inaccurate as I mentioned. But typically the ones under $150 will not display elevation data.

Very Cheap Basic GPS watch
Back in 2015 I tried the Aldi Crane GPS Ski watch. It looked ideal on paper, and was originally $90ish discounted to about $30 on clearance. It could give distance, height (elevation) and speed. In practice however, it was very average. It took forever to acquire signal lock, the GPS signal would drift significantly, resulting in inaccurate distance recorded (greater drift = increased in assumed distance covered). The heights reported (being based solely on GPS) were not accurate, and there was no option to manually re-calibrate. And the worst thing I found was that it didn't keep time, when it was not able to sync with GPS time. For example if it was left indoors, even with full charge, over a few weeks it would lose accuracy. So it was returned.

[*]Cheap Obscure Chinese brand GPS watch
There are a plethora of obscurely named Chinese brands that make GPS watches. Some are better than others, and mostly in the $100-$150 range, but I've not tested any of the GPS versions. My current favourite ABC watch is from a Chinese company named "North Edge" and while it has a Suunto like display, the layout and firmware has improvements over the four Suuntos I've owned. I got mine almost 5 years ago, and I prefer it even to my three solar powered Casio Protreks as it displays both Ambient Pressure and Sea Level Pressure, and has a nice graph of those and retains a log of both elevation and pressure for 7 days.

There are models available like the North Edge XTrek 3, Sunroad FR930 which have GPS, and appear to be capable of achieving all of your requirements, and under $150 direct from China. Again though, I have not used any of their GPS models however, and have read varying comments on their quality control.

TLDR
To sum up, limited in products to achieve all your requirements within your budget.

Some options are:
  • Secondhand Foretrex 101 / 103 / 104 - Foretrex 101 & 103 lack a built in barometer, so uses GPS for elevation data. Foretrex are a little bulkier given they use 2xAAA batteries.
  • Secondhand Garmin Fenix - these may still command higher prices than your budget, even for the first releases, and for the early models (the Garmin Fenix 1 came out 7 or 8 years ago), I would be concerned about the life of the internal battery.
  • Cheap no named Chinese GPS watch - within your budget, and should be able to achieve your requirements. I have reviewed brands like Sunroad, North Edge and Ezon for example, but not their GPS units, so quality may be of concern, and you will likely have to self import this from China - and under covid times, you might not get it for 3 months.


Onya Keithy. Thanks kindly for taking the time to do this. :D
My issues are all the ones you've mentioned plus the price for the few features I want. If I was willing to pay about $300 I could get all I want easily for a new GPS watch device, (small and thin, four essential features I mentioned and I'll add -very solid battery life) but for my mildly nerdy wants, the price at the minute just doesn't warrant it.
Know some runners with some of the devices you mention and I might put out the feelers for a second hand one.
This may be the go.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby Mark F » Mon 14 Sep, 2020 11:23 am

wildwanderer wrote:
Mark F wrote:"1-distance covered, 2-average speed," - need gps to calculate. Just curious why these are important.


I find it very useful for a few scenarios.

Average speed: allows me monitor if im going fast enough to cover the distance to camp by my planned arrival time. Or in alpine regions to ensure I make it over a high pass before forecasted afternoon storms etc

Distance covered: I use this on long ridges when I have a spur decent. Press the lap timer at the start of the ridge and then I can monitor how close I'm getting to the decent spur. Very useful when all the Spurs are running in the same direction and look the same (or even hidden) from above.


Pre gps, altitude was the way you picked up spur descents although carrying altimeters wasn't common in Australia. Set the altitude at the top of the descent to the known altitude and know the altitude where the spur branches off. Far more accurate than the distance from the top to the branch. Still works today, but I must admit that I now rely on my gps for this.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby wildwanderer » Mon 14 Sep, 2020 12:55 pm

Using altitude works well if you have a ridge with significant changes in altitude. There are plenty of flat and undulating ridges though.

Though this argument can also be applied to the distance method somewhat. If you have a heavily forested ridge which your repeatedly crisscrossing to avoid scrub.

The beauty of the watches is you can combine the altimeter and the distance method to get a position fix. All for significantly less battery than using a phone with an active GPS running.

And if you're leading a group it's easy to glance at your watch while continuing walking. With a phone/gps I usually need to stop for a minute.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby Neo » Mon 14 Sep, 2020 10:17 pm

Thumb the map?
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby Warin » Tue 15 Sep, 2020 9:38 am

wildwanderer wrote:And if you're leading a group it's easy to glance at your watch while continuing walking. With a phone/gps I usually need to stop for a minute.


I see no problem stopping for a minute or 3 while leading a group. Allows for people to look around, check one another and talk. The less fit may be lagging and will probably appreciate a longer stop. The group leader also get a chance to assess the individuals and take a bit of a brake themselves.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby wildwanderer » Wed 16 Sep, 2020 7:35 am

It depends how often I'm stopping.

In a challenging section like a forested fat ridge, stopping every 5 mins for 30 sec to take my phone from its pouch to check the digital map or take a compass bearing can break up the walking rhythm of the group and tends to annoy people.

Stopping long enough for people to all bunch up,rest and have a chat means someone inevitably takes their pack off and then it's a 5 min+ break.

With a watch it's easy to glance at it, check your distance/bearing to the turn off spur and continue walking with no disruption. Then we can do longer scheduled breaks.

This is just how I like to do it. Other people have different approaches.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby Neo » Sat 26 Sep, 2020 1:31 pm

Neo wrote:Thumb the map?


Touché to myself! Just lashed out on a Garmin Instinct. Now to figure it out and disable any extras like messages. It should last o er twn days before charging if not running GPS.

Rereading this thread I can recall and imagine the difficulty selecting the correct spur, especially if not walking with a group of navigators to confer with.
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Re: VERY SIMPLE Watch type device for walking.

Postby alexy » Thu 03 Dec, 2020 4:29 pm

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