February 11, 2024

No longer a digital minimalist - Musings on Smart Watches

In 2015 I bought my first smart watch - a Garmin Forerunner 235.  I loved this watch.  I loved the step count, the interface, the heart rate monitor.  It was AWESOME.  It basically identified my first pregnancy with Isaac when I saw my hear rate increase rapidly during exercise while exertion remained the same - I found out I was pregnant two days later.

It was also very much a running watch.  I felt a bit silly wearing a running watch at work and around for errands when I clearly wasn't running.  During covid I decided to get a smaller watch that would track just my steps and heartate so went for the Garmin Vivosmart HR (used on Ebay).  

This arguably fit all my specifications - it did steps. It did steps, and heart-rate.  It just wasn't particularly inspiring... or pretty.  I just didn't like it much.  It didn't look cool.

So now, in 2024, I decided I wanted a new watch.  I wanted to have a few metrics beyond how many nappies, baby naps, and baby feeds I've done in a day.  Steps is at least a "me" metric.

I didn't want a watch that looked like a running watch, and I didn't want a basic watch.  I wanted something that looked coolish while tracking my steps and resting heart rate.  Bonus if it counted my standing time.  I also wanted it to rack runs and heart-rate during exercise.  Bonus if it counted flights of stairs.  

I started looking online, and at the same time listened to two podcasts where the hosts randomly spoke about their apple watches.  It seemed like the apple watch did everything I wanted, and at a price point less than new garmins.  And it definitely didn't say "runner".  

It turns out, the apple watch does everything. it does so much of everything that I can't figure out how to use it.  It's too much watch for me.  It doesn't look like a running watch (obvs).  I know there is probably an apple solution for everything I'm not keen on (how do I make it just show me numbers? what is rings? where is step count? how do I set an alarm to vibrate and not ring?) but I don't feel like extending the energy to lear how to apple right now.  I did figure out how to disable all notifications and un-synch it from my phone (I don't like having any notifications on my person - the only noise my phone makes is ringing)

Maybe I'm the only person who doesn't like apple watch?  Maybe I need to learn how to use it? or maybe I need to just start wearing the Garmin 235 again and pretend I'm always about to go for a run?

Do you use a smart watch? What kind? What's your favourite thing about it?


  1. This is why I don't have an Apple watch - I already have a Garmin and I don't know what Apple would do for me that the Garmin wouldn't. You can get "dressier" bands if you want to soften the look of the Garmin - I used to have a silver metal band which I liked because it had a magnetic closure instead of a buckle. Nowadays I just wear the big black watch.

    I actually like having the phone notifications because I can walk around the house without having to carry my phone with me.

  2. I do not have a smart watch. I used to have a Fitbit back in the day and I got a bit too obsessed with step counting, so when my Fitbit died, I never replaced it. I feel like people with compulsive tendencies should avoid a lot of trackers!

    However, I can totally see how it would be useful to have stats that tell you how things are going, especially if you are mostly in a caretaking role. You need to put on your own oxygen mask first.

  3. I have an Apple Watch and I love it. I stopped using rings because it became an obsession for me, but it's a very cool metric that so many people LOVE.
    My favourite thing about my Apple Watch - hands down - is the timer function. I use it every single day. I also track all my walking and running workouts, and have texts and calls push to my watch + have the weather on it which is sooo handy.

    I hope you end up loving the Apple Watch. I only have haptics on my watch, no sound - but I don't remember how I set that up!

    1. Oh It's good to know I can turn off sounds. I just have to figure out how too. You are quite minimal in your phone use so I think this might work for me once I figure it out. And rings I'm a bit "meh" on too - i realized that it thought I was standing whenever I was holding a baby because of how much I moved my hands around so I'm not sure I can learn much from that metric!

  4. I have the FR235 (since 2016) and I LOVE this watch with a passion. It's still going strong mostly, the battery is a little skittish now esp. when it's cold, but I love the look of the watch and don't mind that it's a running watch that I also wear day-to-day! I'll forever be a Garmin girl.

    Having said that, I also bought an (out of box, almost new) Apple Watch SE last fall because I was so intrigued by it (esp. the ring challenges). I will say that I think that the Garmin is a SUPERIOR watch if you are all about the metrics for running, but the Apple Watch is a pretty great smart watch. I think I am only using a fraction of its capabilities, but that's fine. Like Elisabeth, I use the timer function almost DAILY. I paired down the number of apps that it shows and you can customize the screen (which I love). I think if you sat down and just tried to find the functions that are important to you (you can show step count on the screen), it could be a really good allrounder watch for you!

    1. You inspired me to just start wearing the 235 again! And that I will probably figure out this apple watch (I also got a super discounted SE!) sometime too. I really love the garmin interface and I loved how it synched so easily to strava too. I am lucky to have two good watch options!

    2. Yes! Two very good options. I honestly keep alternating which one I wear, sometimes, I even wear both during workouts LOL (pssst). Report back - and let me know if I can help with the Apple Watch.