It isn’t often that I confer my coveted “Piece Of Fucking Shit” Award on something. Today I give that award to Verizon Apple Watch.
I save it for those really special tech items that defy all logical reasoning. This is one such case.
My wife and I got married about a year and a half ago but still were on separate cell phone carriers. I finally got around to getting us on one bill.
She was on Verizon and I had T-mobile. I moved my phone and an existing Apple Watch Series 5 over to Verizon. I upgraded my iPhone SE2 to an iPhone 13 which was “free”.
Let’s not get me started on that. I don’t know what they think “free” means, but it’s not free.
Since I’m moving over and getting a new phone I figure out I might as well get a new Apple Watch Series 8 cellular version. A lot of people can’t justify the cellular Apple Watch, but I feel like I can. Even my wife agrees. I ride a bicycle, generally on 20-25 mile rides and having a cell phone attached to your wrist is a safety feature. It just is.
The Fun With Verizon Apple Watch Begins
So now I have 2 Apple Watches. The first one comes with a piece of paper that tells me what the phone number of the watch is. I pair the watch to my cell phone and during installation it sets it up “as a new device”. I set it up the only way the prompts allowed me to set it up.
Then I notice it has a new phone number. I get on a chat with Verizon support and they assure me this is fine. The watch works. I’m happy.
UNTIL THE NEXT DAY WHEN I LOG IN MY ACCOUNT AND SEE THAT BOTH PHONE LINES ARE ACTIVE AND I’M PAYING FOR BOTH OF THEM.
I contact Verizon and ask them to delete the first line. And they tell me that if I delete the original number that I have to pay the watch off immediately. $500.
I swear I should have done this. After trying to swap the numbers with Verizon my watch showed that it had no eSIM installed. What followed was 2 tech support sessions about 8 hours in length total. Keep reading…………..
DOES ANYBODY REALLY KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS. DOES ANYBODY REALLY CARE?
~ Chicago Transit Authority, 1969
HA! Most would tell you that famous line was from the musical group Chicago but it was actually their earlier name that it was released under. You Are Welcome!
Why do we care about time? And more importantly why would we care about time IN THE DARK? I can think of a couple reasons. I might care about seeing my watch face in these conditions:
Scuba Diving – I am a PADI certified Rescue Diver. Seeing your watch face at 130′ under water is IMPORTANT.
Tactical or Military – sneaking up on people and knowing what exactly what time to react without revealing your position.
Power Outages – They happen
Camping or hiking – this could extend to illuminating a compass dial as well.
Seeing the time without disturbing your spouse – possibly the most important on the list.
Seeing the time in the middle of the night without lighting up the room and fully awakening yourself.
Prepper Stuff – If you fancy yourself a prepper and you are in a situation where the fecal matter hits the rotating wind movement device……..you aren’t going to be able to run to the store to get an SR41 watch battery.
Not as many people wear watches these days but I am one of them. And my style tends to drift towards the look of the military field watch.
I’m a big fan of Marathon, Hamilton and Bertucci Field Watches and a real big fan of the Seiko 5 Series of field watches.
First and foremost the Seiko 5 offerings are AFFORDABLE. They aren’t priced to the moon.
The Seiko 5 line was recently refreshed and I just picked up a new SRPG35. It’s a beauty. It is a 40mm watch face with a 20mm strap. The movement is their bulletproof 4R36 Automatic. Right after that I’m not going to discuss specs. There are videos and web pages galore that do nothing but repeat the Seiko specifications and I don’t find those particularly useful. Here on my blog I like to talk about real world usage and obvious gotchas.
I first got hooked on the Seiko 5 series when I got the SNK803 Seiko 5 back in 2019.
Seiko SNK Series (click pics to enlarge)
Those are some beautiful watches, and best of all the watch snobs LOVED THEM. The tan one is the SNK803 and the black one is the SNK809. I put custom straps on both of them.
I got the Mac Daddy of Fitness Watches, the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro. It wasn’t the top of the line Solar or Titanium version but still wildly touted as the best fitness watch on the planet.
Is it? We’ll see.
My favorite “Fitness Watch” is my Apple Watch Series 5 for a variety of reasons not the least of which is that it has a cell phone in it. And while it fairly easily syncs with either Strava or my favorite 3rd party fitness application, RubiTrack, my absolute favorite fitness software is Garmin Connect.
What a dilemma that is! ?. Of course the way around that is to have a Garmin watch and carry a cell phone with you. Not a problem while biking but not something I’d do while jogging.
Yep. Another Fitness Watch Review. This time it is for the Garmin Instinct. I love fitness watches and specifically I love Garmin fitness watches because of their EXCELLENT ecosystem.
Garmin stuff JUST WORKS. A lot of these fitness watches and smart watches have all manner of weird sync errors and glitches sometimes. But typically you won’t get that in the Garmin ecosystem. My watch is a refurbished watch from Factory Outlet Store.. Sure looked brand new to me when I opened it up.
Now before we dive in to whether I like this watch or not let’s discuss some of the advertised criteria. One of the major claims that Garmin makes is that this watch is built to the U.S. military standard 810 for thermal, shock and water resistance.
Garmin Mil-Spec claim
Yeah, these kind of claims bother me. I’m not going to say that this claim is untrue however I will say this about it. Watches (or anything for that matter) that are tested and conform to Military Specifications are then placed on something called the Qualified Products List (QPL) and are then authorized to sell their product to the US government.
Right now, today, the only company authorized to sell watches to the United States Military is The Marathon Watch Company, ironically based out of Canada. Not Casio, not Luminox, and not Garmin either.
Here’s yet another watch in my arsenal. The Garmin Vivoactive 4. I try not to perform the typical review that you can find by the dozens. Basically somebody will cover the spec sheet and tell you how great it is. I like to use the things and tell you what its strengths and weaknesses are.
First of all I’m a bit of a Garmin fanboy and have been using their products for many years whether it be a dedicated automobile GPS or a bicycle computer. They work and they have an excellent software suite.
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 seems to be no different. Even though I have read specs that say the Vivoactive 4 is not compatible with Garmin Basecamp………it seems to be.
Garmin Vivoactive 4 in Basecamp
The way to just see one track on the map is to create a new List which I named Vivoactive Clean Map. I can then drag and drop one track in the folder at a time to view just that one track. Then you can create routes or whatever you want to do. Cool!
Trying to find THE fitness tracking eco-system is tough. There is no shortage of Fitness Watches and Fitness Trackers and many of them, especially the Chinese entries have their own eco-system. I suppose that is okay as long as you like it and you stick with it.
This is the Amazfit Watch app and it actually does tie to other eco-systems and you can even export your activity to a GPX file so you can import it into other eco-systems.
What do I mean by an eco-system? Your definition could be different than mine.
In my mind there are only several eco-systems such as Strava, Garmin Connect, Fitbit, and the 3rd party software such a RubiTrack.
With these systems you can do all kinds of stuff like view in a web page/browser, share your workouts with friends, and also compete against others virtually. Strava will break your activity into segments and compare yourself against others who have Strava and who have used the same route.
For example one segment of my bike rides I usually traverse at 39 seconds only to find out there are guys who have done it in 16 seconds. Oy Vey! No call from the Olympic Team this year for me. Continue reading →
I’m kind of on the search for the perfect fitness watch. So far nothing has changed my mind away from the Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular). It does it all and it does it well. The thing that pushes the Apple Watch over the top for me is the CELLULAR PHONE.
If you don’t mind carrying a phone (although you don’t HAVE to) you can save a ton of money and maintain a lot of functionality. I ride a bike that has a rear rack with a bag so it’s no problem to carry a phone. But I don’t like carrying a phone.
So it is with a bit of trepidation that I test the Fitbit because it is just another tracker without cell service. To my surprise though I really, really, really like this thing.
First and foremost it is minimalist, small, and very unobtrusive. It is also super comfortable as well. It’s probably the only fitness watch I have that you just don’t really know you are wearing it.
I own multiple watches and they all mostly do the same thing. Track your activity with a GPS, and track your heart beat with a heart beat sensor. Those two things though are very powerful and with the right software will let you analyze your performance and work on improving your workouts by understanding heart rate zones and spending more time in the right zones.
Here are my thoughts: You don’t NEED any fitness tracker. You want one though. Back in the day I ran and biked and swam with nothing electronic on me at all. It can be done.
That being said, I do love tech. It motivates me to see my workouts and data and IMPROVEMENT. I’m also on a diet and it is super convenient to work out and the watch automatically sends my calorie burn data to my diet program of choice. Really, really makes it super easy and fun. And it can be shared, not that anybody else wants to see it, but too bad for them ?.
Okay, I’m on a fitness kick, to include a FITNESS WATCH kick as well. In my mind the best fitness watch on the planet is the Apple Watch Series 5 with GPS and cellular.
That’s not to say I shouldn’t be giving the shakedown to some other competitors out there and writing about it. ?
In my mind there are a few different kinds of fitness watches. Non-GPS, GPS on board, and those that either need or don’t need a smartphone. The Apple Watch Series 5 with GPS and cellular is a complete package. The Amazfit T-Rex is not. It needs that smartphone to be viable.
It’s kind of hard to go backwards from the best but I did exactly that. The Amazfit T-Rex can be had from Amazon for about $140. Sadly the only color Amazon has as of this review is the black one. I wanted the Army Green one so I bought it from Adorama for less than $130 (found a 10% off coupon).