Apple Watch Series 5 // Sports & Fitness First Run & Tests


Hey folks, this is Ray from DCRAINMAKER.com, and today I have
your first impressions or first look or first whatever the heck you want to call
it; including a first run of the new Apple Watch Series 5. Now, I pedaled
out this morning and picked it up along with a new iPhone 11 Pro- yeah Pro, and
got things all set up (well actually this one has not been super smooth in
the set up process) but the watch was pretty darn smooth.
I got it simply unboxed and went ahead and ran through all the basic setup. It
took about 35 minutes or so to go ahead and get my apps pulled over as well as
my settings and all that stuff kind of finished. The one thing that didn’t seem
to pull over very well, or at all in fact, was my music. After waiting a half an
hour for just the music alone I simply gave up on it and went out for a run. So
I couldn’t really test this part on the run this morning, but I have been using
it since then and no issues with these just around the office and whatnot. So
what we are gonna do is focus purely on the fitness side of things. There are a
gazillion other places you can talk about general watch stuff, I will of
course talk about the always-on display because that is pretty important to
fitness, and of course the Apple Watch Series 5. And what we’re gonna do is go
head outside and go for run. I’ve got a bunch of other watches that I’ll talk
about in just a second, and we are gonna compare a couple things. One is GPS
accuracy and, two is heartrate accuracy. Now I’m looking to see if Apple’s made
some changes in both of those areas. And number one in GPS, one of the kind of
telltale signs of an Apple watch GPS track is it swerves around all these
corners. And Apple has made some strides over the last, I would say like six to
eight months or so, in some of those GPS tracks in various firmware updates to
the Apple watch series. Four for example. And then from a heartrate standpoint, I’m
curious if Apple’s still as good as they have been in the past. One of the things
that Apple really nailed in the Series 4 that they weren’t so great about in
the series 3, and prior, is heartrate accuracy. It was, its industry-leading,
so I’m curious, is that still the case? Have they made any sacrifices? For example to
keep that always-on display, by reducing power to the optical heartrate
sensor? Those are the sort of things that I’m looking for in my testing. And
then we are also gonna walk through some of the changes to the apps that support the Apple watch from a health and fitness standpoint. So with that, let’s
head outside and go for a run! And now on this wrist here I’ve got the
Garmin Venu, priced the same 399 as the Apple Watch GPS edition. On my
right wrist, right there, I have the Apple Watch GPS edition just chilling out. I
do not have my phone with me, it’s inside the building; it’s not there. I tried to
load music on this and after a half an hour of trying to say it was
transferring, it still hadn’t transfered anything- so save that for the full review.
And then I will be hand holding these, basically on my wrists, I’ll kind of put them like
that almost. I’ve got the Forerunner 945 and I’ve got the polar Vantage V. So those 2
watches will be collecting data from a heartrate strap- in this case I have a
chest strap right here and I also have up here underneath my sleeve, right there,
I’ve got the Polar OH1+ Optical heartrate sensor. So all in I’ll have 4
optical heartrate sensors. None will be touching the other optical heartrate
sensors- which is super important when you’re looking at testing or whatnot. And
then I’ve got 4 GPS devices, and none of them touching either. So that will get me
to go running. Okay, so the route that I have chosen for today’s testing, it’s gonna start out
through some taller buildings. You can see that one up there, I guess that’s like 10-12 stories. Maybe a little more. Some smaller ones back over there.
They’re about the same size, just not as dense. Then it’ll open up, go in the opening here and then go through another set of buildings for about 4 to 5 blocks or so, and then
we’ll go back around, through some residential area, and eventually hit some
park area. So we’re gonna do a little bit of cloverleaf here. So this goes down to this
bridge, you’re gonna see what’s gonna happen. I’m gonna go underneath this bridge right here, we’ll go under both sets and we’ll come back out on the other side, loop
around, loop under, and eventually just like a bad highway interchange that
you missed the exit for. So I’m curious to see here, how well it
handles this- whether it gets it correctly or not. Well, actually all the
watches for that matter. It’s a pretty hard little test. In a fairly consolidated area.
The whole thing is going to be 50 meters by 75 meters or so. So it’s not that big, but, it’s fun. So of course the big new feature on this
series 5 is the always-on display, and in fact that’s always on. When my arm is like this, like you’re normally running, it’s on but a bit dim. I can see- like at this angle right
there- even with bright sun, once I get to there it’s
no problem at all. Then I rotate the arm over it goes to
full brightness on the display, and back again to slightly dimmer over there. No problem seeing it, even in the sun today or in the shade. So kind of show you this now,
here we go, it’s a bit dimmer, in a second there we go, full brightness. I know it’s probably pretty hard to see on a GoPro, I’ll go
ahead and show you when we go inside though. Okay we’re gonna roll into a couple of
intervals now. I’m gonna roughly 200 meter intervals. And I’m going to do about 5
minutes a mile, so I’ll put the kilometers down there at the bottom. Now
I won’t record these with the camera because holding up my arm like that, in the
interval, will confuse the sensors. The optical sensors they won’t see a cadence bump as they would expect so, they might not do that correctly. So I’m gonna go
ahead and put the camera away, and we’ll look at the data once we get back in the
studio. Okay intervals all taken care of. The reason I did 30-second ones and not longer is because quite frankly, if things go wrong, it’s gonna go wrong in the first 15 to 20 seconds or so. so you want kind of that maximum intensity, see how well it can pick up that
change in pace, change in heartrate, etc. So we’ll go ahead and finish things up,
wander back on inside and look at all the data. Okay now that we are back here
in the studio, before we start analyzing all this data if you are finding this (video)
interesting, or useful, or any of those things, whack the like button right now at the bottom. It really helps the channel and
the video quite a bit! I’ve got all the data downloaded from everything. And I’m going to talk about that data in just a second, but first let me just show you
what it looks like on the finishing screen of the run. Your summary screen right there, and you can see your total time up top, you can see the total distance,
the average pace, my average cadence- a bit lower because of the fact that I
stopped between those intervals (or slowed down) between those intervals quite a bit. So it’s a little lower than you expect. Active calories, total calories,
average heartrate, and if I tap the average heartrate there,
tap the average heartrate there,… tap the average heartrate there, it’ll go ahead
and show me the heartrate for the actual run itself. So you can see that
plot over a course of time. And you can see here we’ve got the elevation gain,
the elevation min and max. Now the negative 11 feet is probably actually
accurate. Here in Amsterdam you’re kind of flirting with sea level, you know zero
meters or zero feet, and in some cases the city is actually a couple meters
below, and in some cases a couple meters above, so that is probably actually
accurate. And you can see the duration of my run right there. And I click done! Now
if I go over to the phone app here, you can see the summary from my run as well. All
the exact same information, and then down below we’ve got the map. And I can zoom
in on this map here, I can switch over to satellite mode if I want to for example.
And I can look at just certain sections. So I could see if I go in right here, let’s
see where was that little turn that I made? There we go.
So this is during one of the sprint’s there. And you can start to see a little bit
of the Nike swoosh if you will, cutting through there, where that trail,
you know, clearly goes to the top there and then this just cuts right across it.
It cuts right over the top of the bridge, and misses the bridge- actually I’m in
the canal in this case. And then it continues on. The other area that you can
see has been revamped is Apple health. And here is where you’re starting to see a little
bit more of the trending data. Now in this case I’m not gonna see the training data as
much since it’s just one day. Though some metrics are combined across other
devices that are non-apple. So for example things I was wearing my
Garmin watch or other devices that port that data into Apple health, you’ll see
that. So I can look at heartrate right there, and I can see my heartrate over
the course of the day, I can see it over the course of the week, over the course
of the month, over the course of the year. and it’s pretty darn stable. If I go back
here I can look at things like active energy. Over the course of today, there is
my run right there in the middle, and then you can go into weeks and so on. The
same is true with steps. You can see that there. I go to week, month, year, and you
can see August, summer time no surprise, I’m doing more steps there than other
months. And November last year was apparently probably a pretty crappy
weather month, so I was probably doing less steps there. So let’s talk about the
always-on display a little bit. If I go ahead and put it on my wrist right here, so
I’m gonna do that right now, get on my wrist. There we go.
And now you’ll see the display turned off briefly there, but at this point if
it stays like this, if I just have my wrist like this, it’ll stay on, and will
show itself down there in kind of a dim mode. And then when I go ahead and
turn my wrist like this, you’ll see it got bright there for a second. So that’s the
brightness increasing. But what about something like the Strava app? How does
that work? And the answer is not well. So right now, I’m actually running the
Strava app, and I just changed to it in-between that cut right there. And in
fact you’ll see, if you look very carefully, until my wrist gets caught, it
shows the time right there. So shows 1:04. Now as soon as I turn my wrist all the
way, then it’s gonna show the rest the screen there, 45 seconds- 46 seconds. So
it’s still recording in the background, but I don’t see that data unless I get to
the the wrist raise. And so the time, and right there. And so that is definitely a
bummer if you’re a third party app. So now let’s talk accuracy. So I’ve loaded
all of the files into the DCR Analyzer. I’ll put a link down on the bottom
there if you want to do your own comparisons. Okay so I’ll start off by looking at the heartrate side of things. And you know what, at a high level, these are all
fairly similar if you trend them across the board here. But as we dig into them,
there are some variances there. So let’s look at this first section right here.
You can see there are some moments like the Apple watch spikes early on, almost
15 or so beats above other everyone else. On the flip side, the Garmin Venu
seemed to struggle a little bit in this section here. They’re close, but we’re
seeing some variance there. We also see these drops every once in a while. So you
see this right here on the Apple Watch, that, I have never seen before on an Apple
watch heartrate traces in the past. Where it’s like up here at 180 and then
boom it drops down to 164. That is massive in the world of heart rate, and
that’s huge for Apple Watch because they’ve haven’t made that mistake on the
Series 4. And we see it again here towards 33 minutes where, boom, it just
drops out on the bottom for a couple seconds, it comes back again.
Same thing it spikes up, you know, almost 20 beats 15 beats or so. Again right here
in one of the Sprint’s it does the same thing, down 15 beats. Which makes me
think Apple is probably making some trade-offs there, they’re probably going
ahead, like I’ve talked about, and saving some of the battery on the optical heartrate sensor that was so good, and so strong in this Series 4, and probably
saving a little bit for the always-on display. That’s my guess, I don’t have any
like definitive proof of that, and Apple would certainly never admit that. But
just knowing the industry as well as I do, and knowing some of the trade-offs that all these vendors have to make around the Optical heartrate sensor and
power management, that is what I suspect is probably happening there. That said,
for the most part if you look at this interval section right here, outside of those drops, all these units trend pretty darn close. So
let’s go ahead now and look at the GPS side of things here. So we’ll zoom in here and
look at sort of the start of the run- up at a top. And you know, for the most part
things are pretty good. We see like it makes these turns correctly which, is
good. You know you can get some, you can debate which one’s good or bad, and some
of those things in terms like the nuance of is it on the bike path or next to
bike path. But initially anyways, pretty darn good. Through this whole building
section here, for the most part they were good. Some you know variance between the different units like I would expect. But let’s talk about that clover leaf
because, you see basically the three watches do three totally different
things. The Apple watch went into it and was
like “no, no, I’m want nothing to do with this clover leaf. I’m just gonna draw
myself a little hill and call it done”. And the hill is not a clover. And you can
see that it just goes sways way off in the park and then across to the water
and then boom, it’s like “done I’m out of here”. The (Garmin) Venu kind of came into this, and is like “I’ve got this, I’ve….” and then it got lost. It went off the bridge, and into
the water, it made a loopy loop. It made a loop- it had a loop, Apple didn’t have a loop. The (Garmin) 945 was committed to the cause though. It went down, it went under, over.
It did its first clover loop, it went here and did a little bit different clover loop, and
then it tried really hard to get under the bridge correctly, and it lost the plot
too. But still it was the best of the three. If you could consider that, I guess.
And then all of them, kinda, once they got out on the roadway here, they
settled out a little bit. You know for the most part these watches are pretty
close, I could nitpick all day on an GPS accuracy. You do still see a little bit
again that telltale Apple Watch sign there, of cutting the corner slightly. And
kind of just smoothing those out. Here’s one right there
the teal of the Apple Watch cutting the corner. You see it most visibly right
here- here’s one of the sprints I did across the bridge, and the trail goes up, and
then down, and then across, and the Apple Watch is like “boom”, I’m just cutting
across all these corners. Jumping over the canal, and just no corners for me. And
you see it again up here as well, where it just slides around this corner. It is better
than the Series 4 was. It’s not, “not perfect” there yet, but I need more runs
more activities more workouts across a variety of sports to see accuracy on
both GPS, and heartrate, and kind of make some final determinations. Okay, so what’s
my sort of summary here? Well, it’s an Apple Watch. In other words, it’s
basically pretty darn similar to the Apple Watch Series 4. There wasn’t a
lot of shifts here- we knew that going into it. I would say that, the always-on
display is nice within the first party app. And nice for just sort of day to day
time usage. Third party apps like Strava, it’s not super useful. It’s just tell
me the time until I get the… as I showed you not idea. l the optical heartrate
sensor- I think in a step down. I think Apple’s probably doing some stuff behind
the scenes to save battery, and the accuracy isn’t quite there anymore. Maybe
that’ll get tweaked over time, it probably will, but at least as of today in
my initial impressions, not quite there. GPS, they’ve made improvements over athe Series 4, but most of those were software updates that I think we saw
Series four in the last say again six or so months make the most of those
updates. So if you’re looking at units across the board, I don’t think there’s any reason to rush out and get this, if you already have a a Series 4, unless you really want
to see the time all the time. “Time all the time”… that’s kind of catchy. Otherwise
there you go. If you found this interesting, whack that like button at the bottom there, or the subscribe button. I appreciate it. Stay tuned for plenty more sports
technology goodness. Have a good one!

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