Apple Watch vs. Garmin vs. Strava Discrepancies- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Apple Watch vs. Garmin vs. Strava Discrepancies

    I've been using my AW 4 & 5 over the past couple of years to track my mileage, as my older Garmin head unit had shit the bed and I figured "why not" since I already have the device. Last month, on a ride with a friend using a Garmin Fenix, I realized there was quite a discrepancy between what my native Apple Workouts app had logged vs. his watch from a distance perspective. Time, speed, everything else was ok but I was about .75 less in distance. So, I dusted off my Garmin Vivoactive wristwatch and started wearing it on my other wrist to compare for the last month.

    To add even more complexity, last week a friend and I did a long ride and I had my AW running the ios Workouts app, my garmin vivoactive recording on the other wrist, and my buddy was using his AW running the Strava app; here are the differences:

    AW with Native Workouts App: 24.31 miles
    Garmin Watch: 25.41 miles
    AW with Strava App: 26.84

    It seems as though I am getting about .5 less miles per 10 miles using the Apple Watch compared to Garmin, but almost 1 mile difference per 10 miles which seems excessive. Example is I did a short sunset ride last night (for got to bring lights) and my apple watch logged 10.3 miles, while the Garmin logged 10.8 miles. Which is more correct? I only ask because I have set some pretty lofty mileage goals for myself this year in relation to years past, and I want all the mileage I have earned to be counted. I am considering picking up an Edge 130 to put on the bars, but would really just like a plausible explanation on if the Garmin is that much more accurate and why?

    Also, I did download the "Work Outdoors" app on my watch and while the interface has a lot more bells and whistles it didn't change the recording accuracy.

    Thanks for any help / advice.
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  2. #2
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    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
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    If you want the best distance accuracy you can get, you need something with a wheel sensor that's well calibrated. That's it.

    If you're relying on GPS accuracy alone, all devices are going to be less accurate than the wheel sensor.

    I've harped on the whys of this in a lot of different threads. You can find them, probably more than one on the first page of threads, for the details.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    If you want the best distance accuracy you can get, you need something with a wheel sensor that's well calibrated. That's it.

    If you're relying on GPS accuracy alone, all devices are going to be less accurate than the wheel sensor.

    I've harped on the whys of this in a lot of different threads. You can find them, probably more than one on the first page of threads, for the details.
    This. I have a local trail that is just a small 4.3 mile loop. Using my Apple Watch (outdoor cycling app), the results are never consistent. I have done two quick loops at least 20+ times and the range is 7.87 to 8.67 miles. I doubt I have two days with a distance within 0.03 miles.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks guys.

    I think I am going to stop worrying about tenths of a mile and just keep it simple. Record rides on Apple Watch native "Workouts" app, it is then exported via HealthFit to Strava automatically as well as a copy in .fit format to my Dropbox, which I can then upload to Garmin Connect.

    Eventually I will probably dump Garmin Connect and just use Strava, as I don't need the duplication (or frustration of mis-matched data). It sucks because I have no use for Strava and all of its "Social features" and competitiveness, and have a ton of data from past years in my Connect app, but oh well. I really just don't want another device.

    Is there a better app that resembles the robust output of Connect, but "somewhat" free like Strava, without all the bullshit?
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  5. #5
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    I too am not a big fan of Strava. My goal with recording rides is more to retrace new routes that someone else showed me and track mileage for the year.

    I've been using Cyclemeter on an iPhone for many years. They now support Android now too as well if you are interested in having a look. I do upload rides to Strava so my friends can see where I've been pedaling (just never have thought much of their web site or phone app user interface).
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