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

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 104 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 the background but I don’t see that data unless I get to
the the wrist rays and so the time and right there and so that is definitely a
bummer if you’re a third party out so now let’s talk accuracy so I’ve lived
all of the files into the DC air analyzer I’ll put a link down the bottom
there if you want to do your own comparisons okay so start off by looking
at the heart rate side of things and you know what 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 of the government venue
seem 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’ve never seen before an Apple
watch heart rate ratios in the past where it’s like up here at 180 and then
boom it’s drop 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 for 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 that it’s the same thing down 15 beats which makes me
think Apple is probably making some trade-offs or they’re probably going
ahead like I’ve talked about and saving some of the battery on the optical heart
rate sensor that was so good and so strong in this series for and probably
saving it 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 how the trade-offs that
all these vendors have to make around the Alpha the heart rate sensor and
power management that is what I suspect is probably happening there that said
for the most part if you look like this interval section
right here outside of those drops all these units trained pretty darn close so
let’s go ahead down 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 not 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 venue kind of came in this is
like I’ve got this I’ve and then it got lost and it went off the bridge and into
the water it made a loopy loop it made the loop it had a loop happen how to
loop the 945 was committed to the cause though it went down it went under over
in its first cloverleaf but when heared a little bit different clever loop and
then it tried really hard to get on 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 kind of thrown stick 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 a 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 it cutting the corner you see it most visibly right
here there’s one a sprint I get 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 or just slides around this corner it is better
than the series four 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 for there wasn’t a
lot of shifts here we knew that going into it I would say that 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 not just tell
me the time until I get the e as I showed you not ideal the Alpha Kartik
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
they’ll get tweaked over time it probably will but at least as it stay in
my initial impressions not quite there GPS they’ve made improvements over a
series four but most of those were software updates that I think we saw
Series four in the last say again six or seven months make the most of those
updates so if you’re looking at units across the board I don’t lose any reason
to rush out and get this if you already had a series four 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 lock that like button bottom
there or a subscribe button I appreciate it and stay tuned for plenty more sports
Technology goodness have a good one

100 Replies to “Apple Watch Series 5 // Sports & Fitness First Run & Tests”

  1. I don't get what was not ideal using strava with the watch. When you're running there's no need for it to stay on all the time. Lights up when you turn your wrist.

  2. Thank you for another timely 😉 review! I was interested how they would handle 3rd party workout apps. At least they don’t switch to the watch face. I wonder if an upcoming software release might allow workout apps to stay on, if not, that’s a tremendous disadvantage to non Apple fitness apps, probably something they don’t want to do!

  3. 15-20 watches discussed in the Podcast and not a single Samsung Active 2 mention 🙁
    Was torn between the Garmin 4 v's the Samsung Active 2 but decided I wanted smartphone function over fitness so Pre-ordered the Samsung as more practical for my everyday work.

  4. I know you know this, but making any conclusions when n trials = 1 is perilous. As for GPS, going by the tracks is getting less and less reliable as they no longer always represent the actual lat/longs that were recorded. Apple is doing some line smoothing, so too is the Sony chip firmware when going around 400m tracks, so you cannot state how accurate the pace/distance is from those tracks. I’ve done multiple tests in multiple environments on strictly measured courses if you want something more definitive.

  5. Thanks Ray, HR accuracy is more important than an always on display to me, so I’m going to keep my Apple Watch 4. More money for a new bike,….

  6. I had the garmin fenix 6X pro and the smaller 6 for a few weeks. The HR monitoring is trash for a 6–900 device. My Apple Watch 4 crushes it. I am so upset that Garmin couldn’t get their new HR sensor to be at least as good at the Apple series 4 watch. Returned all Garmin devices. I don’t want to but I can’t handle that high cost with such weak HR results. Everything is based on that and if it’s bad, all your workout effects will be incorrectly represented. It’s really bad with dropping Heart rates and even sometimes when the HR climbs quickly but I noticed it being the worst anytime I stopped to rest after a hard interval or workout.

  7. I have the Apple Watch S3 and I’ve also found it’s much better to use the built-in apps for tracking exercises I then use RunGap to export the data afterwards to wherever I want (Garmin, Strava, Fitbit, Dropbox etc.)

  8. First of all congratulation for the vide, pretty exhaustive, second, are you gonna review the Huawei watch GT2?
    You know my ideal sportwatch is mainly about monitoring cardio sleep and sports, i don't give a f*** about having email and messages on my watch i wuold like just to have at least 4 days batterylife, a system to pay, an assistant like siri or google to control some home smart device and do small tasks like taking a note set an alarm, a timer, remind me something…autodetection of sports activities and the possibility to have app like cardiogram for monitoring health and be alerted if there is something strange… for now the best match i think is the verge 2 even though i'm not convinced yet… any suggestion? (if only apple can made something more similar to the huawei watch gt2 you know having sports activities on the watch and the smat part done by the iphone within a range of 150m with bluetooth 5.0 in order to get 5 days of batterylife… that wuold be killer for me…but probably even for the sales of the apple watch 5 i guess…) ah by the way. now i'm just using a Garmin Edge 520 for the bike… love it!

  9. Ray – do you the the HR drops / hiccups might be related to you raising your wrist and the display turning on/off? Great vid!

  10. The Heart Rate issue does not sound right. Could you do a Backup test with a Different Series 5 to see if Something is wrong with the initial Released Apple watch Series 5 ? Or test it with Always on turned off. Thx for the Tests they are Amazing

  11. Can one expect the same recording of heart rate and tracking from third party apps or would they maybe record at shorter intervals and maybe more accurate? Also would cycling activities be even worse with rounded corners and drops?

  12. How did it do with updating current pace? My series 3 seems to take quite awhile maybe 20-30 seconds to update the current pace. Feels way too behind compared to the old Garmin watches I’ve used before where it felt nearly instantaneous.

  13. I liked the vid, but I just could not watch the whole thing. I am so glad I got out of the Apple ecosystem. My Note8 and fenix 5 are awsome (except for music).

  14. The Apple watch just use ages downloading music from the phone. There’s a trick disabling the Bluetooth connection so that the watch downloads using WiFi. — work a couple of times for me.. but it’s sporadic at best.

  15. Ray. I could be wrong (often am) but doesn’t the Apple Watch ‘record’ good gps data but ‘display’ more curved data/trace? So if you use the same data via the Strava app you see less curvy stuff going on. I think. ?

  16. Apple is never going to get this thing up to a medical device standard if they're willing to trade off the optical heart rate data consistency for battery life.

  17. Enjoyed the video and happy with my Garmin 235. I think I'll blow the dust off the old (brick) Garmin 305 and use your compare tool to see how they stack up against each other

  18. Damn, you run twice as fast as I do and can speak clearly while running, but I should note that my running suffered after an injury.

  19. If those scattered buildings at the start of the run qualify as "tall" or disruptive to GPS than I have no hopes for the technique in consumer devices. Where is the V's track?
    I'm not really keen on having to charge my watch on a daily basis but really wanna give the AW a try for working out, seeing I'm already heavily invested in Apple's ecosystem. Do you think that now with the AW3 going down in price so much (€229,- in my city's Apple Store) it is a worthwhile addition to my 935 and Vantage V? Apart from running I also row on my concept2. Are ther "profiles/apps" on the AW3 for rowing like on Garmin or Polar watches? Thanks for your first look, and already on an iPhone 11? You're quite the early adopter 🙂

  20. From the sensor accuracy perspective, does it make sense for me to upgrade from series 3? My Apple Watch often loses track in dense tree coverage like on a trail runs.
    Disappointed that third party app coverage for always on display is not there. Hopefully this will be fixed in few months if Apple will make API provisions for third party apps to support display saving mode.

  21. I wonder if heart rate sensor big jumps are a result of early bugs in new WatchOS 6 rather then implications of new power management system. We’ll have to wait for a one or two firmware updates to see if Apple will fix it.

  22. Do you know if Apple will allow 3rd party apps full access to the always on display? Is this apples walled garden not allowing access to their full feature sets, or it’s it possibly just 3rd party that needs to update?

  23. I'm just trying the Galaxy Active 2 ATM and it's a little disappointing for my first smartwatch. I can see this going back and me sticking with my Suunto

  24. You know while I appreciate the quality of this review and the extensive research that you did, I feel that the Apple Watch is pretty darn good. Yes it had a couple or do HR spike and dips but overall unless you're a professional athlete, this solve more than solves for myriad of fitness and smartwatch needs of the average and even above average power consumer. The GPS is solid, the HR sensor is good enough and there are a host of other features and available apps that no other smartwatch has. So given that entire package I feel that the AW5 still comes to the top as winner. I love Garmins but their pricing on things like Fenix etc is downright absurd.

  25. What Apple Watch app are you using to monitor heart rate? Is it visible to you while you're running or can you only examine it after you stop?

  26. I have a fenix 5x and never upgraded to 5x plus but now considering 6x pro versus Apple Watch 5. I am super confused and really want something more accurate but having said that I have been mostly running on a treadmill and watch heart rate and steps daily. Do like the battery life on fenix and ecg on Apple Watch. Please help or do a head to head even though price is so different. I don’t mind spending money.

  27. Great video man and very informative. Thank you very much and I decided to subscribe to your channel. Now I have series 3 and want to upgrade just for the EKG and heart sensor, your video made me thinking that I should go for series 4 instead or 5?

  28. perhaps i've missed the reason or the review, but why don't you ever touch the amazfit stratos? Perhaps too old now, but talking about that – there are a whole range of new editions in that area and yeah, almost all the "smart watches" aren't fitness focused, there are many that are.

  29. It‘s a shame 3rd party apps don‘t show their data when the display is dimmed. That‘s basically my only reason to buy a new Apple Watch.
    When I ride my mountainbike the display of my Series 2 takes several trials to turn on by a turn of the wrist. Meanwhile I have driven quite a few meters in blind flight.
    Depending on road condition this is just inacceptable.

  30. Use my Fenix 5S mainly for running – tempted by the Apple Watch as I’m heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem….is the battery life a reason to hold off?

  31. Dear Ray. Sir. Its good to see you. How are you? Please may I take a moment of your time to say thanks for the demos on Apple 5 watch. Please can you tell me the best phone to go with it as I need to get fit… I plan to do press ups Burpees Squats Pull Ups Lunges in sets to get shredded. Am I on the right track cinsidering purchasing the Iphone? ( which model?) Apple 5 watch. I dont have a Apple Mac laptop does this matter so long as I have the Iphone and watch I can get on with my fitness/Strength training. Are there reminders alerts on Apple watch is it suited for the abive workouts?
    Ray I never ever thought about buying something as grand as Apple gear so I need your encouragement. I appreciate it. From Craig. UK.

  32. The video is incredible damn smooth!! Did you use the DJI OSMO Action Cam or is this a sneak peak to the new GoPro 8? 😊 I only saw in the shadows that it must be a small action cam. And the GoPro 7 is stable, but not that while running.

  33. You are the only reviewer that actually digs into these details, thanks, it is much appreciated. Was thinking about upgrading from S4->S5 but not with a wonky HR sensor. I'm also curious about the weight of the new Titanium model, as we know, the weight of the watches makes a difference when you use it for running.

  34. Was this a cellular or just GPS version? Also, the strava app demonstration, I mean come on let's be real, no one is glancing at their watch at that angle let alone trying to get information off of it.

  35. Great video as always. Can you compare the Apple Watch series 5 to the Huawei Watch GT2… I'd really need it to make a purchase decision. Thanks

  36. Hi, I was wondering how durable the glass is on the Apple watches, I currently use a garmin fenix 3 and over the last 4/5 years of owning it, I’m super impressed with the scratch resistance of the glass especially as I wear it for mountain biking etc, but like the fact that I can have music on my watch without needing my phone plus the new climbing apps etc but worried about the durability? Cheers neil

  37. Great stuff as usual. As far as heart rate being dropped here and there… Is that hardware or simply something changed in WatchOS 6? It would be great to see a side to side comparison just for the heart rate between the 4 and the 5, both on Watch OS 6. Then we would know if it is hardware or software.

  38. The Series 3 was a complete zero. It would just lock up during the run as soon as it got away from my iPhone. It's been taking up space in my drawer ever since. I won't get fooled into buying another one of these stupid watches from Apple again.

  39. The HR monitor in my apple watch 4 is horrible. It drops all the time, for 5-10 minutes, multiple times during a run, sometimes it never works. I made sure everything on my settings is turned on regarding the HR sensor, I can't seem to find a fix. It's extremely frustrating!

  40. Yes is pretty damn good as you said but the “negatives points” you stated are so weak theres no point on saying them unless you want to be paid by the competition or similar. iwatch is been and still is the best of the market, period!

  41. Have you tried disabling the always on screen to confirm the HR theory? Maybe that’s a compromise when the display is always on only?

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