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Switch from Garmin to Apple Watch Series 6 (Pro)? Here is What It Would Take

Written by Charlie

Here is what could make me switch from Garmin to the new Apple Watch Series 6 – and why I would even consider it in the first place. I am a huge Garmin fan so, here are those thoughts!

Tomorrow at 1PM EDT/10AM EDT (September 15), the latest Apple Watch Series 6 (or Pro, as the higher end may be called) will be announced. As a huge Garmin fan for years, there are a few things that the new Apple Watch could have that would make me want to switch from Garmin to Apple. Let’s jump in!

Switch from Garmin to Apple Watch Series 6?

Right away, there are always the people that say things like “real runners don’t use the Apple Watch.” Well, that is kind of an ignorant statement since the watch does not a runner make. In fact, many Olympians have run with simple Timex watches (no GPS) or things like the FitBit Blaze before – are they real runners? 🙂

Why I Love Garmin Watches

Next, I absolutely love Garmin. I have had a Garmin on my wrist for most of the last 14 years for runs and for everyday use, for most of the last 6 years. Here is what I really like about Garmin (I currently own the Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire Pro model):

  • Great battery life – I charge it like once every 8 days or so, based on my use of GPS and the battery management I have set up
  • Durability – the Fenix models are tough anyway and this particular model has DLC (diamond-like coating) and sapphire glass for great durability
  • Excellent metrics – I mean, most of the metrics you can get from the advanced Garmin watches are things that most of us may never use but if you are a fan of data, you have to love what Garmin gives you!
  • Built for athletes – the Garmin watches are first and foremost GPS watches for athletes. Second to that is the smartwatch/smart notification functions. This means that it works tremendously well for people that want to use them as a tool for their workouts

Those are just some of my favorite and they give you an idea of where I am coming from. So, now let’s look at why I would even be interested in switching to an Apple Watch since Garmin offers so much! Note: I actually did switch to the Apple Watch Series 4 for several months because it gave me a lot of things while Garmin was upping some of their smart capability game – read more here.

Why I Would WANT to Switch to an Apple Watch

Obviously, I am an iPhone owner. As such, it means I only get one-way messaging with Garmin and my iPhone. With Android devices, they can do some limited two-way messaging but iPhone has only notification.

Read: Impressions of the Apple Watch Series 4 from an Ardent Garmin Fan

Getting smart notifications on my wrist is great with my Garmin, but I really miss the two-way interaction that I had with my Apple Watch Series 4.

It Lets Me Handle Many Tasks Right from My Wrist

I can do a lot of tasks right from my Apple Watch that help me to leave my phone where it is. It lets me do quick replies, call people, check various apps, do Twitter tasks, and more. There are just so many things that I can do from an Apple Watch and it really helps me to eliminate time I would otherwise spend on my phone.

It is Great for Travel

Having the TripIt app on my Apple Watch is great for giving me up-to-the-minute updates, even helping while walking through the airport. Having tickets on my watch let me just turn my wrist over to get it scanned at security and the gate, which can help keep my hands free.

It is great for getting directions right from my wrist and being able to interact with them. When I am in a new city, it can be really helpful to just go by the various vibrations it gives to let me know which direction to turn, one little way to not come off as a tourist or possibly give off the indication that I am not from around that area (which is helpful in some destinations).

Of course, it is possible to do two-way interactions with many travel apps as well which can be a help if I do not want to take my phone out or just need to check something on the flight.

It Is Easier to Multi-Task With

With the Garmin, it does have music storage and playback onboard but it is not nearly as quick and easy to switch around from activity to music as it is with the Apple Watch. Also, while I am working out, I can quickly answer the call or respond to a text message where it may be a bit more difficult to switch back and forth to do the call-answering thing on the Garmin.

ECG

apple watch series 4 for runners

Apple was at the forefront of the ECG arena and it was an excellent move – to be able to give a user a quick and easy ECG and save it to the phone to share with the doctor. For anyone that may have a concern for their heart, it can be a nice way to keep an eye on things.

I actually valued this quite a bit as a way to just let me know from time to time about my heart health. I have some history of heart issues back in my family line so having the ability to take a quick ECG on my wrist was always just a little something extra I liked about the Apple Watch.

Audiobooks

I love listening to audiobooks, on the run or any other time. But, it is very difficult to get audiobooks onboard a Garmin and quite a complicated process of playing them anyway.

With the Apple Watch, it really is quite simple and I miss just dialing up a book from my wrist to listen while in traffic or something. Can I do that from my phone instead? Sure, but it can be so much easier and even safer to just do it quickly from my wrist.

What the Apple Watch Series 6 Should Have to Make Me Want to Switch from Garmin

Now, we get to the meat of the post! I will tell you this – I am ordering the Apple Watch Series 6 on day one, no question about that. I am doing that to do a review for here and a comparison to various Garmin watches. My Garmin vs Apple Watch posts are some of the most highly viewed year by year so I will buy one. The question is – will I keep it?

Better Battery Life

As I wrote in this post, the new Apple Watch is actually getting a slightly larger battery but it won’t make a huge difference if everything stays the same. That is because Apple is introducing Sp2O monitoring (blood oxygen) to the Apple Watch and that can hit the battery hard.

But, there are still things that Apple could have done to the new Apple Watch as far as processors and how the watch is powered that could lengthen the battery life a bit. Here is what I want – I want a solid two days of battery life with 2+ hours of runs in that time.

The Apple Watch Series 4 actually gave me close to that so it wouldn’t be a huge jump. Since Apple is introducing sleep tracking, the natural time of when people charge their watches is now gone. So, something has to change.

I would settle for quick charge, which it may just have. If I could charge it up 30+% in around 10 minutes, that would be a great tradeoff.

International Cellular Capability / eSim Capability

Ever since cellular was first introduced to the Apple Watch, Apple has kept it from working outside of the region the watch was bought in. For a device that shines during travel, that is a really dumb move, especially when so many carriers are now border-agnostic.

I would be all over the cellular version for the first time ever if it had some kind of eSim capability, especially if I could add it as a data device to my Google Fi account. THAT would be awesome and I would start leaving my phone home on runs and quick trips out all the time!

It is not hard to do this as Apple has it in every other cellular device they sell. It would be a huge help to people all over the world that want their Apple Watch to have cellular capability no matter where they are. They took a baby step last year with international SOS which shows it is possible but they need to go all the way.

Even if it had nothing else I wanted, I would likely switch just for the international cellular capability.

Improved Data Field Customization

This is something that I really hate that Apple continues to do. They market this watch for runners as one of the main demographics and they have done so since the introduction of the Apple Watch. Yet, they continue to ignore the Workout App in a way that would make it easy for runners to customize the data fields for what they want.

apple watch series 4 for runners

It is really ridiculous – the watch is capturing this data anyway and it would not take much to let a wearer change one of the 5 fields. Why this is important is for things like when I am doing a speed workout. I need to know my pace at the intervals I am running at and rarely is that distance a mile. But, the Apple Watch will not let me get that kind of metric – I have to use other apps for that. And, why would Apple want their users to not use the app they have developed already?

However, there is no sign of that in the current watchOS 7 so I would imagine it will not be on the new watch. This is why if I do switch to the Apple Watch, I will actually use a Garmin (a cheap Vivoactive 3 I keep as a backup) for my speed workouts.

Not a deal breaker but I really, really want Apple to actually make their Workout App more customizable – or for Garmin to sell an Apple Watch app!

Bottom Line

Running is something I enjoy and do for personal competition/fitness/and a way to de-stress and clear my head. But, it is only a small part of my day. That is why I would be willing to switch from the already incredible Garmin watches to the Apple Watch, if they added a couple of things. It would help me for the rest of my day when I am not running.

Are you a Garmin user or Polar/Coros? Is there anything that would make you want to switch to the Apple Watch Series 6?

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

4 Comments

  • For me as a runner, I think the main feature that will never come is interaction via physical buttons. The 5 buttons on my 645 music are so necessary when i’m an hour or two into my run and my hands are sweaty. I really don’t want to be fiddling with a touch screen at that point.

    • I know, right? I have been very impressed with it and it has actually encouraged me to squeeze in runs where I never would before (because it recommends like a 40 minute run when I would normally think I should do at least one hour).

  • This is great article. I have been going back and forth trying to decide which watch to invest in. I ended up getting a few months ago Amazfit Startos 3, cheaper brand but it gets the job done well. I’m ready now to invest into higher end watch but it is very difficult to decide between Fenix 6x pro and Apple Watch 6?

    I love that fact that with fenix you get literally get off grid and have all these maps and tracking features. Makes you feel more adventurous. On the other hand i love apples smart features.

    When do you think they will come up with new fenix model?

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