You get What you Measure – Sports Watch comparison

Hello, hello! Now when being in the start line of my journey – or actually even way pass it – I decided to finally buy myself a proper sports watch. Until this I have followed-up my activity with Sports Tracker –app, but now I want to include also pulse (and other fun stuff) in the tracking in order to know I train right. In addition sport watch is much more convenient device during exercise because it’s easier to carry and check from a wrist compared to a phone in a back-pocket. Until this I have though tried to avoid getting a sports watch,  because I have a bit “all-or-nothing” mindset when it comes to self measurement. When I start tracking my performance / activity levels, I do it then constantly and get devastated if I e.g. forgot to turn the tracking on / it’s paused during the exercise… I will have a feeling that if it’s not measured, it didn’t happen either ; ) Now I anyway think I’m “mature” enough to live with the watch and to celebrate my new project I will get one to my wrist.

Choosing a Sports watch is difficult as there are several brands and models on the market. Price range is also huge between the watches varying from few bugs up to hundreds. Thus it’s good to think what are your expectations to the sports watch and then compare which watch gives the best price / quality ratio. When choosing a sports watch I recommend considering and comparing following five aspects:

  1. Purpose: Are you going to to wear the watch all the time or only during sports? Meaning how important the design and usability of the watch are?
  2. Pulse measurement: Do you value more an easy & continuous or separate & more accurate pulse measurement?
  3. Versatility: Are you focusing mainly to measure some specific sports or are you looking a more general watch that can measure and track multiple sports?
  4. Battery duration: How  actively you are ready to charge the watch? How long performance you are going to track and in which conditions (e.g. extremely hot / cold)
  5. Price: How much you are ready to invest on the watch?

Before getting one I did some sports watch comparison myself on different models and their prices. I decided to share that also here in case someone else is considering to buy one and needs some tips on it. In addition if you have any experiences on different brands and versions, I’m happy to hear them!

APPLE WATCH 

Pros
  • Synchronization with other Apple devices
  • Stylish and sleek design, many color options
  • Great selection of accessories (e.g. you can purchase Hermes wristband ; )
  • Versatile features (music, calls, messaging…)
  • Pulse measurement integrated to wrist (but I have understood wrist measurement is not as accurate as separate belt)

Cons
  • Different charger than in other Apple devices
  • Short battery duration (even less than 24h, and even shorter if used actively and/or there is cold outside)

Price: roughly 200-300€

SUUNTO SPARTAN ULTRA

Pros
  • Stylish design, several color options
  • Good battery duration (up to several days)
  • Large and clear screen
  • Versatile features
  •  Synchronization with Sports Tracker

Cons
  • Large size
  • Separate pulse measurement belt

Price: roughly 300-400€

POLAR A300

Pros
  • Good basic features
  • Excellent battery duration (they promise even 4 weeks!)
Cons
  • Small screen
  • Separate pulse measurement belt
  • Design is not on the same level with other watches

Price: starting from roughly 100€

GARMIN vívoactive® 3

Pros
  • Pulse measurement from the wrist
  • Good battery duration
  • Plenty of additional accessories

Cons
  • Large size
  • Limited sports selection

Price: Starting from 300€

ACTIVITY WRIST BANDS (e.g. Polar Loop)

Pros
  • Small size, sleek design
  • Good battery duration
  • Sleep analyzis

Cons
  • Exercises can’t be defined from the screen directly
  • No proper screen, can’t follow status during exercise
  • Separate pulse measurement belt

Price starting from 70€

As a summary, all sports watches seem to have similar basic features, like step / activity measurement, sleep follow-up, exercise selection, pulse, Bluetooth connection etc. So it doesn’t seem to much matter which one to choose based on these aspects. In addition all brands seem to have watches in different price ranges which makes the selection and comparison difficult. I ended up comparing watches in a “higher segment” as I wanted them to have enough features and pulse measurement. For example activity wrist bans I didn’t even consider after all as I think it was too big of a con that it was missing proper screen that I could follow-up during the exercise.

Sport Watch Suunto

After some consideration I ended up purchasing watch from Suunto: the Spartan Ultra watch. I value battery that lasts long so that I don’t need to charge it every day. In addition I felt this watch had versatile functionalities measurements and clear big screen. Big pro was also synchronization with Sport Tracker, where my own sports history is stored at the moment. This way I can continue using the sports tracker and have all my history stored in same place, but just enhanced with more accurate pulse and calorie consumption data! Additionally I feel Suunto is high quality brand that I can trust, so I truly hope the watch fulfills it’s expectations : )

I’m planning to share here my experience of using the watch to support the training and how Suunto’s watch is performing. But will do it later on once I have enough usage behind me!

Top 10 tips for Summer Prague

What to do in Prague? Today I’m sharing my best tips for Prague based on out long weekend there in the beginning of June. I must say that we enjoyed Prague a lot. It is a very beautiful, old and well maintained / preserved city.  and it was just a perfect location for a quick 4 day visit. It was just small enough to mainly go around by walking. Though when needed, the public transportation was also well organized and convenient to use. We also had some luck with the weather as every day was sunny and warm, but then again not too hot to be in a city. If anyone is planning a visit in Prague, at least I can warmly recommend it and share my best tips what to do while in town!

Panoramic views / Parks:

1: Vhyserad is an areas south of Prague which has beautiful park, Prague’s oldest building (small round tower) and an old church. Bets part of the area is the old castle wall is surrounding the park and you can walk all a way around it and at the same time enjoy the panoramic scenery. Vhyserad is a bit further away form the city center and we took a metro there and walked back. Route back to the city goes along the river bank and is thus nice to walk and works as nice afternoon walk (roughly 3km). One good thing in the slightly more distant location is that this area had clearly less tourists compared to other areas!

2: Petrin hill is a nice park located on eastern side of the city center. This park has nice views opening up to the old town. If you are interested to hike even higher there is a replica of an Eiffel  Tower on top of the fill against a small fee. We skipped this one though as I think the same scenery can be seen already from several other spots. Walking up and down the hill is again nice activity for the day in order to get some exercise. You can also take a funicular a.k.a. small tram up to the hill if walking is not your thing – but just be aware of long queues : ) Also a tip when visiting the park: On top of the park there is a nice green garden area, but due to many trees, the scenery isn’t that great. The actual views come when you walk down the pathways and when you hit the north-west area of the park. In that area you have a nice view to the old town and it’s also very popular picnic area by locals. During the afternoon there were several couples and families having picnic on the lawn with good food and wine.

Petrin Hill Scenery

3: Shooter’s Island is an island located in the river Vltava. This was one of our favorite spots in the city during the warm afternoons. Island is located in central place of Prague having direct view e.g. to Charles Bridge. We sat down on the river bank during several days. On one day we also visited the near by grocery store and picked up picnic snacks, enjoyed nice views and gave a well deserved rest to our poor feet after all the walking : ) There are also few café’s on the island and a stage where seemed to be frequent activities during summer time. E.g. on one day local dancing school was presenting their courses and there was short shows all the way from pole dancing to traditional Irish river dance.

Shooter's island Praque

Museums / Places to visit:

4: Prague Castle is one of the top sightseeing in Prague and not without a reason. Castle forms a great view when looking it from distance, but additionally it’s interesting to pay a visit also inside the castle area. You can buy different combination tickets to the castle so it’s worth planning it a bit in advance to decide how much you want to go around. Combination ticket is also handy from the point of view that you can use it in two consecutive days in a row meaning that you don’t have to run around the whole area in one day if you don’t want to. We took the smaller combi-ticket which enabled us e.g. visit to the old castle, cathedral and “Golden Lane” –street. Out of these I think the Golden Lane was the most interesting one. It’s and old handicraft street inside the castle where you can visit inside the small apartments where people with different professions lived. Additionally it has large armor museum with some very interesting form and sculptures. In addition to these ticket-only areas, I recommend taking a walk in the part surrounding the castle which again has nice panoramic views to the old town.

Praque castle

5: Naruda –street is an old street that starts from the eastern end of the Prague Castle. This area is one of the oldest in Prague. Street if very picturesque and well preserved. The interesting fact on the street is that some of the buildings still have the old identifications of the houses. Before taking the numbering into use, houses were known by they names and the logos / pictures representing the name were e.g. painted on the house.  It was fun to guess the names of different houses, e.g. Golden Horseshoe, Red Eagle, Three Little Fiddles etc. To read more about the house names and which house number they belong to, check e.g. this site.

6: Central square / Astronomic clock tower locates in the hearth of the old town and is with the Prague Castle one of the most known sightseeing. Area is very old and pretty so worth checking despite the tourist masses. It’s worth also to schedule your visit to even hour as that’s when the old clock rings and has a small puppet show. We though missed this one as the clock was under renovation. In addition to this square, I recommend walking around the hearth of the old town as it has plenty of atmospheric small streets and buildings.

7: Jewish cemetery is part of Jewish museum entity. Cemetery is very small are in the whole museum, but it’s something nicely different. In this small area there is literally thousands of gravestones placed on small area surrounded by green grass and trees. Time seems to be paused in this spot and the atmosphere is very calm and beautiful. With the same ticket you can also visit the museum which has some interesting cultural history.

8: Beatles memorial is a wall in Kampa Island painted fully with colorful graffiti. It has quotes of Beatles songs, pictures etc. It’s a nice place to take few artistic photos either with or without yourself in them : )

Beatles Memorial

Shops / Activities

9: Cinnamon Cookie shop is a cute small shop in Kampa island. According to it’s name the shop is full of nicely decorated cookies. It also works as a cafe and in the backyard they have few chairs and tables to sit down on a sunny day.  This works also very well as inspiration to the traditional cookie-decoration that we do every Christmas ; )

Cookie shop Praque

10: Renting a boat at Vltava was a nice activity during a warm afternoon. And when looking the queues we weren’t the only ones thinking that way! Along Vltava river there are few spots where you can rent the boats for an hour or two.

River Vltava Praque

Finally a general tip when planning your days: there seems to be plenty of tourists in Prague (or at least was in the beginning of June) so I recommend preparing to queue in the main tourist attractions. Tip to avoid queuing is to head to the main attractions early in the morning as based on our experience there is mush less people during 8-10 in the morning compared to the rest of the day. For example arrived to the Prague castle 9am sharp when it opened and there was pretty much no one there. When we left the castle around 11am the queue was h u g e, I bet the last people in the queue must have had to wait 1-1,5 hours in order to get in. And that queue was only to get to the castle area – most likely they needed to wait immediately in another queue in order to buy the tickets!

Evening view Prague

So, this sums-up my tips to Prague! I will share some restaurant tips in another post as none of the above will be fun unless you don’t fuel yourself properly during the day ; )