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Smartwatch or other notification device for Kiting?
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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Northwest Kiteboarding -> Gorge / Portland / Oregon Coast
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Since 12 Nov 2008
773 Posts


PostSat Aug 19, 17 7:16 am     Reply with quote

The vivoactive has been fine for tracking kiting (as cycling). Hung once on me, but refurbished for $85, I suppose I should expect that. The vivoactive HR is a newer design, despite sharing the name, but it seems you need to get up to the Fenix 5 before getting an accelerometer with enough accuracy to measure jump height. Rough GPS tracking is all you get otherwise.

GLONASS gives you better positional accuracy by roughly doubling your constellation with Russian satellites. I notice errant tracks with GPS only, but it could just be my hand flailing around or under water.

The 5 and I think 3 both do SUP, the other reason I wanted it. By that I mean accelerometer-based stroke count, etc. If someone were to write a ConnectIQ kiting app (hint hint), they'd need the high accuracy accelerometer and a platform supporting the latest API to get its data.

I suspect many of the consumer watches don't have good accelerometers or access to their data, but that's just a guess.

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Hazard to Navigation

Since 12 Sep 2016
57 Posts
Hood River

PostTue Oct 17, 17 10:12 am     Reply with quote

I ended up with some birthday money and bought a Garmin Fenix 5X (from Shortt Supply in Hood River), which I've had for a couple of weeks now. In short, I'm very happy with it for kiting and everyday use, including tracking multiple sports. Here are some more comments:

- I love analog displays, but it's harder to read in some light than a mechanical watch. There are tons of available watch faces, the simpler ones are usually the easiest to read. Large white on black hands work well.
- Uses five buttons, no touch screen. Good when wet or with gloves.
- Definitely a bit of a learning curve to set up advanced features, but it does more than I was expecting.
- Battery life is good, 3-5 days, depending on how much the GPS is in use. Has a mechanical connector that some have trouble with, instead of magnetic or induction charger.
- Paired with my Android phone, I get a vibration for new notifications and can read incoming texts, emails, and facebook notifications. You can't reply using the watch.
- Optical HR monitor works fairly well, except while swimming. Not as good as a chest strap, but you can pair one.
- The 5X adds maps and vibrates for turn prompts. Great for cycling, although the maps are not easy to read. The smaller and less expensive models are a better deal, unless you must have maps. The 5X doesn't have a larger screen than the 5, and battery life may be shorter.
- Lots of apps available, but the small screen is an issue, compared to Garmin's higher end bike computers.
- The iKitesurf Wind Info app is great!

Extremely in-depth review here:

Very pleased overall!

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