These recommendations are based on products that I have used, reviewed or had access to use ‘for a while’.
I mostly focus on the capability of the gadget itself rather than the app or software that may accompany it. Obviously the software *IS* still a key part of the offering and most vendors strive to continually improve their software BUT at the same time there are numerous independent tracking/analysis platforms or smartphone apps for data that MANY of us use.
It’s black Friday (28/10/14) soon, even in the UK these days, so I’ve avoided putting prices here.
Whilst some people detest what Amazon stands for; I don’t. I think it is a great place to get a reasonably priced item – often pretty much the cheapest. So I’d go for their cheapness and safety and service. Look also at handtec.co.uk and, if you are a BTF member, there are whopping discounts available on Garmin products through the BTF shop (be careful: on ONE purchase a year I believe).
These recommendations come from the point of view of someone who is not constrained by having lots of, say, ANT+ or Bluetooth kit which may or may not be compatible with certain vendors offerings.
Best & most comprehensive offering: Garmin Forerunner 620.
Duathlon Watches: Go for the triathlon recommendation but also consider the Garmin 310XT – it’s fairly old but functionally rich, reliable enough and already sub £200.
Triathlon Watches: The Garmin 920XT is the best triathlon watch. I have not put up my review for this yet as there are quite a lot of people in the UK who are simply unable to get hold of one. The Garmin 910XT is good but will fall to sub-£200 as the 920XT eventually falls below £300 (Summer 2015 or later, maybe). The Polar V800 is becoming very good, the Suunto Ambit3 models are great and the TomTom MultiSport Cardio is worth a look. There are others.
HR Straps & Activity Trackers
The Wahoo TICKR-X is an amazing piece of multi-functional kit all crammed into a chest strap. It could export RR data and it could be smaller – other than that it’s as perfect as can be.
I love the MIO Link WRIST based heart rate monitor. As you can see though I’ve put the image for the MIO Fuse..can’t think why! [Imminent release of my review: uber-perfect monitor as well as fab activity tracker ALL-IN-ONE WITH HR – great gift even for kids and your dad)
Consider the reduced functionality of the FitBit One if you just want something that works and you are not too bothered about heart rate. There are lots of new fangled models coming out that are VERY flakey. The FitBit One works and has a great app…good for a safe present. It is also a clip-on which will appeal to some who prefer it in a pocket or on a belt.