Apple Watch 6 Accuracy – Detailed analysis – Run Bike Swim,

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Reading Time: 21 minutesApple Watch 6 Accuracy I have performed extensive tests on how accurately the Apple Watch 6 (AW6) performs in sports against other well-known sports watches. Excerpts from about half of the tests are shown below and I am continuing to use the AW6 so I will update this if there are any new finding but I’m reasonably confident that I have come to the point where nothing new is surfacing. I focus on the triathlon sports of Swim, Bike & Run as I’m a triathlete and because they give a good indication of how the Apple Watch…

Garmin Forerunner 745 Accuracy Apple Watch 6 Accuracy

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A lot of work goes into producing these accuracy tests and the detailed results are only available to supporters. You can only see the summary unless you are logged in as a supporter

Analysis & Verdict

The Apple Watch 6 can be extremely accurate.

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There are only rare times when the Apple Watch 6 simply flatlines with the oHR...or just gets it obviously wrong. At other times, it still makes mistakes BUT, unless you are working out with another watch in parallel you will never know as the results in these scenarios are still superficially plausible. Consequently, there are going to be a lot of people who think it's awesome. More awesome than it is.

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However, don't get me wrong. It is still a mightily good performer with oHR, elevation and GNSS/GPS. I'd say that oHR and elevation are definitely amongst the best-in-class when compared to either sports watches or smartwatches. GNSS/GPS is a tricky one the AW6 usually looks great and, in reality, it is sometimes awesome (as good as an AMBIT from a few years ago) but constant precision isn't there over many and varied conditions. Nevertheless, the AW6 produced one of the best-ever scores in my standard GPS run-test, so that deserves kudos if nothing else.

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  • running accuracy - GNSS can be excellent but smooths corners and doesn't like trees. oHR usually excellent and very occasionally flatlines, possibly doesn't like off-road terrain.
  • cycling accuracy - GNSS is usually excellent and smoothed corners seem improved over previous AW models. Doesn't like trees. oHR is usually excellent and elevation is excellent.
  • open water swim accuracy - GNSS is surprisingly excellent and oHR usually surprisingly good.

I am an extreme cynic about the population-wide accuracy of oHR during sports. If you'd asked me 6 months ago which vendor's oHR I would use in sports I would definitely have said Garmin ELEVATE gen 3. However, now I'd say the Apple Watch 6 is very close. But I'd perhaps caveat that to add that I was only going to run with it on hard ground.

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Similarly, with GNSS/GPS, I am sceptical about the Apple Watch's accuracy but more from the perspective of 'in which way do you want it to be accurate?'. Very many sports watches will give you a pretty GPS track of your route and the Apple Watch is no different. Yet if you want it to tell you how fast you are running right at this moment then it struggles as all the other smart/sport watches out there. Sneakily the workout app usually displays a believable rolling average or lap pace...again, you'd probably never notice it was wrong unless you had something to compare it to or unless you were running in particularly difficult reception conditions.

Verdict: If you insist on using your watch's GNSS and HR capabilities rather than external sensors then the Apple Watch 6 is up there with the very best sports watches...most of the time. For accuracy, I would trust it equally as much as a Garmin.

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