Apple Watch Series 5 // Sports & Fitness First Run & Tests

Apple Watch Series 5 // Sports & Fitness First Run & Tests


Hey folks, this is Ray from DCRAINMAKER.com, and today I have
your first impressions or first look or first whatever the heck you want to call
it; including a first run of the new Apple Watch Series 5. Now, I pedaled
out this morning and picked it up along with a new iPhone 11 Pro- yeah Pro, and
got things all set up (well actually this one has not been super smooth in
the set up process) but the watch was pretty darn smooth.
I got it simply unboxed and went ahead and ran through all the basic setup. It
took about 35 minutes or so to go ahead and get my apps pulled over as well as
my settings and all that stuff kind of finished. The one thing that didn’t seem
to pull over very well, or at all in fact, was my music. After waiting a half an
hour for just the music alone I simply gave up on it and went out for a run. So
I couldn’t really test this part on the run this morning, but I have been using
it since then and no issues with these just around the office and whatnot. So
what we are gonna do is focus purely on the fitness side of things. There are a
gazillion other places you can talk about general watch stuff, I will of
course talk about the always-on display because that is pretty important to
fitness, and of course the Apple Watch Series 5. And what we’re gonna do is go
head outside and go for run. I’ve got a bunch of other watches that I’ll talk
about in just a second, and we are gonna compare a couple things. One is GPS
accuracy and, two is heartrate accuracy. Now I’m looking to see if Apple’s made
some changes in both of those areas. And number one in GPS, one of the kind of
telltale signs of an Apple watch GPS track is it swerves around all these
corners. And Apple has made some strides over the last, I would say like six to
eight months or so, in some of those GPS tracks in various firmware updates to
the Apple watch series. Four for example. And then from a heartrate standpoint, I’m
curious if Apple’s still as good as they have been in the past. One of the things
that Apple really nailed in the Series 4 that they weren’t so great about in
the series 3, and prior, is heartrate accuracy. It was, its industry-leading,
so I’m curious, is that still the case? Have they made any sacrifices? For example to
keep that always-on display, by reducing power to the optical heartrate
sensor? Those are the sort of things that I’m looking for in my testing. And
then we are also gonna walk through some of the changes to the apps that support the Apple watch from a health and fitness standpoint. So with that, let’s
head outside and go for a run! And now on this wrist here I’ve got the
Garmin Venu, priced the same 399 as the Apple Watch GPS edition. On my
right wrist, right there, I have the Apple Watch GPS edition just chilling out. I
do not have my phone with me, it’s inside the building; it’s not there. I tried to
load music on this and after a half an hour of trying to say it was
transferring, it still hadn’t transfered anything- so save that for the full review.
And then I will be hand holding these, basically on my wrists, I’ll kind of put them like
that almost. I’ve got the Forerunner 945 and I’ve got the polar Vantage V. So those 2
watches will be collecting data from a heartrate strap- in this case I have a
chest strap right here and I also have up here underneath my sleeve, right there,
I’ve got the Polar OH1+ Optical heartrate sensor. So all in I’ll have 4
optical heartrate sensors. None will be touching the other optical heartrate
sensors- which is super important when you’re looking at testing or whatnot. And
then I’ve got 4 GPS devices, and none of them touching either. So that will get me
to go running. Okay, so the route that I have chosen for today’s testing, it’s gonna start out
through some taller buildings. You can see that one up there, I guess that’s like 10-12 stories. Maybe a little more. Some smaller ones back over there.
They’re about the same size, just not as dense. Then it’ll open up, go in the opening here and then go through another set of buildings for about 4 to 5 blocks or so, and then
we’ll go back around, through some residential area, and eventually hit some
park area. So we’re gonna do a little bit of cloverleaf here. So this goes down to this
bridge, you’re gonna see what’s gonna happen. I’m gonna go underneath this bridge right here, we’ll go under both sets and we’ll come back out on the other side, loop
around, loop under, and eventually just like a bad highway interchange that
you missed the exit for. So I’m curious to see here, how well it
handles this- whether it gets it correctly or not. Well, actually all the
watches for that matter. It’s a pretty hard little test. In a fairly consolidated area.
The whole thing is going to be 50 meters by 75 meters or so. So it’s not that big, but, it’s fun. So of course the big new feature on this
series 5 is the always-on display, and in fact that’s always on. When my arm is like this, like you’re normally running, it’s on but a bit dim. I can see- like at this angle right
there- even with bright sun, once I get to there it’s
no problem at all. Then I rotate the arm over it goes to
full brightness on the display, and back again to slightly dimmer over there. No problem seeing it, even in the sun today or in the shade. So kind of show you this now,
here we go, it’s a bit dimmer, in a second there we go, full brightness. I know it’s probably pretty hard to see on a GoPro, I’ll go
ahead and show you when we go inside though. Okay we’re gonna roll into a couple of
intervals now. I’m gonna roughly 200 meter intervals. And I’m going to do about 5
minutes a mile, so I’ll put the kilometers down there at the bottom. Now
I won’t record these with the camera because holding up my arm like that, in the
interval, will confuse the sensors. The optical sensors they won’t see a cadence bump as they would expect so, they might not do that correctly. So I’m gonna go
ahead and put the camera away, and we’ll look at the data once we get back in the
studio. Okay intervals all taken care of. The reason I did 30-second ones and not longer is because quite frankly, if things go wrong, it’s gonna go wrong in the first 15 to 20 seconds or so. so you want kind of that maximum intensity, see how well it can pick up that
change in pace, change in heartrate, etc. So we’ll go ahead and finish things up,
wander back on inside and look at all the data. Okay now that we are back here
in the studio, before we start analyzing all this data if you are finding this (video)
interesting, or useful, or any of those things, whack the like button right now at the bottom. It really helps the channel and
the video quite a bit! I’ve got all the data downloaded from everything. And I’m going to talk about that data in just a second, but first let me just show you
what it looks like on the finishing screen of the run. Your summary screen right there, and you can see your total time up top, you can see the total distance,
the average pace, my average cadence- a bit lower because of the fact that I
stopped between those intervals (or slowed down) between those intervals quite a bit. So it’s a little lower than you expect. Active calories, total calories,
average heartrate, and if I tap the average heartrate there,
tap the average heartrate there,… tap the average heartrate there, it’ll go ahead
and show me the heartrate for the actual run itself. So you can see that
plot over a course of time. And you can see here we’ve got the elevation gain,
the elevation min and max. Now the negative 11 feet is probably actually
accurate. Here in Amsterdam you’re kind of flirting with sea level, you know zero
meters or zero feet, and in some cases the city is actually a couple meters
below, and in some cases a couple meters above, so that is probably actually
accurate. And you can see the duration of my run right there. And I click done! Now
if I go over to the phone app here, you can see the summary from my run as well. All
the exact same information, and then down below we’ve got the map. And I can zoom
in on this map here, I can switch over to satellite mode if I want to for example.
And I can look at just certain sections. So I could see if I go in right here, let’s
see where was that little turn that I made? There we go.
So this is during one of the sprint’s there. And you can start to see a little bit
of the Nike swoosh if you will, cutting through there, where that trail,
you know, clearly goes to the top there and then this just cuts right across it.
It cuts right over the top of the bridge, and misses the bridge- actually I’m in
the canal in this case. And then it continues on. The other area that you can
see has been revamped is Apple health. And here is where you’re starting to see a little
bit more of the trending data. Now in this case I’m not gonna see the training data as
much since it’s just one day. Though some metrics are combined across other
devices that are non-apple. So for example things I was wearing my
Garmin watch or other devices that port that data into Apple health, you’ll see
that. So I can look at heartrate right there, and I can see my heartrate over
the course of the day, I can see it over the course of the week, over the course
of the month, over the course of the year. and it’s pretty darn stable. If I go back
here I can look at things like active energy. Over the course of today, there is
my run right there in the middle, and then you can go into weeks and so on. The
same is true with steps. You can see that there. I go to week, month, year, and you
can see August, summer time no surprise, I’m doing more steps there than other
months. And November last year was apparently probably a pretty crappy
weather month, so I was probably doing less steps there. So let’s talk about the
always-on display a little bit. If I go ahead and put it on my wrist right here, so
I’m gonna do that right now, get on my wrist. There we go.
And now you’ll see the display turned off briefly there, but at this point if
it stays like this, if I just have my wrist like this, it’ll stay on, and will
show itself down there in kind of a dim mode. And then when I go ahead and
turn my wrist like this, you’ll see it got bright there for a second. So that’s the
brightness increasing. But what about something like the Strava app? How does
that work? And the answer is not well. So right now, I’m actually running the
Strava app, and I just changed to it in-between that cut right there. And in
fact you’ll see, if you look very carefully, until my wrist gets caught, it
shows the time right there. So shows 1:04. Now as soon as I turn my wrist all the
way, then it’s gonna show the rest the screen there, 45 seconds- 46 seconds. So
it’s still recording in the background, but I don’t see that data unless I get to
the the wrist raise. And so the time, and right there. And so that is definitely a
bummer if you’re a third party app. So now let’s talk accuracy. So I’ve loaded
all of the files into the DCR Analyzer. I’ll put a link down on the bottom
there if you want to do your own comparisons. Okay so I’ll start off by looking at the heartrate side of things. And you know what, at a high level, these are all
fairly similar if you trend them across the board here. But as we dig into them,
there are some variances there. So let’s look at this first section right here.
You can see there are some moments like the Apple watch spikes early on, almost
15 or so beats above other everyone else. On the flip side, the Garmin Venu
seemed to struggle a little bit in this section here. They’re close, but we’re
seeing some variance there. We also see these drops every once in a while. So you
see this right here on the Apple Watch, that, I have never seen before on an Apple
watch heartrate traces in the past. Where it’s like up here at 180 and then
boom it drops down to 164. That is massive in the world of heart rate, and
that’s huge for Apple Watch because they’ve haven’t made that mistake on the
Series 4. And we see it again here towards 33 minutes where, boom, it just
drops out on the bottom for a couple seconds, it comes back again.
Same thing it spikes up, you know, almost 20 beats 15 beats or so. Again right here
in one of the Sprint’s it does the same thing, down 15 beats. Which makes me
think Apple is probably making some trade-offs there, they’re probably going
ahead, like I’ve talked about, and saving some of the battery on the optical heartrate sensor that was so good, and so strong in this Series 4, and probably
saving a little bit for the always-on display. That’s my guess, I don’t have any
like definitive proof of that, and Apple would certainly never admit that. But
just knowing the industry as well as I do, and knowing some of the trade-offs that all these vendors have to make around the Optical heartrate sensor and
power management, that is what I suspect is probably happening there. That said,
for the most part if you look at this interval section right here, outside of those drops, all these units trend pretty darn close. So
let’s go ahead now and look at the GPS side of things here. So we’ll zoom in here and
look at sort of the start of the run- up at a top. And you know, for the most part
things are pretty good. We see like it makes these turns correctly which, is
good. You know you can get some, you can debate which one’s good or bad, and some
of those things in terms like the nuance of is it on the bike path or next to
bike path. But initially anyways, pretty darn good. Through this whole building
section here, for the most part they were good. Some you know variance between the different units like I would expect. But let’s talk about that clover leaf
because, you see basically the three watches do three totally different
things. The Apple watch went into it and was
like “no, no, I’m want nothing to do with this clover leaf. I’m just gonna draw
myself a little hill and call it done”. And the hill is not a clover. And you can
see that it just goes sways way off in the park and then across to the water
and then boom, it’s like “done I’m out of here”. The (Garmin) Venu kind of came into this, and is like “I’ve got this, I’ve….” and then it got lost. It went off the bridge, and into
the water, it made a loopy loop. It made a loop- it had a loop, Apple didn’t have a loop. The (Garmin) 945 was committed to the cause though. It went down, it went under, over.
It did its first clover loop, it went here and did a little bit different clover loop, and
then it tried really hard to get under the bridge correctly, and it lost the plot
too. But still it was the best of the three. If you could consider that, I guess.
And then all of them, kinda, once they got out on the roadway here, they
settled out a little bit. You know for the most part these watches are pretty
close, I could nitpick all day on an GPS accuracy. You do still see a little bit
again that telltale Apple Watch sign there, of cutting the corner slightly. And
kind of just smoothing those out. Here’s one right there
the teal of the Apple Watch cutting the corner. You see it most visibly right
here- here’s one of the sprints I did across the bridge, and the trail goes up, and
then down, and then across, and the Apple Watch is like “boom”, I’m just cutting
across all these corners. Jumping over the canal, and just no corners for me. And
you see it again up here as well, where it just slides around this corner. It is better
than the Series 4 was. It’s not, “not perfect” there yet, but I need more runs
more activities more workouts across a variety of sports to see accuracy on
both GPS, and heartrate, and kind of make some final determinations. Okay, so what’s
my sort of summary here? Well, it’s an Apple Watch. In other words, it’s
basically pretty darn similar to the Apple Watch Series 4. There wasn’t a
lot of shifts here- we knew that going into it. I would say that, the always-on
display is nice within the first party app. And nice for just sort of day to day
time usage. Third party apps like Strava, it’s not super useful. It’s just tell
me the time until I get the… as I showed you not idea. l the optical heartrate
sensor- I think in a step down. I think Apple’s probably doing some stuff behind
the scenes to save battery, and the accuracy isn’t quite there anymore. Maybe
that’ll get tweaked over time, it probably will, but at least as of today in
my initial impressions, not quite there. GPS, they’ve made improvements over athe Series 4, but most of those were software updates that I think we saw
Series four in the last say again six or so months make the most of those
updates. So if you’re looking at units across the board, I don’t think there’s any reason to rush out and get this, if you already have a a Series 4, unless you really want
to see the time all the time. “Time all the time”… that’s kind of catchy. Otherwise
there you go. If you found this interesting, whack that like button at the bottom there, or the subscribe button. I appreciate it. Stay tuned for plenty more sports
technology goodness. Have a good one!


100 thoughts on “Apple Watch Series 5 // Sports & Fitness First Run & Tests

  1. perhaps i've missed the reason or the review, but why don't you ever touch the amazfit stratos? Perhaps too old now, but talking about that – there are a whole range of new editions in that area and yeah, almost all the "smart watches" aren't fitness focused, there are many that are.

  2. It‘s a shame 3rd party apps don‘t show their data when the display is dimmed. That‘s basically my only reason to buy a new Apple Watch.
    When I ride my mountainbike the display of my Series 2 takes several trials to turn on by a turn of the wrist. Meanwhile I have driven quite a few meters in blind flight.
    Depending on road condition this is just inacceptable.

  3. Use my Fenix 5S mainly for running – tempted by the Apple Watch as I’m heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem….is the battery life a reason to hold off?

  4. Dear Ray. Sir. Its good to see you. How are you? Please may I take a moment of your time to say thanks for the demos on Apple 5 watch. Please can you tell me the best phone to go with it as I need to get fit… I plan to do press ups Burpees Squats Pull Ups Lunges in sets to get shredded. Am I on the right track cinsidering purchasing the Iphone? ( which model?) Apple 5 watch. I dont have a Apple Mac laptop does this matter so long as I have the Iphone and watch I can get on with my fitness/Strength training. Are there reminders alerts on Apple watch is it suited for the abive workouts?
    Ray I never ever thought about buying something as grand as Apple gear so I need your encouragement. I appreciate it. From Craig. UK.

  5. The video is incredible damn smooth!! Did you use the DJI OSMO Action Cam or is this a sneak peak to the new GoPro 8? 😊 I only saw in the shadows that it must be a small action cam. And the GoPro 7 is stable, but not that while running.

  6. You are the only reviewer that actually digs into these details, thanks, it is much appreciated. Was thinking about upgrading from S4->S5 but not with a wonky HR sensor. I'm also curious about the weight of the new Titanium model, as we know, the weight of the watches makes a difference when you use it for running.

  7. Was this a cellular or just GPS version? Also, the strava app demonstration, I mean come on let's be real, no one is glancing at their watch at that angle let alone trying to get information off of it.

  8. Great video as always. Can you compare the Apple Watch series 5 to the Huawei Watch GT2… I'd really need it to make a purchase decision. Thanks

  9. Hi, I was wondering how durable the glass is on the Apple watches, I currently use a garmin fenix 3 and over the last 4/5 years of owning it, I’m super impressed with the scratch resistance of the glass especially as I wear it for mountain biking etc, but like the fact that I can have music on my watch without needing my phone plus the new climbing apps etc but worried about the durability? Cheers neil

  10. Great stuff as usual. As far as heart rate being dropped here and there… Is that hardware or simply something changed in WatchOS 6? It would be great to see a side to side comparison just for the heart rate between the 4 and the 5, both on Watch OS 6. Then we would know if it is hardware or software.

  11. The Series 3 was a complete zero. It would just lock up during the run as soon as it got away from my iPhone. It's been taking up space in my drawer ever since. I won't get fooled into buying another one of these stupid watches from Apple again.

  12. The HR monitor in my apple watch 4 is horrible. It drops all the time, for 5-10 minutes, multiple times during a run, sometimes it never works. I made sure everything on my settings is turned on regarding the HR sensor, I can't seem to find a fix. It's extremely frustrating!

  13. Yes is pretty damn good as you said but the “negatives points” you stated are so weak theres no point on saying them unless you want to be paid by the competition or similar. iwatch is been and still is the best of the market, period!

  14. Have you tried disabling the always on screen to confirm the HR theory? Maybe that’s a compromise when the display is always on only?

  15. Great reviews as always and have enjoyed all of your videos for several years now. Will turning off the Always On Display fix the heart rate issue dip?

  16. DC, please make a review of Garmin Vivomove 3 (new model). Please! You are the only one who’s doing watch reviews. Your Garmin Venu review was the first one on YouTube

  17. Hey Rey, can you test the series 4 with the new watchOS to see if the discrepancies with heart rate drop off are from software or hardware changes?

  18. Hi Ray, I am looking to buy a fitness device within the price range of the apple watch 5. I was thinking about getting the apple watch until I saw this video. What would you recommend? I will be using it mostly for Jogging and gym as well as day to day use. Great Channel btw!

  19. I always think I’m good to go with my decision, and then I read, or listen to, the DC rainmaker. Then alllllll my self doubt comes out and I don’t know what to get!!!!!😩😩

  20. Hi Dc rainmaker, new to your channel so thanks for your uploads. New to Apple watches too, main reason for buying is for running, so intersted in the HR accuarcy difference between series 4 and 5. Any advice and any more tests on the 5 drop outs. From the u.k. Thanks

  21. Thank you for all your excellent reviews. Just one question about this new model. What do you think about the battery life compared to the series 4 when the always on display is activated ?

  22. Have you ever compared several 3rd party apps on the Apple Watch. Every app can decide how it handles the incoming GPS data. That is, how frequent it will update points on the track, how to filter the data etc. etc. I don’t believe the native Apple Watch running app is the most accurate one on the platform. It also want to address the mass. Recreational runners that rather see smooth curves than jiggly lines. Or?

  23. I just ordered the Watch by September 10th. Sent it back to Apple yesterday since the Battery is a bad joke. Furthermore, the sports usage is just bad. GPS accuracy for Mountainbiking and Strava is just so bad. Guess it'll be a Garmin next time.

  24. That clover leaf scenario is great! I ran a similar pattern at the Dubai Marina along both sides of the Marina Promenade, taking my run back, forth, and under the bridges. The Fenix 5 lost its mind. Even by Fenix 5 standards.
    Great Review!

  25. Have you tried to use the Apple Watch in a true race situation? I tried and it was a nightmare compared to my Garmin. Starting the Apple isn't easy or stopping it.

  26. Thanks for the tips. I’ve got one 5th aluminium 44. Love it. My fist Apple Watch. Battery life is limited, but I knew that. Great for outdoors. How did I live without with my old expensive Swiss Watch. I used Runtastic on iPhones. This is so much coooler

  27. Mine are the same as yours. Broadly learned most of usage. But there are more features I need to master. Love the heart monitor, ECG, compas, maps, astronomy etc

  28. Ray, is there any way to force the watch NOT to use the GPS of the phone? (turning bluetooth may do the job?) I find this just so dumb. I know the battery lasts longer if you have the phone around and you'd probably carry the phone 95% of the cases (unless you do a run for about an hour or two) but still.

  29. First of all Nice tees. Finally got a best review of Apple Watch ⌚️ series 5. Just I brought iPhone 11 Pro Max. But thinking about Apple Watch ⌚️. Now the review is here. Appreciated buddy.👌🏻

  30. Thanks for the video. I had the Galaxy Watch Active, but the synchronization with the iPhone did not work at all, so I am searching for a new watch. Does the Apple Watch have a sleep tracking function?

  31. I will wait for a apple watch with microLed Technolgy than i buy one directly, one day battery life is not my style minimum must be 2 days or 3 days.

  32. Dcrainmaker apple watch 5 or garmin fenix 6x pro.

    I will use it ir hiking backpacking. Travel flying.

    And main feature is i will use the watch standalone no phone.

    Wich watch is good for me

  33. Is this HR monitor more accurate than Garmin 5 or 6? For me the Garmin 5x wrist HR has been a terrible experience. It never keeps up with the changes and only work accurate while doing something constant.

  34. Any update from Apple regarding HR? I’m wanting to upgrade my AW3, but not sure if I should stick with Apple or just go for a garmin.

  35. Assuming this guy is right about the heart rate and always on display trade off. What the hell possessed Apple to think that was worth it and more important to us? 🙄 I was set and sold to get Series 5 but this is the second video I’ve watched with evidence regarding this issue. I would disable the always on display if I had gotten the 5 but looks like I’ll be going with the 4. I always like the latest and greatest tech so this will be an interesting change for me. Good news is it’ll be cheaper. LoL

  36. Could you make comparision of vivoactive 4 and apple watch 5 and is there a change about heart rate accuracy after watchos 6.1
    Thank you for this good test 🙂

  37. You do know your comparing different watches that might all be inaccurate and arriving at a possibly inaccurate result. I would like to these watches reviewed with a hospital monitor costing ten of thousands of dollars.

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