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  1. #1
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    Non-gigantic GPS watch - anything out there?

    I've been skiing with a Suunto Ambit 2 for a couple of years. It bothers me at time by digging into my wrist if I don't loosen the strap and wear stuff with tight fitting cuffs. I can live with that but the other day I had my GF try it on as she's thinking about getting one; she looked like Flavor Flav had decided to wear his clock on his wrist... I doubt she could even fit a glove over it.
    Does anyone have any recommendations for normal-sized options, preferably under the million $$ these things tend to cost? I get that the sensors are big and all but there's gotta be some smaller GPS watches out there. Running watches are cool but few seem to track vertical progress which is her main interest, it's all about mileage. The phone option isn't great as it needs to come in and out of a pocket 100 times per tour. I've tried tying the watch to her pack strap but battery life decreased significantly in the cold.

  2. #2
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    How long do you want it to function for? I use a vivoactiv which is small and thin, but battery life is pretty poor. It is rated at 10 hours GPS/30 hours normal, mine seems to have decreased significantly to ~3 hours GPS.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sethschmautz View Post
    How long do you want it to function for? I use a vivoactiv which is small and thin, but battery life is pretty poor. It is rated at 10 hours GPS/30 hours normal, mine seems to have decreased significantly to ~3 hours GPS.
    That's another issue I haven't thought about. I guess for an average tour length of more than 4 hours it wouldn't be the best option...

  4. #4
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    I haven't actually pushed my watch to failure, but it seems like the battery life is getting worse. Otherwise, it has been a good watch and I've used it for tours, rides, etc. I've just recently started having concerns.

  5. #5
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    Another thought, if she just wants to track vertical does she really need gps? (on the other hand I totally get it if she WANTS it) I track vert all the time on my suunto core which is just an altimeter barometer compass watch. Another perk is I just change the battery once a year, no charging.

    The core isn't particularly small but its less large than the Ambit, but she might be able to find something more streamlined if she opens her options to non gps altimeters.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  7. #7
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    The local runners are switching to the Epson one. I have Ambit 3 and Fénix 3, and prefer the Garmin, but it is indeed huge.
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  8. #8
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    I have been happy with my TomTom Spark. It was priced well, has good features including a solid wrist-top hrm. And it's not huge. They have a new one with some expanded features that would be useful for ski touring called the Adventurer.

    The model I have doesn't live-track vert that I have found, but you get a summary of your vert when you sync to your phone. The Adventurer might be capable of that, but I don't know. Bang for your buck and support from tomtom seem great.

  9. #9
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    Does she need to know the current altitude while out or just wants to keep track of how much she climbed when she gets back? GPS is pretty crappy for live altitude measurement due to the geometry involved, the better watches (like your Suunto) combine it with barometric but that gets heavy and expensive. If she just wants to know how much vertical she's skied at the end of the day she can use any decent GPS watch (Garmin Forerunner 10 is pretty small and works well if you don't need a lot of features) combined with Strava or some other online route tracker which will take her GPS track and compute altitude using map data.

  10. #10
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    From what I've gathered she basically wants a skinny Ambit 3... Personally I find it super useful to know the current altitude, it really helps me pace myself early in the tour and force myself to go on when I get beat. So yeah, great suggestions above and as expected there's not going to be anything that fits the bills (otherwise someone would already be making a skinny Ambit 3). Looks like the Tomtom is the closest match with similar options and a more reasonable, size, it's much thinner (13 vs 18 mm) but I can't find the dimensions of the face itself. I'm gonna get her a laminated topo map of the Wasatch and a compass, that will have to do!

  11. #11
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    Or just use the iPhone in your pocket + Gaia or similar app. Not what you asked, but smaller GPS watches have shit battery life, sadly.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boissal View Post
    From what I've gathered she basically wants a skinny Ambit 3... Personally I find it super useful to know the current altitude, it really helps me pace myself early in the tour and force myself to go on when I get beat. So yeah, great suggestions above and as expected there's not going to be anything that fits the bills (otherwise someone would already be making a skinny Ambit 3). Looks like the Tomtom is the closest match with similar options and a more reasonable, size, it's much thinner (13 vs 18 mm) but I can't find the dimensions of the face itself. I'm gonna get her a laminated topo map of the Wasatch and a compass, that will have to do!
    TomTom says the display on the Adventurer is .98 inches x .87 inches.
    https://www.tomtom.com/en_us/sports/...nturer/orange/

    I've had good luck with my Spark. I think the Adventurer is the direction I would go now.

    The Wasatch Backcountry Ski map is sold as a hard copy on semi-waterproof paper. Doesn't hurt to keep one around!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyski View Post
    Or just use the iPhone in your pocket + Gaia or similar app. Not what you asked, but smaller GPS watches have shit battery life, sadly.
    iPhone has the shittiest of all battery life in cold conditions it seems and it has to come in and out of the pocket all the time. I'm a slave driver when we're skiing and don't have time for that!!
    I do use the phone for topo maps + GPS but the watch is really the only good way I've found to get a quick glance at elevation + vert.

    TomTom does seem much smaller than the Ambit so it's probably the best option. I'm seeing one for $240 on Amazon, shit.

  14. #14
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    Q: can a GPS watch interfere with beacon function?

    OP: I have the Fenix3 which I like a lot but it's big and bulky. Garmin has a new Fenix 5S which looks to be what you're girl may be after.

    https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/55.../010-01685-01#

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by N1CK. View Post
    Q: can a GPS watch interfere with beacon function?
    Yes.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boissal View Post
    iPhone has the shittiest of all battery life in cold conditions it seems and it has to come in and out of the pocket all the time. I'm a slave driver when we're skiing and don't have time for that!!
    I do use the phone for topo maps + GPS but the watch is really the only good way I've found to get a quick glance at elevation + vert.
    Leave the Iphone nice and warm in an inner pocket and access all your apps, data and comm's, via the Apple Watch.

  17. #17
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    I really liked the Samsung smartwatch fit2. It has a stand alone GPS. Probably only last 8 hrs in GPS mode tho, but it's just a small wristband with a fantastic ameold screen.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shredhead View Post
    Leave the Iphone nice and warm in an inner pocket and access all your apps, data and comm's, via the Apple Watch.
    Tell me more.

    My nephew has the series 1 and is not impressed, but I like the features of the series 2 w/ the GPS and thought "hmmm, maybe it would be kinda cool on a hike, bike ride or ski".

    Is it?
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  19. #19
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    I like it and I'd bet the OP's girl would too, if she's already Iphoned. It completely solves the cold battery dilemma.
    I ski and bike a lot and I have to be in contact.

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