Tech to Watch


It’s already 2015, and we may not be the Jetsons, but we have technology that beats any futuristic cartoon world. Ok–a hovercraft would be awesome, but that’s besides the point. Today we’ll share some of the coolest sport and lifestyle watches on the market, as well as get an inside look from our own, tech guru Sam Wunderlich, on the Garmin Vivoactive.


Garmin Vivoactive

The Connect IQ platform, built around their own programming language, is very cool to watch develop.

-Sam W.

What you get:

  • Built-in Connect IQ Apps: Track progress away from phone, during activity (run, golf, bike, move, swim)
  • Move Bar alert, sunlight readable, 3-week battery, steps, calories, HR
  • Smart Notifications: Vibrates to alert calls, texts, emails, calendar reminders from Bluetooth-enabled device
  • Custom apps and watch faces by free download
  • 10 hours of GPS
  • Sweat, swim, shower with it
  • Garmin Connect: Track progress, virtual badges, online challenges, connect with friends on computer or mobile device
  • See our interview below with Sam Wunderlich our Paragon tech guru
  • Check it out and buy here!

Tech Talk with Sam on his Garmin Vivoactive

Sam has had his fair share of tech watches, including the Suunto 3, Fitbit, Polar 5, TomTom1, and just purchased the Garmin Vivoactive last week. He’s already pleased with it and is enjoying the process of learning all the possible capabilities of the new lifestyle piece.

P: What made you choose the Garmin Vivoactive? 

S: It has a great app, Garmin Connect, which tracks sleep, workouts, calories burned, and I can log my food via MyFitnessPal seamlessly. It’s very customizable to fit your desires. I like how it integrated notifications into an already great GPS company.

P: What are some key features that stand out from other watches?

S: It has basically all the key features in a watch that anyone knows about. The only thing missing is the integrated heart rate that Apple and FitBit are known for, but this device is easy to use an HR strap with. Plus, I don’t really care about my HR during the middle of the day, only specific workouts. On the software side, the GPS speed and distance for running and cycling, the accelerometers for indoor workouts, the daily step counters and sleep patterns, and swim and golf settings are great. And, apps can be written to expand the feature set endlessly!

P: When are you using it, or planning to use it, most?

S: Indoor workouts in the gym and running outside, tracking general health and fitness through daily logs.

P: So far, what has been the most useful feature?

S: I really enjoy the app. It’s very customizable and is a great place to summarize whatever you like to see about your activity. The watch has so many features that it’s almost a necessity to get the full potential out of it.

P: Tell me about connecting your phone to the watch.

S: It took about 5 minutes to connect and could not have been easier. I have used many “smart” watches over the years, and this is by far the best. There’s no elaborate setup, and the app is much easier to install than previous software downloads–no wires, no dongles. It just works and with more and better info than ever before.

P: Any last comments?

S: It’s a great Jack-of-all-Trades watch. There are better watches for runners, triathletes, hikers, golfers, swimmers, etc. but this watch does a great job of giving you all the general features for all these watches, plus a few more.

Here are a few other watches tech lovers are grabbing up for their fitness needs:

Garmin Fenix 3

Garmin Fenix 3

This watch does everything for extreme sports, an ABC watch with 30-50 hours battery life.

– Tech Specialist Mark V.

The features: 

  • Run: Navigation aids, Climb/Run Switch, UltraTrack mode to extend battery to almost 50 hours, compass, feedback, ground contact time
  • GLONASS satellite reception to GPS
  • Triathlon: VO2 max, HRM, recovery timer, Power Meter readings, Swim metrics and drill logging–even indoors
  • Style and function: Download apps and widgets, customize data and look
  • Color display, strong-link steel wristband, 10 ATM water rating, Bluetooth, ANT+
  • Check it out and buy here!


Fitbit surge

For those who hate HR straps, this one’s right on your wrist. – Mark V.

The technology:

  • GPS: Run time, distance, pace, elevation stats display, routes and split times post run
  • Purepulse HR: continuous HR readings during intense workouts, no straps or clips, it’s on your wrist
  • 8-sensor tech and 7-day active battery life: steps, distance, HR, active minutes, calories burned
  • Notifications and music: text and call, music control
  • Auto sleep and alarms: monitors sleep, syncs stats to smartphone or computer, silent alarm to wake
  • Track: progress charts, record workouts, share with friends, food log, badges
  • Check it out and buy here!


Polar V800

What’s unique is when you swim it actually gives you an accurate HR reading in the water.

– Tech Guru Robin B.

Why to buy:

  • PolarFlow: Shows how training affects body and recommends recovery time, mobile app, orthostatic test warns of overtraining, share training sessions
  • 24/7 activity tracking: Adds total training load with daily activity for overall status, inactivity, track calories, sleep duration and quality
  • Swimming: Automatic detection of swimming style, distance, pace, strokes and rest times, analyze pool length or phase. SWOLF score helps you improve technique and follow progress
  • Plan: Set training targets, intervals, real-time guidance
  • Train: Notifies you when to change speed, sport profiles for different activities, switch sports seamlessly
  • Integrated GPS and altimeter: Distance, speed, route, altitude, ascent, descent
  • Check it out and buy here!



You can send and receive texts right from the watch via Bluetooth. No phone required.

– Mark V.

What’s Good: 

  • Instafix GPS: Connect fast, real-time pace and distance
  • Music: 1000 songs or 4GB with bluetooth headphones or speaker
  • Messaging: Send and receive without your phone on hand
  • Live tracking: Friends can track your run or race. Send an SOS when in need
  • Qualcomm Mirasol Touchscreen: Brighter in direct sunlight and always on
  • 8 hour rechargeable Li-Ion battery in full GPS and cellular-connected mode
  • Compatible: Bluetooth, HR monitors, foot pods, wireless headphones
  • PR achievements, Indiglo Night-Light, 10 interval timers
  • One year AT&T mobile data service included, water-resistant 50 M
  • Check it out and buy here!