Apple Watch Series 3 accuracy

I am using Strava on my iPhone (6) with the original Apple Watch (no GPS). Apart from the inconvenience of having to take my iPhone in an armband it works very well for running and the activities are pretty accurate. Live HR, accurate routes and distances. (Only downside is lack of Beacon when I start tracking on the watch).

I’m coming up to my 40th birthday and my wife wants to get me a new Apple Watch Series 3.

There are (or were) reported problems on this forum with using the Strava standalone watch app with Apple Watch Series 2 – pretty serious problems like missing location data and truncated routes.

Presumably at least some of this was down to limitations of the Watch itself.

My questions are:

1. Was this resolved on Apple Watch Series 2?

if not:

2. Does anyone have experience with Strava on the new Apple Watch Series 3 - and does *that* track location accurately?

I’m keen on upgrading for swimming use but won’t do it if my Strava running experience is worse than with the original Watch + phone combination.



40 comentários
  • Strava via AW3 (no cellular) recorded a recent 25K (15.5 miles) at 13.0 miles. Almost 20% off. Other runs where I know history are consistently ~10% or more under. 

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  • @PeterTroast Try using the native workout app and see if the distance is better. I've been using the native app and had no issues since launch day.

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  • @AdeRowbotham Try the Native apple workout app it works a treat. You then use rungap to send to Strava. The native app will also get cadence and pace alerts with the new watchos 5. I highly recommend the series 3 with lte

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  • Maybe I need to say this somewhat more forcefully. The Strava apple watch app sucks. Stop using it and stop moaning about the apple watch

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  • @Mark Greaves: thanks for being forceful. I tend to agree. Will try the native workout app --> rungap ---> Strava approach tomorrow. (Can't give up my friends...)

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  • Wish I had read this before my last marathon using the Strava app on my AW series 2 (no phone).

    2 issues.
    1). Watch was on full charge at start and died a minute before the end. 3:38 - is that poor hardware or poor Strava software? I didn’t have any Bluetooth devices connected
    2). Distance was recorded as 43km when it died. My last full marathon was also dodgy and was recorded as 43.4km - so my own fault for continuing to use it...but I didn’t have another device and thought that t might have just been a dodgy recording as training runs seemed to be accurate.

    But thanks for the suggestions will use the native Workouts app from now on and then sync with rungap.

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  • I used the native 'Workout' app on my new Apple Watch series 3 (no cellular) at Parkrun today and the distance came in at 4.22km. So almost 20% off... fortunately, I clicked the 'correct distance' on Strava as suggested in this thread and the distance then was 4.98km which is exactly the same as the TomTom Spark I usually use. It was very off-putting during the run as my average pace was about a minute slower per km than actual speed!

    I've read about calibrating the watch but I don't understand why that is necessary... GPS is GPS, it's pretty black and white isn't it?

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  • @Mark Greaves

    Original poster here. For the last 8 months I have only used the native Apple Workout app on my AW3 (then PhoneGap) and it is consistently way off for me.

    Strava (the website not app) always suggests a distance correction. Parkruns are measured and timed 5Ks and my Apple Watch workouts app generally records them at about 5.3K.

    When I click the distance correct in Strava it will then go down to 4.9K (which means I don't get a 5K record in Strava).

    I've tried the calibration process but my understanding was that was for older Apple Watches without GPS. 

    If I take my iPhone 6 with me (so the two are connected) it is near enough bang on.

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  • Hi all .. I have been using my AW3 with Strava App on the phone since May quite happily (novice runner).. Then around 4 weeks ago it's all gone weird - my pace is showing around 4-5 minute miles !!  The distance seems about right but the time and splits are way off.  I spoke to Strava who suggested starting a run for about 30 seconds to let the GPS kick in then discard it then start the live run - thats made no difference.  I have my watch and phone with me on a run - if I use the app on my phone then it's fine.  

    I'm now close to scrapping Strava on the watch and moving to another app as it's sole destroying when I upload to Strava although all my friends now think I'm a professional runner with those times lol !!  


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  • I've been using AW3 for my strava mountain bike rides for the last year and a bit but in the last month or so i've been noticing some very weird readings with GPS accuracy, full straight lines through the forest, way off distances compared to other friends using gramins or iPhones, i'm talking about 5km difference... however if i use Ride With GPS app or Map My ride on the apple watch, readings are accurate.... so i'm ruling out bad GPS on the watch, it's definitely something to do with the strava app... I've tried disabling auto pause and still no luck....

    Does anyone have any ideas how to fix this?

    here are a couple of rides to compare:

     Shop ride original crew reunited  

     Shop Ride 

    similar routes but as you can see the first one is a lot more detailed and the second one looks like the gps was only reading every 3 minutes or so, lots os straight lines...



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