The PowerWatch 2. Perpetual motion, endless energy. A universe of data that never stops reading, transmitting, communicating. This is as cutting edge as you get. And you get to wear it on your wrist, like some wild Phillip K. Dick fitness creature looking to devour knowledge and results, using data to amplify their biology. It has all the requisits – smartphone connectivity, heart rate tracking, steps, activity tracking, calory measurements, sleep tracking. And it’s powered by your body heat (or, when lacking that, by the sun).
PowerWatch 2 Features
Let’s start with the smart watch of it all. After a year reading everything from McDougall’s classic “Born to Run” to “Long Distance”, I learned that a smart watch is essential if you’re looking to get anything resembling real, adventure-crushing mountain/outdoor fitness. You gotta know your miles, your routes. More importantly, you need your heart rate – when training to be a mountain athlete, you need to start off keeping your heart rate between 135 and 145 BPM. The PowerWatch 2 tracks that. And steps. Calories counted too. It shows the messages from your smartphone. And if you wear it when you sleep, it’ll even track your sleep (with super cool charts on the app). You can even set it up to get text messages, WhatsApp messages, and news updates from your phone. The PowerWatch 2’s handbook is long but the steps are relatively intuitive once you understand using it is like anything else these days – a select button, a scroll button, a back button, and a special button for features.
Smartwatch Powered By Bodyheat
The juice from your body heat powers this powerwatch smartwatch. Sure, it’s nice everyday to never have to worry about your watch dying. But where I really found it huge is on backpacking trips. Recently my son and I went on a 3-day backpacking trip in the south Tetons, both rocking watches with step counters. It’s a great way to track progress but it’s also a fun game the boy and I have – trying to set new step records. We hit 20,000 steps the first day. About 22,000 on the second. By the third my son’t watch died but my Thermoelectric-powered smartwatch was full energy (we charted 18,000). The Power Watch 2’s most unique feature is its ability to convert that body heat you create churning down the trail into energy to keep its battery filled. And if you don’t create enough yourself, it also gets some solar power. And there’s a heat-charging watch stand for when you’re at home. After 3 days of hiking, 2 with it set to measure the specific hike distance, it never dipped below fully charged.
PowerWatch 2 Series Features
Other than the body heat charging thing? Here are a couple of my favorite features:
- Sleep tracker
Okay, I don’t sleep with it on every night. But when I do, it will sync this data to the PowerWatch app you download on your smartphone and then create a nice little graph for you. This is seriously fascinating. I was looking through my chart of the first night and can see when those loud cracks woke me up and I spent a good half an hour still lying in bed but clutching my bear spray, waiting to hear if the cracks came closer or retreated (they retreated).
- Heart rate tracker
They say that the best way to build uphill endurance is to start by walking uphill trails with your BPM between 135 and 145. While a chest measurement it the most accurate way to track this, you can get a pretty good gauge on your wrist too and this has it, again with some great charts that appear on your app.
- Exercise mode
You can set the PowerWatch 2 to track outdoor runs, indoor runs, walks, cycles, even interval training.
What can be Improved?
It’s a piece of technological evolution. And with any such tool, there are bound to be some issues. One I had (and saw others have had) is its ability to accurately measure distance and in some cases steps. It has its own GPS and it does seem to be getting more accurate. But I’ve had some runs where it overstated my distances. Now GPS can sometimes have issues in the mountains but still, it can be an issue (though you can link it to Strava and I would assume that makes it even more accurate).
Another is on the setup – when I first went to set the watch up and connect it to my phone (because without the phone app, it definitely lacks the performance measurements you want), it kept telling me I had the wrong software and needed to resync but it wouldn’t let me. I emailed customer service and they got back to me in hours – freakishly fast – telling me I had to hard reset the watch, forget it from my phone, then set it up and sync it again WITHOUT TURNING ON THE BLUETOOTH. Once they’re properly synced, you can connect it to Bluetooth. I did this and it worked flawlessly.
Overall I love this tool. It’s become a requisite for most exercise and basically all outdoor adventures and endurance training. With its ability to measure your sleep, your BPM, your mileage/steps, and your individual exercises, this watch has everything to make you into a stronger, fitter version of yourself. While it may be a little off in mileages, I’m sure that connecting it to Strava will help that, and as I say, as I use the PowerWatch 2 ($500) more it gives a better measure. Just make sure to be patient when you start your exercise and allow it to connect to GPS.