GAL APPROVED! Cool Ideas For Father’s Day! Garmin Leads The Pack!

By   |   June 19, 2015   |   Gal Approved

SEE. How about taking Dad to the movies this weekend, because new film Dope is so dope! Newcomers Shameik Moore (Malcolm), Kiersey Clemons and Tony Revolori star as three best nerdy friends who are obsessed with the ’90s and sing in a rock band. Things take a turn for the worse when the main character, girl-crazy Malcolm, unknowingly gets involved in a drug deal gone wrong. This film is reminiscent of classic nineties flicks like The Inkwell, Menace II Society and Boyz n the Hood combined with all your favorite old school comedies and wrapped into one funny trip down memory lane. Pharrell Williams, Forest Whitaker and Sean ΓÇ£P.DiddyΓÇ¥ Combs executive produced the movie, which was well written, easy to follow and hilarious. This star studded cast has a lot of cameos and if you’re not paying attention you just might miss them. Also making a film debut is supermodel Chanel Iman and P. DiddyΓÇÖs son Quincy Brown, who is surprisingly good and believable. Dope opens nationwide today.EmpirebyTrump

SMELL. While we may not be voting him in as president, we give Donald Trump a thumbs up on his new fragrance Empire by Donald Trump. This fragrance is decidedly masculine, with top notes that include peppermint, Chai accord and apple; heart notes of yummy orange blossom, jasmine, tonka bean; and a base of amber and musk. Splash this on your man every morning before he goes to work building his own empire.


DRIVE. We all know men love cars so why not treat dad to a day of luxury dream cars. On Sunday, June 21, Cloud Nine Exotics, the premier exotic car driving experience company in the Northeast, will be showcasing at the Pennysaver Amphitheater in Selden, N.Y. Riding in cars with boys has never been such fun!


RUN. Garmin for the serious runner in your life. Garmin has dominated the GPS-enabled running watch market.  Their first watch came out back in 2003.  It was very bulky but was the first of it’s kind. Many other brands have followed their lead to produce their own versions, to the point where today we see Apple making their own fitness watch.   Where Apple came up with the first personal computers, Garmin has been in the personal fitness computers business for longer than any other company. You could say that Garmin was the first “smartwatch” and gave “wearable technology” it’s first initial push.

Since they have been in the market longer than any other company, they have put a lot of work into improving their models over the years.  Now in 2015 they are up to their 22nd model in production. These models have progressed from producing simple GPS readings which means one can read their instantaneous speed, distance covered, etc…to eventually communicating with a heart rate monitor, uploading data to a computer, to now also reading some very technical running and swimming data such as strokes or strides per minute.
One of their newest models, the Forerunner 620, has many of Garmin‘s new data readings available at your wrist during a workout and will connect to your Garmin Connect phone app or website to easily read and share your statistics.
We obtained a 620 from Garmin to see if this might be a good Father’s day gift for your dad.  We added a HRM-run heart rate monitor which also helps measure cadence (steps per minute), vertical oscillation (how high the body rises during the running stride), ground contact time (how long the foot stays on the ground), and of course heart rate (beats per minute).  The heart rate monitor is an actual strap you wear on your chest, unlike some of the newer smart watches that have heart rate on the actual watch and pick up the heart rate from your wrist.
First impressions
The packaging of the Garmin Forerunner 620 is pretty standard, with the watch in a nicely packaged box.  It is easy to open and has a “quick start” guide like most technology purchases these days.  The instructions were easy to follow.  The instructions did suggest I connect to a computer thru their USB enabled charger/cable.  The cable connects easily to the phone with a magnetic clasp. Once on the computer, I was able to create a Garmin Connect account and do an update on the watch’s software.  I was also able to connect the watch to my home WIFi network so that I can easily upload my run data to the internet, which will then sync with my phone’s Garmin Connect App.
First run with the Garmin Forerunner 620
After setting up the watch the way I want the home screen to read, I was all set. I strapped on the HRM-run heart rate monitor and immediately the watch beeped and vibrated with the reading “Heart Rate Monitor detected”.  That’s nice because otherwise there would be no way to know since you are wearing the heart rate monitor on your chest.  I then walked outside and waited for the GPS signal to be found.  The instructions say to hit the “start button” and await the 0:00 on the time reading to flash on to the screen. Within 10 seconds the watch had located the GPS satellites and I was all set to go!  The reading read 0:00 and there was a beep and a vibrate to let me it is ready. I have heard from many runners and from being in many group run situations that this process can take awhile with various GPS watches…so I’m sure Garmin has worked a lot to make sure this happens quickly.
Once you see the 0:00 you can hit the “Start” button again and go running.  Going for the run I was seeing the data I expected.  The pace readings seem to be pretty accurate, changing with my changing speed as I ran.  I have the watch set on mile lap resets so it gives me my mile times every time a mile is passed. I like the little vibrate when this happens so I not only hear a beep, but also feel a vibrate so I know to look.  This is helpful when you are running in a noisy environment.
Data readings while you run
You can set up 4 different screens and toggle between them with a simple “swipe”.  On each screen you can have your choice of any 3 data readings…such as “pace”, “distance” and “heart rate”.  You can then have another screen that shows “lap distance”, “lap pace”, and “cadence”…these are just some examples.  I find this is a great way to set up the watch for some typical runs where I just want an idea of the pace I’m going to more technical workouts whereby I want to record my time on each lap of a speed workout.
The online and phone app that allows you to carry the data of each of your runs is very detailed and easy to navigate. With one click on the watch it uploads the latest run through our home WiFi network. Then a quick refresh of your phone app and you have all the data in a mobile platform
GPS accuracy
As mentioned above, Garmin has been in the GPS running business for over a decade.  Their GPS readings seem very accurate, but I was not overly impressed with its accuracy compared to, say, an Iphone.  There are times it loses satellite connection for as long as 10-15 seconds.  I live in New York City so this often happens around tall buildings or edges of Manhattan far from any road. The GPS seems to be pretty accurate in Central Park and on most roads in the city. Yes, it is much more accurate than that of an Iphone, but there are still problems that exist.
There is no doubt that for serious runners, Garmin is the way to go.  With the Forerunner 620 with its color screen and touch technology as well as typical buttons that are easy to press, and the added running data readings makes for a pretty amazing product.  The readings give you an idea of how hard you are working, helps predict race performances, and lets you know how your readings compare to other runners.  For example, I started with a running cadence of about 160 steps per minute, but their suggestions say I should be closer to 180 steps per minute. After about a month I have gotten my cadence up to 170 on some of my speed workouts.  Ground contact and vertical oscillation are also nice to have – I tend to “bounce” too much when I run so when I look at the readings it helps me see if I have improved on this metric over time from run to run.  These are unavailable metrics on any other running watch in the industry.
For the less serious runner, or a runner just wanting to stay motivated, the Garmin Forerunner 620 may not be the best choice… Since IOS and Android apps for running have come out, many people have enjoyed running using the GPS technology from their phone, so they can also listen to their playlists.  The small amount of inaccuracy compared to a running watch is usually less of an inconvenience than not having their phone with them on their run.  With the introduction of watches on the scene that have heart rate on their wrist instead of a strap to wear on the chest, I’m sure that will make those watches more competitive with Garmin‘s heart rate monitors. Of course, the main inconvenience of these newest ranges of smartwatches is you still have to carry your phone with you on your run. Many see this as an extra bulky thing to carry with them – using an arm strap or waste strap is just not in the cards for some people.
Still, runners far and wide will continue to buy and enjoy and use Garmin‘s GPS watches for their accuracy and data readings that are unparalleled with other companies.
Other Garmin products
With the wearable technology picking up in recent years, Garmin has added other types of watches that track daily use such as for swimming, cycling, and even golf!  The VivoActive is more of a smartwatch that connects to your phone. While this watch may not be “runner-centric”, it still provides typical running data such as distance and pace, with added benefits of being able to connect to your smartphone for music.  If they were to eventually add a wrist heart rate to this type of watch, it would make it much more competitive with the newest range of smartwatches.
At a price of around $399.99 with an added $99.99 for the HRM-run heart rate monitor, this is a pretty pricey watch.  Still, the metrics are second to none in the running watch market.  For serious runners, you will not be disappointed!


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