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Huawei P20 review after using it for a few months (Malaysia) repost from r/Huawei

First of all, I'm not a expert reviewer, and I certainly don't qualify for explaining any technical details of this particular device. I'm just a amateur reviewer&photographeandroid enthusiast/tech geek giving his opinions about this phone, also to have some feedback on my thoughts about this phone. ( Full disclosure : I've used Huawei devices before, Both Honor 5x and Honor 8 Pro.)
The reason I wrote this review is because I think there's still a quite a lot people who's considering this phone, because a lot of people bought the bigger brother P20 Pro, and this is kinda overshadowed by it , and in Malaysia, this phone is having a lot discounts and deals from carriers and online sellers. It has a better camera and similar specifications compared to a lot of it's Honor device competitors, it's also has a smaller form factor, and also it's a flagship device from Huawei, so it tends to get major software updates faster.

Review :
I'm going to separate this review into five sections, which are :
  • Design and Hardware
  • Camera
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery
Design and Hardware :
First of all, this is a well built phone, as it should be, because it's a flagship. It kinda resembles an iPhone, as all Android phones does, but to give Huawei credit this is a beautiful phone. I had this phone in black, but the gradient colours makes the phone even better looking. I have a few issues with the design and hardware, but there's nothing major. Here's the list.
Pros :
  1. fast and accurate fingerprint sensor
  2. well built
  3. small notch compared to other phones
  4. small nice form factor with narrow bezels for a good one hand typing experience.
  5. Nice display and decent brightness and good colours.
Cons :
  1. Camera hump quite big ( A case will fix this issue, but it's annoying.)
  2. The non symmetrical notch and the chin ( Nothing gets in the way, it's just doesn't look that great.)
  3. The lack of a headphone jack ( It's 2018 so I got used to it.)
  4. The IP53 water resistant level ( Not great but there's still protection)
  5. The tinny not good bottom firing mono speaker ( They should've implemented the speakers like the P20 Pro)
  6. The very slippery and fingerprint magnet back ( Obvious problem with glass backed phones, just use a case.)
  7. Headphone dongle output distorts at high volume.
Summary : It's still quite good in terms of hardware in terms of the price. No dealbreakers here as for me.

Camera :
It's a good camera, but I was somehow disappointed because I have high expectations coming from the high review scores from DXOmark. ( Can't trust the marks but I had high expectations. ) I want to clarify that the camera itself is really incredible, the only ruining it is the overall experience and the software.
  1. Great detail
  2. Awesome low light performance, especially with the night mode on
  3. Really wide aperture for some nice bokeh and really nice close ups
  4. Nice natural colors not like previous Honor devices
  5. Portrait mode works surprisingly well
  6. 960fps slow-mo nice to have
  7. Came with built in document and QR code scanner ( Very useful )
  8. Pro mode has lot of granular controls and it's very well designed.
  9. The zoom in feature is impressive as it's not a telephoto lens but monochrome.
  10. Decent video in terms of color, detail and sound.( The jump of detail in 4K to 1080P is pretty obvious.)
Cons :
  1. The double click on the volume down button to open up a camera is very inconsistent and VERY slow, completely useless when listening to podcasts and music. Wondered why Huawei changed the default double click on the power button to this. ( WHY Huawei ? It's very, very annoying and it's should've been a problem if Huawei doesn't change anything at all.)
  2. Over-sharpening of images in auto mode. Huge pain in the butt every-time I forgot to switch to pro mode. Might approach to a wider audience, but it defeats the purpose of calling this a photographer's phone. It makes images look very unnatural and it's very obvious with leaves and walls. Stop this Huawei, please.
  3. Sometimes it produces very dim, underexposed photos, I get it because it wants to retain some detail, but it's really underexposed till the point it doesn't resembles the original scene. Not a frequent problem though.
  4. Photos lack in dynamic range in general, which is weird, I've compared this to a iPhone 8 Plus and it's photos are often over highlighted and the background gets blew up.
  5. Very laggy camera app, especially opening it up and switching between modes. The quick swipe up to pro mode is gone, which is annoying AF because of the over-sharpening issue.
  6. Cluttered interface to switch between modes, can't customize the slider and important features to A photographer like HDR and Pro mode is shoved way behind.
  7. Frequent shutter lag, weird.
  8. Phone gets too hot when taking photos for too long, not just a warm phone, it's hot to the touch and triggers a reflex action from my senses.
  9. Monochrome sensor doesn't seem to do much, maybe a wide angle camera ? ( Mate 20 finally ditched it for a wide angle, yay.)
  10. Weird skin beautification of the front facing camera. ( I know this feature is very good for selfie takers in Asian markets, but the problem is I can't turn it off ,and it defeats the purpose of calling this a photographer's phone. At least give us the option to turn it off.
  11. No OIS, not a big deal for photos, but there's no stabilization for 4K 60FPS and 1080p 60FPS. ( At least 1080p 60FPS, Huawei.)
  12. Master AI is more of a gimmick than an actual useful feature. ( Usually just make the photos over-saturated in colours or tells me what object I'm pointing at.)
Conclusion : The cons kinda out-weighted the pros as for me, but to an average consumer, these issues will be close to none, so if you care about the professional side of photography, this is one not-bad but annoying phone to use. The 1. and 5. con is really not good. Please fix this as it's all software related.

Software :
(Full disclosure : I had receive EMUI 9.0 beta few weeks ago, but these issues are based on EMUI 8.1 stable.)
I've used stock android phones before, so I know what the original experience of Android was like. EMUI is not the worst skin compared to other Chinese companies. but there's still a lot to talk about. There some complaints since EMUI 4.0 days that I would like to address.
  1. Reliable performance in day-to-day use.
  2. Very granular battery saving features
  3. the ability to limit usage of mobile hotspot is a good and useful feature
  4. the ability to change colour modes temperatures is a good addition
  5. One handed UI is really useful
  6. Motion control like flip to mute and knuckle gestures for screenshots and spliting screens is useful
  7. Dolby Atmos is a nice feature to have
  8. Many options for navigating the interface is good
  9. The ability to add more functionality to the on screen navigation buttons is nice
  10. Multiple unlocking options
  11. Able to lock apps individually is very useful
  12. Scrollshot feature very useful
  13. Themes are available
  14. Able to customize which apps to show or hide the notch is a feature that every phone should have.
Cons :
  1. Very bad bluetooth performance, every-time when I accidentally turned off bluetooth in the notification shade, I regret it. The phone refuses to show any paired devices on the menu, and even if it did, the phone will stubbornly try to connect the previous connected device and does not let me switch to other devices whatsoever. Sometimes it takes minutes to reconnect to a bluetooth device and failed in result. These issues can be fixed via rebooting the phone, but it's a huge, HUGE pain in the butt as I use bluetooth devices everyday.
  2. Lots of skipping in tracks when listening music or podcasts through bluetooth headphones. Another huge pain in the butt. Everytime the track that I'm playing will skip after I played for about two minutes. Some skipping is acceptable, but skipping in every song is so, so unacceptable. For a person that listens music through bluetooth headphones all day, this is just hell.
  3. Notifications delay, I have no idea I'm still facing these issues even after I went into the battery settings and turn off manage launch automatically and prioritise every single app's notifications, I will still get delay notifications. It's a huge problem for apps like Whatsapp, messenger, and reminders. I can get a message that was sent at 10 AM at 12PM. This is ridiculous Huawei.
  4. AI. During the keynote for EMUI at some year, Huawei bragged so much of their legendary AI that will optimize your phone based on my usage and priortize apps that are mostly used. And AI keeps the phone fast after months of usage. I haven't had any slowdowns yet (Thank God), but my constantly used apps like Whatsapp and YouTube are always delay in terms of notifications, and are often killed by RAM management, and surprisingly apps that I barely used like Facebook are always in memory. To me though, Huawei is just using AI as a marketing and expect their customers to believe them,that's just me though. ( And also, I have used this phone since July , so there should be enough time for the software to learn my habits.
  5. Lock screen is almost close to useless. I can't expand notifications or take action at them, the only thing I can do is to dismiss them. Notifications disappeared after unlocking the phone, this makes apps which uses the notifications for info like the the clock app or notes that uses the notification as a reminder on the lockscreen completely useless.(I don't know if this is a feature copied from iOS, but even Apple is letting you to view older notifications now).I get that it's trying to protect your messages from being misreplied by someone else, but at least give us an option to turn this off. It completely defeats the purpose of the Android lockscreen. And also , notification shade is not accessible on the lock screen, please just give the option to turn it off.
  6. Touch disable mode, don't know why it exists.
  7. The quick actions for the notifications is way too small. This makes the quick actions completely useless as most of the time you will just end up tapping on the notification itself. A huge problem when gaming or when watching videos.
  8. Gap between the reply box for the quick reply notification is for some reason, huge. Makes the quick reply completely useless when using the phone in landscape.
  9. Does not priortize notifications. Spotify music controls gets shoved way down when new messages came in. Often groups the downloading notification along with the music control notification together. Android doesn't work like that since the 8.1 update so I don't see a reason why there's still this issue.
  10. Notification shade can get very laggy when there's multiple notifications and when expanding notifications.
  11. The software looks more iOS than Android, I get that looks can be subjective, but what's the design department for ?
  12. Default launcher looks like it came out from 2015 ( Went to Nova Launcher and never turned back)
  13. Smart recovery. I have no idea why this feature exist. Very , VERY annoying when using third party launchers, at one point I accidentally uninstalled my launcher because of this feature. Is it even a feature ?
  14. Phone Manager doesn't seem to do anything except bothering you with useless prompts.
  15. The single-key navigation is really not that great, holding the button to go back home makes things even slower. (Tried to use it for a week, still went back the three button navigation system. At least there's still an option to go back. )
  16. Bloated with software, not a big problem, but this problem still persists after software updates.
  17. Complicated battery settings, hard to check usage and SOT in a few taps. Battery optimization doesn't do much except ultra power saving mode.
  18. Sharing Menu is a copy from iOS, the default Android sharing menu is miles better.
  19. Face unlock is good but sometimes when I pick up the phone and tap on the fingerprint sensor, the phone couldn't decide which unlocking method to use so the unlocking process got delayed by two to three seconds.
Conclusion : Most of cons can be avoided if Huawei just let Android be it's own. You can sill add your features and customize it to look like your own, but please don't change what's not broken, or at least give us an option to turn it back to the way it was. These user hostile decisions does not give users a friendly experience.

The Kirin 970 in this phone is plenty powerful for day to day use, but this phone throttles hard when heavy gaming. I get that not everybody plays games with their phones for a extended period of time, but I felt like I should point this out. GPU Turbo doesn't seem to do much as far I can tell. No performance slowdowns whatsoever and that's good.

Battery :
A 3,400 mAh battery with a 5.8 inch display phone doesn't give me much hope for a legendary battery life, so far my usage has gotten me 4 hours of SOT in a 16-hour day, not impressive, but not bad as well. But surprisingly, standby time has been not that great for some reason. My previous Honor 8 Pro had amazing standby time , so this is weird. ( Drains about 1% per hour when sleeping ) Not a huge problem though.
Charging this phone is definitely a joy as supercharging is really fast and it makes up for the decent battery life.

Overall conclusion :
It seems that I am bashing this phone really hard, but the truth is I am , but I'm not a Huawei hater of any sort, because I do indeed like this phone, there's just some problems that kinda ruined the experience for me ,I'm not nittpicking on EMUI, because these are actual problems I faced when I'm using the phone. I hope that they can sort these problems and make their phones even better. As for if I recommend this phone, unless you need good cameras so badly or pro mode or a bezeless display, there's a lot of better options in the market right now that offers a lot better software experience for less of the money. Buy this phone if you have a good deal, and make sure you can ignore those software problems or otherwise this will be a bad experience.

Thanks in advance for anyone who read the entire review, and perhaps give some feedback to me as an amateur and maybe pros for EMUI that I had left out.

submitted by Han_Tech_Geek to Android

Garmin Instinct review - comparisons to Pebble 2

I'm cross-posting this to the Garmin community, but since this was a search for a replacement to my Pebble 2, I thought it would be appropriate to post here. I've also listed my review on Amazon, where I purchased the watch.

When I saw that this watch was being released, I read up on it and purchased it an hour later from an authorized Garmin retailer on Amazon, receiving it the next day. A little backstory...
I used a GShock for years and loved it. I graduated to my first smart watch with the original Apple Watch. I had a love/hate relationship with it needing to be charged daily, the always-off screen, overall slowness, to name a few annoyances. It was just really cool all the “things” it could do.

I left it for a Pebble 2 and really loved that watch for about 18 months until the buttons crumbled. I started using a backup Pebble 2 but I knew these watches had a very short lifespan. I tried a Ticwatch and an Amazfit Bip. Both were dreadfully disappointing so I went to an Apple Watch Series 3. It was more of the original Apple Watch but faster and a more mature operating system. I just recently upgraded again to the Apple Watch Series 4, which was again more of the same thing but a faster iteration. Still the always-off screen and needing daily charging made me miss my Pebble more and more.

Then the Instinct just "checked all the boxes" for me. Back when my Pebble fell apart, this was the list I made in order of importance for my ideal smart watch:

Always-on display:
Instinct ✓ (monochrome, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel, with backlight)

Several day battery life:
Instinct ✓ (14 days)

Physical buttons:
Instinct ✓ (5, and you can program each for long-hold shortcuts)

Instinct ✓ (100m)

Instinct ✓

Music controls:
Instinct ✓

Text reply by voice:
Instinct x

Instinct ✓

Instinct ✓

I realized that all the cool “things” I do on my Apple Watch are silly and can be replicated on my iPhone. I don’t need to scribble a text reply on my watch or use it as a glorified speakerphone. I miss the core functionality of a reliable watch that doesn’t need frequent charging, has an always-on screen, and physical button controls, especially when it comes to music or podcast controls without having to look or wake the screen. The fact that the Instinct has 24/7 heart rate tracking, GPS, and is built like a beast are nice bonuses. I don’t expect this watch to fall apart as easily as a Pebble, not to mention it actually has a warranty. (Constructed to U.S. military standard 810G for thermal, shock and water resistance).

After a weekend with the Garmin Instinct:
I use the watch primarily as a rugged smart watch. I have two kids that are always climbing over me or having me chase afer them. I rely on notifications and music controls in a device that I can just put on my wrist and forget about it for days without charging. When I look at the device, I need it to always show me the time. I can't deal with having to wake the device, so this type of display is more my style. I walk 2 miles about 2-3 times per week, and like to keep an eye on my lap time and heart rate, and control a podcast during that walk. I'll focus mostly on the differences between this watch and the Pebble 2, with some comparisions to the Apple Watch sprinkled in, as that's the watch I switched to after the buttons on my Pebble 2 crumbled.

The display:
It sure was nice going back to an always-on screen, being able to glance at it whenever I needed to see the time or an alert, especially from being used to an Apple Watch for months. I felt like I was getting carpel tunnel syndrome from forcibly having to turn the Apple Watch towards me to wake it. It was easy to read from basically any angle or lighting. I had no trouble whatsoever reading it while outdoors, in direct sunlight. Indoors, I didn't the Instinct's backlight unless the room was completely without lighting, such as in bed. However, the Pebble 2 is still more crisp, with a better contrast. Silly of me, but I did install a rounded 31mm screen protector just in case, which fit the 32mm screen perfectly. I found a 5-pack on Amazon for roughly $6. I like to protect the screens of all of my devices, and since this isn't a sapphire display, I'd like to keep the screen looking new. If you see an “edge” on the display in my photos, that’s the edge of the screen protector and not the watch’s actual display.

The battery:
Granted, I only used it for 2 days and the battery is rated for 14 days, it was already nice not having to charge the device yet, whereas the Apple Watch would have gone through two charge cycles by now. I would charge the Apple Watch while I slept, whereas I now wear the Instinct to bed where it tracks my sleep automatically. I went through all the settings, tested different options, etc. on the watch for a good two days, so after messing with it a lot more than I normally would, after 2 days the battery now reads 4 of 5 bars. Extrapolate that, and it's roughly 10 days of a lot of fiddling with the device. With average use, I could see 12-14 days easily. My Pebble 2 lasted a good 7 days before having to charge, so hopefully getting close to double that would be great.

Physical buttons:
Again, something nice to come back to was the ability to control the watch 100% with physical buttons. The 5 buttons are easy to press, and have a satisfying click. You know when you've pressed a button, even without looking. They're not mushy at all compared to my Pebble 2, which had some of the worst buttons on any device I've used this century. The Pebble 2's buttons were mushy, lopsided, and change the resistance over time, until which they just crumble and fall apart. The Apple Watch is a completely different device, controlled primarily with the touch screen, or the crown and side button (or voice). I don't miss these aspects of the Apple Watch at all.

The menus in this watch go quite deep. There are so many features, especially with workouts. It took me some time to get used to the buttons and their function, but it's not something that should prevent you from trying the device. I just wish the app would mirror all of the menus in the watch, so I could manage the buttons more from my phone.

I've not yet tested this feature of the device, although it is rated to 100 meters.

I was pleasantly surprised with how well this worked when paired to my iPhone 7 Plus. Notifications mirrored from my phone without any issues. The notifications timeout can be set to 30 seconds, 1 minute, or 3 minutes. During the initial notification timeout period, you can 1-click the "down" button to clear that notification (more on clearing notifications below). I was able to see a large portion of text messages and other notifications, although it is truncated when it initially appears on the display. I can go into the notification and scroll through more of the text, but there does seem to be a character limit, before I need to pick up my iPhone and see more information. For being notified of something that needs my attention, it does a great job, just as well as my Pebble 2 did. When a phone call came in, I was able to see the caller's name, and had the ability to answer or decline. An answered phone call would simply answer from my iphone as there is no speakemicrophone on the Instinct. An Apple Watch had better notification support, simply because I could act on them, but again that is not something I miss.

What surprised me was that clearing a notification on my watch also cleared that notification on my iPhone, and vice versa - clearing a notification from my iPhone also cleared it from the Instinct's notification list. This is something that did not exist on my Pebble 2. In comparison, the Pebble 2 was a list of dumb notifications. If I cleared a notification on my Pebble 2, it remained in the notification center on my iPhone. Or if I cleared a notification on my iPhone, it remained in the list of notifications on my Pebble 2. The Instinct's manual describes this as "smart notifications" and I believe that to be true.

However, while I can clear notifications from the Instinct, I can only clear them one at a time. I can't find a way to clear all notifications at once from the Instinct. To do that, it's quicker to just do it on the iPhone. I've reached out to Garmin to see if this is a possibility.

Another aspect of the smart notifications, is the ability to notify you with tone or vibration, or both tone and vibration. You can go a bit more granular and decide how you're notified during a workout/activity compared to not during a workout activity. For example, I have "tone" notifications for when I'm not in a workout, and "tone & vibration" for when I'm in a workout. The vibration is rather strong and I would prefer if I could make it less intense, otherwise I would leave both tone & vibration on all the time.

Music controls:
The music/podcast controls work as well as my Pebble 2. You can pause/play, change volume, go to previous/next track, enable/disable repeat, or enable/disable shuffle. However, one downside of the music/podcast controls is that the current time does not display on the screen while at the music/podcast controls. This means I have to press two buttons to get back to the watch face to see the the time. This is something that Garmin can likely update through software updates, and something I would really appeciate.

I noticed that the time of the song/podcast would sometimes display as —:— instead of the actual time progressed, but I haven’t used it enough to see why or how frequently it will really happen.

Text reply:
On iOS, you can't interact with notifications, with the exception of answering/declining a phone call. This is a limitiation with iOS. I believe there is more functionality if you were to use an Android phone. My Pebble 2 used to have replies, but with the shutdown of the servers, that's a thing of the past. There is some functionality with Rebble (the service that tried to resurrect Pebble's services), but again I believe that's more developed from an Android phone. For notifications that actually need a response or interaction, I just pick up my phone. I don't really miss the ability to do this from my wrist as it's still faster to just do it from my iPhone.

Surprisingly, the calendar is quite similar to Pebble's "timeline", with the exception that the Instinct's calendar only goes 1 day into the future and 0 days in the past, whereas the Pebble 2 let me go 3 days in the future and 1 day into the past. The Instinct allowed me to view the time, location, and description of the events, although they got truncated just like notifications.

I'm not sure of the data source, but I have read online that they use Accuweather. It appears accurate when compared to other weather sources, and quickly shows me the current weather, high/low for the day, weather condition symbol, percentage change of precipitation today, and wind speed and direction - all on one screen. I have the weather in my widgets carousel (more on that below), which means it's always 1 button click away from my watch face.

Other thoughts - heart monitor:
I very briefly had a Pebble 2 HR and while it did have a heart monitor, I felt it was wildly inaccurate. The Pebble 2 HR also had a large bump on the rear of the device, which made the entire watch sit higher on my wrist. The Apple Watch did have what seemed like an accurate heart monitor, but it wasn't continuous. It would only take a reading every few minutes, sometimes not for 15 minutes or so. The heart rate monitor on the Instinct is rated as "24/7 continuous", and it definitely is. I have the heart rate monitor on my watch face and it updates every single second. It also has a small chart of the previous 4 hours.

I haven't yet gone for my 2 mile walk, and I plan to update my comments when I've done so, but this is where Garmin devices typically excel and I don't expect to have any issues. You can customize the metrics that display for each workout, and it gets extremely granular for people who want to zero-in on exactly what they're looking for in a workout. This is a serious fitness device, but I really just want to keep an eye on my current pace, total distance, time elapsed, and the current time. I also want to be able to quickly pause/unpause my podcast and raise/lower the volume occasionally.

Other thoughts - watch faces:
There are 12 watch faces, but really only 6 since half of them are inversed colors of the other 6. Each watch face allows you to customize the complications. I use the default watch face, which allows for the time with seconds (although there's no PM/AM indicator), and 4 complications. I have: heart rate, day of week with date number, number of uncleared notifications, and battery level. Holding the MENU button brings up the watch menu, and the battery mater is displayed there, so I may wind up using that complication area for something else, especially considering how long teh battery should last.

There is no Garmin Connect IQ on this watch, and I consider that to be a good thing. While it would allow you to install apps and additional watch faces, along with that comes the possibility of bugs draining your battery or introducing instability. I found that I never used many apps on my Pebble 2 or even the Apple Watch. Having my watch primarily be an actual watch is of great importance to me.

Other thoughts - widgets carousel:
From the watch face, you can press up/down to cycle through your widgets. Available widgets include: notifications, calendar, heart rate, music controls, weather, last sport, last run, last ride, last swim, steps, floors climbed, my day, calories, intensity minutes, stress, abc, altimeter, barometer, compass, temperature, dogtrack, virb, inreach, alternate time zones, xero, and sunrise/sunset. You can set as many or as few as you want, and can order them however you want as well. I have these enabled: notifications, calendar, heart rate, music controls, weather - so one press UP from my watch face brings me to the weather, or one press DOWN from my watch face brings me to my notifications, and they cycle through if you were to continually press UP or DOWN.

Other thoughts - hotkeys/shortcuts:
In addition to the widgets carousel, you can also customize hotkeys. A hotkey allows you to hold a button for 2 seconds to quickly jump to a destination. These are all the possible shortcuts which can be customized to a limited amount of destinations:

Hold GPS button
Hold Back button
Hold Down button
Hold GPS + Down buttons
Hold GPS + Up buttons
Hold Back + Light buttons
Hold Back + Up buttons

The available Hotkey destinations are: GPS, timers, stopwatch, phone, dual grid, mob, lock/unlock keys, widgets, lap, navigation, backlight, metronome, sight ‘n go, screenshot, controls, baro. watch mode, sync time, flashlight, alarm clock, abc, set, broadcast HR, or disable the hotkey entirely.

Holding the “Light” button can’t be customized as it takes you to the controls carousel.
Holding the “Up” button can’t be customized as it takes you to the Menu.

Right now I have the Down button as a hotkey to jump to my alarms, the back key to jump to timers, and the Back + Light combination to trigger the "flashlight", which is just the screen brightness set to 100%, but is enough to get you through a dark room.

Other thoughts - alarms:
The alarms have the option to make tone, vibrate, or both tone & vibrate, as well as custom repeat days of the week. They can be set from the watch directly or through the Garmin app. It woke me without any problem as I had both the tone & vibrate enabled, but just the vibrate would likely wake me up - and possibily even a deep sleeper. Considering I should only have to charge every couple of weeks, this means I can sleep with it on every night and its going to become my daily alarm.

Other thoughts - stopwatch:
The stopwatch is almost unusable for me, since it (1) doesn't display the current time and (2) doesn't allow you to leave the screen while the stopwatch is being run. The time screen shows me the current time and allows me to leave the screen while the timer is in process, so I don't understand why the stopwatch has this limitation.

Other thoughts - bluetooth connectivity:
My Apple Watch would fall back to Wifi if out of range of bluetooth, so it was nice to walk around my entire house without having to keep the phone in range, but the Garmin Instinct only has bluetooth connectivity to your phone. That connectivity was often hit or miss on my Apple Watch, as it would sometimes think it was connected by bluetooth, but if I attempted to send a message when I wasn't actually within range, it would forever get stuck and I'd have to disable/enable iMessage.

I found the bluetooth range on the Garmin Instinct to be similar to that of my Pebble 2. It was interesting that if you enable "phone - alerts" on the Instinct, among other things it will notify you when your iPhone's battery is low, but also if you go out of bluetooth range - then again notify you when you return to bluetooth range and the device reconnects. If you have the "notification" complication on your watch, you will also know if you're in/out of range by seeing the number of notifications change to "--" when out of bluetooth coverage. This connect/disconnect feature was available on my Pebble 2 through certain watch faces or 3rd party apps, but it comes right out of the box with the Instinct.

Final thoughts:
It's only been a couple days now, but I've already put my Apple Watch Series 4 up for sale, and haven't looked back at my Pebble 2. I believe this is as close as I'll get to the core functionality of a smart watch that I miss with the Pebble 2. That being said, this watch can stand on its own and not just be a fill-in or replacement of the Pebble 2. The Garmin Instinct has a great operating system, seems very reliable in terms of notifications and alarms, not to mention it feels like I could drive over this watch with a tank and it'll keep on working. The app offers some nice insight into all of my health statistics, but I get enough interaction directly from the watch and am not sure how useful the app will be to me - although I definitely appreciate being able to customize some options directly from within the app.

I got the Instinct in graphite color, which isn't entirely black but is more of a shadow/grey and is really nice looking. The bands are easy to swap, but I'm going to stick with the one that came with the watch.

One other nice thing about this watch is that it can act completely independent from a phone/app. You just obviously wouldn't get any of the smart features such as notifications, calendar, weather, etc. The heart rate sensor will still work and activities will still be tracked. The time can even be set and updated directly from built-in GPS, without having to rely on a phone. This is not something that can be said of a Pebble 2 or even an Apple Watch. If you want to buy this watch as a super rugged G-shock type of watch but with great heart rate and activity monitoring, with the option of one day going completely independent of a phone or app, this is also a great choice.

Images gallery:
EDIT: Changed the image gallery to include additional photos of the weather showing hourly and daily forecast. I had to generate an entirely new gallery URL.

DAY 4 updates:
Music controls update: Note that the Pebble 2 had "dedicated" button controls while at the music control screen. Push down for next track, up for previous, or middle to bring up options to change the volume up/down. Or holding up increased volume or holding down decreased volume, or holding middle paused/unpaused. However, with the Instinct, only one "action" is currently enabled. For example, the pause/play button is highlighted so that is the active function. If you want to change the volume, you have to turn the carousel to get to the specific control, then that action would be the one in control of the button. It's difficult to explain, but results in more button presses to do what you want with your music.
Weather update: I realized that while at the weather widget, you can press the GPS button (or "enter" button as you'll come to realize), that this brings you into a forecast for the next 4 hours. Then press "down" and you'll see the daily forecast for the next 4 hours. During both of these forecast screens, the "now" temperature remains in the upper-right screen.
Watch Face update: I realized that I was wasting a spot in the upper-right complication by showing the date there, because I could move that to the bottom of the screen where I had the battery. Then in the upper right, I can add a 4-in-1 complication that shows: battery, phone connection, alarm status, and do not disturb status.
Stopwatch update: Somebody pointed out that you can hold the "CTRL" button to jump out of the stopwatch, then back out to the watch face. All the while, the stopwatch is still running. You can then go back to the stopwatch as normal, or go to your controls carousel to see the elapsed time on the stopwatch. Still, I would prefer to remain at the stopwatch screen and see the time so I don't have to jump out like this.
Final thoughts update: I realized that I didn't even bother to comment on the band comfort, and I think that's because it's so comfortable that I hardly noticed it. There are many adjustment points on the band and it's an incredibly soft & matte silicone material. I find that I like keeping the watch on the 13th hole from (counting from the watch body), but I loosen it to the 14th hole before bedtime. I haven't noticed any difference in the accuracy of the heart rate monitor between wearing it on the 13th or 14th hole.
submitted by iamthekiller to pebble

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