I’ve been using a Ticwatch S2 lately since my old Microsoft Band 2 no longer works and the one thing that I really liked about using a smartwatch was the bicycling route tracking along with heart rate monitoring and especially the automatic synchronization with Strava. I tend not to wear one at all during other times since smartwatches in general are kind of dumb. The Ticwatch S2 runs Wear OS by Google and it’s only $179, which is a totally reasonable price for a smartwatch with all of the capabilities that it has.  Spending over $300 for a smartwatch with most of the same functions just makes no sense.

The Ticwatch S2 has been working great for the one thing I wanted it to do… track and sync my bicycle rides to Strava.  All I have to do is hit the Strava app, wait for the GPS to lock on, press play, and then stop it when I’m done. Well, that’s what I used to be able to do.

One of the bad-design issues in the Wear OS smartwatches is that you have to hard reset it in order to pair with a different phone or re-pair with a phone that has also been hard reset. This brings the watch back to its old out-of-box state which includes no updates and no apps. You’re probably seeing where I’m going with this.  While Strava was working great all year, after a reset, the app was no longer in the Google Play store and therefore no longer install-able and no longer usable.

It would appear that there are no fail-safes for Wear OS smartwatches. I can’t back up the device. I can’t restore from backup. I can’t save application installers for re-installation. It’s completely dependent on cloud services and as soon as those cloud services change in some way… you’re screwed.

Maybe I should get the ridiculously expensive $400-$800 Apple Watch instead? Well it turns out Strava often breaks on the Apple Watch, too, and is broken at the moment as well!

I’ve already gone through quite a few health tracking services: Endomondo, Microsoft Health, MyFitnessPal, Strava, Google Fit… Having such poor reliability in health tracking kind of defeats the purpose of doing it at all.

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