GPS fitness watches are pretty spiffy, and Garmin makes some nice ones!
I got a Suunto Ambit 2 on sale about two years ago and I’ve been pretty satisfied. IMO the most useful thing is the real-time pace data for longer runs. Great tool to make sure you don’t get too zealous at the leading edge and don’t slack off at the trailing edge.
On indoor running/cycling/stuff: Difference between indoor and outdoor modes for stuff like that is the watch is either optimized to use the IMU or fuse in the GPS signal to keep track of splits and pace. ‘Other’ by default is probably just a catch-all that keeps track of where the watch is using whatever is available… if it expects GPS data but doesn’t get it, there’s your problem!
I’ve used the watch once or twice as lazy-mode navigation during a no-trail hike (no, we weren’t reliant on it, we were following a river upstream) and to jog my memory on which turns to take on a mountain biking trail system I hadn’t gone on in a while. Having a mini-map strapped to your wrist is pretty flipping awesome. Highly recommended if yours has the capability!
That said, loading that data into the watch takes time that I don’t bother with when I just want to grab the watch and go workout / for a ride.
Pool swim modes can be very temperamental (with mine at least) and you just gotta live with the fact your watch will mess up the timing on one lap every now and then, or fail to register that you’ve kicked off and started a new lap.
Real-time pace data tends to differ somewhat from my friends that run with their phones and a running app. I don’t know which is more accurate.
To track heart-rate data mine uses one of those chest-straps with the AN2+ data connection. Hate that thing! Haven’t worn it since I tried it once! Is yours able to get that info through your wrist?
Mine has (most have?) a landmark/navigation feature that’s extremely useful when… well doing anything at all, but it leaves a nice warm fuzzy feeling as you’re leaving the car to go hike or wander around somewhere.
A thing I always caution people against is becoming a data-junkie too early. I’ve seen people just getting into running diving into the array of data tracking devices available these days and stressing out about losing 5 to 10 seconds here and there from one run to the next, or obsessing over distance or time intervals. Being able to see long-term trends in your performance and capabilities is fun though.
For as much as I love to ski… I haven’t actually taking it skiing yet! Would like to change that this winter.
EDIT: Oh geez that was more then expected. You got me going on data tracking gadgetry.