Today, a watch can be much more than just a device for telling the time. It could be your alarm, your phone, your weather forecaster and, if you love sports, your trainer. In fact, for those who enjoy running and fitness, a GPS watch is the ultimate accessory. From tracking how far you’ve traveled to how fast you’ve moved, these tech watches can help you analyze your efforts to improve your results. Of course, not all watches are created equal, and to be the best, you have to have the best. So to help you achieve your goals, we’ve rounded up the best running and fitness GPS watches for 2018.
1. Garmin Forerunner 235
The Garmin Forerunner 235 has many different features, all interconnected in a small sporty model. It tracks distance, pace, time, and heart rate, among other things. Activity tracking is also another useful feature, as is the daily step counter function and distance, calorie and sleep trackers. Garmin underscored the minimalist appeal of this model, saying that using this watch’s functions is simple and it has easy-to-understand charts, graphs and maps. The app’s wireless connectivity links also allow you to find current weather conditions and forecasts.
If you’re looking for a more modern and sleeker design, go for the Polar V800 which offers just that. This advanced multisport GPS watch is useful for gentlemen who play a range of sports as it works well for different types of training. This model is also easy to use, with few buttons needed to operate the device. Also, another important fact is that this GPS running watch is thinner than its rivals, making it a simpler option.
3. TomTom Runner
The Tom Tom Runner is particularly useful for running, allowing the user to set their interval training program to improve speed and fitness. Pair it with QUICKGPSFix technology that helps your watch easily find your location and you have the perfect running companion. Its ultra-slim design with an extra-large screen is different from other models, and the one-button control is helpful for easy operation and accessibility.
4.TomTom Spark GPS
Don’t be fooled by its playful name; the TomTom Spark GPS is a powerhouse when it comes to its wide range of functions. This new watch can hold up to 500 songs without needing to carry your phone. It can also track all your sports, 24/7 activity and measure your heart rate. Another useful feature is that you can set and track your progress on daily and weekly goals, which is handy for long-term fitness junkies.
5. Garmin Forerunner 630
The Garmin Forerunner 630 has advanced running metrics and is practical for a range of reasons. First of all, it’s easy to use, featuring a touchscreen with a high-resolution color display. The watch has also been formulated for training and racing, allowing users to access their stress score and performance condition. Live tracking, audio prompts and music control also add to the appeal of this sports watch. While the classic black version is a valid option, our pick is the midnight blue model which is perfect for any occasion.
6. Fitbit Surge
The Fitbit Surge lets you train smarter and go further. At a great price, this model has GPS tracking, which lets you see distance, pace and elevation and review routes and split times. PurePulse Heart Rate gives you continuous, automatic, wrist-based heart rate and simplified heart rate zones. Other great features include Multisport and SmartTrack, which lets you track runs, rides, and other workouts with multisport modes or auto-record them.
7. Suunto Ambit3 Sport
One of the most appealing options for its aesthetics alone, the Suunto Ambit3 Sport is undeniably a modern model. Used in accordance with the Suunto Movescount app, it allows you to plan your workouts, making you more responsible for training sessions. The Suunto Smart Sensor is also the smallest Bluetooth Smart compatible heart rate sensor on the market, allowing you to record heart rate even during swimming sessions.
8. Garmin Vivoactive
If you’re looking for an ultra-thin, sunlight-readable GPS smartwatch with built-in sports apps and customizable watch face designs, go for the Garmin Vivoactibe. This watch also transitions well from your fitness look to more professional occasions, making it a versatile watch. Garmin has also worked hard to make this watch useful for enhancing training metrics for athletes and ideal for those with an active lifestyle. Available in several classic colors, this is our pick for maximum versatility.
The Polat M400 is waterproof and has a daily fitness tracker. According to Polar, their model can help you plan an optimal workout, beat your personal bests, and find your way back after a run. At an affordable price, this model also comes in handy for its other unexpected features. The watch alerts you when appointments on your calendar come up, and you can read messages even when your phone isn’t with you.
10. TomTom Multisport Cardio
With an integrated heart monitor and one-button control, TomTom Multisport Cardio also sports a futuristic look. It comes in a range of bright neon colours, which sets it apart from other models with more classic colors on the market. The interval training feature is also handy, allowing you to set your interval training program to improve speed and fitness, perfect for long-term fitness aspirations.
11. Garmin Forerunner 15
The Garmin Forerunner 15 is simple, straightforward and straight to the point. The rechargeable battery is a nice feature, as it also packs up to 8 hours of battery life with GPS on or five weeks in watch/activity tracking mode. The Garmin Forerunner 15 also lets you monitor your activity between runs and helps you count the calories you burn throughout the day. In terms of looks, this watch is modern and refined and comes in a wide range of colors.
12. Moto 360 Sport
Motorola played with some sporty colors when designing its Moto 360 Sport model, especially with flame orange. The ambient light sensor automatically adjusts to the surrounding brightness and the Wi-Fi connectivity also makes this model one of the most accessible and easy to use watches. Wireless charging is also a plus along with water resistance.
13. Garmin Fenix 3
The Garmin Fenix 3 is cleverly disguised as a more classic watch, consisting of a premium sapphire lens with a stainless steel strap. The watch also features a protective stainless steel bezel and buttons, with a reinforced case for added durability. You’ll also be impressed by the high-resolution color Chroma display with LED backlighting, making it easy to access data in different locations with varying lighting.
14. Garmin Forerunner 225
The Garmin Forerunner 225 is the perfect model for simple workout tracking with a vivid GUI to match. The watch tracks your area and beats per minute and also tracks distance, pace, heart rate as well as steps and calories throughout the day. Also handy, the watch has a built-in sensor using Mio heart rate technology that measures heart rate at the wrist. You can also connect this watch to Garmin’s free online community, “Garmin Connect”, which allows you to record, plan and share all your fitness activities.
15. Sony Smartwatch 3
The Sony SmartWatch 3 is not only great for its wide range of functions, but also for its modern look. This model also allows you to change straps and gives you the option to customize it to your personal style with downloadable watch faces. The two-day battery life is also handy, letting you track activity and movement without worrying about charging.
Best GPS Watches FAQ
What is a GPS watch?
A GPS watch is a watch that integrates GPS tracking and navigation into the device. This is usually a fitness tracker, terrain or tactical watch.
Do you need a GPS watch for running?
You don’t need a GPS to run, but it can give you an edge to improve your performance. A GPS can track your distance, time, and pace, which will provide you with information about each run, allowing you to train better.
Which fitness watches have built-in GPS?
Most styles, including reference models, from brands such as Garmin, Fitbit, Polar, TomTom, Suunto, Apple, Sony and Samsung all have built-in GPS. Some advanced models are also equipped with barometric altimeters to measure elevation and distance, as this may slightly affect tracking.
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