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Best Running GPS Units 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated July 1, 2019
Best Running GPS Units of 2018
If you’re reading this, it is very likely that you’re scouting for the best running gps units. I have taken the initiative to educate you on the top three best running gps units that you can buy this year. Here, I will review 3 of the best running gps units of 2018, and we will also discuss the things to consider when looking to purchase one. I hope you will make an informed decision after going through each of them. If you get well acquainted with these basics, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing a running gps units that suits your need.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this running gps units win the first place?
The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch!
Why did this running gps units come in second place?
The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
Why did this running gps units take third place?
I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials.
Running GPS Units Buyer’s Guide
Bike computers are dead claim Bryton
The cycling GPS market is dominated by similar brands to the automotive GPS industry – Garmin is the key player, but brands such as Wahoo, Polar, Bryton, Suunto, Leyzyne and CatEye also offer GPS options.
A key factor, but one that’s easily overlooked, is how the device attaches (or doesn’t) to the bike.
Most GPS units attach to either the handlebar or the stem of the bike. Others, such as those designed for multisport, may be worn as a wrist watch, but this isn’t an ideal viewing position for cycling.
What mounting options the device has should be considered
Generally speaking, the more common the brand, the more mounting options it will offer.
Garmin is no doubt the leader in this area, with scores of aftermarket mount options allowing you to decide exactly how and where the device sits on your handlebar or stem.
The FFormMount is the neat Garmin mount you’ve been looking for
GPS for performance riders
In the past, performance riders would have had to use a separate heart rate monitor (watch or chest strap), a cycle computer and if really serious, a power measuring device to get this vital training information.
Now, GPS units offer a receiver and display for all of this information and more in a compact device.
Many GPS devices work with ANT+ and/or Bluetooth wireless technology. this allows use of additional accessories such as heart rate straps, cadence sensors and power meters. many devices are available with a ‘bundle option’, including the heart rate strap and cadence/speed sensor as a value package
Heart rate, cadence, distance, speed and power meter compatibility is quite common, with many devices using the ANT+ protocol. Most popular GPS units will be offered as the device alone, or in a value bundle with the heart rate strap and cadence/speed sensor.
GPS for long-distance tourers
Touring GPS units have recently popped onto the market, from both Garmin and Magellan. These offer greater mapping and direction capability along with increased battery capacity.
Some units will also have replaceable batteries, however internal rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are more common because of their lower weight.
Serious touring cyclists may which to use use dynamo hub generators or solar technology to keep the batteries of these units topped up. External battery expanders are another option if you’re seeking directions for an overnight journey.
While digital map coverage is often still limited to developed countries, or at most the large urban areas of developing countries, the vast majority of cyclists will find no flaw in the function of these units.
In any event, in more obscure parts of the world, you may well struggle to get hold of good quality GPS maps just as you would struggle to get hold of good quality paper maps.
GPS for town riders
Touring-based computers offer a range of features that town riders will also find useful, however, a smartphone may prove just as useful for casual riding.
If you’re after basic speed, distance or even navigation, there are endless mobile phone mount options to put your phone on top of your handlebars.
Additional ‘plug-in’ displays such as the BeeLine are also an interesting option that are beginning to pop up.
GPS for multi-sport
Like performance riders, multi-sport riders will likely be after the heart-rate, cadence and even power data. However, if you do more than cycling, you may want to be able to use the device for running or perhaps even swimming, too.
These watch-based devices can usually be unclipped from the wrist strap and clipped straight into a bike mount making for a quick transition.
Best GPS watches for cycling: how to choose the right one for you
GPS device glossary
ANT+: The most common wireless protocol in cycling GPS and electronics. This is used for communication between sensors such as power meters, cadence, speed and heart rate monitors and the head unit device.
Barometric altimeter (barometer): Where some devices will use maps to give an estimate of elevation, the better options use a barometer to accurately measure elevation. In some devices, this is also used to provide more accurate co-ordinate tracking.
Bearing/heading: Bearing is the compass direction to the next waypoint, heading is the actual direction of travel (which is usually expressed in degrees)
Bluetooth: A form of separate wireless receiver/transmitter that is the standard in smart phone technology. Now becoming more popular in GPS units to sync with phones.
Geocaching: The GPS equivalent of a treasure hunt, using given co-ordinates to find the location. Arguably this feature has had its day, but is still given in some devices.
GPX: Also known as GPS Exchange format, this open data format is free to use and is widely accepted as the standard way to share ride, track, waypoint and other GPS based data.
GLONASS: Stands for Global Navigation Satellite System, it provides alternative satellites to GPS (Global Positioning System). Units that offer GLONASS often have more reliable map coverage and recording along with faster start-up.
IPX7: This refers to the water resistance rating. IPXis a standard benchmark of many electronic devices and means the item will withstand incidental exposure to water of up to one meter for up to 30 minutes. This means that use in the rain will be of no concern
Odometer: Measures the distance you’ve travelled since it was last reset
Route: Predetermined points, which are known as waypoints (see below), linked together in the order you intend to travel to them
Strava: Website and mobile app used to track fitness activities via GPS. It offers a ‘cloud’ to upload your ride data and compare your fitness with riders in the same area.
Track: The record the GPS unit makes of your actual course over the ground on any journey that you undertake
Waypoints: Specific locations that are stored in the GPS – usually used to navigate to or linked together to form a route. May also be known as Points of Interest (POI), or by the more traditional term, Landmarks.
How we picked
Some of the GPS running watches we considered. From left: the Forerunner 235, the Forerunner 230, the Fitbit Surge, the Polar M400, and the TomTom Spark Music. Photo: Jim McDannald
GPS devices and the companies behind them need to have a solid reputation for accuracy. Nothing on the market is 100% accurate, as mapping errors and signal drops occur under heavy tree cover. But the major players in this category (Garmin, Magellan, Timex, TomTom, Polar) each have a strong background in GPS and watch technology from their products in other fields. It’s taken time even for these experienced and well-recognized companies to work out bugs and bring a viable product to market. So if you’re intrigued by a new brand or crowdfunded device in this category, know that a sleek, first-generation product may be a little raw or unpolished.
GPS watches can now be made small enough to pass as a regular “sports” watch, so watches that still resemble hockey pucks have to earn their heft. The same goes for watch displays; a GPS watch’s ability to display and arrange information in an organized and readable fashion on the face cannot be overemphasized. It’s a huge hassle to squint to figure out which number is which.
The built-in heart-rate pick
If you want to track your heart rate but don’t want to wear an additional chest strap, the Forerunner 23(farthest left) stands out as a thinner, more flexible option than the competition. Photo: Jim McDannald
If you want to track your heart rate and can’t stand wearing an extra monitor, the Garmin Forerunner 23is a sibling to our top pick that’s far more comfortable than other watches with wrist-based monitors. It features an optical heart-rate sensor and is thinner, lighter, and less bulky than the previous generation of heart-rate-sensing watches. It’s not as accurate as a heart strap, but if you’d rather not run with extra equipment, the Forerunner 23covers that need without much extra bulk or weight.
In this article
Fitbit, fitbitsurge, gadgetry, gadgets, Garmin, GarminForerunner230, gear, GPSwatch, PolarM400, RunningWatch, TomTom, TomTomSparkMusic, wearables
Suunto AmbitVertical HR Monitor Running GPS Unit
This fits your.
to make sure this fits.
See the altitude profile of your route directly from the watch with real-time ascent gain and remaining …
Garmin Forerunner 735XT – Midnight Blue & Frost Blue • Measures heart rate at the wrist¹ so you can run freer on race day
• Provides advanced dynamics² for running, cycling and swimming, including ground …
Suunto AmbitSport GPS Watch with Heart Rate
This fits your.
to make sure this fits.
Heart Rate Monitor
Speed, pace, distance and GPS altitude, Route navigation and track back, Compass
TomTom Spark Cardio + Music, GPS Fitness Watch + Heart Rate Monitor + 3GB Music Storage (Large, Sky Captain/Scuba Blue) • GPS Sport Watch and Bluetooth Music Player: Workout with music, not with your phone. Wirelessly connect and train to the tune of 500 songs and the …
People with a large early-generation device
The new sleek and slim GPS watch designs are slightly larger than most regular “sports” watches. If you are sporting a bulky first-generation GPS running watch, it’s time to consider upgrading to a watch you might even feel comfortable wearing outside of exercise. Along with size, most modern watches offer more training data and analysis than older watches and their software.
The auto-syncing upgrade for experienced runners
Compare that to Bluetooth uploading on the FR 230, which requires you to grab your smartphone, open the Garmin Connect app, then wait for the watch and phone to connect. There’s a USB-to-computer option for the FR 230, but the FR 630’s wireless syncing is what we hope the future of all exercise-gear-syncing looks like.
At this price, the FR 630 is not the best device for beginning runners or first-time GPS watch buyers; the FR 230 gets the core time/distance/pace tracking done just fine. But for a more experienced and frequent runner who wants metrics like running dynamics, lactate threshold, or stress score, the FR 630 is worth a look.
GPS navigation company Magellan’s Switch series are waterproof and have long-lasting, switch-out battery packs. The Switch Up might appeal to triathlon or ultramarathon competitors, but the Switch’s subpar software, poor mapping features, and sheer bulk make it a pass for most.
Garmin’s FR 2and FR 220 were our previous top picks for their affordability, accuracy, and strong Garmin Connect software. But the FR 210’s data and watchface menu are far less intuitive than its successors, and the FR 220 lacks the larger screen, activity tracking, and app expansion that make the 230 a more useful device.
Magellan’s Echo Fit displays run data when tethered to your phone, and your daily steps, calories burned, and sleep activity when not. But the phone requirement, and the small amount of workout data that comes from the software, make our picks better choices.
The Apple Watch combines fitness-tracker features and run-tracking sensors in a single stylish watch. The new Series version, available mid–September 2016, has onboard GPS (previously you had to rely on the watch’s pace estimation or your iPhone’s GPS for tracking). We have yet to test the Series head-to-head against a GPS watch, but an Apple Watch provides less than 2hours of battery life and is wrist-activated and touchscreen-operated, so it will be trickier to glance at and pause during a run than a button-operated, dedicated running watch. For more, see our full Apple Watch guide.
Fitbit’s first GPS sports watch, the Surge, continuously monitors heart rate with an optical sensor, measures ambient light exposure, and can relay Caller ID and text messages from a smartphone, and carries seven days of battery life. After testing, and reading Ray Maker’s review, we agree that its GPS and heart-rate accuracy rate about a “B.”
Garmin’s 920XT is targeted at ultra-runners and serious triathletes. While the Garmin FR 230/235/630 each can handle running and cycling, they fall flat when it comes swimming. Whether open water or in the pool, 920XT can capture and log swim data. Along with swim data, the big news here is battery life: A new UltraTrac mode could extend battery life for up to 40 hours of GPS tracking. The 920XT will also be the first Garmin device to accept third-party apps submitted through Connect IQ.
Epson released the Runsense line of GPS running watches in the spring of 201to go along with the Pulsense watch and band introduced last year. The company released three models in spring: SF-510, SF-710, and SF-8Each model is waterproof to 50 m, syncs data via Bluetooth and features a “Smart Stride Sensor,” which uses an accelerometer to calculate distance if you lose GPS coverage.
The most expensive model, the SF-810, features Epson’s in-house optical heart rate sensor and the ability to give feedback during a run with vibration alerts. But GPS running watches from Garmin and TomTom feature cheaper prices for similar functionality and more mature platforms. It’s difficult for Epson to compete with these established companies at this higher price point right now.
Adidas has also jumped into the mix with a fitness tracker/smartwatch. Reviewers like its Mio-built heart rate wrist sensor and seem to think that it’s a decent workout watch. But the terrible one-day battery life of the Adidas miCoach SMART RUN is a dealbreaker. You can safely pass on a first-generation device that comes from a company with limited experience in making consumer gadgets.
Well-known for expensive, quality GPS hiking watches, Suunto has released their first midrange GPS running device. The AmbitR GPS features track-back technology to help find the way to the start location of your run and features a cycling mode. While the Suunto has some interesting features, it lacks a Bluetooth chipset and the ability to create and follow custom workouts via your watch, smartphone, or computer.
An upstart company who has raised money via crowdfunding to get their first generation devices to market is Leikr. The Danish company’s watch supports direct upload to the popular third-party training log software, Strava. The Leikr features a two-inch color display showing a map of your location and route during a run. Though it’s cool to have all that information on your wrist, most runners will find it hard to justify the price tag when considering what’s missing. As Runner’s World notes, the watch lacks support for other training-log services and requires Wi-Fi to upload your workouts.
If you training for a triathlon or are a pro runner, this state-of-the art watch provides tracking of speed, pace, distance, fat burn calories as well as heart monitoring.
It is loaded with features that can interest you if like post-run analysis including recovery time and much more than general fitness tracking.
This advanced multisport GPS watch has a sleek and lightweight design. It is user friendly with easy to use interface and screen that is superbly customizable. VR800 is much more than a running watch that allows tracking your activities 24/and analyze your performance. If you are determined to improve your output, look no further.
WiFi and Bluetooth enabled to upload data to connected smart device wirelessly.
Vibrating alerts useful in interval training, inactivity alerts as well as alarm
Garmin has created this sports watch keeping in mind the active lifestyle of athletes, blending fitness features with best-in-class notifications. It is not just a sports watch but also a hybrid smart watch that can truly be worn everyday.
Garmin Forerunner 630
If you are pro runner, looking for advanced wearable tech, Garmin Forerunner 630 has all the features of a high-end GPS running watch.
The sleek design, long battery life with tons of advanced features including run dynamics makes it the watch for advanced runners.
TomTom Runner is a basic watch with built-in HRM that can track your performance both indoors and outdoors. The tracking data can be uploaded to the MySports website for further analysis. If you are on a budget and want to track your running with superb GPS and HRM, look no further.
From the industry leaders Fitbit, this is a solid everyday fitness tracker with long battery life, constant heart rate monitoring and accurate step tracking. However, it has some weaknesses like lack of waterproof design and erratic heart rate design that pushes it to the bottom of our list.
Fitbit Surge is one of the most expensive Fitbit device, that is meant for casual runners who are looking for a feature packed design, but not meant for serious marathon or triathlon trainers. It offers built-in GPS, optical heart rate monitoring with music control on the go, making it a great device for runners, bikers and hikers.
Garmin Edge 2GPS Cycling Computer
Riding your MTB is the chance to break free and experience rough terrains with the Adrenaline rush. Still, you want to make sure that you are on the right trail, fully equipped and properly prepared. In addition to a high-quality bike, you need to make sure that you are packing the right accessories. One of the seemingly small additions that can change the way you experience rough terrains is to install the Best Mountain Bike GPS.
Mountain bike GPS devices come with different features and are offered at various price ranges. You will have a variety of products to choose from in order to find the most suitable one. But which one is the best one? How can you pick the most suitable GPS for your next mountain biking quest?
You’ve come to the right place. We are here to offer detailed information about the best products on the market. You will get a comprehensive idea about the most appropriate GPS devices to install to your MTB and the most important features to look for.
Customizable Color Touchscreen, Friendly Interface, Garmin Connect, Social Sharing, Weather updates etc.
Garmin Edge 800 GPS-Enabled Cycling Computer
Advanced heart rate-based calorie computation, Garmin Connect, Virtual Partner-Racer, Auto Pause, Touchscreen, Garmin Connect, Friendly user interface.
ANT+ Heart Rate Monitor; Speed/Cadence, GPS, distance etc.
GPS +GLONASS, ANT+ support, HR monitor, Cadence/Speed etc.
Garmin Edge 500 Cycling GPS
Improve your riding skills with Garmin Edge 500 Cycling GPS, a lightweight mountain bike GPS computer for a rider whose priority is performance. After uploading data, Edge 500 will be able to measure your exact distance; speed; location, altitude, climb, descent and even records measured data for your evaluation.
The added ANT+™ compatibility monitors heart rate, speed/cadence sensor. Plus it is also companionable ANT+ Power Meter which will be able to present a complete breakdown of your pedal power and will guide you furthers to pedal with an effective rate. Additional supportive training features include a Courses feature, which provides a successive ride comparison over the identical routes, along with Auto Pause, Auto Lap and temperature readings.
If you are giving that much of the efforts, you do deserve a little break. Plus, why not know about the weather condition you are riding in?
Now, connect Garmin Edge 500 Cycling GPS to your computer, join a worldwide network of riders, compare your ride performance data with others and share it as well. You can also compare your speed and heart rate to earlier performances over the unchanged ride and know if your fitness is improving.
Garmin Edge 1000 Color Touchscreen GPS
When you decide to ride your mountain bike, you need something that will help you stay focused on the road. This device is the Best Mountain Bike GPS that you can use or give as a gift to someone you love, who is a mountain biking enthusiast.
This device has a big wide clear screen that will allow you to see what you need with ease and the display will adjust according to the light. You will always see whatever you need clearly even in the shade or in tunnels. This device has a touchscreen that is glove friendly. You don’t need to take off your gloves while riding your bike and this means that you will stay focused on the road.
This device will allow you to compete even with yourself by cutting every race into separate segments so that you can see your results in real time and evaluate your performance compared to your past parts.
You will even get a leaderboard ranking versus your previous segments. Because it easily connects to the Garmin Connect, you will be able to have the relevant data for on the road or off road navigation.
With Garmin Edge 1000 Color Touchscreen GPS, you will not miss one single notification. All your texts, calls and emails will be on display because it is compatible with iPhone and later models. It will notify you about the weather and enable social media sharing. You will have access to preloaded maps, and you will be able to customize and create your own map based on the routes you choose.
This Garmin Edge 1000 is convenient to use thanks to the extended out front mount that will allow you to take a glance while keeping all your attention on the road.
Garmin Edge 200 GPS-Enabled Bike Computer
Using the Best Mountain Bike GPS allows you to ride your bike comfortably with all the data needed for a safe fun trip. This device acts as a mini computer that you can carry around while riding your mountain bike.
The sleek and lightweight design makes it convenient to carry and the easy to read display will allow you to get all the information you need without taking your attention off the road ahead of you.
This is a user-friendly GPS device that will work the minute you mount it to your mountain bike. No set up needed and you will not spend hours trying to figure it out. Its minimalist design doesn’t reflect its quality because Garmin Edge 200 GPS-Enabled Bike Computer is designed to be a hassle-free device that will present you all the needed information in an easy smooth way.
This device will connect to the Garmin Connect, an easy to navigate website for free data analysis and information sharing. You will be able to get information about the distance you traveled, the time, speed and the calories you burn during each ride.
It will connect with the satellite to help you calculate your position quickly and will automatically turn the timer on and off when you start moving or when you stop. This means that you will able to keep track of your performance and everything will be calculated accurately.
Garmin Edge 200 GPS-Enabled Bike Computer will keep you motivated as it stores 130 hours of ride data so that you can easily see how far you’ve gone towards achieving your goals.
Garmin Edge 5Team Garmin Bundle Bike GPS
If you are looking for the Best Mountain Bike GPS that can help you ride comfortably and safely then this might be the one for you. It can be easily connected to your mobile using the Garmin Connect app.
This device is highly versatile because you will be able to choose among different profiles to pick the one that matches your riding style.
At the same time, it will provide the most relevant data related to the speed, distance, time, heart rate, elevation and location for future reference and comparison. It contains an accurate barometric altimeter that will correctly determine the elevation, gradient, ascent and descent data.
Live tracking is a very important feature, which makes Garmin Edge 5Team Garmin Bundle Bike GPS one of the most popular ones. You will also be able to share your location and progress on social media.
It is specially designed for the most challenging mountain biking lovers who like to stay connected even on the toughest routes. With its ability to connect to satellites, it will provide your accurate location even when you are in a canyon.
Availability of data alternatives enables the data transfer to a computer. Therefore, it makes the screen more customizable. You can even easily swap between bikes. Now, transfer the necessary data to your desires training program, software or a social fitness site/website.
The customization of the display can be available, or it can be fixed too. You need to inquire, before purchasing. Other customizations include a choice of changing the font size. The font size, reliability depends on whether you are in a stationary position or are you in motion. A font size can be quite visible when you are still and can get blurry; immediately you catch momentum.
Mountain bike GPS, computers employs a built-in rechargeable battery which can last up to 20 hours. It means, the bike GPS, computers supports the best battery life. I will suggest you to look for a bike GPS with a minimum of 1hours of battery life, since, they do not have a removable battery option.
Coaching and training program
This feature offers a program of weekly, monthly and yearly programs that enable people to attain the perfect fitness goals. The program gives a routine and helps the user to achieve it through reminders. Smart Coach an app that is often installed within smart watches and fitness trackers serving the same purpose.
There are some extra metrics that will help you improve your running form. To have such metrics you would need to expand your budget a little. The metrics include HR Max, lactate threshold, Orthostatic Test, Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). However, the most important are Vertical oscillation, VOMax and heart rate zones.
An orthostatic test is supposed to measure your heart rate while you’re at rest and while you’re standing up before. This gives you a standing, rest and peak heart rate. This gives your device enough information to tell you when you’re physically ready to train again and go out.
Battery life depending on the distance you’ll cover
If you’re planning on taking your GPS running watch to the marathon with you, make sure it has enough battery life. We recommend you get a watch that will last a bit longer than your longest run. However, if you do get a watch that offers less battery timing then you can carry backup battery packs along to charge on the go.
Coaching programs and interval sessions
Interval sessions help you build up the right speed and pace during your run. Watches like TomTom Spark and Garmin Forerunner 23offer customizable interval sessions you can create on the basis of heart rate, duration, pace, and distance. The numbers of sessions you can create is infinite.
Additionally, brands like Adidas, Polar, and Garmin offer comprehensive expert training programs and plans for covering half, full, 5k and 10k marathons. If you want training plans, make sure you check the Smartphone apps and web tools associated with your device before purchasing.
Efficiency of the GPS
When it comes to GPS running watches, GPS is the main thing. It’s true that up till now no GPS provides 100% accuracy of the result but it’s about who’s nearest to it. Garmin Forerunner 23has been claimed to have the best GPS system and provides amazing stats when it comes to running.
The best thing about this device is that it offers the basics of a running watch at a reasonable price. It’s a simple GPS running watch with some cool extra features. It has a better design then Polar V800, despite lacking extra metrics like cycling cadence and built-in OHR. The watch has a small face and a very comfortable strap for the wrist. You’ll be able to see your stats even in direct sunlight through the high contrast display.
You don’t need a unique charging cable to charge it; a simple USB cable does the job. It gives the basic pace, burned calorie, distance and altitude tracking. Through an internal accelerometer, the device will track your steps, sleep and activity even when your mobile.
The recent update of the device will give not only give iOS notifications, but it will also give notifications of other smartphone apps such as Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter as well.
When it comes to syncing and connectivity, the data on your Polar M400 can easily be transferred to your connected Smartphone with blue tooth technology. The watch also gives you 2days of battery if used as a tracker or a general watch. With GPS, it will run out at 1hours, which is even better than most watches at this range.
Garmin’s Vivosmart is not just a sports tracking watch but works great as one of the best Smart watches as well. The only setback with this device is its outdated square face watch design and its low-resolution screen. The resolution is only 20x 148 pixels and the light is so less that it’s almost impossible to see the screen in dim light conditions. There’s a backlight which lasts hardly for seconds.
When it comes to activity tracking, the watch does a fairly good job. There are steps and sleep tracking which works quite well. Though, the sleep tracking isn’t as good as Jawbone. It works well with Garmin’s HR chest straps to give you heart tracking along with the other metrics.
The best thing about this device as a GPS running watch is that it’s GPS is quite accurate. It gives you great stats for cycling, running, walking and swimming. There’s no guesswork of accelerometer, rather accurate detailed tracking. There’s also Golf tracking with back, front, and center of the green yardages. The ecosystem is incredible and the device pairs with your Smartphone to give you all the notifications on your wrist.
The watch comes with a sleek design with a large display so the users can view the stats by just a glance during their workout. The silicon bands are also soft and comfortable on the wrist. It’s available in frost blue and midnight blue or black gray colors. The battery lasts for 1days in general watch and activity tracking mode, and 1hours if all features are used. The watch offers heart rate monitoring and tracking of activities such as; cycling, swimming, cardio, paddle sports, XCskiing, hiking, multisport and strength training as well.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT offers advanced metrics for running, swimming and lots of other sports. The watch is waterproof up to 50m and is a great tool for tracking of swimming. You can take the watch during your swimming training and workouts in the water and it will guide you through. Though at times the tracking gives inaccurate results, but there are many options to choose from. The watch also offers GPS tracking of 2hours.
The watch syncs automatically to Garmin connect and you can track your workouts, trends and join challenges with communities online to compete against friends, and earn badges for achieving fitness goals.
This is an excellent watch for metrics. If you’re a swimmer, biker or runner and looking for a running watch that gives you detailed metrics; Polar V800 is what you were looking for all this time. It tracks distance, pace, heart rate and calories burnt as well. The screen used to display the metrics is very clear and is customizable as well.
You can unlock Heart rate zonal training once you pair it with Polar Hheart rate monitor. It makes sure that you’re sweating it enough to meet the perfect goal. It also gives you 100% accurate running cadence by using a shoe pod. To increase the stats of two-wheeled training, you can buy additional accessories in the big range for cyclists. The Recovery Status with Orthostatic Test features predicts when you’ll be ready to train again once you’ve completely lost every bit of energy left in you for a further workout. Indeed, it’s a marvelous GPS running watch when it comes to activity tracking and sports metrics.
Using your watch efficiently
So, now that you know what to buy…are you aware of how to use it so it gives you maximum results? It’s important to know that these watches aren’t as simple as they often seem. I mean…we have already explained to you the key and some additional features they offer and what they mean, but how you use them is entirely up to you. However, we’ve come up with a guide to help you use these watches in the most efficient way possible.
Create a workout diary
Well, yes the watches do come with their own web tools and apps for analysis, progress reports, and records but it’s very important for you to keep a separate record that helps you in a motivational way. You can use a google calendar and create a training calendar. You can note down the information that’s most relevant to you i.e. heart rate, goal achieved, what activity you performed and your feeling towards the experience.
Keep track of your heart rate and know your MHR
It is important that you find your maximum heart rate (MHR). Your GPS running watch will use this information to divide your heart rate into segments called the “heart rate zones” according to the stages of your workout, depending upon your workout type.
In order to find your max heart rate, you need to warm up for 1minutes. You can do sluggish jogging and maximum stretches during this period. Then, once you’re all baggy and set, find a slope that will at least take minutes to reach the top. It can be a small hill or a steep road as well. Run with a hard but manageable pace towards the building. Once you’ve reached the top, run down with a simple pace and then repeat the first step. This activity will provide your watch with enough information it needs to set your heart rate zones. The advanced watches will then find your maximum heart rate by setting the zones in each run.
You can also use the BPM and heart rate zone feature to find out when you’re working out too much or when you’re being sluggish. You can also set automatic alerts for this purpose.
Rimsha Salam writes on the latest tech trends. She is a self-proclaimed tech geek, bookaholic, realist, introvert, and gamer.
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If you want to give fitness tracking a try (but without a wearable), start by using a mobile app that counts your steps. This method requires the least commitment, and could be of interest if you’re a beginner. Some apps we like are Argus, Fitbit, and Moves.
If you run or bicycle, we recommend tracking your runs or rides with an app before going whole-hog and splurging on a tracker. Why? With some trackers, you still need to carry your phone to get accurate pacing, distance, and mapping, so you’ll want to know before you make a purchase if you’re okay with carrying your phone, or if you’d prefer a tracker with built-in GPS so you don’t have to. A few apps we recommend are Runtastic PRO (for running), Cyclemeter (for bicycling), and Strava (for both running and cycling).
The Coros Linx Smart Helmet is another interesting solution for cyclists that integrates your phone’s GPS to track your rides and uses bone-conduction audio to let you hear directions, music, and phone calls without blocking your ears.
Swimmers will want a waterproof tracker, but keep in mind that not all water-safe trackers actually track swimming. A couple that do are the Apple Watch Nike+ and Series 3.
Runners will probably want a watch that shows time, distance, pace, and lap time, at the very least. If you want good accuracy for those metrics without having to carry a smartphone, you need a runner’s watch with built-in GPS, such as the Garmin Forerunner 735XT. For more, see The Best Fitness Trackers for Running.
Also consider the display. Otherwise excellent devices like the Apple Watch Series and Fitbit Charge have screens that turn off after a few seconds. If you want to see your stats at all times, or simply use your tracker as a wristwatch, look for one with an always-on display. How you control the tracker is also important. If you like to run in the cold while wearing gloves, you may want to steer clear of devices that only have touch-enabled displays.
Cyclists have even more considerations. There’s a difference between tracking how many miles you pedal and calories you burn versus monitoring your power and cadence. If all you want is the former, you can find a few fitness trackers that support bicycling as an activity, including the Fitbit Surge and the Garmin Vivoactive. More serious cyclists will want a device that can pair with additional bike equipment, like a cadence sensor, and should look at devices from sport-specific companies, like Garmin, Mio Global, and Polar.
The App Experience
A fitness tracker’s app matters. Whether on your phone or on the web, the app is absolutely vital because it is where you make sense of the information the tracker collects.
Fitbit has one of the best apps and websites we’ve tested. It lets you record all kinds of data that many other companies don’t, such as calories consumed, allergy severity, and stress level. Withings is also a favorite for providing a comprehensive account where you can measure your weight, glucose readings, and all kinds of health information.
If you want total body analysis, look for a system that incorporates a smart bathroom scale. Fitbit, Nokia (formerly Withings), and Polar, and do. Check out the Fitbit Aria 2, the Polar Balance, and the Nokia Body Cardio. These send your weight directly to your account, so you can’t cheat the system by entering a lower number. The QardioBase is another top choice, especially for pregnant women.
Garmin Forerunner 35
Yes Current Model Yes Yes GPS Enabled Yes Yes Water Resistant Yes 8-hours Battery 1Hours Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery Type Rechargeable Lithium Ion No Touch Screen No Activities History Activities Accessory Heart Rate Monitor Yes No Bike Speed Yes Yes Garmin Connect Yes Yes Auto Sync Yes Yes Virtual Training Yes No Virtual Racer No Accessory Foot Pod Accessory Yes Auto Pause Yes Yes Auto Lap Yes No Auto Scroll No No Ground Contact No No V0Estimation No No Race Predictor No No Recovery Advisory No Yes Internet Live Tracking Yes Yes Step Counter Yes Yes Smart Phone Notifications Yes Yes Sleep Tracking Yes No GLONAS No No Wi-Fi Enabled No No Swim Function No
There is no better way of getting fitter, stronger or faster than – well – training. And training gets a lot more effective if you can accurately measure the distance you travel, and at what speed. There are myriad wearable devices out there that purport to do this, but most activity-trackers are little more than souped-up pedometers, neither particularly accurate nor consistent.
That is not to denigrate activity trackers. If your goal is simply to nag yourself into burning more calories each day, a Fitbit or Jawbone will definitely be a good purchase – cheaper than any of the GPS-enabled devices we review here. You can find out the pick of the activity tracking wristband crop in our article, 2best Activity Trackers of 201The FitBit Surge makes the cut because it includes built-in GPS. Critical if you want to accurately measure performance as you go, with a glance at your wrist.
Best GPS watch for running: smartwatches vs activity trackers
And at the other end of the wrist-bound scale is the full-blown smartwatch, such as the Apple Watch and the Moto 360. Such devices are smartphone add-ons, which may offer GPS in addition to a raft of productivity, communications and entertainment features (although most pair with and use your smartphone’s GPS, which is hardly fit for this purpose. The Apple Watch is in this camp).
Again, a smartwatch may be your perfect training companion, but we would wager that it will cost more than you are prepared to pay for *just* a GPS watch. We have included the two best smartwatches for exercise here, in the Microsoft Band, and the Sony Smartwatch But if it is specifically a smartwatch you want, check out: 1best smartwatches of 2017.
This feature, however, focuses on the GPS-enabled wristwatches that are intended purely for training hard. Watches that can track time, speed and distance traveled, as well as your heart rate and calories burned. Here are the best GPS watches for running you can buy right now.
Microsoft Band 2
It is very difficult to score the Band 2, because it is such a specific product with a unique feature set. But let’s unpack it: it is definitely good value, as the combination of sensors and features is much greater than any comparable product at this price. And it is well made if not the last word in elegance, nor with perfect battery life.
If you are looking for a GPS runner’s or cyclist’s watch it is a good one at a good price, and it also offers the productivity and sleep tracking. And if you want a smartwatch you will like what the Band does, but you may hanker after the ability to compose and send messages. Simply, I don’t. I like to wear my dumb watch, and I like for my phone to stay in my pocket rather than on my wrist. So for me the Band is a winner.
Apple Watch Series 2
The new Apple Watch Series takes the main complaints about the original – slow operation, lack of GPS, lack of official waterproofing, short battery life – and solves or at least improves them systematically. If you’re into fitness tracking with a sprinkling of notifications and superb integration with the iPhone, this is an almost perfect wearable for you… although, being greedy, we’d still like an even better battery life, and the price remains pretty steep.
We thought long and hard about whether to give the Apple Watch Series five out of five, and it was a close-run thing. But those two issues are still, just, keeping it from a perfect score. Great wearable, though, and the only one we’ve seen that feels like it has any chance at all of taking wearables into the mainstream.
Read our sister title Macworld UK’s Apple Watch Series review.
We like the
Multi-Sport Cardio, although it is far from perfect. It is built to last, and comfortable to wear, without being stylish. Critically, the built-in GPS and heartrate monitors are great, and battery life is good. But connectivity options aren’t all that good, and it isn’t cheap. But if you are sports mad, it is a good choice.
Epson Runsense SF-810
A full-featured watch for runners, the Epson Runsense SF-8will be the perfect companion for those serious about shaving times of long-distance runs. It is limited only to that function, and it isn’t cheap. But battery life is great.
The Microsoft Band is the most Microsoft product imaginable. It does useful stuff. And mostly it does that stuff well. But it is ugly and uncomfortable and no-one is ever going to point at a Microsoft Band and say ‘I want one of those’. Which is a shame, because having used it for a while – and despite issues with battery life and distance measurement – I like it and will probably keep using it.
We love the Wellograph’s dressy looks and superb display graphics, but you do pay for these in terms of price compared to other more sporty wristbands. We did find the syncing to be a bit of a pain, and the battery tends to switch to watch-only mode even with noticeable juice to spare.
We prefer a fitness watch to keep going till it or you runs out. As a very fancy, classy watch that tracks your exercise and heart rate the Wellograph is maybe more suited to the more affluent, fashion-conscious wearer rather than the sporty fitness fanatic.
The Apple Watch Nike+, Apple Watch Hermès and the Apple Watch Edition all have the same internals and specifications as the Apple Watch Series 3, but have distinct aesthetic appearances. And you can choose between aluminium and stainless steel for the case of the Apple Watch Series 3.
The Apple Watch Nike+, which is made from aluminium, is aimed at those who love running and are looking for a sport-orientated smartwatch. We see the Nike+ as an Apple Watch Sport replacement.
The Apple Watch Hermès and the Apple Watch Edition are both aesthetically different to the standard Series 3 watch, too. The Hermès is made with stainless steel, with a unique strap and a Hermès stamp on the back, while the Apple Watch Edition is made with white ceramic, giving it a unique design. Both of these watches start at more than £1,000, and are only available for the cellular model.
Apple Watch Series vs Apple Watch Series 3
If you’re not looking for the latest model, there’s the Apple Watch Series 1, which is a rebadged version of the original Apple Watch that has a new upgraded processor.
The Apple Watch Series 3 features built-in GPS, optional cellular internet, a faster processor, a faster wireless chip, IP6water and dust resistance, a 50 percent brighter screen, and a barometric altimeter – as you can see, there are plenty of improvements compared to the Series 1.
Both the Series and Series 3 come with a dual-core processor. It’s important to note, though, that the Series comes with a S1P dual-core (not to be confused with the single-core S1), while the Series 3 houses an Sdual-core processor, which should deliver substantially faster performance.
Looking at the materials used, the stainless steel version of the Series 3 has the sturdier sapphire glass screen, while the Series is protected with Ion-X glass. It should be noted that the aluminium models of the Series use the same Series glass material.
Price-wise, the Series starts at £249, while the Series starts at £32for the regular model and £39for cellular. Prices increase when you start changing size, straps and materials, though it’s worth noting that the Series is only available in Silver or Space Grey aluminium.
There is only the Sport Band available for Series models, but if you want a different strap you can purchase it separately, but that will of course cost you a few more pennies – all the same straps are compatible regardless of your watch model.
Given the price difference of just £80 between the Series and the base Series 3, it’s hard not to recommend the later model. It’s not only faster, but has several features the older model is lacking, is available in more colours, and will enjoy Apple software support for longer – it’s a better bet unless you really can’t stretch your budget beyond £249.
The straps are
Each of these is available in multiple colour options, which vary according to the model of Apple Watch you’ve selected.
There are some nice third-party straps out there too. We’ve collected our favourite first- and third-party Apple Watch straps in a separate feature on the best Apple Watch straps.
View Apple Watch Series 3 buying options on Apple Store
Fitbit Flex 2
The name Fitbit is synonymous with activity trackers, in the same way GoPro is with action cameras, so it’s not surprising that the brand will crop up a couple of times in this article. The first is the Fitbit Flex 2, a slim, entry-level tracker which offers activity, sports, and sleep tracking, along with waterproof credentials and a five day battery life.
Fitbit Charge 2
When we tested the Fitbit Charge HR last year, we were left impressed. The Fitbit Charge is a follow-up which offers a number of upgrades including a bigger and better OLED screen. This allows custom watch faces and call, text and calendar notifications to be displayed on the wrist, though there’s always the Fitbit Blaze if you want a more smartwatch experience.
Garmin Vivoactive HR
The Garmin Vivoactive HR offers the most comprehensive fitness tracking of the devices in this roundup, and a good companion app too. In addition to activity and an array of sport-specific modes, it packs heart rate monitoring and GPS tracking which can combine to give a much more meaningful insight into your exercise. The one drawback when using these features is that the battery life drops from eight days to as little as 1hours, as we discovered during our tests.
Mi Band 2
In addition to general activity, steps and heart rate monitoring, the Mi Band features sleep tracking and offers an idle alert to tell you when to get up off your butt. It is also splash resistant and will last an impressive 20 days between battery recharges. While the companion app isn’t anywhere near as slick as the Fitbit one, it is still functional enough.
While we feel that we can’t quite recommend the Moov Now as a straightforward fitness tracker (it annoyingly insists on measuring activity in active minutes rather than the usual metrics of steps or distance) it still deserves an honorable mention here. This is because it doubles as a wearable personal sports coach, and left us impressed (and more than a touch exhausted) when we tested it earlier this year.
After strapping a Moov Now onto your wrist or ankle, the companion app can then give you audio instructions through a number of workouts which change based on your movements.
Tom Tom is a company that entered the sports market relatively recently. They began making GPS devices for navigation, and are the trusted partner of companies such as Apple and Uber. In the sports market, they are making their mark with the Multisport watch. The greatest feature of TomTom Multisport is its innovative design and one-button usability. It can track all the three modes in a triathlon with simplicity. As compared to the other sports watches, TomTom Multisport is less expensive, but may lack some of the accuracy in swimming mode.
The watch is designed to ensure comfort and performance at the same time. It has a large LCD with a single-button menu system. The screen is among the largest we have seen on the multisport market, but it is designed in a way that is not obtrusive. The watch comes in a gray and dark pink color.
GOLF GPS WATCHES
The GolfBuddy WTX delivers all the functionality associated with a handheld GPS unit in a versatile, compact watch. It combines a full colour screen and touchscreen functionality with a complete hole layout that shows the golfer’s position, as well as dynamic green view, which provides accurate distances from the specific angle of approach. There’s also shot distance measurement, pin position selection and extra ‘skins’ for stylish watch options when not in GPS mode.
The SWis slimmer and lighter than its predecessor with improved battery life and no annual fees. It comes is pre-loaded and ready-to-play with golf’s only ground-corrected precision course maps exclusive to SkyCaddie users, providing at-a-glance distances to the Front, Centre and Back of every green on its bright, easy-to-read display. It will automatically detect your course and advance holes and also includes a host of fitness features as well as a pace-of-play timer.
GM says: While at the pricier end of the watch market, the Approach Sdoes feature some top-end technology, like its full colour touchscreen display that lets you manually move the flag’s location for more accurate yardages. Hazard and lay-up numbers also aid your strategy, while you can pair it with your smartphone to discreetly check your texts or emails as you play.
GM Says: A sleek and lightweight GPS watch with features including hazards, doglegs and layups plus Green View and the new Garmin AutoShot round analyser for detailed game analysis on Garmin Connect. The watch also doubles as an activity tracker while the AutoShot feature automatically detects every swing, measures your shot distance and records each shot’s location for post-round analysis on your Garmin Connect account.
GM says: This traditional looking watch utilises yardages that have been mapped on foot to provide distances to the front, middle and back at over 35,000 pre-loaded courses. The annual membership isn’t ideal at £39.95, but it does add up to 40 hazard and lay-up distances and IntelliGreen – which shows the green’s shape – to the package.
GM says: The ultra-slim upgrade to the TomTom Golfer is designed to help golfers improve their game by detecting tee and approach shots automatically, which can then be analysed after your round using the MySports app. The watch shows distances to reach and carry hazards as well as lay up points, while the auto scorecard tracks your score. The post-game analysis gives insights into shot patterns and greens in regulation. Rounds can be studied hole-by-hole in order to build on your strengths and improve your weaknesses.
GM says: The WTis a simple GPS watch offering that delivers simple, accurate GPS numbers for the golfer that just wants yardage at a glance. It can provide nine hours of battery life in golf mode and up to two months in watch mode as well as the usual front, middle and back distances as well as hazard information. The WTalso boasts Dynamic Green View for improved accuracy after an errant drive.
GM says: Pairs via Bluetooth to the Bushnell Golf App to allow the golfer to book tee times, pay, confirm and set tee time notifications all from their smart phone. There is also the option for 3D course flyovers to give the golfer a birds-eye view of the hole. The Excel also has improved battery life – lasting three plus rounds before needing a charge. Additional features include a full frontal optical mounted colour display with auto brightness adjustment, pedometer, odometer and the ability to get up to four hazard distances per hole.
GPS HANDHELD DEVICES
The Approach G30 has a 2.3-inch colour touchscreen for users to see features like Green View and Touch Targeting to provide more accurate yardage information. Thanks to its Big Numbers Mode, it displays yardages in a large font for at- a-glance viewing and also displays a hole view with a moveable pointer. The Approach G30 can be mounted in a multitude of ways, like on a user’s belt, trolley or golf bag, and is compatible with the Garmin TruSwing analyser to improve swing consistency. Users can also get smart notifications for incoming calls, texts.
GM says: This pocket-sized GPS comes pre-loaded with over 33,000 courses, and as well as the front, centre and back yardages you’d expect, it also offers measurements to hazards and run outs, all for less than £100. Auto-course and hole recognition make it user friendly, while its shot measurement feature and different colour options are other handy extras.
GM says: This is the largest unit in this showcase, but that also means there’s more space on the four-inch LCD screen for extra features, like a pinch and zoom hole view that gives you a closer look at hazards and landing areas, arcs that display clear lay-up points and the option to move the pin around the green. Stat collection and scoring is also easy to input.
GM says: The G8’s large colour touchscreen can give you distances from any position on 38,000 pre-loaded courses, all of which are displayed via some of the best hole graphics on the market. Its stat collection and digital scorecard are also great features, however, the non-legal ‘plays like’ distance function that accounts for slope will put many off as it can’t be disabled.
GM says: The SkyCaddie AIRE II comes loaded with stroke-saving features and is ready-to-play with over 35,000 error-corrected courses. Its intelligent automation (auto-course select, auto-hole advance and auto-distance) keeps your hands free. It is perfect for those looking for green information who don’t want to go to any extra effort to get those yardages. If you have been sceptical of GPS devices in the past then this is a great entry model that will give you the perfect alternative to using yardage markers on the course, and will actually speed up your play compared to the old method.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Running GPS Units wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Running GPS Units
- №1 — Suunto Ambit3 Peak HR Running GPS Unit
- №2 — Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit
- №3 — Suunto Ambit3 Run HR Monitor Running GPS Unit