While GPS watches are primarily made for runners, there are specific features found on some watches useful for cyclists, triathletes, and hikers.
Best running watch watches and wearables for runners, gym, cycling and workouts | T3
Additionally, you will want to consider your skill level. Higher-end GPS watches come with advanced features designed for experienced athletes. If you are a beginner or intermediate runner, you may be better off with a more basic watch. Just a few years ago, most GPS watches were big, bulky, and heavy. But current models, while still large, have shrunk considerably. But on the other end of the spectrum, brick-style watches, reminiscent of early GPS watches, still exist. Their advantage is screen size. At their core, all GPS watches track time, distance, and pace.
But as price rises, the number of features increases. While it varies watch by watch, these are the main differences between budget, mid-range, and high-end GPS watches:. Most lack support for accessories like heart rate monitors and foot pods. Some — but not all — can sync with a computer to download workouts. These GPS watches support heart rate monitors as well as other accessories. They can be programmed with advanced workouts via computer and have highly customizable screens.
High-end GPS watches also tend to be split into specific activities. Triathlete watches track swimming distance and count strokes; running watches are thin and sleek and have advanced running features; mountaineering watches have barometric altimeters and compasses. While it would take too long to review every individual feature available today, generally, they fall into these categories:.
This includes things like battery-life and any additional sensors beyond GPS. While usually found on high-end watches, examples are: On the design side of things this features a stainless steel bezel and comfy rubberized strap that can be swapped out to suit the occasion. A huge selection of watch faces and app options are available on Garmin Connect, which is open to developers, meaning more cool new additions all the time. Read the full Garmin Vivoactive 3 review. A fitness-focused smartwatch without most of the auxiliary digital distractions you get from an Apple Watch, the Fitbit Ionic is the company's first fully-fledged smartwatch and it comes with plenty to make it a solid choice for runners.
There's multi-day battery life, continuous heart-rate tracking, GPS, personalised voice coaching, sleep stage tracking and the ability to store music for offline listening via Bluetooth headphones. And for those who like it, there's auto pause to automatically spot when you've come to a stop at traffic lights. Fitbit has gone all out to make the Ionic a useful training tool too. With the Fitbit Coach App you can access a range of expert-led running audio workouts for the treadmill and outdoor runs, designed to improve endurance, speed, and form.
The bright, hi-res, Gorilla Glass coated touchscreen is also water resistant to 50m, making it rugged enough for hitting the trails and swim-proof for when you decide to rest those legs. Although we think the Ionic is the best Fitbit device on offer for runners, it's worth mentioning that the Fitbit Versa could be a better option for some of you. It's crucially not packing GPS, so it's not great for those who love the great outdoors.
But if you run and visit the gym regularly, or like to run on a treadmill, it could be a better all-rounder option for those who want a stylish lifestyle smartwatch that can also handle fitness well. Read the full Fitbit Ionic review. The Galaxy Watch is Samsung's most refined smartwatch yet due to its good fitness tracking features and four-day battery life.
Best running watches 12222: Affordable options for every runner
You'll only get the full four days if you opt for the larger 46mm size that we liked and recommend in our review. All of the watch's great features are packaged inside a sophisticated-looking circular silver-and-black smartwatch that has a rotating bezel for effortless menu navigation. Be warned, third-party apps are lacking and its iOS support is limited if you're using an iPhone. That means this is best for Samsung fans. The Galaxy watch has automatic exercise tracking for some workouts, most notably running and walking, which it identifies after a few minutes in our testing.
It handles runs well, providing a wealth of data and easy-to-control functionality as you're pounding the pavement. Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch review. Another great watch for athletes who care about the literal highs and lows of running. The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical includes an altimeter, barometer, compass, GPS and a thermometer to track all of your outdoor exploits in exhaustive detail. The personalised workouts are also excellent, pushing you between higher and lower heart rate zones for varying intervals.
With the ability to store more than songs and to detect crunches and other gym workouts, as well as having built-in GPS and pulse tracking, this is the most complete fitness watch Fitbit has ever produced. The design is clean and simple, even if it's not the most attractive.
The Ionic comes in three different colours: It comes with both smaller and larger wrist bands, which is a handy feature that not all brands think of. The bands are extremely easy to switch, and you can subsequently purchase sporty bands in various colours, or smarter leather ones. The Ionic's heart rate monitor is a bit peculiar. It seems very accurate once you're into more intense activity, but very inaccurate at lower levels, when exercising.
The issue with this is that some people like to exercise in the more relaxed, so-called 'fat burning' zone. I'm not sure they'll get anywhere with the Ionic, because it is less accurate at that kind of level. It's just the area in between where it seems to go haywire. I still prefer chest straps because I want to be sure about my data, but there's no denying wrist heart-rate is a more comfortable and convenient system. However a further failing of the Ionic and all Fitbits is that although it shows your heart rate when you workout, it doesn't show what zone you're in, so you have to remember where each one begins or ends.
- Best running watches Affordable options for every runner;
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- Best running watches the perfect GPS companions for your workouts | TechRadar.
- What do you think??
I have no idea why that is, I find it bizarre. For a running watch that is not bad and for a smartwatch, it's great. This feature is a bit peculiar as it also tracks your movements outdoors. So if you walk or cycle up a hill, that will be logged as climbing stairs. It's handy if you want to know how many flights of stairs a hill is equivalent to. The Ionic also has personalised coaching workouts that guide you through specific exercises. These kind of 'futuristic' features are cool and great and all, but they need to be used with wisdom.
The Fitbit's 'guided breathing' app, to enhance relaxation, is another example. This is being marketed specifically as a smartwatch for exercise, rather than an exercise watch with some smart features bolted on. As such there's an app store, which is currently under-populated Philips Hue, Strava… not much else and nothing essential. The smart notifications are better, and work across phone, text and Whatsapp. The ability to make contactless payments from the watch is cool in theory but having to type a PIN on the Ionic's touchscreen at least once per day to access it is less cool.
The Ionic is water resistant up to 50 meters and will have a go at tracking lengths, distance and time. No wrist heart-rate trackers can work underwater, and the Ionic is no exception. The Fitbit Ionic monitors not just your hours of sleep but also the quality, according to your heart rate activity and your night movements. It then breaks your night down into deep, light and REM sleep, which is pretty advanced. Personally, wearing a watch all night to track of my sleep quality will actually negatively influence it. But maybe that's just me. One of the latest wearables from hardcore runners' favourite Polar, the Polar fits neatly into the affordable end of the GPS running watches market.
You can switch wristbands, too. The end result is pretty ugly, whatever you choose, but at least it's varied. First and foremost the Polar will of course track your running workout so you can see the route afterward together with the total distance, your speed and pace, your heart rate through the optical sensor, calories burned and HR zones. These are enough numbers to look at if you want to train simply, but effectively.
The best thing the M has, like other Polar devices, is the Polar Running Programme for your desired event.
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Once you choose your desired distance — 5k, 10k, half or full marathon and date, you can sync a progressive programme ahead of the event and have it ready to go on your watch. The program's available range is from 9 to 14 weeks according to your goal and includes strength, core and mobility exercises. Say goodbye to the Ambit range and hello to the Spartan line-up from Suunto. Specifically the Suunto Spartan Sport which aims to up the GPS watch design quality while still offering superb tracking accuracy and the Movescount platform, which lets you plan your training, then uses vibrating alerts to keep you at the right pace and pulse rate, and covering the distances you want.
The Spartan Sport has over 80 sports programmed-in ready for tracking, from the usual running, cycling and swimming to yoga and even cheerleading — hoorah, at last. The emphasis is very much on outdoor activity, but you can use it in the gym too. With good looks by running watch standards , decent battery life up to 26 hours , daily activity tracking and smartphone notifications, this is a decent, day-to-day option. Better-than-half-price deal on QuietComfort 25 noise cancelling over-ear headphones is sweet music to the ears of bargain hunters again.
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England and Wales company registration number Sign up to our newsletter Newsletter. Best running shoes for all shapes and types of runner Best running headphones for music on your run What is the best running watch? How to buy a running watch Although you could use your phone's GPS and apps such as Strava and Endomondo to track miles run, there's a real benefit to having your real-time stats where you can keep an eye them during your run, which is where watches come in.
Wrist heart rate tracking: For daily tracking of your resting and active pulse rate, it is more than adequate. For running, it is broadly speaking fine. The best running watches, in order Image: Garmin Forerunner The best running watch and also very handy for cycling and gym. Reasons to avoid - Sprawling and occasionally obtuse mobile app.
What is the best running watch?
Garmin Forerunner Quite literally the 'Forerunner' of the Music is still a great choice. Reasons to avoid - Touchscreen response is poor - Some will miss wrist heart-rate - Though not us. Garmin Forerunner The best value running and fitness watch. Reasons to avoid - Not as powerful as the - Usual wrist heart rate caveats.