GPS smartwatches have become very popular among the running community as they not only keep you in touch but measure your stats and record your run so that you can map where you have been. Location tracking features similarly apply to cycling, rowing, navigation, walking, trekking, hiking, golf, etc. Lots of smartwatch apps and watch faces are now available to support and track those activities. The better ones are also able to analyze and portray your activity visually for improving, motivating and social sharing.
As the market has become more crowded it has become increasingly difficult to decide on which one to buy. We looked at some of the best GPS smartwatches around to help you choose one to meet your needs.
Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE
One of the most advanced multi sport GPS in the market today with the addition of cellular connectivity which makes it stand out. It may not look as classy or rugged (depending on the model) as the Garmin Fenix 6 but it’s probably the better option if you’re into sports more than anything else.
The LTE addition is quite a nice feature as it enables you to run without having to carry your phone and remain connected. You are able to make and receive calls or important texts while you’re out and about. Indeed the cellular functionality is one serious advantage for runners.
When it comes to choosing a GPS watch, you should to make sure your watch is supported by the leading multisport apps such as Strava or MyfitnessPal. With the Garmin 945 LTE, your support options are many.
Garmin Forerunner 935
With its strong track record you’d expect Garmin to be the leader in GPS smartwatches. The Garmin Forerunner 935 does not disappoint with its long battery life and quality fitness tracker.
It’s priced around $290 but if you are an avid sportsman or woman then it is worth every penny. You can monitor your fitness stats and it will even tell you how productive your regime is. The watch can track all your exercises and, as it’s waterproof, can track your swimming too.
The battery life is phenomenal and will last for 24 hours when GPS is in use or up to 60 hours when you put it into saver mode. This watch not only lasts longer, it tells you how your exercise is affecting you. A real contender!
Withings Steel HR Sport
Withings’ watches may not have the pull of the big brands but its smartwatches offer some excellent features and the Steel HR Sport is no exception. The watch boasts an incredible battery life of up to 120 hours when in GPS mode and has a design that is easy to read.
This watch is not really for the sports-mad but it does the basics well and looks good on your wrist. Some of its key features include heart rate monitoring, connected GPS and the watch links to your smartphone to give you your notifications. It can track 30 different activities and at £189.95 it is one of the more affordable GPS smartwatches on the market.
Polar Vantage V
Another pricey smartwatch – starting $499 – but it is the perfect choice for serious athletes. Not only is it waterproof but it has a huge battery life that can support up to 40 hours of nonstop training. The GPS tracks where you have been and where you are going so that you can get feedback from your training.
The watch can track a wide range of activities and it gives you personalised feedback on how the exercise has affected your body. The watch can track your heart rate based upon the activity you are undertaking.
One minus is that the watch does not have any music capability but the strengths of this watch far outweigh this negative. Polar claims that the watch has been tested to military standards and passed. It really is a watch that can tell you everything you need to know about your own performance so that you can exercise to your full potential.
Fitbit Versa 3
The Fitbit brand has been around for some time and the Versa is a smartwatch that offers built-in GPS tracking and fitness feedback.
The watch offers lots of features that will help you to understand how your body is working and responding to activity. It also allows you to listen to music if you pair it with your headphones.
The battery life is great and the watch will need to be recharged every 6+ days or so. If you are using the GPS continuously it would last up to 12 hours so if you only use the GPS to track runs or other outdoor activities it will last longer.
One of its best features is that it is waterproof so there is no need to remove the watch no matter where you are or what you are doing. The Fitbit Ionic starts at $229.95 and is a great choice for keen runners and those who enjoy tracking a range of different fitness activities.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
This Garmin watch boasts a music option so that you can enjoy your favorite tunes when you work out. Garmin is a pro when it comes to GPS tracking and this watch utilizes all its expert knowledge and has all the features we’ve come to expect in a smartwatch.
If you want to know whether your training is working or if you are doing the right amount of exercise for optimal results then this watch can tell you. It checks your exercise history and compares it with each work out to tell you if you are being as productive as possible.
The screen is easy to read and displays your key stats clearly so you can focus on exercising. Aside from exercising, the GPS can be used to help you track your routes when out and about and the watch also offers sleep monitoring so you know how good each night’s sleep is.
There are so many options out there to choose from but we are certain that by combining GPS with the latest smartwatch then you can exercise better and track where you have been along with the type of ground you have covered and the gradient.
Garmin and Fitbit watches are designed for GPS tracking whereas the other watches offer GPS as an extra. It is always a good idea to check how long the battery life is when the GPS is in use rather than the overall time as some models’ batteries can drain quickly when GPS is in use.
Any of the ones listed here come highly recommended and we hope this helps you when choosing your new watch!
Last Updated on July 15, 2021