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.
Apple Watch Series 6
The Apple Watch Series 6 retains the design of the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5, which are no longer available. It boasts a larger display, thinner bezels, and rounder corners than previous versions. This year’s additions include a blood oxygen sensor and faster charging. It also offers the same outstanding features as previously, like a brighter always-on display and a built-in compass.
Because to its S6 64-bit dual-core processor, the Apple Watch Series 6 is 20% faster than the Series 5. The Series 6 is available in three colours: aluminium, stainless steel, and titanium.
An electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor comes with this Apple Watch model, which may detect cardiac issues such as atrial fibrillation. Fall detection is also built-in, which notifies emergency contacts and services if you fall. There’s also a microphone and speaker, which are great for accepting phone conversations.
It’s available in two sizes: 44mm and 40mm, with GPS alone and GPS + Cellular variants. The price is affected by the size of the display, the case material, and the kind of watch band. Finally, of the 8GB of storage on the Watch, up to 2GB can be used for onboard music storage.
- LEAVE YOUR PHONE AT HOME: Apple Watch Series 6 GPS + Cellular LTE Model lets you call, text, and get...
- ALWAYS-ON RETINA DISPLAY: You no longer need to raise your wrist or touch the screen to see the time...
- ECG ON YOUR WRIST: With the ECG app, Apple Watch Series 6 is capable of generating an ECG similar to...
Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE
One of the most advanced multisport 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.
- LTE connectivity (must have an active subscription plan and connectivity to a Category M1 LTE...
- Train for triathlons with run, bike and swim metrics plus multisport modes that allow you to easily...
- Bring music for every mile by downloading from music services (may require premium subscription with...
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 continuous GPS mode 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!
- Premium GPS running/triathlon watch with wrist-based heart rate
- Offers advanced running and multisport Features in a comfortable watch you can wear all day, and it...
- Provides elevation changes with a built-in barometer; altimeter and electronic compass help you keep...
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 around $150, is one of the more affordable GPS smartwatches on the market.
- DAY & OVERNIGHT HEART RATE - Enjoy heart rate tracking day & night plus continuous tracking during...
- DAILY ACTIVITY TRACKING - Automatically counts steps, calories and distance.
- AUTOMATIC SLEEP MONITORING - Wake to a Sleep Score based on light & deep sleep cycles,...
Polar Vantage V
Another pricey smartwatch – starting around $500 – 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 onboard music storage but the strengths of this watch far outweigh this negative. Polar claims that the watch has passes tests to military standards. 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.
- ULTRA-LONG BATTERY LIFE: The Polar Vantage V Multisport Watch has up to 40 hours of training time...
- POLAR PRECISION PRIME HEART RATE: Polar’s heart rate monitor watches redefine the gold standard in...
- ADVANCED RUNNING POWER: Accelerate the effectiveness and precision of your training with running...
Polar Grit X
If you’re looking for a running watch with excellent navigation, the Polar Grit X is a more compact option than the Garmin Fenix 6 and Suunto 9. You’ll get 40 hours of battery life in regular GPS mode, but by reducing the tracking frequency, you can get up to 100 hours. It pings your location every 120 seconds in this mode, and all superfluous sensors are switched off, similar to the Fenix and Suunto 9.
This isn’t particularly useful for runners. In most cases, but it will get you through long ultras and multi-day hikes without the need for a battery pack. Another important gear for runners navigating tough terrain is the Hill Splitter. This feature detects when you start ascending or descending and displays the amount of time you’ve been running the incline or drop, as well as the steepness of the incline or dip.
- LIGHTEST OUTDOOR WATCH WITH ULTRA LONG BATTERY LIFE: Up to 40h battery life with full GPS and HR...
- MILITARY LEVEL DURABILITY: Grit X has passed several MIL-STD-810G tests and is water resistance up...
- NAVIGATION: The real-time turn-by-turn route guidance and route import from Komoot keep you on...
Polar Vantage V2
One of the best multi-sport choices was Polar’s Vantage V. A lightweight and attractive watch, introduced in 2018. And it was capable of tracking a range of activities and providing a variety of training load and recuperation information to help you plan your workouts.
The Vantage V range now has a new leader. More evolutionary than revolutionary, the Vantage V2 keeps the original’s recognisable appearance while enhancing many important elements of the multi-sport abilities.
This second generation has been rebuilt in aluminium, resulting in a 14-gram weight reduction. It also features a greater waterproof certification than the original. Plus several new faces, and the ability to manage music on your phone.
It also has Komoot route guidance, hill splits, and smart fuelling advice, as well as a bigger battery. Importantly, it is far less expensive than the Garmin Fenix 6. In actuality, the Polar Grit X, which is similarly equipped but less priced, is projected to be the Vantage V2’s most formidable rival.
The Vantage V2 is clearly more concerned with sports performance than with smartwatch functionality. With a limited set of smart features and a laggy touchscreen experience.
As with the Vantage V, which was designed to go the distance in every discipline, the V2 can accompany you through most sports. Any 20 of the 130 specialised profiles can be loaded onto the watch using the Polar Flow app. Each mode contains information related to the activity you’re doing, such as running.
It includes route guidance as well as sophisticated tracking and training capabilities. For each action, you’ll also get heart-rate data and, if it’s an outside activity, GPS path tracking.
- The lightweight multisport smartwatch with full aluminium body (only 52g), equipped with advanced...
- The training load and recovery tracking tools help you optimize your training and avoid...
- Use Polar Vantage V2 with Polar Flow - a free online tool for planning and following up on your...
Fitbit Versa 3
The Fitbit brand has been around for some time and the Versa is a smartwatch that offers built-in GPS 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 go on charge every 6+ days or so. If you are using the GPS mode 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 around $230 and is a great choice for keen runners and those who enjoy tracking a range of different fitness activities.
Though, if you want something a little more sophisticated from Fitbit that has an equal fitness to smartwatch vibe (including stress tracking), we recommend you look at our Fitbit Sense review.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
This Garmin watch boasts a music option so that you can enjoy your favourite tunes when you work out. Garmin is a pro when it comes to GPS and this watch utilises 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 workout 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 mode 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.
- GPS running smartwatch with music advanced training features
- Sync with music streaming services, such as Spotify, to easily store and play your favorite songs...
- Evaluates your current training status to indicate if you’re undertraining or overdoing it; offers...
Suunto 9 Peak
Suunto recently released a new professional sports watch, the Suunto 9 Peak, which is the company’s smallest and lightest device yet.
Despite the fact that this is not a typical style for a guy, it is what the people want. Similar companies, such as Polar and Garmin, have followed suit. The Suunto 9 Peak, which is 36 per cent slimmer and lighter than the Suunto 9 Baro, follows this trend.
Suunto’s better materials, which include less plastic and more metal than Polar’s watch, resulting in a watch that is significantly smaller but also heavier than the Ignite 2.
The Suunto 9 Peak, available in titanium or stainless steel, is a high-end watch with a hefty price tag.
- Over 80 Sport Modes
- Sapphire glass and stainless steel
- GPS Navigation
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 made 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 September 14, 2021