Having a GPS watch at your disposal can change your whole lifestyle. It’s something that tells you when to exercise, how to minimize calories, and how to lead a healthier lifestyle overall. By just buying smartwatches, people have successfully shifted their days from lazy to productive.
A GPS watch is useful for anyone, really. Even its most basic features like measuring heart rate and running speed calculation make smartwatches good for everyone. There are even GPS watches aimed at golfers, runners, and hikers. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best GPS watches for different types of users.
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Best GPS Watch Picks to Get This Year
The last decade has seen a rise in consumer wristwatch products—more specifically, GPS smartwatches. With the pool ever becoming wider, we have compiled some of the notable brands and units below to help you narrow your choices down.
Majority of smartwatch products these days face one common and singular problem: battery life. This is where the Garmin Instinct Solar has the edge over other watches in the market today.
Primarily, its main feature lies in its ability to charge using solar energy in the absence of a power socket. It’s convenient especially if you are always outside. Thanks to this capability, the watch can perform its functionalities and features for an extended period of time.
On top of this, the battery life feature also makes it a good component when the GPS tracking capability is turned on. With the GPS tracking in use, the watch can last 30 hours or 38 hours with solar. Additionally, the watch can last for 28 days, or 68 days with solar, when the Expedition GPS tracking feature is turned on.
This smartwatch uses the GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo systems of satellites to track your activities as efficiently and accurately as possible.
The Apple Watch Series 7 brings in a number of improvements in this wearable. From the get-go, the Apple Watch Series 7 brings in a bigger screen display, which promises to deliver a different Watch experience.
To put it simply, the Watch Series 7 has 50% more screen size in comparison to the Apple Watch Series 3. In addition, the screen employs the use of the Always-On Retina Display. This means the screen has more pixels making the color and display pop without the need to strain a user’s eyes.
There are also improvements in the way the watch responds to touch and gestures. Given the expansion on the display size, the buttons have been strategically repositioned to still be accessible. Plus, the bigger screen size allows for easy viewing and tapping.
The Series 7 also sees improvements in the health function department as its sensors take a bump up. Apple has included revolutionary sensors and apps to make the Apple Watch Series 7 the smartwatch of choice for health-conscious individuals.
However, it’s the Apple Watch’s GPS capabilities that take front and center due to the rethought in technology. The Watch can now smartly advise when it’s time to turn right or left with a defined route using the Taptic Engine.
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Both the Fitbit Charge 4 and Charge 5 serve similar purposes. However, these two exhibit differences in terms of functionality and features.
Focusing on the Fitbit Charge 5, it’s a revamped watch with a stainless steel case in silver and gold with metallic accents more elevated in contrast to the Charge 4. These revamped details in the design alone would make the watch perfect not only as a gym wearable but also as a watch you can wear anywhere.
In addition to being a decent fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 5 is a highly-capable GPS watch that can track your distance traveled when running or hiking. Its GPS capability is one of its main strengths on top of its improved sensors.
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The Garmin Fenix 6 is a better option for those who wish to take tracking to a better level. This watch has significant improvements in contrast to its predecessor, making it a better purchase. This includes the new PacePro feature and the Pulse Ox sensor which makes tracking activity reports more in-depth and detailed.
Considering you might want to use this watch for outdoor activities, which essentially requires the use of GPS, battery life is a question. This is where another strength of the Garmin Fenix 6 comes to the spotlight. This watch has a new feature called Power Manager, which gives a user the power to control how specific settings and sensors impact battery life.
The Garmin Forerunner 645 is another smartwatch hailed as one of the best running watches. It is equipped with a variety of features and fixes many of the problems the Forerunner 245 has. Similar to it, the Forerunner 645 is pleasant to wear and is quite easy to use.
Think of it as an upgrade of the Forerunner 245, with upgraded features and added music. Of course, you’ll be paying a bit more for it. Its heart rate tracking is completely accurate, and it is fully customizable from the display to your on-screen widgets.
And similar to other top-notch smartwatches, it has sleep tracking and activity tracking. It’s comfortable enough that you’d want to wear it all day every day, too. However, like the Forerunner 245, it is still a bit lacking in its GPS capabilities, which is really the only problem with it. And even then, it’s more accurate than budget smartwatches.
Among the best out of Garmin’s smartwatches is the Garmin Forerunner 935. In terms of features, it has the most even compared to the 245 and the 645 Music. It’s like Garmin learned from all of their past mistakes and released the complete version.
At a price of nearly $300, the Forerunner 935 is most likely the most complete watch out there. You could even call it a marathon watch since it can track you for a whole marathon. In terms of battery life, it is the best out of the Forerunner series. People also debate that it’s the best product that Garmin has produced thus far.
The GPS is entirely reliable, so you can expect little to no malfunctions. It also has various other features, like advanced metrics to enhance your training sessions. The Forerunner 935 adapts to your body and gives you appropriate training sessions. Really, the only downside to this GPS watch is that it’s a bit expensive. But compared to other top-of-the-line smartwatches, it’s still a great deal.
Unlike the Forerunner 935, the Vivoactive 4 doesn’t have advanced metrics that aid your training. It doesn’t have anything like that, but instead, it adds a bit of life to your running sessions. The design is simply outstanding and you can personalize it to your liking, as well.
This watch has everything you need: a heart rate tracker, support for various sports, and a GPS tracker. In addition to all of these, it also allows you to stream music through Spotify. However, playing music while running does exhaust the battery a considerable bit.
Honestly, the only downside to this watch is the fact that its features aren’t as extensive as the Forerunner 935. But it makes up for that with its reasonable pricing and intuitive usage. It’s not the best GPS watch out there, but it’s still great.
Another classic brand that has revolutionized smartwatches is Samsung, and they really don’t pull their punches. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is an excellent smartwatch that feels cheaper than it should be.
Just as with every other Samsung watch, this GPS watch has a sleek, minimalistic design. This makes it a delight to have on your wrist. It comes equipped with automatic activity detection, a heart rate monitor, and even a virtual coach to help you train. Plus, it has an ECG monitor.
This watch has quite a battery life, which can last up to two whole days. It’s the perfect option if you don’t want to spend too much on a GPS watch but still want premium features. Essentially, it’s a mid-range smartwatch with the features of a premium watch.
In direct contrast to the M430, the Polar Vantage V is leaning on the more expensive side. And with its price comes extra features and excellent performance. It’s light and fashionable, similar to many other Polar products.
And unlike other smartwatches, this GPS watch allows you to view training results and feedback. Using this feedback, you can make your routine better and learn what you’re doing right and what you can improve. It even tracks how much effort you’re putting into every exercise, so you’ll always be reminded to do your best.
This smartwatch also has an excellent battery life, which can last up to nearly two days’ worth of training. Despite all of its features, it can be uncomfortable to wear for some people, which can be a turn-off. Nevertheless, for its price and immense features, it still proves itself worthy of getting on this list.
One of the brands that have redefined how smartwatches function is Polar. And of their products, the Ignite is among those with standout features. This Polar watch is a GPS watch complete with a fitness tracker and a precise heart rate monitor.
Not only that, but it also tracks the number of calories that you lost when you run. And when you’re tuckered out from running, it can track your sleep to see how well you’ve slept. To top it all off, its heart rate monitor is at the top of the game.
Among its features is also the ability to receive texts and phone calls. One look at your watch even when your phone is away and you’ll be able to view your phone’s notifications. Additionally, it also has a training guide that adapts to you and allows you to set fitness goals.
Polar’s budget GPS watch is the M430. It’s affordable, it’s simple, and above all, it’s useful. Although its design is kind of boring, its durability more than makes up for it. The Polar M430 is complete with a heart rate monitor and continuous tracking. Even when you’re resting, it’ll measure your heart rate and compare it with when you’re exercising.
Moreover, it has sleep tracking and comes with an app that allows you to customize your training sessions. You can set goals and measure your physical abilities as well. It has a decent battery life but does have an annoyingly long charge time, which isn’t great for an active lifestyle.
Although it has a plethora of features, it doesn’t function properly all the time. There are other budget options with a better design, too. But really, for the price, it’s absolutely worth every single penny.
Having a Garmin smartwatch on you is really useful. You might think they’re just like any other smartwatch, but really, they’re top performers. Among the brand’s offers, the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus is the best of the best. It’s durable and it’s got features aplenty.
It is a multisport GPS watch that is an all-in-one package. With it, you can listen to music, look at maps, and even pay your bills. There’s an extensive amount of features with it. It has tracking options for swimming, biking, running, hiking, and even golfing. Not only is it the best GPS watch for hiking, but it also doubles as a golf GPS watch. It’s a sports watch at heart.
There are, however, some downsides to this watch. It’s quite expensive, which is reasonable since it has so many features. However, what’s not reasonable is its short battery life. With a smartwatch that has all these capabilities, you’d think it has a long battery life as well. That is not the case. But if you can get past these disadvantages, it’s probably the best GPS watch feature-wise.
The Suunto 9 Baro is a stylish wearable that has a decent and responsive screen. This same feature is credited to making it a good GPS watch for those who love the great outdoors. However, this watch is categorized as “only get it when it’s an absolute necessity” because it isn’t loaded with features similar to those we see on the previous watches we have in this list. Nonetheless, it is still a decent GPS watch to have.
The watch has a better battery life in contrast to other tracking watches in the market. One close inspection of its design will give an impression the watch itself is durable and has an element of endurance to it. Again, this watch has full potential that its makers have not explored yet. It is exciting to see how the watch would develop in the coming years.
Get the Right GPS Watch for You
GPS watches vary with regard to what they can do. Some primarily track your running and exercise, and others are for sports. Thus, it can be difficult to choose the perfect GPS watch for you. You can make your pick depending on your lifestyle, needs, and workout routine.
If your activities involve water like swimming, check out the best waterproof smartwatches you can get now!