The best GPS using watch
September 30, 2016 - running watch
How we picked
Some of a GPS using watches we considered. From left: a Forerunner 235, a Forerunner 230, a Fitbit Surge, a Polar M400, and a TomTom Spark Music. Photo: Jim McDannald
GPS inclination and a companies behind them need to have a plain repute for accuracy. Nothing on a marketplace is 100% accurate, as mapping errors and vigilance drops start underneath complicated tree cover. But a vital players in this difficulty (Garmin, Magellan, Timex, TomTom, Polar) any have a clever credentials in GPS and watch record from their products in other fields. It’s taken time even for these gifted and well-recognized companies to work out bugs and move a viable product to market. So if you’re intrigued by a new code or crowdfunded device in this category, know that a sleek, first-generation product might be a tiny tender or unpolished.
GPS watches can now be done tiny adequate to pass as a unchanging “sports” watch, so watches that still resemble hockey pucks have to acquire their heft. The same goes for watch displays; a GPS watch’s ability to arrangement and arrange information in an orderly and entertaining conform on a face can't be overemphasized. It’s a outrageous con to flicker to figure out that series is which.
The GPS using watch we select should have a navigable, discerning menu, starting with satellite tie and rising any new run. Some underline a ability to pre-cache satellite locations to equivocate prolonged waits before running. Once we pull Stop, it should be easy to save information and examination it right on a watch’s screen. (You’d be astounded how many watches destroy during this.) Likewise, a desktop or Web program that offloads and arranges your information should let we glance all your using data, and puncture into sum when needed.
Pricing varies among GPS watches, from about $100 to $500. For about $100, we can get a GPS watch like a Garmin Forerunner 10 that annals time, distance, and your lane on a map, that might be usually excellent for some. Go adult to $250, and watches can be waterproof, variable to other sports, and able of operative on longer runs. Go a tiny aloft ($300 and up), and watches get even some-more durable, have built-in heart-rate sensors, and work with a far-reaching accumulation of sensor accessories providing some-more minute statistics. We sought to find watches that embody as many useful things as they can in their cost categories while ignoring facilities they could not perform well.
The Garmin Forerunner 230 in idle mode. Photo: Jim McDannald
The Garmin Forerunner 230 has all we demeanour for in a good GPS using watch. It takes a correctness and prolonged battery life of a prior pick, a Forerunner 220, and creates a shade incomparable and some-more entertaining during activities, and maintaining a light and tiny form that wouldn’t feel too uncanny as an bland watch. The interface and information syncing are easy adequate to use if we are new to GPS watches, yet a Forerunner 230 also contains low facilities and discretionary app downloads that gifted runners and statistics wonks can puncture into. It can lane some modernized using metrics we’ve seen usually in higher-priced models and can work with cycling monitors for speed and cadence. All these facilities rest on tip of Garmin’s forlorn repute for arguable GPS devices; adding adult to a watch that, yet now right in a center of a pricing bend during about $250, feels many product cycles forward of a competitors.
A cheaper fitness-tracking pick
For a price, a chunkier feel and smaller shade of a Polar M400 might not be that many of a trade-off for some-more infrequent runners. Photo: Jim McDannald
For $100 reduction than a tip pick, a Polar M400 does many things well, yet it requires some-more bid from you. It connects to satellites usually a few seconds behind a Forerunner 230, it’s reduction waterproof (to 30 meters), and a software, yet improving, is not as liquid as Garmin’s. It falters since of a reduction ominous shade and a design, that will feel massive on smaller wrists.
The built-in heart-rate pick
If we wish to lane your heart rate yet don’t wish to wear an additional chest strap, a Forerunner 235 (farthest left) stands out as a thinner, some-more stretchable choice than a competition. Photo: Jim McDannald
If we wish to lane your heart rate and can’t mount wearing an additional monitor, a Garmin Forerunner 235 is a kin to a tip collect that’s distant some-more gentle than other watches with wrist-based monitors. It facilities an visual heart-rate sensor and is thinner, lighter, and reduction massive than a prior era of heart-rate-sensing watches. It’s not as accurate as a heart strap, yet if you’d rather not run with additional equipment, a Forerunner 235 covers that need but many additional bulk or weight.
If we need auto-syncing or music
The TomTom Spark Music (pictured here in a heart-tracking Cardio+ variant) covers a basis of run tracking and can also tide directly to Bluetooth headphones. Photo: Jim McDannald
If we wish a best run-tracking and activity-syncing experiences, for about $150 some-more than a tip pic, a Forerunner 630 adds a touchscreen, some-more modernized metrics during runs and after, and involuntary Wi-Fi uploading of run data. And if we wish to tide song to your Bluetooth practice headphones but bringing along a phone, demeanour during a TomTom Spark Music, a good-enough GPS using watch with singular song powers.