By Jon DeMeo
If you are in the market for a GPS watch, prepare to be overwhelmed. There are a lot of options out there and a lot of differing functions that each watch has. There are core differences though between many of them, but it takes some investigation to find out the differences. While there are many options out there, here are a few to consider when making your GPS watch decision.
Category One: Hiking
This is an outdoor watch through and through and includes the temperature, barometer, compass and altimeter plus all the basic functions of an everyday watch! Suunto not only makes consumer watches but also military grade watches so you know their products are high quality. With an all black look and touch of green it is sleek and appears very “military” like which is a good feel for an outdoors person.
If you want top top of line hiking watch this is for you. It not only includes all kinds of fitness tracking, it also has a feature that Garmin says, “It records a GPS track log creating a “bread crumb trail” as you move.” This watch also allows for “smart notifications” from your phone so you can read text messages and emails right from your watch. This is one of the most expensive watches in this division and the features it has packed in it seem to make it well worth it. With switchable watch faces, this watch looks rugged but high end on your wrist.
If you want a lot of bang for your buck, you won’t find a more versatile and solid watch then this one. I personally had this and loved how many activities I could track with it. It allowed me to be able to track running, biking, swimming and a heart monitor! The display was easy to see and there was a mobile app it could sync to as well for easy workout viewing and tracking. There is also a lower model that does much of the same functions but does not have the integrated heart monitor like the TomTom Multisport. This still functions as a daily watch and has an estimated battery life of up to ten hours when using the GPS.
Category Two: Activity Tracker
This recently hit the market and is full of great features including integrated sleep monitoring and a great app that lets you share your workouts with friends easily. FitBit has a full line of products but this one is the most integrated while still features the regular functions of a daily watch. It does have a longer battery life than most coming in at almost 7 days! This too features “smart notifications” from your phone to enhance the watch experience. With an integrated heart monitor into the watch there is no chest strap needed to monitor your heart rate all day. They even give advice on why tracking your heart rate is important here!
If you want the dynamic name in fitness, Garmin, backing you, then this is your choice as a multisport athlete. One major difference with this one and the rest is it does not have a built in heart monitor but it can be compatible with one of their other heart monitoring products. From vibration alerts to GPS enabled, you can run bike and swim while tracking precise metrics with this watch. It comes in two colors, red and blue and is available directly from Garmin or other local dealers that can be found on their site.
It is important first and foremost to define exactly what function you want the watch to play in your daily life. Once you define this, you can begin looking for the perfect watch that fits your needs and lifestyle. Shop around and if you can, try the watch on first before purchasing. Each one has a different feel and different comfort level on your wrist which is important since these will be used while you are in motion!