As a professional athlete reviewing the latest sports watches, I’m excited to share my insights on the current top models that cater to various needs and preferences of active individuals. Whether you’re a runner, swimmer, cyclist, or someone who enjoys a variety of sports, there’s a sports watch out there that can enhance your training and daily life.
The best fitness tracking watches offer various options to every kind of athlete. Garmin, Polar, Suunto, Apple, or even Samsung offer great options for anyone that follows an active life. So deciding on the best sports watch can be a brain twister.
Someone might want something comfortable to wear all day. Another might choose something casual or more stylish or sporty.
But what makes the perfect sports watch?
The perfect sports watch should be lightweight, durable, water-resistant, and easy to read. A good sports watch also needs to be comfortable for long use. Some watches come with a heart rate monitor, while others do not. For those that do have one, they need to be accurate.
If you buy a sports watch, it is important to know what features you want in your watch. This will help you choose the right product for you. For example, many smartwatches are on the market today if you like technology. Some models still have analog faces or hands if you prefer something more basic. Most are designed to last several years before needing service or replacement.
When choosing a model, make sure it works well with your phone. You can also look at reviews online from other users who own the same model as you.
Types of Sport Watches
There are two main types of sports watches: GPS watches and activity trackers. The difference is that GPS watches only keep track of your location, but activity trackers record your activities. Both are very useful tools when trying to improve your health.
A GPS watch uses satellites orbiting above us to track our locations. These watches usually cost less than $100. They give you step count, distance traveled, calories burned, and other data. Many people use these watches to get motivated about their daily exercise routine.
An activity tracker records everything you do throughout the day. It gives you information such as steps taken, calories burned, sleep quality, stress levels, etc. These devices are often used by athletes looking to measure performance during training sessions.
How Do Sports Watches Work?
Most sports watches work using a combination of GPS and cellular technologies. Cellular technology allows the device to communicate with your smartphone over a network connection. Your phone connects to the watch through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth technology allows you to connect various items. It lets you transfer files, audio, and video between smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs.
Wireless fidelity (WIFI) is a way to send data across networks without being connected to the Internet. It’s commonly used for wireless home networking.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite navigation system developed by the United States military. It helps provide precise location coordinates for any object on Earth.
With cellular technology, your watch communicates with your smartphone via your carrier’s cell tower. This enables you to create an app on your smartphone that tracks your movements.
What Features Should I Look For In A Sports Watch?
Here are some things to consider when buying a sports watch:
You may want a large enough screen to see incoming calls and texts easily. Also, a larger display means you can show more details. However, too big a screen could cause discomfort.
Some watches run out of battery quickly. Others have built-in batteries which last months. Make sure the watch has a battery life that suits your needs.
If you plan swimming or diving, you need a waterproof watch. Waterproof watches are made to be submerged underwater up to 50 meters deep.
Some watches take hours to charge. Others take just minutes. Choose one that charges fast.
Your watch should fit comfortably on your wrist. You don’t want it to feel tight or uncomfortable.
Make sure your watch has apps that offer additional functions.
Sports watches come in all price ranges. Don’t pay more than you need to.
Features To Consider When Buying An Activity Tracker
Activity trackers are similar to sports watches. However, they’re not always accurate. Instead, they track how active you are throughout the day. Here are some features to look for when selecting an activity tracker:
Activity trackers monitor your heart rate, breathing patterns, and movement throughout the day. Some track your sleeping habits. However, accuracy varies depending on the model.
Heart Rate Monitor
A heart rate monitor measures your pulse. It works by using sensors placed near your body. The sensor sends signals to the watch. The watch then converts this into heart rate readings.
Many activity trackers record your sleep cycles. They also tell you if you slept well.
Most activity trackers count your calories. You can set goals and receive reminders to eat healthy foods.
Most activity trackers allow you to pair them with other devices, such as smartphones. This makes transferring information easier.
What Are The Best Fitness Trackers?
Fitness trackers help you keep tabs on your health. These gadgets measure your steps, distance traveled, calories burned, and many other activities. Here are our popular model selection:
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series – The Ultimate Multisport on-wrist Trainer
The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus is a multisport GPS watch that stands out for its robust navigation and tracking capabilities, along with smartwatch functionality. It’s equipped with a 32GB memory, a built-in wrist heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, and compass with GPS and GLONASS connectivity. The Fenix 5 Plus Series is packed with features like Elevate wrist heart rate technology, VO2 max for fitness evaluation, and a recovery advisor. It’s an excellent choice for athletes pushing their limits, with long battery life and support for a wide range of activities
The Fenix 5 Plus Series is the best multisport watch ever made. It’s packed with new features designed to take your training to the next level. These include Elevate wrist heart rate technology, Training status with VO2 max for fitness evaluation, Training load with a recovery advisor, Group tracking, GymKit, and more. This watch is built for athletes who want to push their fitness further than ever before.
Key Features: GPS | Optical heart rate | Water resistant to 100 m | 18 hours battery, 42 hours UltraTrac | TOPO mapping | Garmin Pay | Music player | VO2 Max | Smartwatch notifications
- GPS accuracy
- Onboard color topographic maps
- Onboard music
- Supports a wide range of activities
- Long battery life (5X Plus)
- Battery Life (5S Plus)
- Too bulky (5X Plus)
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Suunto 9 – An outperformer
The Suunto 9 is a durable multisport GPS watch with an impressive battery life of up to 120 hours with GPS monitoring. It’s designed for training, racing, and extreme adventures, offering over 80 sports modes and a barometer for accurate altitude information.
The Suunto 9 Baro is water-resistant to 100 meters, making it suitable for swimming and diving. It also features Bluetooth Smart notifications and social media sharing via Suunto Live. Its FusedTrack motion-based tracking and high-resolution touchscreen display make it a reliable and comfortable fit for athletes
The Suunto 9 Baro is water-resistant to 100 meters (330 feet), so it’s great for swimming, surfing, and diving. Connected features include Bluetooth Smart notifications from your smartphone and the ability to share with friends via social media using Suunto Live.
Key Features: GPS | Optical heart rate | Water resistant to 100 m | 120 hours GPS Fusedtrack | Bluetooth Smart | Sunrise, Sunset, Storm Alarm | Temperature | Alti/Baro Profile, Pressure Resolution| Move Altitude Graph
- Outstanding battery life
- Accuracy even in power-saving mode
- Innovative FusedTrack motion-based tracking
- High-resolution, touchscreen display
- Switch option from one battery management mode to another
- Richness of performance metrics
- Comfortable fit
- Quality, robustness and reliability
- Reasonable price
- Lacks advanced sleep analysis
- Not the brightest display
- Complex menu
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Amazfit Stratos – Premium watch at low cost
The Amazfit Stratos is an affordable GPS sports watch that competes with high-end models like those from Garmin or Suunto. The Amazfit Stratos 3 is powered by FirstBeat Analytics and features a 1.34-inch full-round transflective MIP display.
It includes an integrated GPS, heart rate monitor, barometer, and three-axis accelerometer. The watch provides accurate data on VO2Max, Training Load, Training Effect, Recovery Time, and more. It also has a built-in speaker and microphone for voice calls and messaging. This watch is a great option for those seeking premium features at a lower cost
Key Features: GPS | Optical heart rate | Water resistant to 50 m | Up to 5 days battery life | Bluetooth 4.0 / BLE + WiFi | VO2 max | Onboard music | All-day Heart Rate and Activity Tracking
- Very low price
- Solid design
- Feature packed
- High-resolution color touch screen
- On-board music (mp3 player)
- GPS quality and altimeter
- Battery life
- Amazfit Smartwatch app needs improvement
- Poor HR monitor accuracy
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Apple Watch Series 9
Apple Watch Series 9 is great for iPhone users. It has the new S9 processor, which allows you to use Siri offline. The displays are brighter and it has a useful double tap gesture. It also includes the second-gen ultra wideband chip for Precision Finding with an iPhonThe Apple Watch Series 9 is great for tracking fitness and health, and it’s perfect for active people.2.
Garmin Venu 3
The Garmin Venu 3 is a GPS smartwatch that balances fitness insights with a beautiful AMOLED touchscreen display. It’s designed to support every health and fitness goal, offering personalized wellness insights and an impressive battery life. The Venu 3 series includes features for wheelchair users and allows users to receive emails, texts, and alerts when paired with a compatible smartphone. It’s a great option for those on the go who want to stay connected and track their health and fitness16.
Polar Vantage V3
The Polar Vantage V3 is the newest device from Polar. It uses Polar Elixir, a biosensing technology, to measure cardiovascular activity, nervous system, and body temperature. It provides data like blood oxygen saturation, skin temperature, and the heart’s electrical signals. The Vantage V3 also has an AMOLED touchscreen display, dual-frequency GPS, and offline maps. It’s tailored for high-performance and endurance sports and training, making it an ideal choice for serious athletes11.
Sports Watch Comparison:
|Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
|Apple Watch Series 9
|Garmin Venu 3
|Polar Vantage V3
|Battery Life (GPS)
|Up to 20 hours
|Up to 120 hours
|Up to 70 hours
|Up to 18 hours
|Up to 12 days
|Up to 40 hours
|GPS + GLONASS
|GPS + GLONASS
|GPS + GLONASS
|GPS + Cellular
|GPS + GLONASS
|GPS + GLONASS
|Heart Rate Monitor
|Advanced Health Tracking
|Robust, long battery life, advanced features
|Long battery life, durable, multisport
|Affordable, good value, multisport
|Smartwatch features, cellular option, bright display
|Beautiful display, health tracking, good battery life
|Advanced health tracking, biosensing, dual-frequency GPS
|Large, limited smartwatch features
|Less user-friendly interface, less accurate GPS
|Limited for advanced athletes, iOS only
|Lacks some advanced features
|Expensive, not ideal for all sports
- Garmin Fenix 5 Plus: Best for serious athletes who need the most advanced features and durability.
- Suunto 9: Best for endurance athletes who need long battery life and rugged construction.
- Amazfit Stratos: Best for value-conscious athletes who want a good mix of features and affordability.
- Apple Watch Series 9: Best for iPhone users who want a smartwatch that can also track their fitness.
- Garmin Venu 3: Best for those who want a balance of fitness tracking, health insights, and a beautiful display.
- Polar Vantage V3: Best for serious athletes who want advanced health tracking and biosensing technology.
In conclusion, the best sports watch for you depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. No matter what you value most – long battery life, multiple sport options, smartwatch functions, or detailed health tracking – there is a sports watch available that can meet your needs and assist you in reaching your fitness objectives.
Alex is a fitness aficionado, empowers others towards healthier, active lives through small, sustainable changes for lasting results. Visit Gearuptofit.com for insightful tips and resources to enrich a balanced lifestyle.