How to choose a GPS running watch?

What should a real sports watch be like? Different athletes will answer this question differently. The swimmer will tell you that the main function of the chronometer is its water resistance and will choose a special device for swimming. The extreme lover will pay attention to shock resistance and protection from dirt. Well, runners, regardless of their level of training, will exclaim: the best runners watches must have a GPS sensor! Necessarily!

They can be understood. Probably, not one technological solution has made life easier for running fans as much as the appearance of a satellite navigation system in their wrist chronometer. For “running people” the GPS-sensor is no less important than for motorists and fishermen. Runners are so fond of watches with GPS that they still choose the latter for a run when choosing between a heaped fitness tracker and a watch. After all, there are the most important “gadgets” for them: a stopwatch, a chronograph, and “that very gauge”. What else to dream of?

Today we will tell you about the best GPS watches of recent years: we will focus on the user rating and the level of Amazon sales. But before that, let’s figure it out – how do these simple devices turn sports running into a pleasant and convenient activity?

Why do you need a GPS watch?

Generally, the navigation sensor is used in wristwatches for different purposes. In children’s watches, for example, they are placed so that parents can monitor restless crumbs. Some sophisticated business-class chronographs for men and women use GPS for comfortable orientation in space: it turns out something like a personal navigator. For this business, people have even come up with good software. But running watches are another story. Conventionally, they can be divided into three categories: simple electronic watches with a GPS sensor, “smart watches” (they can be connected with a smartphone and tablet) and fitness trackers with a display for displaying the time. As an exception from all three categories – perhaps the Stryd fitness tracker with GPS , which we already wrote about earlier.

Why are running fans so fond of GPS watches? And for the opportunities and services that these not the most expensive and not the most complicated devices offer them.

First, it is the GPS system that allows runners to determine their speed. Most running watches do this feature very well, with gadgets providing consistent and accurate readings. For professional track and field athletes, this information is important. like air. And in the case of amateurs, a speed indicator is both a good motivator (like – tomorrow you must definitely run faster than today), and a reason to brag to your friends. In addition, GPS helps to accurately calculate the number of laps covered and the specific distance that the athlete covered in his run. The error will be minimal, especially when compared with a banal pedometer and other accelerometers.

Secondly, today every second GPS watch model is equipped with a heart rate monitor. And he gives a person not image, but vital knowledge. Does your heart tolerate the marathon well? Or is it more comfortable for him to run at medium distances? Heart rate analysis protects the runner from unnecessary health problems, points out. when to stop exercising, and when to run a little more.

You ask – what about navigation? After all, this is the main feature of any satellite system. And in this matter we will break you off a little. In a running watch it is VERY RARE to find built-in maps and programs for orientation in space. Well, why would an ordinary runner need a card in a watch? How can you get lost in your favorite park or city stadium! Triathlon and orienteering fans are another matter. They are looking for navigation services in GPS watches. They search and find. Although more often this feature is implemented through the function of “own zone”. In the clock settings, the coordinates of the location in which the person wants to train are set, and as soon as he leaves it, the clock will beep alarmingly. For example, so as not to get lost in the nearest forest 🙂

There are many other cool features in a running watch. For example, a combination of accelerometer + GPS sensor allows you to find out if you are moving correctly at a particular speed. And the built-in trainer will tell you how many hours before the run you need to eat and drink. Social services, such as the function “share the result with a friend” and “rating of all runners”, are also insanely popular now . And the best of the best can switch from running to walking, cycling and even swimming! Hence the gradual rise in popularity of GPS watches among fans of other sports.

How much do such devices cost? Differently. Once GPS-watch was considered an expensive pleasure, but now you can buy it for an adequate price. 

Well then. The material was explained, now let’s get down to specifics. We present to your attention five bright watch models with a GPS sensor from the manufacturers  Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, TomTom, Garmin, and Polar.