Best 2016 GPS Watches for Runners

Using a GPS running watch is a personal choice and wholly depends on the details you need while you are running. The latest devices can give you more than just pace and distance measurements but also running style, heart rate data and more advanced information. Nowadays, a GPS running watch has become one of the most essential tools for runners.

We’ve gathered the best GPS running watches that can help you in choosing which fitness watch suits your needs.

  1. Polar M600

Polar is well known for its durability and performance when it comes to sports watches. The M600 is a new addition that works well with keeping track of your progress and activity through Polar Flow. It also offers a whole new feature which is Android Wear, meaning you’re not only getting Polar’s signature features but you’re also getting the functionality offered by a smart watch.

M600 is not the watch for you if you’re looking for design and style because it is built as a typical sports watch. It features a square face that has a thick silicon band that picks up lint easily and can sometimes look scruffy.

M600 is a touch screen watch that has two buttons, one below its display screen and another one on the band’s side. Compared to some high-end watches, M600’s display appears to be pixilated. The display is bright, even when outdoors, but the colors lack a bit of vibrancy.

One of the major advantages of Polar M600 is its Polar Flow app which helps you in your daily activity tracking. All data is synchronized in the app and you can easily view your daily, weekly or monthly summaries.

The Polar M600 is a capable GPS running app with Android Wear as a bonus. It is a good choice if you’re priority is performance rather than design and display.

  1. TomTom Spark 3

The TomTom Spark 3 watch is TomTom’s third generation GPS running watch. It features running, swimming, cycling, sleep and daily activity tracking. It has a heart rate monitor and music storage that can play songs through headphones connected via Bluetooth.

Spark 3’s design hasn’t significantly changed since its first version. It still features a sleek and comfortable design, and a four-way pad that is easy to use. The brightness of the screen is clear which is great for running as it can be viewed under different lighting conditions.

TomTom is an expert when it comes to GPS tracking. The addition of route tracking is new to Spark 3 and helps runners trace their steps with the help of an on-screen trail line so you don’t have to worry about getting lost without a smart phone. Trails can also be uploaded beforehand which means you can plan your future routes online.

This device also has a built-in heart rate monitor. When compared to other competitors, Spark 3 showed accurate results and functioned smoothly without any lags. Heart monitor doesn’t work underwater so it can’t help open water swimmers. Spark 3’s battery life lasts for around 5 hours with its music, GPS and HR on.

Spark 3 is a good choice for both beginner and regular runners. It doesn’t have the most detailed measurements but the simple and clear layout makes it a good option.

  1. Garmin Forerunner 735XT

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is a fitness tracker, designed for hardcore athletes. It offers great monitoring, performance, and coaching.

The Forerunner doesn’t have a fancy design—choosing function over fashion. It has a circular face with chunky buttons located on each side and a thick rubber strap. It is equipped with a 1-inch monitor, GPS, and heart rate sensor. The screen is not touch-enabled but rather controlled by the buttons on each side. This makes the device durable and tough. Battery life runs for 5-7 days with average use.

The Forerunner has one of the most powerful fitness trackers. Its GPS is highly reactive and finds signal very fast. It offers reliable and accurate distance tracking as well as an impressive multi-sport functionality. It also gives comprehensive data analytics that can assist you in planning and optimizing your workout method.

If you’re a hardcore athlete that participates in sports like triathlons, then this watch is a great tracker for you. It features a comfortable design packed with all the functionalities that will suit your needs.

  1. Garmin Vivoactive

The Garmin Vivoactive is a running watch that cuts the thickness off the higher-end Garmin models like the Forerunner. It is a lifestyle smart watch that offers a GPS tracking device.

The face of Vivoactive doesn’t have a fancy style but some people might find its slim and simple design appealing. It is also comfortable to wear since its strap—available in leather, rubber, and silicone—is small and light.

The screen of the Vivoactive is one of its major features. It has a 204 x 148-pixel LCD panel that can be turned on all the time without using much power. The screen is bright and clear under different lighting conditions. Its battery life can last up to three weeks if you only use its basic features.

Finding a GPS signal using Vivoactive can be tricky at first but once it becomes familiar with your location, connection takes about 5 seconds. Tracking is also accurate but it doesn’t show mapping information. You can solve this by using Google Maps and synchronizing the watch to your phone.

If you’re a sports enthusiast looking for a fitness watch that has smart watch capabilities, then the Vivoactive is suitable for you. Not only does it have a GPS tracking device but it also runs support connect apps.

  1. Fitbit Surge

The Fitbit Surge is a super fitness watch that tracks your activity using motion sensors. It can track distance, steps and observe sleeping patterns. It features a built-in GPS and heart sensor that makes it an ideal watch for sports enthusiasts looking for biometric data.

The Fitbit Surge doesn’t exactly have a very stylish design. It offers three strap sizes which is comfortable and can fit everyone. One of its main features is its big touch screen display. The screen is very responsive and has a good visibility. It also has a built-in backlight that can be turned on using one of the touch screen buttons.

The Fitbit Surge doesn’t have the fastest GPS tracker but it does the job. It gives reliable and accurate GPS data to its user. It has a step tracking feature and consistently keeps track of your movements throughout the day. It also has a built-in heart monitor that gives you an accurate measure in every run.

If you’re a casual fitness enthusiast who doesn’t take running too seriously and is willing to sacrifice style for a reliable step and sleep tracker, the Fitbit Surge is worth considering.