The Best GPS Watches (and How They Work)

The Best GPS Watches (and How
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GPS enabled watches are not just a great way to help you find your way home, they are also a must-have for anyone who wants to accurately track their workouts, with GPS watches allowing the user to record distance, speed, calories burned and more.

Wearing a GPS enabled watch means that you’re able to track your workout without having to hold your phone. The watches we’ve included below can use the GPS functions during workouts even if your phone is not in Bluetooth range, although additional features, like receiving texts and phone calls and being able to control music, may not be available. GPS watches are also easier to use during workouts than looking at your phone, with the workout mode remaining on the watch face. This is much easier to glance down and see during a run than going through apps and screens on your phone. Sweaty hands aren’t great for swiping.

While fitness trackers offer some of the same features as GPS watches, they don’t have the same accuracy when it comes to tracking steps, distance, and location, with many GPS watches allowing users to record their workouts through an app on their phone or computer, helping to store workout routines and routes and track progress.

We’ve included three hugely popular GPS watches below that offer a long list of features are varying price points. All three watches can track the user’s location, enabling users to accurately record the distance they travel while biking, running or walking, with the Garmin and Apple watch also equipped with water proof protection that allows the user to record their swimming distance as well.

Ideal for all types of workouts, the watches also have heart rate monitors or sensors, which are a must have for anyone looking to improve their fitness. Heart rate monitors and sensors record the number of heartbeats per minute, which enables the user to track the intensity of their workout and adjust accordingly. This feature can alert you as to whether you’re not pushing hard enough during your workout and need to take a break.

Ready to get fit with a new GPS watch? Check out three awesome options below.


1. Garmin vívoactive 3

The Garmin vívoactive 3 is designed to make your life easier, with the ability to make contactless payments, a built-in GPS that records distance, pace and location of outdoor activities, and apps that enable you to check on everything from your Uber to the weather all from your watch.

Pros: The Garmin vívoactive 3 has features that will please the least to most active users, including a waterproof design, 15 pre-loaded sports apps, and a built-in GPS that is a must-have for runners, hikers, cyclists, walkers and more. The Garmin features a heart-rate monitor that can track when your body is beginning to exhibit signs of stress, alerting you to your quickening heart rate. When connected to a smartphone, the Garmin can notify you when texts, emails, and phone calls are received, with the ability to control your phone’s music all from your watch. With dozens of watch face options, the Garmin can be customized to fit any users’ tastes. Active customers love the Garmin for long runs, with the watch not only tracking distance and location but also sending reminders to drink water and keeping the user in their target heart rate zone.

Cons: Some customers found that submerging the watch in water resets the personalized settings. While Garmin advertises that its watch battery can last 13 hours in GPS mode, customers find that it’s actually shorter, but still noticeably longer than the Apple watch. Although messages can be received on the Garmin, only texts can be sent from the watch, with the Apple watch as the only option on our list that allows users to make and answer calls on their watch.

Garmin vívoactive 3

Image courtesy of Amazon


2. Apple Watch Series 3

As the leader in smart watches, the Apple Watch Series 3 will keep you connected to emails, phone calls and texts, while also boasting GPS tracking, an optical heart sensor, and a waterproof design.

Pros: The Apple Watch Series 3 includes many of the same features of the Garmin, but with Apple you have access to the company’s seemingly endless supply of apps and features that can be downloaded to the watch. With a 42mm screen, the Apple watch has the biggest face on the list, making it easy to see everything from incoming emails to your current distance during a workout. Using Siri, the Apple watch allows users to speak their commands, from sending text messages, to making phone calls and starting workout programs.

Con: The users’ smartphone must be within Bluetooth range in order to access most apps on the watch and receive and send communication. The Apple watch also has a short battery life and must be charged daily.

Apple Watch Series 3

Image courtesy of Amazon


3. Amazfit Bip Smartwatch by Huami

With a long-lasting battery life that will keep your watch going for weeks on a single charge and a built-in GPS to track everything from activity to sleep patterns, the Amazfit Bip Smartwatch by Huami is an impressive and affordable option in the GPS watch market.

Pro: The Amazfit Bip Smartwatch by Huami boasts the longest running battery on our list, with the watch able to go up to 30 days on a single 2.5-hour charge. The affordable watch is also the lightest on our list (1.1 oz) and like the Apple watch includes an optical heart rate sensor and built-in GPS, a must-have to accurately track distance, steps, calories burned, sleep quality and more. The Bip is dust and water-resistant, making it better suited to users who don’t wear a watch in the shower or when swimming.

Con: Compared to the Garmin and Apple watch, the Bip has a limited number of built-in sport modes (running, treadmill, cycling and walking only). While the watch does receive alerts for texts, emails, phone calls and social media notifications, communication is one way, with no option to respond on the watch. The Bip also doesn’t allow for third party apps to be added.

Amazfit Bip Smartwatch by Huami

Image courtesy of Amazon