Best Smart Watches for Tracking Fitness
Author: Paul Larkins
Today’s watches have the ability to record everything from the number of steps you take in a day to exact routes anywhere on the planet. Along with the ability to tell the time and time your run to one thousandth of a second, using GPS the best watches will accurately record your pace in miles per minute (or kilometres), distance run, cadence, ascent and descent and steps. Also expect details on calories burned, heart rate in some instances as well as all number of training plans, motivation and for most, the ability to go online and join a like-minded forum. The best offer countdown, lap counters and split times and while it’s not big on our requirements - you’re training after all and don’t need such technology but of course your watch could also pick up text messages and emails should the need take you, which takes us to the Apple Watch Series 4, perfect for runners as its GPS data is accurate, while it has the ability to help you with all number of everyday tasks be it answering the phone or listening to music. We also love the Garmin 645 Music, a diminutive powerhouse of a runners’ watch with customisable activity screens.
The Suunto 9
A rock solid tool with unbeatable battery life, tough construction and accurate sensors. Planning routes and uploading them to the watch is satisfyingly simple, as is following the route. A watch for serious adventurers and athletes running in mountainous and remote locations.
Super stylish and feature-packed, the Ionic has a claimed battery life of five days, GPS and wrist-based heart rate monitoring. Data cannot be displayed continuously, which is annoying during speed sessions or races. There’s no historical data on the watch, but app is excellent and offers a personalised fitness coach alongside lots of analysis.
Easy to use and good value, the M200 has a wrist-based heart rate monitor, GPS and daily activity tracker, all in a funky design. The Polar Flow software provides data analysis and training plans. It took longer than some watches on test to locate a GPS signal, and the display, although easy to view, only shows two data fields at a time.
This is a good option if you want an activity tracker that looks like a conventional watch. Using the Timex app you can track your daily steps, distance and calories as well as sleep quality. On the watch itself the small dial can be set to your daily step target, but it won’t record a specific run.