Grabbing The Best GPS Running WatchGPS watches have incorporated the latest satellite tracking technology with the convenience and functionality of a digital clock, combining them into one technological marvel that appeals to both new and older generation of athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. But what features does the best GPS running watch should have? What makes it stand out?

The most common feature of a GPS watch is its wearability, coming in the form of a sporty bracelet, as well as its integrated GPS receiver which can track movement in terms of speed and distance, both of which are essential in sports training. Other features are often added depending on the device’s storage capacity and the processor that it uses.

Garmin Running Watches

Garmin is a well-known brand of GPS-integrated devices and they are considered to be one of the pioneers in GPS watch development, often coming out with new models that have groundbreaking features. Some of the more well-known running watches from Garmin include:

1. Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit

 

This premium GPS running watch from Garmin offers advanced features that can be used for multi-sport training while maintaining a comfort level that makes it easy to wear on a daily basis, even if you’re not training. Here are some of its key features:

  • Lightweight

The Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit weighs in at a mere 49 grams.

  • MultiSport Use

This comfortable GPS watch can be used in a variety of sports including running, cycling and swimming.

  • Heart Monitor

A standard among GPS watches, this product has a wrist-based heart rate monitor, but it also gives the option for a chest strap sensor that can sync with the watch.

  • Electronic Compass

Never get lost again with its electronic compass that also records waypoints and GPS landmarks.

  • Environmental Monitoring

The Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit comes with a built-in barometer and altimeter which can measure how high you’ve gone up and how the atmospheric pressure is in your area.

  • Performance Monitoring

This GPS running watch can give you advanced statistics like ground contact time, step count, and stride length, among other essential metrics.

  • Long Battery Life

The battery of this watch can last two weeks in watch mode while it can stand up until 50 hours in UltraTrac mode.

  • Sync Smart, Perform Smart

This GPS watch can automatically sync fitness data from your watch into another app or site with your details already encoded in it. This feature also allows you to get notifications from your smartphone.

Pros

  • The performance data that can be pulled from the Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit is great for any sport, and the evaluator is a great “part-time” coach as well.
  • This GPS watch is light to the wrist and can make you forget that you’re wearing it as it is not bulky like most GPS watches.
  • The onboard measuring systems are accurate enough to be relied on during training, and it is also waterproof so you can take it around the pool for some laps.
  • The different functions and multiple uses of this GPS watch make it a great companion during triathlon training.
  • The advanced connectivity features of this GPS watch are also great as it lets you sync everything with your favorite fitness app and view the stats from there.

Cons

  • The band of this wrist watch might cause some mild irritation in the arm, make sure to wash it to remove any dirt or bacteria build up after every use.
  • The user interface of the Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit can be a little confusing at first with all the menus and submenus, but everything gets easier with constant use.
  • This GPS watch is great outdoors but the measurements become off target once you bring it inside while using a treadmill or an indoor pool.

2. Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch

 

Simple elegance is how the Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch should be described with its clean lines and modern look, making it more than just a casual watch at first glance. Some of its key features include:

  • Waterproof

The Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch is water-rated up to 100 meters below sea level.

  • Chroma Display

The optically bonded, 1.2-inch sunlight visible Chroma display lets you read off the watch under any lighting condition.

  • EXO Antenna

Paired with GLONASS and EPO, the EXO antenna provides a fast and accurate fix on your location.

  • Optimum Connectivity

The Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch can automatically sync data with your smartphone and your favorite fitness app, whenever it is in range of a known Wi-Fi signal.

  • Long Battery Life

The rechargeable battery can last up to 20 hours while in use as a fitness watch and about six weeks in casual watch mode.

  • MultiSport Use

This comfortable GPS watch can be used in a variety of sports including skiing, snowboarding, running, and hiking.

  • Onboard Outdoor Navigation Instruments

The Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch comes with a built-in barometer and altimeter, as well as a thermometer and a three-axis compass.

  • Performance Monitoring

This GPS running watch can give you advanced statistics like running cadence, ground contact time, step count and stride length, among other essential metrics.

Pros

  • The Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch is compatible with several fitness apps, and it easily connects and syncs with your favorite, giving you accurate data for training purposes.
  • This GPS watch is very stylish, and it can pass off as a modern dress watch with the ability to switch to sports mode at any time.
  • This product is great for outdoor activities as it can track speed and distance with unfailing accuracy. The onboard tools are also a nice add-on for hiking pros and enthusiasts.
  • The steel casing protects the watch from being scratched easily.

Cons

  • Tracking automatically stops when you pause it for a long period which makes sense, but it can be a hassle if you stopped for an emergency and plan to continue afterward.
  • The battery life is a little short at 20 hours during training but turning off some latent features may extend it a few hours more.
  • The Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch does not track indoor sports activity accurately, especially movements done while using a treadmill or a stationary bike.
  • The menu is a bit confusing, and it may take time to get used to the different submenus, especially with all the different features packed inside the watch.

3. Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch & Activity Tracker

 

The newest member of the Garmin Forerunner line, the Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch & Activity Tracker comes with the following key features:

  • MultiSport Use

This comfortable GPS watch can be used in a variety of sports including cycling and running.

  • Built-in Heart Rate Monitor

The Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch & Activity Tracker comes with a built-in heart rate monitor.

  • Wireless Connection

This fitness watch can be paired with any smartphone, and it syncs data automatically, especially once a known Wi-Fi signal is available. This watch also allows you to upload your fitness data to Garmin Connect so you can review your progress and be able to post on Social Media as well.

  • Performance Monitoring

This GPS watch is able to track steps, calories, and distance, as well as sleeping hours and exercise intensity.

  • Inactivity Notification

The Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch & Activity Tracker is able to watch out for extended periods of inactivity and sets off a vibrating alarm, advising you to move.

Pros

  • The Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch & Activity Tracker provides accurate data when it comes to distance and the steps you’ve taken or your speed while cycling down a road.
  • This watch is easy to set-up and syncing it with other fitness applications takes a few minutes in total.
  • Being able to control music tracks using this item is a nice touch.
  • The receiver of this watch can lock in on your location faster and more accurate than other watches.

Cons

  • The band can cause some mild irritation but make sure to wash it after every use to wash away any irritants that might have clung to the band.
  • This GPS watch is not waterproof which limits you to land exercises.
  • This watch comes with the most basic of features and does not have the usual set that Garmin watches would have like thermometers, compass and the like.
  • The Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch & Activity Tracker is a little on the bulky side and maybe a little discomforting to wear but you do get used to it.

The Best GPS Running Watch

Out of the three Garmin watches, the best GPS running watch is the Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch & Activity Tracker with its advanced features and connectivity, as well as its stylish design and functionality. While all three watches can track running and cycling measurements, only the Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch & Activity Tracker is able to track laps, heart rate and other outdoor statistics that matter especially when you are doing marathon training or hiking an unknown trail.

All three watches can wirelessly connect to your favorite fitness app, as well as with Garmin Connect, only the Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch & Activity Tracker provides an evaluator that can come in handy when you’re training alone. The confusing interface and the material of the watchband seem to be known issues but they can be addressed with proper hygiene and by using a third party fitness app to view the statistics better.

GPS running watches are a great addition to any training program, especially if you want to be faster, leaner and better prepared for a competition. Any device would have a drawback or two but there are also ways to go about these drawbacks and make the device a winning partner for your winning lifestyle.