GPS Watches: Best GPS Watch to Buy in 2018

GPS Watches are a combination of smartphones with GPS chips, now represent the bulk of sales in the mobile phone market. All that is needed is a navigation software to turn them into real personal navigation assistants. But the real question is, there are lots of different types of Gps watches e.g. running gps watch, gps watches for golfgps heart rate monitor watch, gps watch for hiking etc. So, with all of watches available, which one to choose to best fit with your needs?

Whether you’re driving or walking, there are many situations where you think you’d better take your navigation map device with you. Only here, you do not want to be burdened with yet another mapping device and plus leave it in the car is not without risk. However, all you need now is a mini smartphone with integrated GPS, commonly known as smart watch so you do not have to worry anymore, It will be always on your wrist. 

As smartphone manufacturers offer their own navigation solution, like Google Maps, Apple Sygic etc. However, they are not alone in the market and competing solutions are numerous. The use of the smartphone as GPS has the big disadvantage of emptying the battery in record fast time. Therefore, Better to use gps watches for better support because they serve the purpose best. 

Here are the list of Best GPS Watches of 2018.

10. Polar RC3 – GPS Sports Watch

Key Features

  • Wristband Size : 9 “ – Measurements taken from the LAST HOLE to the END OF RUBBER next to buckle (not from end to end).
  • All in one GPS monitor tracks your speed, distance and route using the latest GPS technology (SiRFstar IV)
  • Slim and lightweight design with rechargeable battery (12 hours in continuous use with GPS on)
  • Unique Polar Smart Coaching features such as Running Index and Training Benefit analyze your training (optional H2 heart rate sensor needed)
  • Shows GPS – based altitude during and after training
  • Compatible with running and cycling sensors plus polarpersonaltrainer.com, our free training diary where you can download endurance training programs
  • Polar, the brand specialized in heart rate monitors, launches its RC3 GPS, a multi sport cardio watch integrating a GPS chip. It is an accessory for demanding sportsmen, but which will also motivate the amateurs wishing to coach themselves, even to push back some of their limits

Quite voluminous but light (58 g), available in black or orange, the RC3 GPS smart watch displays like many other multi sport watches a look quite mastic and plastic.

A strong bracelet with metal fastener allows to fix it carefully. Note that at the wrist, its width can sometimes cause some discomfort. The watch has five buttons: Light, Up, Start, Down and Back whose use is rather intuitive.

On its monochrome screen, the display is wide and clear, an important quality – not to say paramount – during a running session (as this is the special gps watch for runners) and what is more a competition. It can be used for different activities (to be calibrated in Settings): Running, Cycling or Other sport. The RC3 GPS is supplied with a heart rate monitor belt

Functions and training

The RC3 GPS Watch is quite easy to use when you see its ergonomics. The Up, Down and Back buttons allow you to navigate through its various menus and pages, with the Start button validating the choices. Appreciable for morning or night outings, the Light button is used to illuminate the screen for a few seconds, the extinction is automatic. Once the watch is activated, the GPS signal is captured in a good minute, a fairly honest duration and confirmed during our three outings with the watch. It supports rain since the RC3 GPS is standardized IPX7 and can be submerged up to one meter for 30 minutes.

In use, this cute smart watch memorizes and displays a lot of data: start time, duration, distance, average pace, maximum pace, max altitude, elevation+, altitude difference, turns, best lap, average lap. Regular users will also appreciate the weekly summaries, as well as the accumulations, accessible in a few presses on the different buttons. 

The return to home feature may seem like a map gadget, but it is very handy if you want to run or pedal out of its usual circuits: a bit like a compass, an arrow indicates on the screen the direction you have to follow to find the exact place where the activity started. As this is the best gps watch for athletes, so the athletes will be able to record their laps manually or automatically (this is useful for checking the regularity of their pace!). The onboard altimeter will be a valuable companion for advanced activities.

The autonomy of the RC3 GPS is announced at 12 hours in GPS. The polarpersonaltrainer.com interface
Complete, but still very legible, it allows you to upload the output data and view very detailed summaries of the sessions. Fans of advanced training can even annotate each of their turns.

Pros

  • Perfect readability
  • Extended features
  • Integration of an altimeter
  • Quality of the cloud platform
  • Autonomy

Cons

  • Size of the watch on the wrist.
  • Plastic appearance.
  • Community side not developed enough.
  • Resistant to water but not waterproof.

Verdict:

Very well designed and imposing itself as a tool (almost) complete, the Polar RC3 GPS watch will quite easily convince the already assiduous sportsmen who will be able, thanks to it, to make a precise follow-up of their outputs and their progress. This gps watch is best suited for Riders, Cyclists, Runners, Motorcyclists, Golfers and other outdoor activities. The perfect complementarity of the manufacturer’s dedicated site is an asset that should not be neglected.

09. Garmin Vivoactive GPS Smart Watch

Key Features

  • Built-in sports apps, this is the excellent garmin gps watch for running, walking, biking, swimming, golf etc, because it has GPS-enabled running, biking and golfing, swimming and activity tracking, which let you view your stats even when you away from your phone(Check User Manual in Product Information before use)
  • Ultra-thin, high-resolution, sunlight-readable, color touchscreen display
  • Battery charge lasts through all your activities with up to 3 weeks in watch/activity tracking mode or up to 10 hours using GPS
  • Customize with free watch face designs, widgets and apps from Connect IQ store
  • Display Size: 28.6 x 20.7 mm (W x H)

Out of its packaging, the Garmin Vivoactive gps smartwatch surprises with its small weight (38 grams with its silicone strap and 18 grams without). Offered in black or white, the watch has a color touch screen of 28.6 x 20.7 mm, but its display area occupies only 28 x 21 mm. Pretty flat (8 mm), it is full of energy with a proprietary charger to connect USB to a computer or AC adapter. This charger is magnetized, it only has to approach the watch so that one end found the other.

Two buttons on either side of the screen: the one on the left to turn on / off the watch and backlight; the one on the right to access the adjustment parameters and sports activities proposed. Outdoor: running, cycling, swimming, golf and walking. Indoor: treadmill and bike. Among its functions is a Find My Phone icon on which you just have to press to trigger a small ring on the smartphone of the user. The Vivoactive Garmin watch is waterproof (5 ATM).

Functions and Training

This garmin gps running watch is very easy to use unlike, some sports watches whose menus disturb a lot. In few minutes, user understands how to access this or that function. 

A swipe to the right displays the level of activity of the day relative to the goal set in the app, the distance traveled and calories burned. Follow a weather app (English) and the music control keys contained on the smartphone (Play / Pause / Skip) of the user. Also by swiping the index screen to the right are the events of the calendar of the day and the list of different notifications. Same operation to the left to get in order: notifications, calendar, music, weather and activity level. The screen is very responsive but lacks brightness.

Note that it is possible to customize the Vivoactive with small widgets , for example, with a widget displaying the battery charge level, or another to indicate the quality of sleep of the user; the latter is surprisingly not offered in “original equipment” while the watch is engaged in this evaluation (but only by indicating the intensity of the movements recorded during a sleep phase, without distinguishing deep or light sleep). Disappointment: Open to developers, the Connect IQ store, which is common to many Garmin products, is frankly poor and really needs to be revitalized.

In sport use, the Vivoactive is rather complete. Once you have chosen a function, the watch activates the GPS if needed – it picks up the signal in just a few seconds! – and seeks to locate a possible cardio belt. The dial displays all the collected data: Chrono, Allure, Distance, Circuit time, Circuit rate, Circuit distance, Heart rate, Heart rate zone, Average heart rate (for running and cycling), Time interval and Distance interval (for swimming, with possible configuration of the length of the pelvis), etc. 

On arrival, you just have to save your results and then find them through the smartphone application or the Garmin Connect platform available on the Internet.

Interface

The manufacturer’s web platform is still – and has been for months – in a very Windows-like spirit, with information presented in the form of tiles. It is always possible to return to the so-called “classic” presentation (the previous, before the makeover), but it is really a blow of old.

Pros

  • Removable bracelet
  • Color screen
  • Water resistance up to 5 ATM
  • Fix GPS very fast

Cons

  • No integrated cardio
  • Application store almost deserted
  • Low brightness of the screen
  • Analysis of the perfectible sleep

Verdict:

The Vivoactive watch is a product well in tune with the times. Sporty and connected, it is ultimately more for the general public than other more advanced Garmin equipment that targets a very sporting clientele. We regret the absence of onboard cardio, a feature that we find yet on equipment at the same rate, as Fitbit Surge shows. But do not sulk the pleasure experienced in the company of the Vivoactive: its simplicity of use is a more indisputable which, in its way, also knows how to make the difference.

08. Polar Women’s A300Key Features

  • A300 Collection
  • Quartz Movement
  • 10 Meters / 30 Feet / 1 ATM Water Resistant
  • 37mm Case Diameter
  • Plastic Crystal

The Polar brand completes its sports watch offering with the A300. The descendant of the M400 tries to find its place between the activity sensors and the sports-only knockouts.

Polar offers the user to be in a zone of daily activity: rather static (if you spend most of your time at the office, for example), rather active, rather very active, even hyperactive. This is supposed to allow the watch to refine its calculations, but also to provide advice to achieve the level of daily activity desired. As a reminder, the World Health Organization recommends walking 10,000 steps a day to keep fit. The use of the Polar A300 can be coupled with that of an iOS / Android application, but it is not essential.

Surrounded by five buttons, the A300’s LCD display may seem rather anxiety-provoking, although its use is ultimately quite simple. In the top left, a button is used to activate its blue backlight. On the right side, the up and down buttons are used to navigate the menus, while the red central button to validate a choice or start a sport session. The last button, bottom left, is used to backtrack. On a daily basis, the watch measures the number of steps, the calories burned, the distance traveled and the quality of sleep. It is also possible to program a vibration alarm. The Polar A300 is waterproof up to 30 meters deep.

Functions and Training 

At first sight, the A300 seems thick (1 cm); a little too much for our taste. If you can wear it 24 hours a day, it is not the most elegant sport watch we have had on our wrist. Fortunately it is possible to change the bracelet to make it a little more personal or adapt to its behavior. The readability of the information provided on the screen is appreciable. In addition, the date and time permanently displayed, a gauge gradually fills up during the day. This indicates the progress of the activity in relation to the objective set.

To consult the details of the latter, simply go to the “Activity” menu and then to “Remaining”. The A300 indicates that it takes, for example, so many minutes of jogging to reach its goal, so much time of walking or standing time, etc. While not entirely useful, these little tips have the merit of helping us to become aware of the daily efforts needed to achieve the goal we have set for ourselves. Another appreciable element: an alert in case of prolonged inactivity. A good excuse to take breaks and leave a few minutes from office in the day to walk a little.

Not carrying a heart rate monitor in its case, the A300 can easily be combined with the supplied cardio belt if the HR model is chosen.

To start a sports activity, simply go to the “Settings” menu, then “Sport Profiles” and choose between “Walk”, “Muscle session”, “Group exercise”, “Swimming”, ” Running “,” Cycling “or” Other Outdoor / Indoor Sport “. Therefore, pressing the central button starts the selected activity. Pausing or stopping is done with the button at the bottom left of the screen. For its part, the navigation is really intuitive and you never get lost in the menus.

Nothing to do with some watches with certainly more features, but ergonomics whose use requires good technical basis. If you use the cardio belt, an indication on the screen called “EnergyPointer” to know at any time whether or not burns fat during exercise, which is a valuable data. It is even possible to lock the feature to always stay in this area of ​​our workout. If we move away, a beep alerts us. Flat, but size, the A300 is devoid of GPS. This means that you will not be able to find your itinerary on the manufacturer’s website or take advantage of the “Revive” function (a short video automatically created of the course) if you are a runner or cyclist. An investment of a few tens of dollars extra to afford the Polar whether. It is even possible to lock the feature to always stay in this area of our workout. 

The autonomy of the A300 is announced by Polar to 26 days in use 24/24. A good endurance that does not surprise us: devoid of GPS, the A300 is much less greedy energy than some of its sisters.

Interface

Often mentioned in these columns, the interface has not changed. And it’s so much better, because it is appreciated for many months. Without any complexity of use, the dedicated web platform (flow.polar.com) offers the user a real dashboard of its activities and sports sessions. Through it, it is also possible to program workouts (time, number of calories burned), as well as a training cut into several phases. Once synchronized, the watch will indicate during the session of the sport the percentage of success compared to the objective previously fixed.

For its part, the smartphone application plays a more informative role. One regret, a certain slowness in the synchronization of the data, whereas it is immediate on computer. The “Camembert” symbolizing our daily activity is very reliable. Less reliable is the measure of sleep proposed and displayed at the bottom left, it does not correspond at all to reality. Certainly, it is automatic (no need to indicate to the watch that one goes to bed or that one gets up). But during some review tests, the Polar A300 recorded nights much longer than actually achieved.

Pros

  • A watch with activity tracker.
  • Interchangeable bracelets.
  • Good readability on the screen.
  • Cardio belt provided or not according to the pack.
  • Waterproof (30 meters).
  • Programming of training.
  • Automatic sleep detection.
  • Autonomy.

Cons

  • The thickness of the product.
  • The absence of integrated cardio.
  • The slow synchronization with the application.
  • No built-in GPS.
  • Measurement of unrealistic sleep.

Verdict:

The Polar A300 watch is located halfway between activity sensors and sports watches. Whether you are a beginner athlete or a little more experienced, this wrist watch a little big and to choose with or without cardio belt is full of lessons in everyday life. Too bad the lack of a GPS chip does not make it a sporty accomplishment. 

07. Polar M430 GPS Running Watch

Key Features

  • Wrist-based heart rate
  • Integrated GPS
  • Indoor running metrics
  • Polar Running Program
  • 24/7 activity & sleep tracking
  • Compatible with PC Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, and later,Compatible with Mac OS X 10.6, OS X 10.7, OS X 10.8, and later

Available with three colors of bracelets (gray, orange, white), the M430 looks aesthetically like its predecessor the ‘M400’.

A sporty little watch, the M430 has a 6-diode heart rate sensor, has 23 x 23 mm screen (128 x 128 px) is free of the icons. 

Functions and Training

The buttons surrounding the screen. The central red button on the right side of the watch allows you to launch an activity (by automatically activating the GPS for outdoor ones) and to validate choices. The up and down buttons are used to navigate. On the left side, the up button activates the backlighting of the screen and the down button is used to backtrack during navigation, but also to interrupt and record a workout.

The M430 is also equipped with an altimeter (non-barometric) and measures the altitude difference according to the GPS data. It is also waterproof to less than 30 meters. The watch finally acts as an activity tracker with sleep evaluation and display of notifications (incoming calls, SMS, social networks) etc

First and foremost, take advantage of the Fitness Test offered by the watch. This one calculates the VO2max of its user by proposing him/her to relax and to lie down – instead of going to run 10 minutes …! As a reminder, the VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen consumed during an effort in a specific time, a key factor to perfectly dose a training. Nevertheless, we had to go back several times to get a measurement and then add it to our physical profile. 

Once the activity chosen among several proposed tens (including swimming – even if the M430 does not measure the lengths or determines the type of swim performed), the proposed measures are numerous. Let’s quote the heart rate (with a good precision), the cardio zones, the time in each cardio zone, but also the speed, the pace and the different measures concerning the turns or the altitude. One, two, three or four measures displayed? Free to the user to choose in the settings. Their on-screen display of the M430 is excessively clear and this is an essential point that should be emphasized. Saved data can be automatically synchronized with Apple Health, MyFitnessPal, TrainingPeaks and Strava.

An interesting feature of the M430 is the programming of a competition through the manufacturer’s Polar Flow app. By selecting a type of race (5 km, 10 km, half marathon, marathon) and a date, Flow offers a training program adapted to the abilities of everyone to train more or less regularly. It will be enough to download it and use it wisely directly on the watch.

New on the M430: GPS recording on three levels: 1s, 30s or 60s. The interest is to be able to choose the accuracy of the GPS according to the activity practiced. This greatly influences the autonomy of the watch since it goes from 8h (1 s) to 30h (60 s).

On the side of the activity sensor functions, the M430 remains in fairly standard, even if the evaluation of sleep and its quality is more developed than before. On the issues of real sleep time, we always remain very cautious about the capabilities of watches and trackers to assess our sleep, as the data collected differ from one product to another and it remains difficult to make a relevant use.

Interface

We have long enjoyed Polar flow, its dual mobile / web entry, and invite you to reread our comments from the recent M400 test for more details.

In a few words, this application is full of features, with a calendar, a map, curves dedicated to the pace and other data, etc. Special mention to the “Revive” function which creates a small video of 3D training. The result is very interesting and really motivating. It is also punctuated by photos of places encountered on the course and music. It’s pretty bluffing, although in the end, the function is a little gadget.

Moreover, since the update of Polar Flow, it is possible for us to check ourselves the quality of our sleep and sleeping duration.

Pros

  • Multi sport watch complete but accessible to all.
  • Fitness test to measure the VO2 Max.
  • Adapted training plans.
  • Precision of the cardio.
  • Enhanced sleep function.

Cons

  • Design always a bit massive.
  • Swimming function not enough developed.
  • Some problems of pairing

Verdict:

Polar offers with its M430 a mid-range multi sport watch extremely interesting. Easy to use and simple to live with, it manages to innovate with different functions that will attract novices (programming of a competition, automated calculation of the VO2max), as well as the most assiduous sportsmen (very sharp cardio). Despite a somewhat massive design that can complicate everyday use, the M430 displays a quality / price that makes you want to run after.

06. Garmin Forerunner 235

Key Features

  • GPS Running Watch with Wrist-based Heart Rate and display type is sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel(MIP)
  • Customize Your Watch and Your Training, Larger Screen – a 44% Larger Screen than the 225 but the Same Physical Size
  • Audio Prompts – Receive Audio Prompts from Your Connected Smartphone That Include Laps and Lap Times
  • Smart Notifications – See Incoming Email, Text Messages, Call Alerts, Calendar Reminders and More from Your Compatible Smartphone
  • Battery Life 11 Hours Training, 9 Days Watch, Activity Tracking, Notifications + Heart Rate. Refer user manual below.

The Garmin Forerunner 235 is one of those sports watches that claim to help beginners to motivate themselves and fans to progress. As a sensor of activity, it also claims its place among the best watches of the season. Equipped with a heart rate sensor, the Forerunner 235 also wants to do more and better than its predecessor, the Forerunner 220.

Thick enough (11.7 mm) but with a good-sized dial – 32.1 mm diameter display surface (215 x 180 px) in a 45 x 45 mm case – the Forerunner 235 is also very light (42 g) and waterproof up to 5 ATM (50 m). Manipulation and menu navigation go through 5 easily accessible buttons (start / stop, back / tour, up, down, backlight). Note in passing that these buttons are quite sensitive for a sports watch; Watches of this type are usually equipped with buttons that are strong enough and that mark the trigger well. The screen is not touch, which is not necessarily a problem on a sports watch.

The very plastic construction reveals only rare metal parts. The Forerunner 235 is supplied with a silicone strap screwed on both sides of the dial (the watch is available in black and red, black and gray, black and water green). The size of the bracelet fits wrists up to 23.5 cm in circumference, which can be enough to pass over a garment in winter, losing the function of the cardio wrist sensor.

The wrist cardio sensor works with three diodes in contact with the skin and does not measure any data in the water. It is not suitable for swimming. It can be replaced by a chest sensor of any brand, provided that the latter is compatible with the ANT+ standard. The Bluetooth cardios are therefore not compatible, the watch reserving this connection only for communication with the associated smartphone.

GPS is compatible with Glonass to increase localization accuracy, but you can prefer to disable the Glonass to save battery and be satisfied with GPS accuracy already sufficient. No dedicated altimeter is present, but the GPS sensor is used to evaluate the altitude.

The announced autonomy is 15 hours in GPS timing and 9 hours in “watch” mode. The reloading is done by a USB cable ended by a proprietary clamp connector that closes the watch. No charger is provided,

Functions and Training

A little daunting at first, the operation of the watch is well integrated after a day of use. Yet, one still wonders about the position of certain functions, including that of the setting menu of the watch that requires going through the activities. Nothing unacceptable.

However, Speaking of activities, the Forerunner 235 offers you to follow four activities: Race, Indoor race, Bike and Other. Each of these activities has its own profile and can therefore record different parameters; however each activity has only one profile. These parameters include the setting of the automatic pause (total stop or floor speed), the setting of the displayed screens (number of fields to be displayed per screen, content), the stroke alarms (heart zone, time, distance). .), scrolling screens, etc. Two of the screens are configurable to display each of one to four fields. In addition to these two screens, you can display three additional screens fixed (time, heart rate, and a third that gives the cardio zone or the schedule in case of a meeting. programmed training). The duration of activation of the backlight during a training session is also adjustable. On the other hand, it is fixed (6 s) when the backlight is used outside a timekeeping (when looking at the time, for example).

During training, the watch can measure and display speed (instantaneous and average), pace (instantaneous and average), distance, lap time (or circuit, or interval) and lap averages (this lap can be triggered manually or automatically, every 1 km, 2 km, etc.), calories, cardio frequency (instantaneous and average), altitude and cardio zone. You can use a non activity used (like the one called “Other”) to display custom fields, such as the sunrise and sunset times, which will not be used too much in the race profile, but which can still be used. Note that the “Temperature” field is present in the menus, but that the watch does not display any measurement because it does not have this sensor. 

In addition to this, an estimate of the VO2 max (maximum flow of oxygen consumed during the effort), the effectiveness of the training (TE, or Training Effect ), the number of strides – so the length strides – and recovery time is given after the session, on the watch and in the Garmin Connect interface.

Interface

The interface of the Garmin Connect app is elegant, but not necessarily inviting for the beginner because of the large amount of data measured. Perhaps there is a more synthetic presentation option for beginners.

The interface of the web version of Garmin Connect is very similar to that of the smartphone version, bigger and more readable. Its home-made menu of bricks, however, leaves us a little skeptical, but is not inescapable anyway. Each sport activity is perfectly summarized on a screen that shows the route and all the statistics recorded (pace, distance, time, calories, cardio, strides, pace). We regret, however, that it is not possible to access a map in full screen on this interface in web version – or at least one window that we could enlarge.

There is no need to systematically connect the watch to a computer to manage transfers and updates. These can be done directly and automatically via Bluetooth via the Garmin Connect app. You come back from an exit, you put the watch next to the smartphone, and you only have to consult your performances on the app or in a web browser. A summary is of course available in the watch.

Note in passing that Garmin Connect allows you to associate equipment with an activity, such as running shoes or a bicycle or tires for cycling: always practical to know the level of wear of the equipment and to anticipate its replacement before suffering pain in the knees or a puncture.

Pros

  • Ease of use, even for beginners.
  • Filled activity sensor functions.
  • Wrist notifications.
  • Autonomy.
  • Numerous customizations of data to display and alarms (cardio, distance, split etc)
  • Sound and vibration alerts.

Cons

  • Uncertain cardio sensor with integrated wrist.
  • Rare Bluetooth disconnections (no consequences on data).
  • Little assistance for beginners who want to be accompanied.
  • Bracelet a little fair for big wrists (to wear the watch over a garment in winter).
  • Many Huawei smartphone users report synchronization issues.
  • No map enlargement on the Garmin Connect web interface.

Verdict:

The Forerunner 235 sports watch capitalizes on Garmin’s know-how and is a pleasant attempt to expand the scope of classic sports watches by attracting beginners. They will find a real pleasure with a simple product on the wrist, with a GPS and a heart rate monitor, but also different features usually more often reserved for expert products. In the state, and despite some small weaknesses, the Forerunner 235 is a very good equipment that we can advise.

05. FitBit Ionic Adidas Edition

fitbit adidas edition

Key Features

  • Start dynamic personalized workouts on your wrist with step-by-step coaching
  • Store and play 300+ songs, plus download playlists from Pandora
  • Use built-in GPS/GLONASS to track pace, distance & routes and get Pure Pulse continuous heart rate tracking & real-time zones
  • Includes exclusive on screen workouts from adidas with step-by-step coaching, an adidas-designed clock face and a signature two-toned sport band in Ink Blue and Ice Gray (includes both large and small bands)
  • Access your favorite apps for sports, weather & more and make payments on the go with a built-in NFC chip
  • Track runs, swims, rides, workouts, all day activity and sleep with 4+ day battery life (varies with use & other factors)
  • Buy with confidence when your Fitbit product ‘ships from and is sold by’ the following authorized Fitbit retailers:  Amazon.com, Heart Rate Monitors USA and Clever Training. Fitbit does not guarantee the quality or authenticity of products purchased from non-authorized resellers on Amazon, and they are not eligible for warranty and replacement from Fitbit.

Claiming openly as the competitor of the Apple Watch , the Fitbit Ionic watch sets the bar high enough.

A fairly classic design although proudly sporting its magnesium alloy and silicon case, the Ionic is a pretty fine watch. Nothing to do with the opulence of a Samsung Gear Sport, for example. Available in three color combinations (Blue Gray / Silver Gray, Slate Blue / Metallic Orange, Charcoal / Graphite Gray), the Ionic is supplied with two elastomer wristbands, one size S and the other size L.

Other bracelets are available, sold separately; all are set up very simply. In addition, the Ionic is accompanied by a charger owner whose magnetic tip fits perfectly at the back of the dial.

The Ionic connects with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Thanks to Bluetooth, you can connect a wireless headset; the watch can ship music for about 2.5 GB, or about 300 songs, according to Fitbit. Wi-Fi will be used to sync music from a Windows 7/8/10 or macOS PC (MP3, MP4 files with AAC audio, WMA) – an operation that clearly lacks fluency – but also to take control of connected objects, such as Philips Hue bulbs , through an app.

The Fitbit Ionic can be customized through different clocks, but also applications available on the store of the brand (in English), much less supplied than that of its competitors. Fitbit offers 60 apps, including Strava or Altimeter. For the moment, we regret the absence of Spotify or Deezer – which would make a lot of sense on such a product. Fitbit just announced a partnership with Deezer for 2018.

The watch incorporates a heart rate sensor, altimeter and GPS / Glonass chips. It is also waterproof down to -50 m (5 ATM), but the cardio does not work under water.

Functions and Training

On a daily basis, the 1.4 “(3.6 cm) rectangular screen of the watch offers excellent readability, even in bright light. Touch, it is very responsive.According to Fitbit, its coating Gorilla Glass 3 makes it resistant to scratches and it is clear that after almost 3 weeks of testing, the Ionic screen is like new.

Access to health information is immediate by pressing the button at the top right: number of steps , number of steps in the last hour, distance traveled, floors climbed, heart rate, calories burned, minutes active, while the button at the bottom right is used to launch an activity: running , cycling, swimming, treadmill , weight training, interval timer, exercise.It still misses walking.

The left button is a little useless: it is used to turn the screen on and off, while it can be done by tapping the screen and covering it briefly with the palm of the hand.

The Ionic can receive notifications. We choose those that we want to be displayed on the screen through simple checkboxes / uncheck in the application. Bottom: Unable to reply to an SMS or Messenger message. You have to take your smartphone out of your pocket. On this point, the Ionic is clearly worse than the Apple Watch and its pre-recorded messages, or even its built-in microphone to take a call.

Finally, the watch offers contactless payment functions. But for the moment, no French bank has yet signed a partnership with the American brand.

Good point: the autonomy of the watch beats almost records. Without asking too much, his battery lasted up to 5 days.

Interface

The Fitbit app is clearly the one we prefer on the market. Clear, limpid, understandable at first glance, it is as much for its dashboard, which centralizes on a screen all the information recorded in the day, as for the simplicity of its settings.

We will also go through this application to orchestrate challenges with its community, alone, or to interact with other users or even challenge them.

Pros

  • Simple product, well finished.
  • Perfect readability of the screen.
  • Gorilla Glass screen.
  • Quality and precision of the application.
  • Fine sleep analysis.
  • Waterproofness of the watch.
  • Autonomy.

Cons

  • Limited app store.
  • Cardio does not work underwater.
  • Restricted coaching functions, even paying.
  • Unable to respond to notifications.
  • Contactless payment still in the making in France.

Verdict:

With this Ionic activity watch, Fitbit wanted to do things well. No doubt too good. This reliable and perfectly built wrist watch has many advantages, first and foremost its reliability and the quality of its application. But it still carries too many functions that deserve to be more developed or more successful. For now, the promises are not yet held. Upcoming updates should improve this point.

04. Samsung Gear Sport

Key Features

  • Gear Sport is swim-ready and water-resistant up to 50 meters.
  • Get accurate, all-day fitness tracking, easy calorie entry and personal coaching.
  • With Samsung Pay NFC compatibility, easily make a payment from your wrist.
  • Check your updates and receive and reply to calls and texts with a turn of the bezel.
  • Compatible with Android and iOS smartphones.

Lavish!  (42.9 x 44.6 x 11.6 mm) size and the watch is available in two colors (black and blue), the Gear Sport is compatible with the standard bracelets of 20 mm. It runs under the Samsung proprietary OS named Tizen (3.0). Incorporating a sensor heart rate running under water, a GPS chip and an altimeter, the new watch innovates with a rotating bezel.

By making rotations to the left or right around the dial, it is possible to access the multiple features of the watch. Its 1.2-inch Super Amoled dial-screen (360 x 360 px, 424 dpi) is touch-sensitive. Visually, there is no picture: its quality is impressive and the combination of infinite contrasts, bright colors and perfectly readable characters provides unbeatable reading comfort, even in direct sunlight.

Including Wi-Fi (802.11 b / g / n), Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC, the Gear Sport is waterproof down to -50 m (5 ATM). Two buttons on the right of the dial allow you to turn it on, stop it, return to the home screen (bottom button) or the previous screen (top button). And that’s how the adventure begins

Functions and Training

The implementation of the Samsung Gear Sport is a little tanned. Where many manufacturers have made the choice of simplicity, the manufacturer seems not to care and confronts the consumer to a rather disappointing experience. The reason, If the watch can work alone, it will obviously benefit most once connected to a smartphone. It is thus necessary to download the Samsung Gear application, then the Samsung Health app (while being connected with a SIM card, otherwise the operation is impossible), then the Samsung Accessory Service plug-in. No, but oh? Not enough to spoil the fun, but we really met better in the matter.

In everyday life, the watch obviously serves as “Watch”. We appreciate its multiple possibilities of customization with a choice of countless free dials, Hundreds of applications too, ranging from simple calendar to sports apps (like Map My Run, Endomondo, through functions like “Search my car” or the Spotify application. It is also possible to download in the 2 GB space allocated in the watch songs directly from his account Spotify. Otherwise, we can drag and drop his own titles. The notifications are obviously part and are extremely readable. SMS can be answered by pre-recorded messages or by voice, thanks to the built-in microphone, although it is not necessarily very practical.

During a training, the Gear Sport does the job perfectly. By turning the telescope, you can access a selection of disciplines (running, walking, cycling, swimming) that you just have to select to start an activity. During our tests (45 minutes of running in the forest on a cloudy day), the triggering of the GPS was immediate. During our race, it was enough to turn the wrist in the direction of the gaze so that the screen of the watch wakes up and displays by default the data necessary for a good evaluation of our performances: speed, duration, cardio, distance traveled, calories burned . The Auto Pause mode (measurements are interrupted when a short pause is taken) is embedded.

A shot of glasses on the left and one accesses the musical controls; it’s pretty well thought. However, it is possible to customize screens (up to three successive) and set a goal (duration, distance or calories). At the end of the exercise, Gear Sport displays a summary of the data. It even offers a complete diary of the activities carried out over the days up to include a mini map of the GPS track running or cycling.

The 300 mAh battery of the Samsung Gear Sport ensures a battery life of nearly 3 days without GPS enabled.

Interface

The Samsung Health interface is quite clear. But it is devoid of any visual originality in its presentation, which we can also regret.

Day-to-day control of activities, measuring the quality of sleep (restless, light or motionless), but also food management are the three pillars. You can go through the application to define a goal, launch an activity, but also expand its personal data with its water, coffee etc. The application can be customized too (go to “Manage elements”) for a vision instant desired results (floors gravis, bpm, weight)

Pros

  • Screen and readability.
  • Navigation telescope.
  • Possibilities of customization.
  • Access to Spotify.
  • Seal

Cons

  • Application ecosystem.
  • Limited sport functions.
  • Autonomy not exceeding 3 days.

Verdict:

Very nice success, the Samsung Gear Sport is a connected watch dedicated to everyday activities and sports. It does its job well, even if it is more aimed at a consumer target than at performance-hungry consumers. The latter will fall preferably on products Garmin (like the Forerunner 235 ) & Polar ( M400 ) etc, more elaborate. In addition, these daily functions make this watch to wear everyday.

03. Polar M600

Key Features

  • GIFT BOX BUNDLE INCLUDES: Polar M600 (White) GPS Sports Watch, Extra Silicone Band (Red), PlayBetter Protective Hard Carrying Case, PlayBetter Wall & Car USB Charging Adapters | Beautifully packaged in Black Gift Box with Red Bow & Crinkle Paper!
  • WRIST-BASED HEART RATE MONITOR – accurate wrist-based heart rate monitor with personalized training guidance to reach your fitness goals
  • WATERPROOF GPS/FITNESS TRACKER – built-in GPS Technology keeps track of your pace, distance and altitude while the durable, waterproof design is ready for any adventure
  • FULL ANDROID CAPABILITIES (with iOS functionality) – notifications, social features, weather, calendar, maps, 3Rd Party Apps via google play; iOS functionality enabled
  • A MEMORABLE GIFT – Your loved one will be blown away by this gift box! The Extra Band and Protective Case will keep the M600 looking brand new while the duo of the PlayBetter USB Wall & Car Adapters will ensure the M600 is never without a charge!

The range of Polar sports watches is expanding. Already large with mainstream watches like the A300 , others for the more informed sportsmen, such as the M400 , or even outright “pro” like the V800 , it is now completed by the M600. This large rectangular screen watch is obviously complete to follow its sports training and daily activities, but also tries to innovate by adopting Google’s Android Wear platform. 

Rather opulent with its 3.1 x 3.5 cm Gorilla Glass 3 screen (2.2 x 2.4 cm display area for 240 x 240 px), waterproof up to 10 meters (IP X8), integrating a GPS and 4 GB of storage space to house music, the Polar M600 also has a cardio sensor. This one is the first one we meet with 6 led’s. According to Polar, he would be more precise in his feedback, an argument nevertheless difficult to verify on the ground. The watch has two buttons: one for navigation on the side, the second for training just under the screen.

Releasing a sense of sturdiness, even if it can be found a little invasive wrist – it weighs only 63 grams – however, the M600 is supplied with a charger owner who loves the back of the watch. Good point: the electronic module of this watch can be detached from its bracelet. This allows to consider the replacement of a damaged bracelet, or even to substitute one of another color or other material the day when Polar will want to develop this type of accessories.

Functions and Training

Working with the Polar Flow app, which allows you to record your workouts – and schedule them – the M600 is also compatible with Android Wear. This allows it to ship the package of features made available to manufacturers by Google, such as notifications from a smartphone (Android, but also iOS), SMS, voice searches, access to music.

Rather simple to access despite the extent of its functions, the M600 is a connected watch pleasant to live. Easy to implement, its everyday use is rather intuitive.

It lacks, however, a harmony of presentation between purely Polar screens and those dedicated to Android Wear. The two universes coexist but, It’s a bit like Polar trying to make a forced merge. You need to go through two applications on the smartphone (Android Wear on one side, Polar Flow on the other) also complicates the task a bit. And we come to wonder what relevance can have Android Wear on a large volume sports watch, which will not necessarily be worn on the wrist for seven days. The M600 whose primary purpose is to be a sports watch and an activity sensor, The M600 perfectly fulfills its mission at this level.

In running or race, the watch has perfectly met our expectations. The display of the heart rate zone on the wrist and basic information (distance, mileage) was particularly relevant. The on-board gyro even makes it possible to scroll the screens with a simple movement of the wrist without any other form of intervention.

The wrist notifications work really well. They appear at the bottom of the screen and you just have to slide them up to read them. For its part, a “My Day” screen, more specifically dedicated to activity monitoring, indicates the percentage of activity achieved relative to the objective set, the number of steps, the distance traveled and the calories burned. The results of the sleep analysis are found in the application.

Interface

It offers several screens on smartphone: Flux (to access a glance at the results of its day activities); Activity (to access a daily, weekly or monthly pie chart); Training (to find the schedule of its sports sessions); Notifications etc.

Thanks to the cloud that its data is automatically found online with maps (also available on smartphone), heart rate curves.

We still love the small function “Revive” which creates a small music video of the outputs, focusing on certain data (maximum attitude) etc.

In the end, a small personalized assessment is even offered. The set can be simply shared.

On its website, Polar announces that the 2-day battery life for the M600. 

Pros

  • A sports watch and an activity sensor with extended functions.
  • Resistance to shocks and water.
  • Integrated cardio sensor.
  • Quality of the application for smartphone and website.

Cons

  • Massive design.
  • Presence of questionable Android Wear.
  • Synchronization issues encountered.
  • Slow smartphone synchronizations.
  • Autonomy.

Verdict:

Excellent sports watch, perfect activity sensor, the Polar M600 wants to do well and does without doubt. Beautiful workmanship, it is a bit too voluminous to claim to accompany us 24/24. And she lacks autonomy. Especially, the presence of Android Wear is debatable on a product more “sport” than “lifestyle”. On the question, opinions will probably remain divided, with activists from both sides who will defend their arguments.

02. Garmin Vivoactive 3 watch

Key Features

  • Garmin Pay™ contactless payment solution lets you pay for purchases with your watch (available for supported cards from participating banks)
  • Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from our Connect IQ™ store
  • More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more. Lens material: chemically strengthened glass, bezel material: stainless steel, case material: fiber-reinforced polymer with stainless steel rear cover
  • Monitor your fitness level with VO2 max and fitness made estimates, plus keep an eye on how you handle stress (see garmin.com/ataccuracy)
  • Get connected features such as smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, LiveTrack and more when paired with a compatible smartphone
  • Battery life: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; 13 hours in GPS mode. Connectivity-Bluetooth Smart and ANT+. Smartphone compatibility-iPhone, Android

Specialist in sports watches and GPS, Garmin offers a Vivoactive 3 catalog that mixes sports functions and connected functions.

Available in three versions, the Vivoactive 3 is designed not to be a simple sports watch and will be able to stay on the wrists of athletes even outside the training tracks.

Functions and Training 

Its diameter of 43.4 mm and its relatively small thickness (11.7 mm for a weight of 44 g) allow it to pass quite easily around most wrists. The LCD color touch screen measures 30.4 mm and offers a definition of 240 x 240 px sufficient for this display. Its contrast is sufficient for outdoor activities. It is however much lower than that of smartwatches like the Samsung Gear Sport or the Apple Watch Series 3 which use OLED screens much more contrasted and better defined. 

The bracelet limited to a maximum wrist size of 22 cm can be a little short to wear the watch in winter over the sleeve of insulating clothing, which makes losing the function of heart rate monitor wrist. Because the Vivoactive also incorporates a cardio sensor with 3 diodes. This sensor can send its information to an external device, such as a Garmin Edge for bike. It is of course possible to add an external chest sensor (or a cadence sensor for bike) compatible ANT + or Bluetooth Smart.

Most manipulations are done by touchscreen gestures or by pressing (short or long) on ​​the single button. It is also possible to slide the finger on the left edge of the watch, but this interaction is advantageously replaced by the same movement on the surface of the screen.

Long press the button to display a customizable menu of 8 shortcuts to features to choose from 16 (Sync, Lamp, Lock, Phone, Do not disturb, Music Controls) etc. A short press gives access to the selection of an activity (among twenty, including running, running on carpet, bike, indoor bike, swimming, bodybuilding, walking, cross-country skiing, elliptical trainer, rowing, stepper), its setting (via the touch screen) and its launch (by a new pressure). At rest, a short press on the screen activates the backlight. A long press brings up the main menu (personalization, activity history, statistics and general parameters). The menus scroll intuitively by sliding your finger across the screen, while a slide to the right returns to the previous menu. All manipulations are assimilated fairly quickly.

Both GPS and Glonass compatible, the Vivoactive 3 has not been more accurate by activating both modes. It is better to disable the Glonass to save some battery.

Especially since this watch is not the most enduring. It is difficult to consider serenely more than two outings of one hour and a half to two hours if you take at least one day of rest between the two outings. The autonomy depends of course on the use that we make of the screen and vibrations: the screen of the Vivoactive 3 regularly lit and the vibrations to repetitions (during the interval training sessions or interval training, for example) quickly decrease the autonomy. In the end, we had to recharge it every 2 to 3 days. The watch loses about 20% per day without activity (or during an activity of 1 hour 45 to 2 hours). The autonomy is of course much lower than that of a non-touch and less connected GPS watch. Charging is via a USB cable – to connect to a PC or charger – with a proprietary connector on the watch side. Full recharge takes almost an hour.

Connected as it is, the Vivoactive 3 does not offer much more than a Forerunner 235, also able to pick up / hang up the phone, view notifications, emails and other SMS received. The biggest difference is in terms of customization, since the Vivoactive 3 allows to download many new display designs from the Garmin Connect IQ platform and to use a large number of more or less functional applications each of which will relevance. 

In use, the functions of the Vivoactive 3 again approach many of those of the Forerunner 235 that we have already tested. It offers about the same measures (and adds an altitude sensor, but no trace of the “thermometer” function advertised on the Garmin website) and offers to customize the data displayed in the same way, up to ‘four data per screen.

It is possible to slide the finger vertically on the screen to scroll through the data – which can also be scrolled automatically, choosing the scrolling speed (no, slow, medium, fast). We just regret that the beep that announces the change of training phase is not very audible, even if it is coupled with a vibration. Strangely, while the Forerunner beeps countdown 5 seconds before a phase change, the Vivoactive 3 just rings the bell at the moment of change, which is not ideal to anticipate a change of pace of race or cadence. Another unfortunate point, the number of the current step is only displayed at the time of the change of step and during the race, but not on the screen of phase of recovery. The opposite would have been more practical; and the display on both screens would have been ideal.

It must be said that the space between the edge of the watch and the screen is quite small and that the display space is almost equivalent to that of some larger watches.

The heart rate measurement of the wrist sensor blows hot and cold. While some sessions run perfectly, sometimes the sensor has difficulty measuring heart rate properly on other sessions.

The accuracy of the GPS is satisfactory and the error is always limited to the percent. 

For the rest, evaluation of the VO2 max, LiveTrack real-time course, training schedule, etc, the complete list is available on the Vivoactive 3 of Garmin’s website.

Interface

In summary, spent a little time of adaptation, the interface is convenient to use and complete. We just regret that the map can not be enlarged on the web version.

Pros

  • Ease of use, even for beginners.
  • Filled activity sensor functions.
  • Wrist notifications.
  • Numerous customizations of data to display and alarms (cardio, distance, split …).
  • Sound and vibration alerts.
  • Customization of downloadable screens and apps.

Cons

  • Built-in cardio sensor not always effective.
  • Little assistance for beginners who want to be accompanied.
  • Strap too fair for big wrists (to wear the watch over a garment in winter).
  • No map enlargement on the Garmin Connect web interface.
  • To recharge often.
  • No “virtual race” against a previous activity.
  • Garmin Pay contactless payment unusable in France at the momentVerdict:

Verdict:

Garmin Vivoactive 3  is a good sports watch, quite complete and also usable in everyday life thanks to its versatile design and its beautiful finish. This watch is connected and tactile but not comparable to running android wear or apple watch series 3 and series 2.

01. Alpina Horological Smart Analog Watch

Key Features

  • Made in USA or Imported
  • Alpina horological smartwatch with connected Activity and sleep tracking functionalities
  • For ios and android. Powered by motionx. Swiss made
  • Swiss-quartz Movement
  • Case Diameter: 44mm
  • Water Resistant To 330 Feet

The historical manufacturers of Swiss timepieces could not stand idle in the face of the invasion of connected watches and other sensors that cling to the wrist to quantify our activities. Wanting to occupy a place altogether legitimate, the brand Alpina launches its Horological Smartwatch, a clock watch incorporating the functions of an activity sensor.

The watch brand with the red triangle innovates. With more than 130 years of experience on the dial, Alpina is today one of the first historical manufacturers of Swiss watches to associate one of its products with activity sensor functions. For this, the Horological Smartwatch works in good intelligence with an iOS or Android application serving as an interface to precisely adjust the time of the watch, but also to self-quantify the wearer and permanently know its level of activity or sleep.

Functions and Training 

It’s a nice analog watch with quartz movement. In its stainless steel case, the Alpina Horological Smartwatch features two luminescent hands on a sober and pearly dial back for the model we have been able to test. A second counter called “smart” discreetly displays on its 6 hours a double dial: one indicates the percentage of the activity carried out compared to the fixed objective, the other, more inside, mentions the day of the month.

No rotating crown, but a single push button to use daily to fully use the integrated activity sensor. Two bracelets are available, one in black leather and the other in steel. We had the first. The dial of the watch has a sapphire protection making it scratch-proof. The Alpina Horological Smartwatch is waterproof to less than 100 meters. Opinion at the approach of the holidays: there is a woman version set with 60 diamonds.

In addition, The activity sensor functions of the Alpina Horological Smartwatch that keep user interest. These are simple as well as essential: number of steps, calories burned, distance traveled, analysis of sleep time and its quality (deep sleep, light sleep, awake time, number of awakenings during the night).

If the watch tracks user activity without being necessary to make the request, it remains mandatory to switch to “sleep” mode when the time comes manually. 

To know about the data concerning activity, just open the application, approach the watch of the smartphone and press the push button to start synchronization. It works perfectly and is very fast. During the day, a simple glance at the tiny inner dial of the watch indicates the percentage of the activity of the day already achieved in relation to the objectives set. The watch can also gives alert after a prolonged inactivity phase by a small shrill sound. It’s up to everyone to program how long they want to be “shaken” (10 to 120 minutes).

Interface

Alpina has delegated Fullpower and its MotionX technology to track down user activity and sleep. It should be noted that MotionX’s algorithms are also used by Jawbone , but also by two other Swiss watch brands: Frederique Constant and Mondaine. MotionX is also the name of the iOS or Android app you need to load to enable the tracking features of the Alpina Horological Smartwatch.

Elegant, simple & clear display.  Below, an “Activity” module offers access to very precise graphs of user activity hour by hour, with number of steps, calories burned and distance traveled. Also, a field “Sleep” to discover all the details of nights in the form of a graph with mention of the duration of total sleep, deep sleep, light, wakeup time and the duration that has elapsed before user fall asleep.

In the “Coaching” section, it is finally also possible to visualize daily, weekly and monthly curves, with calculation of averages (not, calories, sleep). At the bottom of the screen, the coaching tips of the day are in English.

Pros

  • A real Swiss watch with activity sensor.
  • Water resistance (100 meters).
  • Speed ​​of synchronizations.

Cons

  • No transition to automated sleep mode.
  • Coaching tips that have not been translated into French.
  • Absence of altimeter-barometer.

Verdict:

With the introduction of MotionX tracking technology, the Alpina Horological Smartwatch is a very elegant analogue watch. It is then coupled with precise activity tracking functions and finding a perfect echo through a thoughtful application and impeccable ergonomics.