Watches Reviewed by Activity
We are all living longer lives due to advancements in diet, medicine and the environment. Keeping fit and healthy to enjoy life should be for everyone, not just those who partake in sport. To help you select the most appropriate fitness watch they have been split in to categories based on activity. Start by selecting the category that most closely describes your primary activity or sport. A vast majority of these watches include a heart rate monitor. This is either via traditional chest strap sensor or more frequently wrist based, no chest strap required.
Quick Links by ACTIVITY
- General Fitness – for general health & fitness, jogging, gym, cardio etc
- Running – for runners of all levels and abilities from joggers to competitive athletes
- Cycling – GPS bike computers & wrist worn watches with cycling support & functionality
- Triathlon / Multisport – watches dedicated to multisport with a specific Triathlon mode
- Adventure Racer – advanced ABC watches with Altimeter, Barometer, Compass
- Swim – watches that count your lengths and monitor your swimming efficiency / speed
- Medical – for portable ECG monitors, pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors & more
Fitness Bands & Activity Trackers
This category is aimed at the exerciser who doesn’t want any medals and isn’t trying to beat a National Record. All this person wants to do is stay fit and healthy and be able to look as good as they can with the limited number of training hours available. We have a combination of bracelet style activity trackers like the Garmin Vivofit 3, Polar Loop2, TomTom Touch and Fitbit Flex 2. For people looking for a more traditional watch unit we have the Polar A300 and the Garmin Vivomove (a traditional analogue watch with activity tracking functionality)
If you are interested to know which I consider to be the best lifestyle fitness tracker I can tell you it would have to be either the Fitbit Charge 2 , the Garmin Vivosmart HR or the Polar A360 (all with off the wrist heart rate tracking). Or, keeping things super simple, either the Vivofit 3 or the Fitbit Flex 2
NEWS FLASH >> Mio release their innovative new Slice. The Mio Slice is the world’s first fitness band to incorporate a PAI score (Personal Activity Intelligence) based on heart rate throughout the day
Best Bargain >> The Fitbit Charge Hr
All of the specialist running watches recommended here can provide heart rate, speed, distance and include a stopwatch with laps and splits. They all include a built-in GPS. Some require a chest strap for heart rate and others take it directly off the wrist. Ask me which is the best GPS runners watch and my answer would be a choice between the Polar M400 (chest strap HR) and the Garmin Forerunner 235 for the more technical athlete. For the recreational runner I recommend the Garmin Forerunner 35 or the Polar M200, both with off the wrist HR. For the smartphone fan then we have the Polar M600 taking the lead in wearable tech for runners
Of the dozens of other watches designed with runners in mind my shortlist for the best of the rest would be : Fitbit Surge, Garmin Forerunner 25, Suunto Ambit3 R or Ambit 3 S, Ambit Spartan Sport, TomTom Runner 3 or why not just add a Polar H7 or Wahoo Fitness Tickr heart rate belt to your iPhone / Android phone and turn that in to your running computer.
Best Bargain >> The TomTom Runner Cardio
GPS Bike Computers
Garmin still dominate this market place with their BRILLIANT Garmin Edge products.. but the new Polar’s are VERY GOOD, in particular the M450. In my opinion the best GPS bike computers on the market today are the Polar M450 and the Edge 820. If you only have time to look at TWO models please look at these two models.
If you just want essential speed and distance then it’s the Edge 20/25. Add heart rate functionality and optional cadence and/or power and Polar M450 or Edge 520. Need to know where you going, get live routing information and know how to get back home, plus the performance features of the Edge 520, then it’s the Edge 820
The most popular multisport models are the Garmin Forerunner 920XT, the Suunto Ambit3 Sport and the Polar V800. All of these have everything you will ever need, and more. These 3 triathlon watches all provide feedback on your heart rate, bike speed, pedal cadence, running pace, distance, transition times, even swim-metrics (from their on-board accelerometers) telling you how efficient your swimming style has been. Note, the new Suunto Spartan Sport and Spartan Ultra (replacing the Ambit 3 Sport) have now received several firmware upgrades. This means I am now in a position to comfortably recommend this range of Suunto Triathlon watches (although it’s still not quite perfect)
If you asked me to give you my honest opinion of the best GPS watch for Triathlon it would be a toss up between Polar V800 (chest strap HR) and the Garmin Forerunner 735XT (both with off the wrist HR)
If you are not too worried about having multiple disciplines in the same training file then the TomTom Spark 3 with built-in hear rate is great value for money. If money is no object and you simply the want the best watch that can do everything and go anywhere … please take a look at the Garmin Fenix 5