The Best Fitness Watches to Consider Reviewed and Compared

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Searching for Fitness Watches? Take a look at the best Fitness Watches of 2017, Pros & Cons and what to be aware of before buying them online or in a store.

The first thing you want to do if you’re considering purchasing a fitness tracker or watch is to sit down and really consider why you want it. How will you use it most often? What type of conditions do you need it to work in? What features do you absolutely need and which ones can you do without? For example, runners will mostly appreciate a watch with built in GPS. Someone simply wishing to count calories may not. The thought process above is the way to avoid a watch that doesn’t meet your standards or splurging on one that offers more than you need.

 

Another consideration to make it what type of phone you have. Many (almost all) fitness watches interact with your phone and utilize mobile applications or training software. If there are certain apps or programs you know that you want to try (Nike+ for example) out this needs to go into your forethought as well.

Our Top 3 Picks
Suunto Ambit3 Peak
  • Suunto Ambit3 Peak
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Sync with Smartphone
  • Price: See Here
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Soleus Ultra Sole
  • Soleus Ultra Sole
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Has hydration alarm
  • Price: See Here
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Timex Ironman Sleek
  • Timex Ironman Sleek
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Dated Training Log
  • Price: See Here
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There are a lot of options when it comes to watches if you’re feeling at all overwhelmed we are here to help. We’ve compiled an exhaustive list of the best fitness watches. Some are fancy and some are plain. For details, reviews, pros/cons, specs and discussion read on!


Suunto Ambit3 Peak HR Running GPS Unit

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Rounding out our list we have a real heavy hitter, the Suunto Ambit3 Peak. Dependable, tank-like timepiece is a premium grade multisport GPS watch with over 50 preset modes and rich activity-specific metrics so you can get every last ounce out of your training regime. It provides reliable altitude and weather information with full navigation, so it’s great for running in the mountains. With a battery life of over 200 hours this watch won’t quit, and will be there with you every step of the way. For a full list of impressive features see below.
Pros
  • Enabled 5 sec-GPS accuracy
  • Compass altitude (FusedAltiTM) monitoring system
  • Includes the Movescount training program(s)
  • Ability to create a Suunto Movie and share metrics and photos with friends instantly
  • Records and analyzes all manner of body and environmental metrics
  • GPS / GLONASS tracking and route navigation, also leaves real time breadcrumbs
Cons
  • Some GPS tracking issues in some areas


Soleus Ultra Sole

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This is a great watch for those who yearn for simpler times, and who are not interested in strapping a hard drive to their wrist. The Soleus Ultra Sole was designed by ultra-runners for ultra runners. The unique brand of masochism that makes up this culture might raise some questions, but what cannot be questioned is this is a that is a great and affordable athletic wristwatch. Its got a 100-hour chronograph for long distances, a 15-second EL backlight for running in the dark, and a hydration alarm if you tend to get absent minded once the legs start churning. All in all a solid choice in watch at a very reasonable price.
Pros
  • Polyurethane composed strap for a comfortable fit
  • .5 inch face diameter, durable plastic construction
  • x35 lap data storage capacity
  • 5 separate interval timers, 3 different alarm types
  • EL backlighting for nighttime visibility
  • Systematized hydration alarm
Cons
  • Some found issues with weather resistance


Timex Ironman 50-Lap Sleek Watch

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Quite simple compared to some other fitness watches, but don’t underestimate the usefulness of the Timex Ironman. Designed with Triathletes in mind the 50-Lap lets you track all of your training in and out of the water. It allows you to get detailed lap/time/step workout summaries. Boasting a 100m water depth resistance the 50-lap this is a tough character of a watch. Gender specific (women), it’s a great bang (albeit slightly minimalist) for your buck.
Pros
  • Diamond-shape face display
  • Cutout resin band with interlocking buckle closure
  • Featuring a indiglo night light, 100-Hour Chronograph
  • Also has the following handy modes: 99-Lap counter, 100-hour countdown timer with stop and repeat
  • Water resistant to 330 feet (100 M), can be used for all types of swimming and snorkeling
Cons
  • Paint on the face tends to fade after continuous use

TomTom Spark GPS Watch

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The TomTom Spark isn’t strapping a computer to your wrist in the same sense some of the higher end model fitness watches are. But that doesn’t mean that it’s less than necessarily. In fact we happen to think it sticks to its task brilliantly. The Spark helps you to capture every minute of your day, not just run time — leaving you with a macro view of your body’s performance over the course of twenty four hours Coming in a lightweight, water resistant body the Spark is your reps coach when it comes to distance, time, steps, stairs, calories — you name it!
Pros
  • GPS and GLONASS capabilities, track what is most vital
  • Easy, and simple training modes, run, bike, swim
  • Has built in active audio feedback if you need a few cues or some motivation
  • Works with Android, Apple iOS, and Windows — so pick your favorite app!
  • Firm and strong wristband/latch combination — won’t slip on your wrist
  • Water resistant to a distance of 40m
Cons
  • Challenging with some bluetooth headphones

Casio WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor

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Famous for their calculator/watch combination of years past, (and hipsters today) everyone loves a good Casio. The WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor watch is a good ally if you plan to tackle a mountain or simply a local trail. Although its size is slightly larger than some watches, it is quite comfortable to wear, and the payoff you get is top notch processing and functionality. Probably the most eye catching feature of the WSD-F10 is a dual-layer display with and LCD overlaid on an OLED screen. The result is a sharp and useful display. The OLED screen can be toggled off monochrome to save battery life if needed. For the litany of other perks this watch provides please see below.
Pros
  • This timepiece has been tested against US Department of Defense military standards
  • Runs off of Android Wear technology, easily compatible with third party apps
  • Cushy urethane wristband ensures that extended periods of wear don’t become uncomfortable
  • 1.32 inches 2-layer LCD display, display can be adjusted to monochrome mode to help the battery last longer
  • Water resistant to 50m (165ft), okay for triathletes, but not divers
  • Four built-in sensors give real time notification of activity tracking, including the following data types: altimeter, barometer, and compass readings (No need for phone)
  • Functionality extends far beyond running with user friendly apps for trekking, cycling and fishing.
Cons
  • No onboard GPS

Samsung Gear Fit2

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When it comes to screens and displays the Samsung GearFit 2 is a unique and innovative choice. This watch has a AMOLED (which essentially stands for Active Matrix LED) screen which is shiny and vibrant. A lot of fitness trackers and watches have been toning down screen color in favor of battery life (or simply added girth to account for the difference), the Gear Fit 2 goes in direct opposition to this trend. On the fitness side the watch there’s GPS built in for all your run tracking needs and an visual heart rate monitor. Best of all you get this for a very attractive price tag.
Pros
  • Tracks the essentials: step, heart rate, distance, time and even sleep quality
  • Built-in GPS allows for easy geographic tracking
  • Auto-tracking recognizes your activity and sets the mode accordingly
  • Easily syncs with apps and software, take spotify with you if you like
  • Ability to receive and respond to alerts, calls, texts, etc right from your wrist
Cons
  • Use with Samsung's S Health app is required, some preferred use of different apps

Fitbit – Blaze Smart Fitness Watch

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A simple way to track any exercise you do the Fitbit Blaze, an easy to use, stylish and medium priced option for the runner who likes quality but doesn’t need to go over the top. With its SmartTrack system the Blaze will instantly recognize when you are exercising, and the GPS will then begin real time tracking. This handy little watch also provides on screen tips and hints to help you train optimally and it even can assist you while asleep (with built in sleep tracking). To state it simply: the features and functionality packed into this sleek little timepiece are a bargain for the price.
Pros
  • Collects data on the following metrics: activity vs. inactivity, calories burned, distance traveled, hours slept, stairs climbed, and of course heart rate
  • Compatible with Android, Apple iOS, and Windows
  • High resolution touchscreen display
  • Syncs easily with any other Fitbit product or software
  • The wristband is made from extremely tough elastomer and the frame of the watch from high grade stainless steel
  • Smart notification system, keeps you in the loop at all times (if you want)
Cons
  • Some aren't crazy about the wristband

Garmin Vivofit 2

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Shifting gears to the other end of the spectrum we have the Garmin Vivofit 2. This is a budget friendly, dependable, and easy to use fitness band/watch. You won’t find any high end glitz here, but what you will find is a handy way to track your fitness and a nice range of functionality for your average runner. The vivofit, alerts you if you’ve been completely inactive for an hour, it tracks daily steps, and it’s waterproof so there’s no stress about getting it wet.
Pros
  • Small lightweight (about as big as two medium sized rubber bands)
  • Audible activity alert, customizable settings
  • Learns your activity tendencies and  develops personalized goals for you
  • Backlit display, never miss a step — also easy to see in low light
  • 1 + year battery life, runs on very low power, no worry about replacing
  • Bluetooth enabled, syncs easily with mobile devices
  • Activity timer — can work in conjunction with a heart rate monitor
  • Includes a USB ANT Stick
Cons
  • Lacks some of the audible alerts found in other similar watches

Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch

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The Polar V800 is not a cheap watch, but for those who appreciate quality (and like to spoil themselves) it is a spectacular little piece of technology. The V800 helps you reach the next level by letting you know when you push and when to hold. It integrates GPS and 24/7 activity data so you’re never in the dark about the state of your body. This watch is loaded with features, has a great battery life, and is on the cutting edge of sports tech. Probably not suited for a casual jogger, but if you’re a bit more ambitious the V800 is a formidable ally. See below:
Pros

 

  • Gorilla Glass lens offers sharp contrast and scratch resistant display surface
  • 14 hour rechargeable battery life
  • Altitude, ascent, and descent tracking with a barometric altimeter
  • Customizable profiles for various sports
  • Polar Flow app, flawlessly allows you to sync workouts
  • Waterproof to 100ft (30m), good for triathletes as well
  • Comes with a H7 Bluetooth Smart heart rate sensor

 

Cons
  • Some don't like the charging port

The bottom line is whether you’re a road runner, trail runner, ultra marathoner, occasional triathlete, or really any type of outdoor sports enthusiast — a good fitness watch can be an invaluable addition to your gear set. With the right watch your training can be tightly measured, and exponentially more effective. Plus a lot of the gadgets, features, and frills built into these things are just plain fun. There is always something to be said for novelty.

Fitness watches are a complicated topic, there is so much going on here than simple timekeeping. Considering all of the technology, testing and application based development that goes into many of these watches this post barely scratches the surface. For watch aficionados or sports tech geeks the depth can be endless. The intricacies of display technology can be posts in themselves. We never set out to belabor any of these points. Our hope is that this post has provided a bit more information for the average athlete. If you’re considering purchasing a fitness watch consider yourself armed with more information. Happy Running!

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