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Choosing a GPS Sports Watch

Updated on September 28, 2011

Getting and Staying Fit with a GPS Sports Watch

A GPS sports watch is perfect for anyone striving to hit a health or fitness goal. They offer much more than a basic pedometer that counts steps and so forth. Many of these device will monitor heart rate and allow you to set performance goals, track progress, set alarms and even set up virtual partners for competition.

On this page you can learn more about the various features these devices offer and find some of the best GPS sports watches available.

Buying Tips

A GPS sports watch is perfect for sports from running to cross country skiing. Before you purchase one there are a number of features to consider:

  • Size
    Some of these watches provide many, many fitness training functions. They are however, much larger than a traditional wrist watch. There are some however which are significantly smaller and look more like a traditional watch. You will need to determine what will be comfortable to you and what functions you prefer.

  • Display
    A good display won't be too small to read. Some GPS sports watches will allow you to customize the display so that the information you want is what shows up versus other information that isn't critical to your work out or activity.

    Certainly a backlit display or night light can also be very useful in many situations. Some of these devices also offer a display zoom for easier viewing.

  • Simplicity
    Sometimes the last thing you want is something complicated while your attention is turned toward your fitness routine. As indicated above, some of these devices allow you to simplify the display so that only the information you want shows. It can also be important to have only a few simple buttons to operate the watch and it's display. Certainly a USB connection or even wireless capabilities can make it easier to download information to your PC when appropriate. Having charging options is good too; being able to use an AC adapter or USB connection for charging can be convenient.

  • Functions
    A good GPS sports watch is the one that has the function you need. Some will provide more traditional watch functions such as an alarm, snooze, and dual time zone. Some of the more fitness oriented options include a stopwatch and measurement of speed, distance, pace, heart rate, recovery heart rate, calories burned or expenditure, count down timer, interval timers, and so forth. Some will allow you to set up targets or zones to allow the device to indicate when you've exceeded an upper or lower limit or reached a target. They may also tell you how long you were at a given level.

    Other potential functions include a reading of altitude/elevation, grade, heading, latitude, longitude and even a way of indicating waypoints to help you retrace your steps. These are afterall, GPS devices. Some even allow you to do some rudimentary mapping.

    Some of these sports watches will also provide software to allow you to download, analyze, share, and store your workout information online or on your PC. You may be able to set up a course online and allow your watch to guide you as you go. In other instances, you can set up a virtual partner to provide some competition.

  • Durability
    One feature that really helps assure durability is water resistance or waterproofing. If the watch you're considering is waterproof the manufacturer information will state that; and in most instances will indicate to what extent. For instance, the device may be waterproof to depths of 10 feet.


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    • profile image

      Prostrate Surgery 6 years ago

      Some of these sports watches will also provide software to allow you to download, analyze, share, and store your workout information online or on your PC.

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      Great Hub! I have the Garmin Forerunner 205 but I want a new one. They make such a big difference in training!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      This is just what I need. Thanks.

    • ThePartyAnimal profile image

      ThePartyAnimal 7 years ago

      Very Cool - Never heard of them before - thanks for the info - now only if I liked to exercise -lol