Smartwatches have become important daily companions and are also great for sports sessions. Choosing the right smartwatch for your activity is crucial. Apple may dominate the market, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best for sports. A good GPS tracking system and accurate data collection during sessions are necessary. There are many GPS cardio watches able to monitor heart rate, VO2max, and other elements to take care of your body. You can choose between connected watches or bracelets for sports. Before selecting a watch, consider GPS tracking and heart monitoring accuracy. So without further ado, here are our top picks for sports-oriented smartwatches in 2023:
The best sports-oriented smartwatches in 2023
Garmin Forerunner 255
First up is the Garmin Forerunner 255, which is the best GPS watch for running. It offers accurate GPS tracking and data collection, making it a great choice for runners.
Garmin, a well-known brand in the sports connected watch sector, has established itself as a benchmark in the industry. Among its extensive range of products, the Forerunner 255 is a highly recommended model for those who want to follow a specific sports program. This model is available in two versions, including one called “s” with more compact dimensions, making it suitable for people with different wrist sizes.
One of the standout features of the Forerunner 255 is its display screen, which is visible even in bright sunlight. The watch incorporates MIP technology, which uses an anti-reflective treatment to provide a display that is similar to the e-ink on e-readers. The watch’s interface can be navigated using a wheel instead of a touch interface, making it easier to use while on the move.
The Forerunner 255’s sporting component is where it truly shines. The watch’s sensors are capable of recording a variety of data, including the number of steps taken and heart rate, and can even predict your training pace. Additionally, the watch includes a “Trend race predictor” function, which estimates your performance over a given distance. To further personalize your training sessions and plan them accordingly, Garmin’s sports program is available for free.
In tests, the Forerunner 255 excelled in two key areas for sports enthusiasts. Firstly, the watch’s GPS tracking is highly accurate, thanks to its compatibility with Galileo, Glonass, and Beidou standards. Secondly, the heart rate measurements taken by the watch are comparable to those taken by an abdominal belt, providing an accurate representation of your body’s response to exercise.
Overall, the Forerunner 255 is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a high-quality sports watch that offers a range of features to help them achieve their fitness goals. With its accurate GPS tracking, precise heart rate monitoring, and customizable training programs, this watch is truly a standout among its competitors.
Garmin Fenix 7
Next is the Garmin Fenix 7, which is the most complete connected watch for sports. It has a wide range of features, including GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, and VO2max measurements.
When it comes to investing in sports training, some people find it really worth it. For those looking for a reliable connected watch, the Garmin Fenix 7 is considered the reference model, provided that you’re willing to pay the price. This watch comes in three different versions, each designed to fit your wrist and screen size preferences.
One of the most impressive features of the Fenix 7 is its ability to dive 100 meters deep without difficulty. The screen is equipped with transflective MIP technology, which allows it to adapt to variations in light and is also tactile. However, mastering navigation with this watch may take a few days of adaptation. To use the watch, you’ll need to download the Garmin Connect application.
This watch is a true companion to your daily activities and offers a detailed report of the last 7 days. The training component of the watch is completely free and tracks your performance whether you’re running, swimming, or skiing. It also has a built-in barometer, SpO2 sensor, and heart rate sensor, allowing you to monitor your health data.
The Sapphire Solar version of the Fenix 7 includes a GPS tracking system (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo), which provides accurate measurements and a rendering close to reality. The heart monitoring feature also provides values similar to those of a heart rate monitor belt, making it ideal for split training or long-term effort.
The battery life of the Fenix 7 can last up to two weeks, making it perfect for extended use. Overall, it’s considered the best watch available for sports enthusiasts. However, the price of $699 may be an obstacle for some who are looking for a more affordable option. Despite its high price, the Fenix 7 is still highly recommended for those who are serious about their training and want a reliable and advanced tool to help them achieve their fitness goals.
Suunto 9 Peak Pro
For those looking for a compact sports watch, the Suunto 9 Peak Pro is a great option. It offers accurate GPS tracking and a long battery life, making it ideal for endurance sports.
Suunto, a Finnish brand, is highly regarded in the connected watch market, and the 9 Peak Pro is a high-performance sports connected watch that will accompany you. During tests, it turned out to have an extremely satisfying performance.
The watch’s design is one of its standout features, as it is fairly discreet and elegant. It has a transflective MIP screen that allows you to view information even in direct sunlight, and the touch interface is protected by sapphire crystal glass.
The internal software makes navigation simple, and you can use either the touch screen or the three buttons on the side. The Suunto application is ideal for sporting use, and the watch has over a hundred sports modes installed. It also features a GNSS chip that is compatible with GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, and BEIDOU.
While GPS tracking is consistent, heart tracking can be hit or miss. The watch’s battery life is one of its biggest strengths, as it can last for over 10 days without any issues. Charging takes less than an hour. However, the watch cannot be used to make calls.
The basic version of the connected watch is priced at $499. If you’re looking for a high-performance sports connected watch with a sleek design, the Suunto 9 Peak Pro is an excellent choice.
Huawei Watch GT Runner
The Huawei Watch GT Runner is a great choice for those just starting to run. It offers basic GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring features, but it’s affordable and easy to use.
Over the past few years, Huawei has been working on expanding its ecosystem beyond just smartphones. One area they have focused on is the development of their smartwatch offerings, with the Watch GT Runner being a more sporty option. This watch has a simple design, but is very comfortable to wear, making it a good choice for those seeking a companion for their exercise routine. However, for those looking for a more comprehensive experience, we recommend the Huawei Watch GT 3.
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One of the key strengths of the Watch GT Runner is its personalization options. The watch will ask you to run in order to better understand your fitness level and create a tailored training program for you. This program will adapt and evolve over time, helping you make real progress in your fitness goals. However, it’s important to note that the sports coach feature only speaks English when connected to a smartphone, meaning you will need to use the watch to access other language options.
Unfortunately, the sports coach feature is somewhat limited by the Huawei Health app, which is no longer receiving updates due to the company’s international troubles. Despite this, the watch can still be used with a smartphone, though you will miss out on any future updates or additional features.
One area where the Watch GT Runner falls short compared to other watches is its battery life. With only 4 days of autonomy, it lags behind other options on the market. However, it’s still a solid choice for those seeking a good experience without breaking the bank. Overall, Huawei’s smartwatch offerings are a promising area of development for the company, and the Watch GT Runner is a good example of their progress in this area.
Coros Apex 2 Pro
If you need a watch that can last a long time, the Coros Apex 2 Pro is the way to go. It has a battery life of up to 100 hours and offers accurate GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring.
If you’re a fan of sports watches, then you’re probably familiar with the Chinese brand Coros. They’ve gained a lot of popularity in recent years for their high-quality sports watches. The Apex 2 Pro is their latest offering, and it’s clear that they’ve put a lot of thought into the design. The watch looks incredibly solid. And this is thanks to the use of a titanium alloy, which provides the best possible protection.
One of the standout features of the Coros Apex 2 Pro is its battery life. During tests, it was able to get up to 30 days of use out of the watch without using the GPS. This is pretty impressive, and it’s a testament to the efficiency of the watch’s design. However, when it comes to recharging the watch, it can be a little slow.
Another impressive feature of the Apex 2 Pro is its water resistance. The watch is certified to operate up to 50 meters deep, and it can withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius. This makes it a great choice for anyone who enjoys water sports or who lives in a colder climate.
When it comes to the display, the Apex 2 Pro offers an LCD screen with permanent memory. This means that you can consult all the necessary information at any time, regardless of the circumstances. While the display isn’t as detailed as you might find on a traditional smartwatch, it’s still quite satisfactory. The interface is also touch-sensitive, which makes it easy to navigate.
Of course, no sports watch would be complete without GPS compatibility, and the Apex 2 Pro doesn’t disappoint in this regard. It offers GPS, Glonass, Galileo, Beidou, and QZSS compatibility, which means that you can track your movements with incredible accuracy. The heart monitoring feature is also very reliable. It’s essential for anyone who wants to keep track of their fitness levels.
All in all, the Coros Apex 2 Pro is an excellent sports watch that offers a wide range of features. Considering the integrated sports features and its price of $500, it’s undoubtedly one of the best watches available on the market today.
Garmin Forerunner 965
For triathletes, the Garmin Forerunner 965 is the best watch for the job. It offers accurate GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, and a range of other features that make it ideal for multi-sport athletes.
The Garmin brand has released a new version of its Forerunner watch, called the 965, less than a year after the previous generation. The buttons are positioned well for daily use and the watch is rather discreet on the wrist. Despite being elegant and designed for sports.
The main feature of this connected watch is its touch screen. It’s an OLED panel instead of the Transflective MIP technology used in the previous version. This allows for a higher quality display with improved brightness and more accurate colors. However, the Oled display falls behind the MIP in full sunlight during sports sessions.
In terms of health features, the GPS and heart rate accuracy are still top notch. It also offers a dynamic mapping system that is ideal for trail racing and provides more details on the quality of running, such as the vertical ratio, time of contact with the ground, and length of strides. This offers more details for training purposes.
The Garmin Forerunner 965 also has good battery life, with the ability to last a week during tests that included several races where the multiband GPS was required. It supplants the Forerunner 955 in this area. The starting price for the watch is $649.
Apple Watch Series 8
Last but not least, the Apple Watch Series 8 is a great option for athletes who prefer Apple products. It offers accurate GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring. And a range of other features that make it a great choice for sports.
When it comes to the world of sports features, Apple is making strides to establish a noteworthy presence in the connected watch market. Their latest release, the Apple Watch Series 8, is a smartwatch that excels both in everyday use and during sports activities. However, it’s important to note that there are some limitations to what it can do.
For those who are loyal to Apple, the Series 8 smartwatch is the best option for sports activities. The OLED screen comes in two sizes, 1.69 or 1.9 inches, depending on which version you choose. It offers excellent brightness for displaying content. If you’re looking for stronger materials, the interchangeable bracelets are easy to replace.
The Series 8 has the same GPS tracking capabilities as the previous generation, with GNSS and L1 compatibility. The tracking is precise, allowing you to run with peace of mind. The watchOS 9 update brings significant improvements to sports monitoring, including interval management and customizable exercises with multiple activities. However, there are still some limitations, such as the inability to create custom programs based on your performance.
Heart rate tracking is another excellent feature of the Apple Watch Series 8. The only drawback is its low battery life, which has never been a strong point of Apple’s watches. With a battery life of only two days, this falls short compared to other smartwatches on the market.
If you’re an iPhone owner who wants to stay within the Apple ecosystem, the Series 8 is a great choice with an entry price of $499. Overall, Apple has made significant strides in the sports smartwatch market with the Series 8. Although there is still room for improvement in terms of battery life and customizability.
In conclusion, finding the right smartwatch for sports can be a challenge. But it is crucial to have a watch that meets your needs. With the variety of options available, it is important to consider features such as GPS tracking and heart monitoring accuracy when selecting a watch. The models mentioned above are some of the best smartwatches for sports on the market.