GPS watches are a critical tool for any athlete wanting to track their progress during a lengthy run, swim or bike ride. They track distance, time, pace, calories, and sometimes even heart rate. And while an activity tracker is also great, athletes should invest in an actual GPS watch, too (Why? For one, those trackers don't always have screens to allow you to see your progress in real time.) Check out our top eight picks, ranging from budget-friendly to splurgy-worthy for 2015.
Not only does the Garmin Forerunner 15 track pace, distance, and calories burned during your workout, but it functions as an activity tracker afterwards by counting your steps and reminding you when it’s time to move again. You'll get up to eight hours of battery life with the GPS function turned on and you can use it on the treamill as well as the road.
This wallet-friendly watch features a heart rate monitor along with other basic GPS watch functions such as tracking distance and speed. A great intro watch for athletes not looking for a lot of bells and whistles.
This sleek watch took the ISPO (an international sports business trade show) gold medal in exceptional sportsgear for 2015/2016. And we can see why: in addition to all the to-be-expected features, it includes an app called "Polar Flow" that syncs training data automatically to your iPhone right after you exercise (so you can analyze all that info and actually do something with it!), plus, it tracks your sleep and steps post-workout.
The Sony SmartWatch 3 lets you receive messages on your wrist, plus pairs with bluetooth headphones so you can listen to your favorite workout jams without your phone on you. Sorry iPhone users, this is only an Android-compatible watch.
The Ambit3 Run is Suunto’s first bluetooth smart watch and it allows athletes of any sport to monitor heart rate, plan workouts, follow progress and share their proudest sports moments through the Suunto Movescount app. It also has the ability to record heart rate under water while swimming and track daily activity.
For athletes who hate the hassle of carrying their phone on runs or rides, the Timex Ironman One GPS+ is a godsend. It’s equipped with service from AT&T so you can leave your phone at home and receive messages directly on your watch (you can also send SOS messages in case of emergency.) Plus, it tracks your swims and has 4GB of internal storage for your music.
There’s no need to swap watches between the office and your workout with the Garmin Fenix 3. The rugged design fuses innovative fitness training features like a V02 Max estimate, plus a 20-hour battery life in full training mode, with a plain 'ol watch (you can easily flip the faces from the training view to the analog clock face.)