With so many running watches on the market, featuring everything from 24/7 activity trackers to in-built music players, choosing the right watch, or at least knowing where to start, can be very confusing! That’s why we’ve selected three of our favourite watches on the market to help you choose the one that’s right for you. Every runner will be after something different so, for that reason, we’ve distinguished each watch as ‘the best’ based on three categories.
Best technical watch:
If you’re already wearing a 620, then you’ll be well versed in some of the capabilities of this GPS watch. But the 630 takes things one step further – almost literally. While TomTom has gone for music and usability, Garmin has opted to make the 630 one of the most science-packed watches on the market. As well as the obligatory pace, speed and distance, Garmin has added fitness tracking capabilities into the 630, which means you can now track your steps and sleep. But it’s the new features that really stand out: the 630 can tell how stressed you are, how much time you spend on each leg when running and even your lactate threshold (when paired with the heart-rate monitor). Clever, huh? The 630 really is the appliance of science – and all the better for it!
Best high-end watch:
TomTomRunner 2 Cardio + Runner
When TomTom entered the sports market in 2013 with its first GPS, the TomTom Runner, we were blown away by how well this watch stood up to its competitors – particularly in terms of its ease of use. With only a four-way cursor control, it’s hard to get lost with its functions. Now you’d think with an in-built music player and heart-rate monitor, it’s latest watch, the TomTom Runner 2, would have become far more complex. In fact, it hasn’t and remains with only four controls. An upgrade from the TomTom Runner, this watch now has an in-built music player, storing 500 songs, and 24/7 activity tracking. Music can be listened to wirelessly via Bluetooth headphones and very simply uploaded via your computer. As well as monitoring distance, speed and pace on your training sessions, you can now also monitor your steps, active time and calories day-to-day via its 24/7 activity tracker. The watch also has a multi-sport mode so you can track your performance as you cross-train on the bike, in the pool or at the gym. The TomTom Runner 2 is available in a range of models, all at different price points, with all watches in the range offering multi-sport mode. The watch is a lot lighter and more slimline than its predecessor and you can even choose your strap size. Watch Assistant Editor Jennifer Bozon’s reivew here.
Best entry-level watch:
This watch has certainly stood the test of time. A less technical and more affordable version than the Polar V800, the M400 is the ideal entry-level watch. As well as offering real-time information on pace, speed and distance, this watch also gives you an estimate of what time you’ll finish, based on your average speed, particularly handy at races for PB chasers. With an interval timer you can work on your speed, and very simply track your progress by uploading your sessions to the Polar Flow mobile app. This watch also has a 24/7 activity tracker to monitor your daily activities and calorie expenditure, and can be bundled with a heart-rate sensor – ideal for monitoring just how hard you’re working.