If you’re looking to take your training to the next level this year and are striving for 2016 race perfection, a GPS watch is a fantastic investment, helping you to monitor and keep track of your training. If you’re serious about your weight loss goals this new year, a fitness tracker is likewise your new best friend in helping you to achieve them. But with so many on the market, each with different features and functionalities and some much more advanced and costly than others, choosing the right one for you isn’t always straightforward. To give you a helping hand, we’ve rounded up five of the best fitness watches from GPS gadgets to fitness trackers to heart-rate monitoring devices.
Garmin Forerunner 15, £119.99
An upgrade from the FR10 – Garmin’s entry-level GPS watch, the Garmin Forerunner 15 functions as both running watch and fitness tracker. Now offering heart rate monitor sync and step-counting, the Garmin Forerunner 15 is more than just your average running watch, multi-functioning as a day-to-day fitness tracker with heart rate motoring functionality. Helping you to keep track of your fitness and weight loss goals, the Forerunner 15 monitors activity between your runs, counting your steps and your calories burnt throughout the day. It even reminds you when it’s time to move if you’ve been sitting down for too long! In terms of its specific GPS features, the watch captures general stats including time, distance and pace, whilst also offering an auto lap function whereby the watch alerts you when you complete each mile. As with most running watches, the watch offers a summary of how well you did but also lets you know when you’ve achieved a PB – a feature we love! If you’re familiar with Garmin, you’ll know that in conjunction with its products, it offers a fitness community Garmin Connect to upload your stats, monitor your progress and join online challenges – a great way to log and challenge your progress.
Huawei TalkBand B1, £99.99
If you’re looking for a more general fitness tracker (and on a budget) the Huawei TalkBand B1 is a good option – and a quirky one too! Unlike your average fitness watch, this device also multi-functions as a Bluetooth headset to allow you to take calls on the go! A detachable Bluetooth™ 4.1 wireless earpiece can be released with the press of a button to pop on your ear and enjoy handsfree calling while exercising. As for its fitness tracking capabilities, the device wirelessly monitors your fitness including the number of steps taken, miles covered and calories burned as well as recording the duration and quality of your sleep, including a ‘smart alarm’ feature for enhanced sleep quality. Weighing only 26g and water-resistant too, it’s durable and pretty practical in terms of its fitness tracking capabilities but as for the handsfree calling part, you might find detaching the earpiece and having a casual telephone call, mid-run run, a bit of a faff, particularly if you’re 10k in…
PulseOn Heart Rate Wristband, £179.99
If you’re tired of wrestling with an uncomfortable heart rate belt around your chest whilst out on your runs, you’re going to love the PulseOn wristband. This nifty device tracks your heart rate from your wrist! The device uses wireless connectivity, so before getting started you need to download the app and sync with your phone, before inputting your details. The sensor listens to your heart rate by registering the amount of oxygen used by your heart and the app then advises a suitable training intensity for your current fitness level. What we love about this heart rate monitor is that it doubles up as GPS watch too, tracking speed, distance and calories burned. It doesn’t let you slack either – the watch offers a guide on effort level, helping you to stay within your recommended training effort and gauge your recovery time.
Polar M400, £169.50
A high quality fitness tracker and running watch (also available with heart rate monitor), the Polar M400 quite literally has it all. Polar’s second GPS watch that integrates activity tracking, the M400 is primarily a runner’s watch but supports other activities too including cycling. Most Polar watches include different ‘Smart Coaching’ features to help you to develop your training and give you feedback. Included in the M400 is the finish time estimator option which estimates how long it’ll take you to complete a run of a certain distance at your current pace – a feature we love! It not only saves you trying to work it all out in your head (which doesn’t always turn out to be accurate when you reach the finish line) but really spurs you on if you see that you’re behind on your target time. The GPS tracks your distance, pace, time and altitude whist running all of which can be viewed during and after a run, along with details of how many calories you burned, fat burn percentage of calories, auto lap times and much much more. All of which can be uploaded to Polar’s website and mobile app using your computer or connecting your smartphone. In terms of its fitness tracking features, the watch tracks how many steps you’ve taken and distance traveled throughout the day as well as monitoring calories burned and your sleep at night. If you’re series about achieving your training goals this new year, the Polar400 really is your new best friend.
TomTom Runner Cardio, £219.99
A follow-up to the TomTom Runner, the TomTom Runner Cardio is a highly advanced GPS running watch with wrist-based heart-rate monitor. Whilst this watch may come at a price, it’s for very good reason. Like the PulseOn Heart Rate Wristband, this watch requires no chest straps to monitor heart rate, it instead uses an advanced system that measures the colour of your skin to track blood flow and calculate heart rate. For us, the best feature of this watch is how simple it is to use! Whilst it offers many advanced features such as bespoke target setting and complex heart rate training zones, there are few settings and most of the input is done via a four-way cursor. Data is also really easy to upload to the TomTom website via a smartphone app. Offering many advanced and clever features yet extremely simple to use, this has to be one of our favourites.