STATE OF THE ART
GPS sports watches are also smartwatches and activity trackers now. But which is the gold medalist?
We test three of the most popular GPS sports watches to see which helped us hit peak performance
Thanks to the combined rise of activity trackers and smartwatches, being a GPS sports watch simply isn’t enough nowadays. A premium sports watch must do everything: count steps, calories and sleep 24/7, relay notifications and be a desirable, brightly coloured vibrating gadget that people want to tap, swipe and constantly tinker with.
What’s fascinating about the three GPS sports watches on test is that they’re all trying to make the same thing, but coming at it from totally different angles. Garmin has long been the master of the sports watch, but has lagged behind on the more crowdpleasing trendy smartwatch stuff. Apple knows all about that, but can it turn its hand to a genuinely credible premium sports piece to rival Garmin?
Meanwhile, can newer kid on the block, Fitbit, hitherto master of simpler activity trackers, up its game significantly enough to make a viable rival to these two?
The sports-minded consumer expects a wrist-based gadget that can accurately record reams of data from their workouts – be that running, cycling, swimming, gym-based gurning and more – collate it and coach from it. But alongside that, count steps and monitor heart rate and sleep all around the clock. While we do want them to be connected to the social world, it’s not our biggest focus here: we’re primarily judging them on their ability to help you beat your personal bests and feel harder, better, faster, and whatever else that song said.
So who does that the best? And which watches make compromises too far? And when it comes down to the wire, who can offer that little bit extra? We put each watch through its paces to find out.