Tested: Smartwatch Batteries
Smartwatches are packing in higher-quality health and fitness features, making them more popular with cyclists. You can now access accurate heart-rate, sleep, and recovery data, as well as workout tracking functions, right from your wrist—no bike computer necessary. But all those features can quickly drain a smartwatch’s small battery, sometimes within a few hours if you’re using GPSenabled apps or streaming music. We compared three premium smartwatches—the Polar Grit X, Suunto 9, and Garmin Forerunner 745—that are popular with cyclists to see which had the best battery life under typical ride conditions. Our test was simple but effective: We connected each to heart-rate and power sensors (another drain on battery), set them to their most accurate GPS level (higher accuracy levels require more energy), and pressed start, running them until the batteries died. Then we charged each watch back to 50 percent and reran the test.
The Polar Grit X was the king of the battery challenge, but as a newer model, it has yet to prove as durable as one of our longtime favorites, the Suunto 9. The Forerunner 745 performed admirably and is a great choice for those who aren’t ultra-endurance athletes and already like using the Garmin Connect companion app.
Polar Grit X F 65g F $425 The Polar Grit X ran for 48 hours, 59 minutes, and 48 seconds from fully charged, and 23 hours and one minute from half charged.
Suunto 9 F 85g F $499 Not far behind was the Suunto 9, which lasted 40 hours, 10 minutes, and three seconds at full, and 25 hours and 40 minutes when started at 50 percent.
Garmin Forerunner 745 F 47g F $500 The lightweight Forerunner clocked 23 hours, 45 minutes, and 48 seconds on full, and 11 hours, 56 minutes, and six seconds at half.