Some have a waterproof function, others have a GPS tracker, and still others have multi-sport features to track specific activity performances.
There are luxury watches to make you look and feel good, smartwatches to help you always stay in sync, and then there’s sports watches to keep track of all your fitness activities. Sure, a few watches in the market may claim to fit all three categories, but not all of us would want to wear the same watch to gym as we do to say, an evening soiree, would we?
Made for active users, sports watches and fitness trackers go beyond just monitoring your heart-rate; some have a waterproof function to accommodate water-based sports, others have a GPS tracker to determine your running distance, and still others have multi-sport features to track specific activity performances.
We round up 6 sports watches and fitness trackers that work best for different sports and activity levels, so you can work better towards your fitness goals.
For high-movement activities: Fitbit Alta HR
While Fitbits are generally popular for all-round fitness tracking, many of them do not have a GPS tracking feature, which is essential for a more accurate measurement of distance. However, the latest and slimmest Fitbit, the Alta HR, has a SmartTrack feature which recognizes activities with high and continuous movement. This works great for recording indoor workouts such as ellipticals and running on the treadmill, or high-movement sports like tennis and basketball. The Alta HR also tracks steps, calories and sleep, and provides alerts of calls, texts and messages from your phone via Bluetooth or WiFi. W fitbit.com
For outdoor adventures and intense training: Garmin fēnix® 5
Those who enjoy hiking, skiing, swimming or golfing would appreciate the Garmin fēnix 5 for its advanced specs and durable design. Featuring GPS and GLONASS satellite reception and a 3-axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter, this sports watch can help you navigate freely outdoors as well as track specific measurements such as cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance, vertical oscillation and vertical ratio to better analyse your form. With individual sports profiles for different types of sports, users can easily monitor their own training and recovery progress. Plus, the fēnix 5 acts like a smartwatch with smart notification features and other Garmin Connect Mobile applications including Uber and Strava. W garmin.com
For indoor and cardio-based activities: TomTom Spark
Long hours at the gym or on a run doesn’t have to be monotonous, especially not when you can listen to your favourite music – even without your phone. As its name suggests, the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music features all the specs needed for a music-filled cardio routine. This includes 3GB of internal storage to hold over 500 songs; long battery life and headphone support for non-stop music playback; as well as GPS, motion sensors and heart-rate monitor to track your fitness. It also comes with different modes for treadmill, cycling, swimming and gym workouts and audio performance feedback to help keep you on track with your goals. W tomtom.com
For outdoor runs: New Balance Run IQ
If you’re all about running or jogging outdoors, then the New Balance Run IQ watch would be a helpful companion. Made by runners for runners, the watch tracks your course, pace, and distance with its built-in GPS and allows you to record intervals and laps with a single click. It synchronises with Android phones to display your messages and notifications, as well as to allow you to listen to music on Google Play via Bluetooth earphones. Users can also connect with a community of runners on Strava, the in-built app, to join challenges and train with friends and pros around the world. The weather won’t be a problem, as the watch is water resistant up to 5 ATM, so you can even go for a quick swim with it on. W newbalance.com
For marathons and triathlons: Garmin Forerunner 935
Not all sports watches are made equal – the Garmin Forerunner tops others when it comes to marathons and triathlons. Featuring a built-in barometer; altimeter and electronic compass, the Forerunner 935 captures elevation changes and other advanced dynamics like ground contact time and stride length when running, swimming and cycling. Plus, the Forerunner gives you the option to tap into more accurate and advanced data with a compatible heart rate strap to test lactate threshold and the HRV (heart rate variability). W garmin.com
For overall fitness tracking: Apple Watch Series 2 (Nike+)
Apple is no stranger to the fitness community since the launch of the Apple Watch Series 2, but its collaboration with Nike takes it one step further to place sports as the primary focus over aesthetics. That’s not to say the Apple Watch Nike+ is not physically appealing, because it is, and the Nike sports band weighs in further on practicality too. Like the other Series 2 watches, it features a built-in GPS and GLONASS reception, heart rate sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope to track all your fitness activities. However, it only works with the iPhone 5 and above or an iOS 10 and later, much to the disappointment of Android phone users who admire the watch. That said, the Apple Watch Nike+ is a great option to consider for iPhone users who are light to moderately active. W apple.com