Monitoring your progress as you head out on a run or test your skills in a competitive sport has never been easier thanks to smart, stylish fitness watches. But with so many models on the market, working out which watch to wear can be tricky.
There are pros and cons to every fitness watch model, so here are some key features that you should look out for to ensure you pick the right one for your needs.
The cost of a fitness watch can range from $20 to $400 or more, so it is a good idea to set a budget before you start looking and stick to it wherever possible.
Bear in mind that the more you spend, the greater the number of features a watch will pack in. You will also be splashing out for better build quality, as well as a more prestigious brand, so it really depends on your priorities.
A fitness watch needs to be able to stand the test of time and will be put through some fairly punishing conditions when worn during exercise outdoors. For this reason, you may well want to buy a model that is waterproof and suitable solid in its design to prevent wear and tear.
Specialist products built with physical activity in mind, such as the best Garmin running watches, will live up to expectations in this respect. Be sure to check the waterproof rating of a watch before you buy, as some are more resilient than others.
Fitness watches vary in the types of activities that they can reliably track, with the most basic simply counting the number of steps you take, while the more advanced are able to differentiate between different types of sports, from jogging and cycling to swimming and beyond.
If all you need is a device to give you a rough idea of how much you are staying active from day to day, a more affordable fitness watch could be ideal. If, on the other hand, you want in-depth analytics on a whole range of activities, you will need to be prepared to spend more.
Fitness watches can come equipped with the ability to play back media files, which is convenient if you want to listen to music and podcasts while you are working out without having to also haul a phone or other device around to achieve this.
Check up on the compatibility of any prospective fitness watch with the kinds of files you want to play, as well as looking out for the amount of onboard storage it offers to see how many tracks you can add to it without needing to make changes.
This may be one of the most important features of any fitness watch, since with built-in GPS the best models will not only let you see how much exercise you have done, but also track exactly where you have been.
It is worth noting that some models only support location-based capabilities so long as they are paired with a compatible smartphone, piggybacking on the integrated GPS that is virtually universal in modern mobile handsets. However, there are products which come with their own GPS antennae onboard, once again saving you from having to haul another device with you.
Plenty of fitness watch manufacturers make claims about the different types of activity that their products can keep tabs on, but accuracy can vary and it is always worth checking independent reviews as well as customer feedback to see which options live up to the hype.