The 8 Best GPS Watches to Buy in 2017

GPS Watches for Running, Golf, Fitness, Hiking, and More

The latest GPS watches are designed for a range of sports and outdoor activities, from running to golfing, fitness and more. Unlike a smartphone, a GPS watch is waterproof, and can take a beating in tough outdoor conditions. 

The Garmin Forerunner 230 is a full-featured runner's watch that uses both GPS and an accelerometer to measure speed, distance, and location. The accelerometer picks up where GPS may let you down, such as on an indoor track or within urban canyons. The Forerunner 230 also works with a wireless Garmin heart rate monitor. The 230 also has connected features, such as wireless upload of your workouts to Garmin Connect, and the ability to track your location and stats in real time when linked with your smartphone.

If you can dispense with the high-end features such as wireless training log updates and real-time tracking, but you want an affordable watch that works with a wireless heart rate monitor, consider the Forerunner 15. The Forerunner 15 has a full suite of running features, but it's also designed to be a wear-all-day fitness monitor and tracker to help you meet your everyday activity and calorie-burn goals. The 15 also works with an optional foot pad for tracking treadmill and indoor workouts.

The Runner Cardio is TomTom's high-end fitness watch, and it's one of the few watches that has a built-in heart rate monitor - no need to wear a chest strap. The Runner Cardio features TomTom's one-button control, which works well in wet conditions and lets you control the watch without blocking your view of the watch face. The Runner Cardio has an accelerometer for tracking indoor workouts. It's waterproof up to 40 meters and even comes with included Bluetooth headphones that are sweat and weatherproof and sync with your Spark and phone simultaneously. The battery life for the headphones lasts around four hours.

The TomTom Golfer uses a one-button tactile control that lets you scroll up or down, as well as right and left through the watch menus. The control has several advantages over a touchscreen, including ease of use with a gloved hand, and reliable control that is not affected by wet conditions.

Highlights include real-time distance to the front, back, and center of the green, an advance view of the green, including ​shape of the green and adjacent hazards, distances to hazards from the tee, and scorekeeping.

The Approach S6 is Garmin's latest and greatest golf GPS rangefinder watch. Golf watches are terrific because they provide you with green and hazard distances from anywhere on the course, and they are always with you (can't forget them in the cart). The S6 goes beyond the basics with swing tempo measurement and training, and swing speed measurement and tracking. The S6 also packs color course maps and includes a free product lifetime 38,000-course database update.

 Nike is known for building motivational elements into its fitness devices, so if you appreciate encouraging messages and sounds with your workouts, Nike is a good option. Connecting with the free Nikeplus.com site lets you set goals (including Nike Fuel goals), and compare and share your workouts with others.

The Magellan Echo is budget-priced, and it relies on compatible smartphone apps for most of its data. Compatible apps include: 

Strava, MapMyRun, Wahoo Fitness, iSmoothRun, AllTrails, and Golf Pad.

The Timex Ironman ONE GPS+ has its own 3G wireless connectivity, which lets you send and receive data to the cell network without a phone. Timex bills the Ironman as an all-in-one solution that provides running watch features, plus music, plus wireless real-time tracking and even an SOS capability.

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