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Best Running GPS Watches

last updated May 27, 2019

The summer season is almost upon us, which means many of us are starting to get our summer gear ready and if you are a runner, you are dusting off your running shoes and running gear. Perhaps you want to step up your running game this summer season and are looking for some new gear to help you. One piece of gear that is getting popular amongst consumers is the GPS watch, as it not only allows you to know how long you have been running for but also can track your workout and help you to achieve new goals. If you have seen some GPS watches advertised or have decided you want to step up your running workout this summer and want to invest in a running GPS watch than the guide below is for you!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

icon
Amazfit Bip
94/100 our score
Use
92
Accuracy
92
Battery Life
97
Features
95
Amazfit Bip
Why is it better?

Affordable

Jam-packed with features

Stylish

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Amazfit Bip
Test Winner: Amazfit Bip
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
16
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1.3k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
17
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
15
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Melissa Coleiro
By Melissa Coleiro:

This buying guide of Running GPS Watches has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed Running GPS Watches to give you the ability to track not only your location but your fitness goals as well. Some new additions to our list are the Amazfit Bip, Garmin Vivoactive 3, and the Apple Series 3. We love these additions because they are highly rated, stylish, accurate, and come with a variety of extra features.

Sorting Options
Use Accuracy Battery Life Features By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Use
92 %
Accuracy
92 %
Battery Life
97 %
Features
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$79.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Use
93 %
Accuracy
95 %
Battery Life
93 %
Features
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$199.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Use
92 %
Accuracy
94 %
Battery Life
92 %
Features
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$622.07
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Use
96 %
Accuracy
94 %
Battery Life
89 %
Features
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$229.00
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Use
94 %
Accuracy
93 %
Battery Life
87 %
Features
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$259.98
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
Use
91 %
Accuracy
93 %
Battery Life
88 %
Features
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$279.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Use
91 %
Accuracy
90 %
Battery Life
92 %
Features
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$89.95
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Use
90 %
Accuracy
89 %
Battery Life
90 %
Features
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$157.98
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.5
Use
89 %
Accuracy
92 %
Battery Life
87 %
Features
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$215.00
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Use
88 %
Accuracy
88 %
Battery Life
90 %
Features
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$224.25
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Amazfit Bip Amazfit Bip
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3 Garmin Vivoactive 3
  • Garmin Fenix 5s Garmin Fenix 5s
  • Apple Series 3 Apple Series 3
  • Garmin Forerunner 225 Garmin Forerunner 225
  • Apple Watch Series 2 Apple Watch Series 2
  • Pebble 2 Pebble 2
  • Polar M430 Polar M430
  • TomTom Spark 3 TomTom Spark 3
  • Suunto Ambit3 Vertical Suunto Ambit3 Vertical
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Expert Interviews & Opinions
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top Ten Running GPS Watches

1. Amazfit Bip

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Amazfit Bip
Amazon Link
Use
92
Accuracy
92
Battery Life
97
Features
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$79.99
Pros:

Affordable

Jam-packed with features

Stylish

Cons:

Calorie count could be better

If you are looking to step up your running game this summer season and want to invest in a GPS watch that will not break the bank, then this watch from Amazfit may just be the watch for you.

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Use
This watch is great if you are looking to step up your running workout this summer, and it is not just for your running workout but is quite versatile as it can keep you organized and productive all day as it is jam-packed with features. This watch can be linked to your phone so you get notifications directly to your watch while you're on the go.

Accuracy
For the price, this watch is quite accurate and will be able to track your every move. It will not only count your steps accurately but the GPS will be able to pinpoint your location when needed.

Battery Life
This watch has an amazing battery life of 30 days. That means you can go a whole month without having to worry about charging your watch every night. This comes in handy for the person always on the go.

Features
Not only is this watch perfect for the running but it also allows you to connect your phone so you can receive notifications while on the go or working out. It is also waterproof so you can use it while you swim. It also has an alarm clock and will track your sleeping quality.

2. Garmin Vivoactive 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Garmin Vivoactive 3
Amazon Link
Use
93
Accuracy
95
Battery Life
93
Features
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$199.99
Pros:

Great brand

Jam-packed with features

Affordable

Cons:

Initial set up is tough

Another great product from Garmin and if you know Garmin than you know how accurate their GPS system is. If you do decide to go with this watch, you will not be disappointed as it will not only help track your running workout but also will come in handy throughout your entire day.

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Use
Like all Garmin products, this watch is easy to use and has a smooth operating system. This watch will help track all the activities you plan on doing this summer such as running, biking, swimming, etc.

Accuracy
This watch is not only accurate but if you are specifically looking at the GPS and have used a Garmin product before then you know this watch will be accurate.

Battery life
This watch has a battery life of 7 days. This is convenient because it will allow you to use your GPS watch for an entire week without charging it.

Features
This watch comes jam-packed with features such as the ability to pay with Garmin pay (credit-card linked), fitness tracking, and you can also connect your phone to the watch so you can get notifications while on the go.

3. Garmin Fenix 5s

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Garmin Fenix 5s
Amazon Link
Use
92
Accuracy
94
Battery Life
92
Features
95
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$622.07
Pros:

Highly efficient in tracking distances, route, and pace

It is compact with a water rating of up to 100 meters

Has a sizeable watch face size

It is resistant to scratch

Cons:

Not a sensitive touch screen

Garmin Fenix 5s tops the list of best 10 running GPS watches not so much because of its elegant look, but because it’s smart, has seamless connectivity, and up-to-the-minute touch screen for ease of navigation. In a nutshell, all the specialties of a smart running watch assimilated into one device.

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Use
Garmin Fenix 5s is a premium gadget with a high ended price tag but nonetheless decent for the smart GPS running watch. The fully fledged featured GPS watch gives you the value for your money as it can practically do everything in regards to your favorite sport.

Accuracy
Really efficient as it records data, count steps, monitor heart rate, communicate with external sensors, measure temperature, altitude, and air pressure, and count sleeps

Battery life
Has a good battery life. You can get into your favorite sport all day long without the fear of your battery running flat. Besides, the material is made from light material thus the sleek look.

Features
The platinum color is dominant but other shades of colors are available. Notable is the orange color that gives Garmin Fenix 5s a distinctive look. Can remotely connect with GPS and has blue tooth, Wi-Fi, and sync with the Garmin app. Receive all smart notifications such as text, call, and social. It has a touch screen

4. Apple Series 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Apple Series 3
Amazon Link
Use
96
Accuracy
94
Battery Life
89
Features
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$229.00
Pros:

Great brand

Stylish

Able to use while swimming

Cons:

Expensive

Apple is one of the powerhouse brands that make outstanding and effective GPS watches. This watch will give you the extra edge and push you this summer season as it will track your progress and you while you go on your running outings this summer.

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Use
This Apple watch is highly rated amongst previous customers and for good reason. If you have used an Apple product in the past than you know they are simple to use and this watch is quite easy to use.

Accuracy
This watch is quite accurate and will be able to pinpoint your location, as well as track your progress to show you where you went on your run and how far you went.

Battery life
On a fully charged battery, this watch will last about 18 hours. Pretty much it will be good for the day, but it is recommended to charge every night when you go to sleep. Apple products are known for having a short powered battery.

Features
This watch is waterproof so you can also use it to track your swimming workout, comes with an accelerometer, and a gyroscope.

5. Garmin Forerunner 225

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Garmin Forerunner 225
Amazon Link
Use
94
Accuracy
93
Battery Life
87
Features
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$259.98
Pros:

Effectively track your steps, heart rates, distances, elevations, and calorie burns throughout the day

You can get training tips on your wrist as it is compatible with Garmin connect that provide free training plans and advanced workouts

Great brand

Cons:

Mostly used for indoors activities

The Garmin Forerunner 225 can be described as a model fit for tracking when performing a simple exercise. Equally, it has a vivid graphic interface that allows you to access all the metrics at a go. It is capable not only of tracking heart rates, pace, and distances, but it also tracks beats per minutes, calorie burn, steps, and zones.

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Use
Track distances, heart rates, indoor paces, and monitors your steps. Utilizes colorful graphics to display metrics thus promoting legibility of data. You can tell your zones and the beats per minutes in a single glance through the colorful graphics. It uses green color to indicate aerobic zones, gray for warm up, blue for easy, orange for threshold, and red to indicate the maximum.

Accuracy
Connect to the social platform through Garmin’s online community and share your experiences. It automatically connects and uploads data through Garmin connect.

Battery life
Considerably good battery life.

Features
Garmin Forerunner 225 is black and has a red accent. It has a colorful display and graphics interface that is optimized to show your beats per minutes, as well as your zones.

Has got build in sensor that uses the renowned Mio Heart Rate Technology to record your heart rate from your wrist. Has an accelerometer that is in-built to indicate as well as record all your indoor distances.

6. Apple Watch Series 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
Apple Watch Series 2
Amazon Link
Use
91
Accuracy
93
Battery Life
88
Features
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$279.00
Pros:

Highly effective as it can instantly connect to the internet, track pace, heartbeat, the temperature at a breeze

It is water resistant and even better use a speaker to force water

Great brand

Cons:

Tracking could be a tad better

Apple Watch Series 2 is a one-watch solution for all athletes. It is basically an extension of your favorite iPhone. Leave your phone behind and step onto a track field and not miss a step. It is that simple and truly amazing.

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Use
The price is relatively great, well befitting for a gadget that brings all your iPhone functions to your wrist. Has a taptic engine that let you tap in response to an audio cue or any notification coming from the phone. You can dismiss or respond to notifications at ease, get prompt and accurate workout information, record distances, pace, and speed.

Accuracy
It ushers you to the next generation of connectivity as the Bluetooth 4.0 keeps you connected to your Apple phone. The powerful 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi provides instant access to the internet.

Battery life
It is fitted with a battery that lasts for up to 18 hours when used normally. Besides, it has a highly effective inductive magnetic charger that can recharge the battery within the shortest time possible.

Features
Has a rather space gray case, black sport band and has widgets that are changeable

7. Pebble 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Pebble 2
Amazon Link
Use
91
Accuracy
90
Battery Life
92
Features
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$89.95
Pros:

Affordable

Durable

Great brand

Cons:

It takes time to establish a wireless connection

If you are looking for an all-round functional GPS watch at a lower cost, then Pebble 2 would be the best option for you. It is flexible and offers you the ability to track sleep, steps, and monitor your daily ability with accuracy. You can comfortably connect to thousands of Apps.

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Use
This is a great GPS watch as its simple display allows you to track and record your fitness stats and conveniently help you to achieve your fitness goals.

Accuracy
Enables you to stay connected while on the move as you can access text, calls, emails, and social notifications. Besides, you can do voice texting right from your wrist. Connected with Pebbles health platform to give accurate figures about your heart rates, steps, calorie burns, and all day activity.

Battery life
It can stay up to 7 days when not connected to a GPS on a single charge and a couple of hours when it is fully functioning.

Features
This watch comes with a variety of features such as recording voice notes for later, tracks your sleep routine, and tracks your pulse to ensure you are getting the best workout in you can.

8. Polar M430

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Polar M430
Amazon Link
Use
90
Accuracy
89
Battery Life
90
Features
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$157.98
Pros:

Has three battery modes to choose from therefore being able to prolong the battery life from 8 hours to 30 hours

Has an exclusive smart coaching feature that can enable you to learn how to get the most of an exercise session

Can upload data seamlessly at a touch of a button to your phone or polar flow

Cons:

Takes a while to connect and pair to your phone or other devices

It could be said that it is the leader in regards to measuring the heart rate not only while undertaking sporting activities but also while doing everyday chores. It is designed to sync with the state-of-the-art polar flow software to give an in-depth analysis of the heart rate. It stands out of the crowded GPS running watch market as it has six LED light emitting sensors and accelerometer to show you how you’ve run and how fast.

Read more

Use
Tracks distance, speed, route, calorie burn, and sleep.

Accuracy
The price is high-ended but is compensated by the accurate data in regards to the heart rate provided by the gadget. Has unmatched optical heart rate technology that depicts accurate heart rate during a run or while undertaking normal household chores. It uses no chest strap to detect the heart rate that is displayed through LED optical sensors.

Battery Life
This watch has a battery life of up to 30 hours which is great as you can use this watch for a couple of days without having to charge.

Features
The straps come in different colors and you can choose the best that suits you.

9. TomTom Spark 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.5
TomTom Spark 3
Amazon Link
Use
89
Accuracy
92
Battery Life
87
Features
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$215.00
Pros:

Sufficiently captures different metrics of sports with a multisport mode such as runs, pace, and gym workouts

Has a Bluetooth music player, a paired wireless headphone thus reducing load and easing runs

Great brand

Cons:

Pairing to devices can be a nightmare

Nothing beats the experience of running unencumbered, free and driven wild with music from the novel gadget. TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music pairs well with the wireless headphones and let you enjoy your music while running with your favorite music playing. Besides, it stands out of the crowd as it can connect with almost every running up effortlessly.

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Use
It can connect to all iOS, all iPhone devices, and all android starting from 4.4 and above. It uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi features. Access real-time metrics such as heart rate, speed, distances, calories burned, the pace at a glance. Allow you to explore new routes, capture all the active moments in your life, being indicted as a sprint, bikes, strolls, swims, and steps.

Accuracy
This watch from Tomtom is quite accurate as if you have used a Tomtom device before they are quite easy to use and are accurate.

Battery life
Has a relatively good battery life and but can run to for five hours while the music on. When not connected to a GPS the battery can last for a long time.

Features
It’s affordable and the experience goes a long way to affirm the value of your money. The best part is that TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music comes with the wireless headphone and fully loaded mp3 features.

The screen comes in black color but the straps come in many different colors. You can have light to dark blue straps, gray, or even orange if you love the showy warm colors.

10. Suunto Ambit3 Vertical

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Suunto Ambit3 Vertical
Amazon Link
Use
88
Accuracy
88
Battery Life
90
Features
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$224.25
Pros:

Has a long battery life when it is fully functional

Fitted with the state of the art altimeter and as a result able to monitor real-time variation in heights as you train

Highly accurate compass device so as to stay on the track

Cons:

Small screen for displaying metrics

It is designed with elegance and prestige in mind while not compromising on performance. It’s certainly charming and irresistible and would draw to have a second look. It is used together with Suuntomovescount App to get accurate metrics on your training. The most appealing aspect about this gadget is the fact that is sleek and is the smallest smart GPS running watch that uses Bluetooth.

Read more

Use
Tracks route and traces it back and track heart rate quite accurately. Best for running in ascending terrains as it has altimeters, barometers with real-time incline percentage being displayed.

Accuracy
It is synced with movescount training programs, it uses wireless Bluetooth connectivity, it can connect to the GPS pretty fast, and highly legible data displays.

Battery life
Has an outstanding battery life of 15h battery hours while fully functional. In addition, it has 5sec-GPS accuracy

Features

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Use

A GPS running watch is a must-have accessory if you want to take your training or running to the next level. With A GPS watch, you can be able to track your location, pace, steps, heart rates, and distances. Besides, you can stay connected without necessarily having to walk with your phone as it provides instant text, call, and email notifications. In a nutshell, a GPS watch can do a lot of things that can enhance your training or running experience.

Overall if you are looking to invest in a GPS watch for running this summer, you want to make sure it will perform and record the data that you expect to help you achieve your fitness goals this summer. The best way to ensure you are getting a quality watch is to check the customer reviews to see how this watch worked for other customers who decided to go ahead with the product.

Accuracy

One of the key factors that you should take into consideration when choosing a GPS running watch is the ability of the watch to give you accurate running dynamics. Choose a watch that has high sensitivity to ground sensitivity whether you are using a footpod or not. This is particularly useful because of a watch with a high sensitivity to running dynamics such as cadence, pace, and strikes as it will give you near accurate metrics.

The GPS watch that you choose should be preferably fitted with a device to indicate the vertical oscillation. The device is useful as it will tell you the degree of bounce while you are exercising or running.

Battery Life

How we all wish that the battery life in our gadgets would never run out. But sadly it is not so, and GPS running watch is not an exception. What then should you consider in regard to battery life when choosing a good GPS watch? To begin with, choose a watch that has the longest battery life. Particularly, if you are a marathon runner choose a GPS running watch that lasts longer than your longest marathon run.

Secondly, choose a watch that has multimodal devices that help you regulate how you use power. With such a device you can switch from high, middle, as well as low consumption depending on the demand at that particular time. It is also prudent to turn off your GPS when you are not engaged in an exercise that needs the use of GPS.

Features

Choose a GPS running watch that will not only track your pace, heartbeat or location but will also be your coach. The good news is that there is a number of GPS watches on the market today that comes with pre-installed coaching sessions. For instance, TomTom sparks come with training sessions that you can conveniently access before going out to exercise.

Brands like polar and Garmin are loaded with comprehensive marathon training programs. If you would like to take full and half marathon it would be advisable to get this too watches. Even better you can get a GPS watch that you can customize by creating interval sessions that are appropriate for you. You can create infinite sessions depending on the type of exercise you are engaged in.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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expert tips icon
Keep yourself organized

GPS watches are also known as smartwatches and have many different features and apps you can download to help keep you organized and on schedule. They are known for being used for fitness and sports purposes and can track your calories and even your heart rate. They also track your shoe mileage which is really a steps count for runners or walkers to help you know exactly how many miles you have hit. With certain GPS watches, you can even track your own workouts and keep a daily log of each routine.

Features are always good

When looking at these GPS watches, many come with extra features to help you use this watch not only for your workout but also to help you with daily tasks. Make sure to look into a watch if you find it stylish to see what extra features it comes with, as you may be surprised and end up with a watch that will be versatile in helping you throughout your day.

Other Factors to Consider

Effectiveness

Running GPS watch can only be considered effective if it has exclusive GPS functionality. It’s obvious that there is not a device that provides 100% metrics based entirely on GPS input, but it’s all about who is nearest to it. As a result, choose a running GPS watch that would provide almost accurate stats.

At the same time, have a running GPS that can be customized according to the type of sport or activity that you would like to do. For instance, if you are a marathon runner your watch should have good GPS efficiency so as to be able to excellently track paths, changes in altitudes, and distance that you have covered.

Portability

Once you have considered all that your needs, you should take into consideration the size as well as the weight of running GPS watch. Preferably you should choose a running watch that is sleek and light particularly if you are involved in intensive training.

Since different companies that manufacture GPS watches produce gadgets that vary in size and weight, you should choose the one that suits you, but at least it should be portable.

Update

If you want to have the ultimate training experience, your running GPS watch should be in a position to upload as well as synchronize with other third-party apps. With the ability to connect to third-party apps you will be in a position to connect with other athletes all over the world in just a touch of a button.

Besides, you should be in a position to upload data as well as have your workout stats stored in online apps. This is important as it will allow you to take a look at your previous stats and compare them as you progress with your training. This is an important feature to ensure that your running GPS watch should have it and it should be effectively functioning.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Why does my GPS watch lag?

a:

All the running GPS watches tend to take at least some time before they can connect to your location map. The time taken for any device to connect to another device or app is usually called lag time. If your friend is using a first generation of running GPS watches he or she would certainly experience a longer lag time. It is advisable to get the latest models of running GPS watches as they experience shorter lag time.

q: Can I use a GPS watch to track my training?

a:

As much as you can use a smartphone to track your running, it comes nothing close to running GPS when it comes to efficiency. Smartphones are not as accurate and lack ease of use when compared to the smart GPS watch.

Besides, a running GPS watch is portable and you can strap easily to your wrist, unlike a smartphone that you may need a special pouch to hold it while you exercise. Get one and get a training experience like no other.

q: What are the essential features that a running GPS watch should have?

a:

A smart running GPS watch should have at least a barometer, digital compass, altimeter, and thermometer.

The barometer is used to measure the humidity of your training location. It is important to be on top of the weather especially if you are exercising on a hillside or lakeside where there is a potential threat of storms.

The altimeter on the other side is an important feature as it monitors all the changes in the altitude and all the accompanying changes in weather elements. By tracking your training, you can be able to tell the best altitude that is optimum for you to train.

q: Do I need a digital compass on my GPS watch

a:

The need for accurate digital compass cannot be overstated. This is particularly important if you are training in a backcountry or plain country. In addition, if you are trying out a new track it is necessary to have a compass direction so as to avoid getting lost.

q: What devices are compatible with a GPS watch?

a:

Running GPS watches have grown in leaps and bounces and you can practically sync with thousands of apps out there. Also, you can connect to your phone or even better your computer through a wireless connection. Some of the common wireless connections used by running GPS watch include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

q: Is it better to get an expensive GPS watch?

a:

It is not necessarily true that the more expensive a running GPS watch is the more efficient it is. In a nutshell, expensive doesn’t imply the best. The best running GPS watch is one that meets your expectations. In fact there some running GPS watches that are sold cheaply but are versatile and really powerful. So choose a running GPS watch that meets your specifications. For instance, a long marathon runner may find a cheap running GPS watch with long battery life more useful than an expensive GPS watch with many features but has short battery life. So, it is better you understand the specification you need from a GPS watch to make a better choice.

q: How can I prolong the battery life of my GPS watch?

a:

here are some tips that you can prolong the battery life of your running GPS watch. To begin with, you can disable the GPS when you are not involved in any active training activities. This would preserve your battery life by a couple of days.