Hi, and welcome to The Running Channel,

I’m Anna. And today, along with Andy,

we’re going to be taking a look at some

of the best GPS running watches out

there, no matter what your budget is.

It’s really important to

note before we get started,

that we’re not paid to say nice things

about any of these watches by the brands.

These reviews are

entirely our own thoughts.

So it doesn’t matter whether you’re

looking for an entry-level budget watch to

get you going. Or if you want an

all singing, all dancing watch,

that will keep you out on the

trails for hours. Actually,

none of them sing or dance,

but you could sing and dance along to

some of them that have got music included.

Now we know there’s quite a big price range

when it comes to running watches out

there. So we’ve grouped them by

price, starting with the cheapest,

going right up to the most expensive.

Now we’ve grouped them by recommended

retail price because that’s the most straightforward,

but top tip shop around because there’s

definitely some bargains out there to be

had. We’ve gone for price

ranges under 200 pounds,

200 pounds to 300 pounds and

then 300 pounds and above.

But before we dive in and find out what

we think are the best watches out there

right now, please do hit subscribe

and tap the bell icon to be notified

When we upload new videos, all about

running, which we do every week,

We’ve got the Garmin Forerunner 45 or

45s. Now they’re the same watch,

but the s denotes a

slightly smaller form factor,

even though they both

have the same features.

The s is what you’ll

see on screen here.

Now this replaces Garmin’s Forerunner

35, and it’s their entry-level watch.

But in this case, entry level

very much does not mean basic.

And actually you get a lot of pretty

advanced features that were previously

reserved for more expensive models.

It’s lightweight at 32 grams for the

and 36 grams for the slightly larger

regular 45.

It’s got optical risk based heart rate

monitoring built in GPS and also smart

notifications. If you do want

to connect it to your phone,

it has a 208 pixel by 208 pixel display.

So not the highest

resolution on test here,

but it’s clear and easy

to read out on a run.

There are five physical buttons around

the face of the watch that allow you to

navigate the screens and

start and stop for example.

And if like me, you do a fair

bit of interval training.

You’ll be glad of that

dedicated manual lap button.

You get approximately seven days of battery

life or 13 hours in continuous GPS

mode. And if you take your

phone out with you on runs,

you can take advantage of a couple

of nice safety features like incident

detection and assistance. If you keen

to get the most out of your watch,

you might choose to wear it

when you’re not running too,

to take advantage of things like

heart rate and sleep tracking,

which contributes with

Garmin body battery stats,

which basically give you an indicator

of how fatigued you are a bit like

tracking your phone’s battery

use throughout the day.

You can also take advantage

of stress tracking,

which uses heart rate monitoring

to give you an idea of your stress

levels throughout the day too. Garmin

Connect is the app that allows you to

connect to all Garmin watches and also

gives you access to Garmin coach,

which provides you with training plans

for specific goals or distances that you

might be training for. You can also

use the Forerunner 45 for different sports.

It allows up to six profiles

on the watch at any one time,

although there isn’t currently a

dedicated swimming profile.

You get a lot for your money

with the Garmin Forerunner 45.

So this is a watch that’s worth considering

both for new runners and experienced

runners alike.

When it was first launched the Coros Pace

2 was the lightest GPS

running watch on the market at just

29 grams. And that

includes the strap as well.

There’s some pretty nifty

features on this watch,

considering it’s in our lower

price bracket. For example,

it’s got a track running feature on it,

so you can set your activity to

track running and then select which

lane of a 400 meter

track you’re running in.

And then the GPS signal will snap to

that particular lane to give you more

accurate readings.

Cause if you’ve ever run on a track wearing

a GPS watch before you might find that

it may be cuts off some of the

bends in your GPS activity.

So that’s a nice little bonus

if you enjoy running on a track,

much like our very own Kate does. The

charging time for the chorus pace 2,

is around two hours for a full charge.

And with that, you get a pretty

decent battery life. In fact,

Coros claim that the battery life on

this particular model can last up to

60 hours.

So if you are looking to do an ultra

then this watch will see you through on a

single charge and sticking with

the battery life theme as well,

when you have a full charge in this watch,

it will give you up to 20

days of full use in regular

modes. So not bad if that’s something

that’s particularly important to you,

when you’re looking at

buying GPS, running watches.

You control the Coros

Pace w with buttons.

So there is no touch screen on this model.

And also if you are into trail running,

then you will find that there aren’t

any specific trail or mountain features

featured in the different sport

options for this watch. Now,

Andy did do a full in-depth first

look review when this watch was

launched and that’s on The Running

Channel. So be sure to check that out,

if you want a more in-depth

guide to the Coros Pace 2.

The Fitbit Versa 3 is the only other

watch on our list with a similar form

factor to the Apple watch. Now

it’s not a dedicated running watch,

but it is worth considering if you’re

looking for an all-rounder and the styling

from an all-day wear perspective is

important to you too. Particularly if you’re

already familiar with Fitbit’s

ecosystem. Speaking of that ecosystem,

the Fitbit app has lots of data in

it. It’s really nicely laid out,

and it’s really clear and easy to read.

The display on the watch itself is pretty

high resolution at 336 by 336 pixels.

And it’s really bright and really

vibrant. Now there’s no physical buttons,

but there is an indentation

on the left-hand side,

which you can press as well as a touch

screen to navigate the menus. Now,

because it’s not a

dedicated running watch,

if you’re heading out to do things

like interval training, quite a lot,

you might find the lack of physical

buttons and increased functionality,

slightly frustrating, and

potentially not up to task.

But if you’re looking for an activity,

sleep and heart rate tracker,

then that’s the sort of thing

that Fitbit do really well.

The sleep is really intuitive and there

are really nice features like tracking

your mindfulness as well as following

along with guided meditations in Fitbit’s

app. Built in GPS is a step up

from some of Fitbit’s other models,

and it does a pretty good job

overall in terms of accuracy.

It’s just not quite on the level of some

of the other models on this roundup.

So this is a great looking

watch with a bright screen

that’s easy to use for those who are

looking for something to wear all day to

track their activities, which do include

runs, but who aren’t too worried about

some of the more advanced insights into

training and running that you might get

from some of the other models.

The Polar Vantage M, comes with

20 different sports settings.

So you can track all kinds

of activities on this watch.

It also has precision prime

optical heart rate sensors.

So that includes nine LEDs on the

back of the watch to give you the most

accurate heart rate reading,

which you can have on 24/7

or just during activities.

So the battery life on the

Polar Vantage M is at around

30 hours in full GPS

mode from a full charge.

And that will give you a GPS

signal ping every one second as

with the majority of Polar models,

which means that realistically

your GPS tracking should be

pretty accurate from it.

There’s a whole ton of

options in the polar flow app,

which you can get on mobile and desktop

and means that you can look more in

depth at the metrics that

you get from your runs.

And also from your day-to-day

recordings, like, as I mentioned before,

heart rate, for example.

Now this Polar is a cheaper price point,

then a lot of the other

Polar devices, but with that,

it does mean that it

comes with fewer features.

So there isn’t route navigation

or music capabilities,

for example. So you control

the Polar Vantage M,

by using five buttons. So you’ve got two

on one side and three on the other.

There’s no touch screen capability for

this watch, which some people do prefer,

especially when out running in case

your sleeve catches you touch screen and

then changes your metrics or your data

screens and what you’re looking at,

for example. And you can get smart

notifications through on this watch,

as you can, with most GPS

watches nowadays. Finally,

the Polar Vantage M also has the

ability to track your sleep data.

So it can tell when you went to bed,

track any movement during your sleep and

also work out when you

got up out of bed as well,

unless you sit doom

scrolling after you wake up,

because it does sense the movement of

getting out of bed rather than your actual

eyelids opening, which is

understandable. And on the whole,

the tracking of your sleep is pretty

accurate on the Polar Vantage M as well.

The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is a step up

in price and functionality from the 45.

And whereas with the 45, you can control

music on your phone using the watch.

In this case, you can ditch your phone

altogether and have music and podcasts,

including episodes of playlist

on Spotify on the watch itself.

You get all the same features

that we mentioned for the 45,

but you also get a bigger

screen and better battery life.

23 hours in GPS mode for continuous GPS

provided that you’re not listening to

music at the same time.

You’ll also benefit from a couple of additional sensors,

namely a compass for navigation

and a pulse-ox monitor,

as well as some additional monitoring

tools in terms of hydration and menstrual

cycle tracking. You’ll also benefit

from in watch cardio workouts, strength,

workouts, and automatic rep counting.

But ultimately the biggest changes

you’ll see will come in the form of the

running training features.

No your data is combined to give you

insights into things like your training status,

which is how effectively you’ve been

training based on your training history,

as well as training load,

which tells you how hard you’ve been

working overall and could help give you an

early indicator of

potential over-training.

Then there are cool

features like pace pro,

which helps with your pacing strategy

for runs and races and other things like

race predictor. Something else,

which is really cool is the ability to

plan a route and then follow it on the

watch using point to point navigation.

You can also ask the watch to send

you back to the start of a run

if you happen to get lost. There’s

a swimming specific feature too,

and that has clever features like

stroke detection to work out what stroke

you’re doing, and the watch supports

multiple other sports as well.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

looks more like your typical

watch than an activity tracking watch.

So something that you can probably still

get away with wearing if you’re in a

smart suit or a nice dress

at a wedding or similar.

So the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

has tons of smart notification compatibilities,

and will work with Android

5.0 and above and iOS 9 and

above or iPhone 5 and above. There’s a

rotatable bezel around the outside,

which means that you can cycle through

screens quite easily just by turning

it, which is a really nice feature of

this watch that you don’t see on a lot of

GPS running watches. Battery life wise,

it has 43 hours at

regular use and up to 120

hours at low use.

So that’s something to bear in mind when

considering the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.

And it also has plenty of different

customisable watch faces too.

So if that’s your bag and you want to be

able to change the face of your watch,

then there are plenty of options there.

There a 4g version

or Bluetooth version

that’s at a lower price point as well.

So that is something worth looking into.

If this is a little bit

out of your price range,

there are still cheaper

versions available.

It has multi-sport capabilities,

and you can also measure your heart

rate as well on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.

There’s also alerts that you can set

up for if your heart rate dips below a

certain number of beats per minute,

or goes above a certain

number of beats per minute,

which is a nice additional safety feature.

The Apple watch series six,

like most Apple products is a

physically beautiful thing to look at,

but it’s also had six different

iterations to get to the point where it’s

arguably the best smart watch for an

all round perspective that you can buy.

There’s also a cellular version, which

allows you to go out without your phone,

but still stay in contact with the rest

of the world as per the series five.

There’s an always on screen feature,

which is great for runs because it

always means you can see your data

clearly. The screen is bright

and always easy to read. For me,

there’s a big advantage in a

dedicated physical lap button,

like on some of the specialist watches

on a test here because it isn’t always

practical to tap or double tap

on a touch screen at all times.

And it’s in running specific areas

that the Apple watch is slightly less

accomplished than some of the running

specialists that we’ve got on testing.

This Roundup that said the GPS

tracking is now really accurate.

And the heart rate monitoring is excellent.

Add to that the added bonus of Apple’s

ring systems to keep you

motivated and to hit your goals.

And you’ve also got sleep tracking,

although that isn’t as accomplished as a

lot of the other more specialist watches

in this roundup. It’s worth

mentioning Apple fitness too,

which provides lots of classes like

dance, cross training and core,

which integrate directly with the watch.

So if you’re doing a

hiit workout on the TV,

but it will read out the details from

your watch, like heart rate and so on.

You do have countless

straps to choose from,

and it’s a very comfortable watch to wear.

And there are also a wealth

of apps on the app store.

So you might want to replace the native

worker app with a different one that you

prefer, or you might want to use an app

for things like yoga or strength and conditioning,

because it’s designed to have every

aspect of your life and not just running

those of you considering buying the Apple

watch will need to bear in mind that

you might need to consider

charging it almost every day.

And whilst it’s brilliant

at loads of things,

it won’t be able to compete with the specialist

running watches that we’ve got on

the test here in terms of in-depth

analysis and on run functionality.

So we’ve already covered

the Coros Pace 2

and I suppose you could describe

the Coros Apex Pro as its big brother.

So Coros is a pretty big brand

in trail running and ultra running

in the U S but it’s only really been

over the last six months to a year or so

that Coros have become a bit bigger

and more well known here in the UK.

So the Coros Apex Pro really is

a meaty watch and will pretty much

do everything you want it to do

apart from make you a cupper.

This watch has a huge battery

life up to 30 days in fact,

and it really is squarely aimed

at the ultra markets as is

probably quite obvious because

of that massive battery life.

It’s waterproof up to a hundred

meters and has multi-sport functionality,

as you would expect. Built into

it is a thermometer, barometer,

accelerometer, gyroscope, and oximeter.

Basically, as I said,

anything that you could possibly

want it to measure this watch can.

So this watch has three

button functionality.

So one on each side of the middle button,

which is shaped like a crown

and has a scrolling feature.

So some people may find that when

scrolling buttons sit on their wrist,

that they can accidentally

knock them. But with this,

there is an auto lock so that

you can stop it from doing that,

which is obviously very welcomed,

if you’ve ever accidentally paused your

activity without realising because your

button is hit on your wrist. Another

thing about this watch is that,

although it has such a big battery life,

it’s actually pretty light weight

compared to the others in the

same sort of market as it.

And another big plus for this

watch is that it can go from

flat to a full charge in

under two and a half hours,

which is pretty handy.

If you’ve grabbed your watch from your drawer

about to go out for a run and realise

that you haven’t charged it. You can sit and have

your breakfast while it charges. One final

additional point about this watch that

makes it an ultra runners dream is that

you can set reminders for fueling

and drinking along the way as well.

So if you want someone else or

something else to take the pressure

off of you remembering, especially

when you’re getting tired,

then you can set those alerts to make

sure that you’re topping up on fuel and

water as needed.

The Suunto 9 is

Suunto’s flagship watch,

and it’s a big one at that. Whilst it

weighs in roughly the same as Garmin’s

Fenix 6, it’s physically slightly

bigger. So depending on your wrist size,

you might want to take that into account,

particularly when fit is so important

when it comes to optical heart rate

accuracy. But if you’re wrist can take

it, then the size does bring with it

the big benefit of increased battery life,

particularly when it comes to GPS

performance for the hardiest and longest

adventures that you might take on. Claiming

120 hours and hardy and adventure are

probably the right words

here. It’s a very sturdy,

tough watch that looks and

feels incredibly well-built.

There are three buttons on the right

hand side, coupled with a touchscreen,

which is disabled during activities. The

screen is nice and big as you’d expect,

but it doesn’t actually extend all the

way to the bezel to make full use of the

real estate on offer. And actually

sometimes in bright sunlight,

I did find it quite difficult to read.

There are various settings to get the

most out of that battery life called

performance endurance and ultra

with each progressive setting,

endeavoring to eat more battery

life out of a single charge.

It will also try to let you know whether

a reminder potentially to charge your

watch ahead of the time that you

usually take on your longer activities.

And it will show you how much battery

life you have ahead of starting an

activity using the existing settings.

A great thing about the Suunto 9

are the navigation features things like

realtime bread crumb trails as well as

route planning. Although ironically,

I found the navigation of the

menus within the watch itself,

not to be particularly intuitive compared

to some of the other brands on tests,

and that required a little bit of a time

investment on my part to feel like I

was ready to actually go where

I wanted to go within the watch.

There are 80 different sport modes and

you get accurate GPS even using the

battery saving measures. There’s

optical heart rate and a barometer.

And you’ll also get weather insights

and information. Alongside that,

you can track your sleep

and recovery using epeoc,

which is excess post exercise,

oxygen consumption to hopefully

get the most out of your training.

So if you’re looking for a rugged

running watch that can cope with even the

longest adventures that you

might throw at it, or just one,

which will last you more than a

week, including a fair few runs,

then this could be worth looking at.

So we’ve included the Fenix 6

series in this roundup because although

Garmin have recently launched their

Enduro and the solar power addition

to this range as well,

which is a great plus point

if extreme battery life is

what you’re after, the Fenix

6 series is a group of watches

that we have all tested here on The

Running Channel and love and know in quite

a lot of depth. So that’s why we’ve

decided to pick this one for the roundup.

But if ultra watches are your bag,

then do check out the Enduro as it has

some pretty cool additional features,

like being able to track the time that

you spend at aid stations on ultras,

for example. So into

the Fenix 6 series.

So what does this watch

have for features? Well,

that is a feature that I particularly

love and did me an absolute

solid when I was running Amsterdam

marathon and that is pace pro.

So the pace pro feature means that you

can add a distance or a GPX route for

a course,

and you can program in your

goal time to complete it.

You can play around with things like

whether you want to do negative splits or

whether you want to run harder or

easier up the hills, easier please.

And it will then tell you what each

of your mile or kilometre splits

should be. You set the pace pro

running while you’re running,

and it gives you mile by mile

or kilometre by kilometre,

whether you are ahead, behind

or on track for your goal time.

So that’s a feature that I

particularly love about this watch.

You can navigate using this watch, so

you can upload routes that you’ve created

on Strava. You simply favourite them

and then sync your watch through

Garmin Connect and your route is then

available for you to give you turn

by turn directions out on the run.

The Fenix 6 Series does everything

that you would expect it to from a

high-end GPS running FITPOLO WATCH.

So it has heart rate,

sleep tracking, training,

load performance,

data loads of metrics that you

can go into more detail in,

in the Garmin connect app. And

it also has built in music.

So you’ve got the ability to store up

to 2000 songs and you can connect it to

Spotify or Deezer streaming services.

You’ll also get audio prompts

in your Bluetooth headphones.

So when you set up a workout, it’ll

tell you which step is coming up next,

as you’re about to start it. And

will also give you audio prompts.

If you’ve set a specific pace

intensity that you want to hit,

that will tell you whether you

are ahead or behind that pace.

The battery life on this watch can vary

depending on what setting you have it on.

So it can be anything from

72 hours up to 48 days.

Lots of people have asked whether

I charged my Garmin Fenix 6s

during the Tribe Run For Love

ultra. The answer is yes,

but only once whilst we were at a

hotel in the middle of the race itself.

So that one did me across six

days with one full charge.

So that hopefully gives you an idea of

how big a battery life that is if you

make certain tweaks to the settings.

So I mentioned there that

I had the Fenix 6s.

There are three sizes of watch

in the Fenix 6 range,

the 6S the 6 and the 6X.

And there are two different versions

as well, the pro and the base.

So pro has things like

wifi, maps and music,

as well as golf maps if that’s your bag.

Whereas the base one does

not have those features.

So those are our top picks for the best running

GPS watches on the market right now.

Did any of them take your fancy or you

already have one that you swear by let us

know in the comments below, and we’ll

see you next time on The Running Channel.

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