Best Outdoor Smartwatch: Durable Smartwatch for Outdoor Adventures

Best outdoor smartwatch

After intense research and testing of different smartwatches, the Garmin Epix, Topo stands as the best outdoor smartwatch.  The reason is that it has a sturdy built that can withstand rough terrain.

User can also swim with this smartwatch as it has a water-resistant of 50 meters. Furthermore, it lasts longer than most smartwatches as it’s made of durable materials.

Finally, it comes with many great features that will help outdoor enthusiast; these include GPS, Glonass, expanded internal memory, activities analysis, barometer, and altimeter.

Best Outdoor Smartwatch

An outdoor smartwatch serves as an ideal item for hikers, swimmers, construction workers, and camping. These smartwatches can withstand extreme conditions and wet terrain. They even guide users through areas without Google Map access.

Although outdoor watches are rugged, it’s best to purchase a model that looks classy. It should also offer accurate readings because these are essential for various outdoor activities such as camping and hiking.

However, with our list of the best outdoor smartwatch, you’ll surely find one that will suit your needs.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

 

The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus comes with enough features and high performance which makes it stand out as a great contender in our list. It also has a classy look which makes that can complement one’s outfit.

Triple Navigation System

The Fenix 5 Plus supports GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo which helps during travel on rough terrain. With these features, it’s virtually impossible for the user to become lost at any location. It also allows easy discovery of exciting places such as cafes, stores, and campsites.

Durable Materials

This smartwatch comes in various options with bezels made from either stainless steel or titanium. It also has a display face covered with thick glass or sapphire lens with a bracelet of silicone, leather or stainless steel. With these materials, the Fenix 5 can withstand wear and tear common with outdoor activities.

Water Resistance

With 10 ATM  rating, this adds more to its durability. For this reason, this Garmin Fenix can withstand hours of rain and swimming.

Long Battery Life

When in Ultra Tac mode, the Fenix 5 offers a battery life of 42 hours. This impressive feature especially when there is no access to a power source during your trip.

Opinion and Drawback

The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus is a great smartwatch however it has some issues. First, it does not sync smoothly with iPhones. It also does not allow users to customize the activity screen or even back it up online.

Casio G-SHOCK RANGEMAN – Best Outdoor Smartwatch for Construction Workers

 

The Casio G-shock Rangeman can withstand harsh conditions while providing valuable information on the go. Unlike most smartwatches in the market, it does not feature a touch screen.

Solar Charging

The Casio Rangeman supports solar charging which comes in handy especially in remote areas. A single full charge offers 33 hours of battery life even if the GPS is activated. Also if the battery level drops, it can be recovered through solar charging.

Tough Bracelets

The strap on this Casio G-shock is ideal for any outdoor activity. It has a sturdy built strap made of resin and it can stay comfortable on the wrist. Also, the resin strap will last longer since it does not crack like leather or rubber.

GPS Functions

The product displays your current location after collecting data from satellites. Users can also use this data to create routes via a G-SHOCK app.

Readable Display

It has a crisp and straightforward display, and you easily can read the information from any angle. The Casio Rangeman also offers details about longitude, latitude, temperature, and altitude.

Automatic Sync

When the watch is connected via Bluetooth, it syncs with either internet time servers or GPS signals. This provides accurate data which is needed to plan your hiking trips.

Opinion and Drawbacks

Users might find this product pretty bulky on the wrist. It also has a weak alarm and notifications features as it does not support vibrating alerts.

Suunto Traverse Alpha – Best Outdoor Smartwatch for Military

 

The Sunnto Traverse Alpha stands as a trendy and rugged smartwatch which can withstand tough terrains and elements. It also comes with features that will help outdoor enthusiast when hiking, camping and carrying out other outdoor activities.

Rugged Build

A rugged stainless steel case houses the inner workings of the Suunto Traverse Alpha.  It also has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass and a nylon bracelet. With these materials, the Traverse Alpha can endure long periods of use during outdoor activities.

Crisp Display

The watch face offers wearers the option to use either a 12-hour clock or 24-hour military watch. In basic mode, the Traverse Alpha shows the date at the top, the time at the center with a sunrise/sunset counter at the bottom. Campers, hunters and hikers will find the counter appealing as it indicates the best time to set up camp.

Durable Band

The Traverse Alpha is available in two wristband options the nylon textile and silicone. Although these materials might not be popular with some users, they can withstand wear and tear than leather or steel. However, the silicone option handles water better.

Opinion and Drawbacks

As Suunto designs watch for the military, it’s no surprise that the Traverse Alpha also has more features for outdoor use. However, it does not change time zones automatically while its GPS activation is slow. The Suunto Traverse Alpha barometer readings are inaccurate because the sensors touch one’s skin. The synthetic bracelet could also feel itchy on your skin.

Suunto Core Altimeter Watch All Black

 

Another great product from the finest brand, this Suunto Core Altimeter offers more features than regular smartwatches. First, it combines elegance with the traditional ruggedness associated with Suunto watches.

Storm Alarm

It features a barometer which offers a Storm Alarm. This option can notify users of approaching storms after sensing a drop in air pressure. On a hiking trip, this feature helps the wearer to locate a good camping site or find shelter before a storm begins.

Smart Altimeter

With the altimeter, you can record distances climbed or descended. It even measures elevations as high as 30000 ft. This option helps to track the exact location on a topographical map.

Compass Mode

The Suunto watch has a compass mode that converts the timepiece into a digital compass. It also allows users to set and lock the compass on a specific route.

Sleek Design

Unlike most outdoor watches, the Suunto Core Altimeter watch is not bulky or heavy on the wrist. This feature comes in handy as it won’t make your arms ache during climbs.

Opinion and Drawbacks

Although the Altimeter Watch has excellent features, it has a few downsides. Its dials get stuck after some time thereby requiring manual pulling. Sometimes it offers a poor display, unreliable readings. Another downturn is its battery life; it does not last long even after a full charge.

Garmin Epix, TOPO –  Best Outdoor Smartwatch for Hiking and Swimming

 

This product stands as the first Garmin timepiece to include GPS and sport watch features. Although it has a bulky look, it stands as a good fit for camping, hiking trip and other outdoors activities

Robust Materials

Complete with its rugged look, the Garmin Epix GPS watch is made with materials that can endure years of rough use. First, the watch is protected by a scratch-resistant crystal lens.  Secondly, it has a body covered with a PVD coating. Finally, its case can withstand water damage at 50m thus making the watch an excellent fit for swimming.

Vibration Alert

Unlike most smartwatches, the Epix Smartwatch offers notifications from a connected smartphone. These notifications are followed by vibrating alerts that notify when there is a call or message.

Dedicated App

The Garmin Epix GPS comes with an app-the Garmin Connect. With the app, you can view your heart rate, steps covered and calories burned. It even lets you share your activity log on social media. To access this app, you should connect your phone to the watch via Bluetooth or USB.

Impressive Touch-screen

The Gamin Epix features a 1.4-inch screen that is easy to use or navigate. Using this screen under bright sunlight is ideal since it offers 205 × 148 pixels. The display is also a visible color chroma that allows easy reading of the screen under low light.

Opinion and Drawbacks

Since the Garmin Epix is bulky, its dials touch the back of the hand especially when you bend your wrist. It comes with low-quality software, and it sometimes offers inaccurate readings.

Apple Watch Series 4

 

Last on our list of the best outdoor smartwatch is the Apple Watch Series 4. Although this smartwatch includes features of a sports watch, it’s also an ideal accessory for outdoor tasks.

Water Resistance

Since it can withstand water damage at 50m, users can use it in the rain or when swimming in a pool or open water. The watch can also count the strokes made during a swim. It also features a third app that will allow the user to monitor their swimming strokes.

Outdoor Features

The watch supports GPS which guides the user during treks. Apart from that, it features an altimeter that will allow mountain climbers to measure their height above the sea level.

Opinion and Drawbacks

Looking at its price, the Apple Watch Series 4 is an excellent product to work with. However, its bands feel uncomfortable on the wrist. Also, the watch requires constant charging because the battery does not last long. Finally, it interferes with the frequency of some electronic devices such as pacemakers.

What Makes a Good Smartwatch for Outdoors?

Important features

There are many important features to consider in a smartwatch for outdoors. First, if you love to engage in activities like hiking and camping; it’s best to consider a smartwatch with GPS and GLONASS. These features will help keep track of your exact location. For Mountain climber, it’s best to get an outdoor smartwatch that allows you to measure your altitude, receive messages, calls, and other notifications.

Other important features for outdoors include Barometer, altimeter, and compass as this updates you on incoming storms and prevailing weather.

Water Resistance

It’s certain that at some point that outdoor enthusiast might carry out activities in wet terrain. Hence, there is a need to get a smartwatch that can withstand this problem. For this reason, this makes water resistance stands as a great factor to consider when buying outdoor smartwatches. This feature offers the watch more protection and makes it last longer when used in wet conditions including rain.

Durability

Since nobody wants a watch that will last for a short period, therefore the sturdiness and strength of the watch are essential. For a smartwatch to last longer, it has to be made of high-quality materials that can withstand tough site conditions, falls and element impact.

Our Final Word for the Best Outdoor Smartwatch

Finally, we’ve provided great insight into outdoor smartwatches and some of the most durable models. However, it’s best to know your needs before buying one.

At outdoors, there are rough times whereby the environment and weather condition could become pretty harsh that one of our recommended best outdoor smartwatches can come in handy.

But before you make your final decision, its best to choose according to your specific needs, the style that’s will fit your regular outfit. Also, consider your budget and the features that will help you more in your preferred outdoor activities.

Apple Watch vs Fossil Smartwatch: Which Brand is Smarter?

Apple Watch vs. Fossil Smartwatch

So between Apple Watch vs Fossil Smartwatch, which brand offers the smarter wearable tech?

If you’re going to ask me, Apple edges out Fossil for the better implementation of the smart features. Plus, app integration and selection were simply better with the watch OS 5, Apple’s smartwatch operating system.

However, it could easily go the other way.

 

For this brand head-to-head, we highlighted the best watches from both brands to help you decide where to spend your money.

Short Introduction to the Apple Watch

Apple Watch is a product by, of course, Apple and is one of the first major products that was launched in the Tim Cook era. Although Apple has kept mum about the sales of their wearable tech, according to Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, the company has sold over 46 million Apple Watches thus far – making the watch the most successful wearable device in history.

Incidentally, the success of the Apple Watch has also made Apple the most successful watch manufacturer in the world, even topping Rolex as of September 2017.

Apple Watch Top Contenders

We have taken a look at some of the best smartwatches that Apple has to offer and have taken the liberty to handpick the company’s best ones that suit a number of specific needs and all should be worth your money.

Overall Best: Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS

 

The Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS + Cellular is a feature-packed smartwatch and it also happens to be the option if you’re buying your first Apple-branded smartwatch. As of this writing, the 2018-2019 Apple Watch lineup consists of three major versions: Series 1, Series 3 with GPS, and Series 4 with GPS+Cellular.

So why get the GPS version only instead of the GPS+Cellular model?

Well, the very simplest answer that I can give is the price. The Series 3 with GPS is certainly the most affordable entry point to the Apple Watch ecosystem without missing out on the majority of the key features.

Design has always been a major strength of Apple products and the Apple Watch Series 4 is no exception. The design of the watch is very functional. The colorful square display is very bright and I had no trouble making out the text whether it’s indoor or outdoor.

The watch also features the watchOS 5 which is the best version of it yet. I especially love the fact that navigating the interface is now very similar to how the iPhone works. Siri also works better which means that you now have a true hands-free / eyes-free experience.

The watch also features longer battery life and faster performance which are always a good thing. It has plenty of great features to get by your day-to-day life. Overall, it’s an excellent smartwatch that offers great value.

For the Sports-Oriented: Apple Watch Nike+

 

Apple is the behemoth of the tech industry. Nike is one of the biggest sports brands in the world. Combine both of them and you have a product that might just be larger than the sum of its parts.

If you’re planning to use a smartwatch to help you with your fitness goals, the Apple Watch Nike+ might just be for you.

One of the first things I love about the watch is the accuracy of the GPS. The Nike+ records the distance, pace, and routes with great accuracy. Even when using treadmills, the distance calculation is quite accurate. The heart rate monitor also offers comparable accuracy to chest strap heart rate monitors.

Apple does love its proprietary apps, so for the Nike+, you have the Nike+ Run Club app. The app is very straightforward to use and offers plenty of features for recording your activities. However, you don’t have to settle with the Nike+ Run Club app since the watch also supports other well-known fitness apps like RunKeeper, MapMyRun, and MyFitnessPal.

 

In terms of comfort, I’m happy to report that the watch is comfortable on the wrist. I’ve experienced no irritation while wearing the watch during a workout. The band is also outfitted with numerous holes for ventilation.

Overall, the Nike+ is a great, user-friendly smartwatch that works well as an accurate fitness tracker.

For the Budget-Conscious: Apple Watch Series 1

 

If you are looking for a less expensive alternative to the Series 3, the Apple Watch Series 1 is definitely a solid option.

The Series 1 name is rather confusing since this model is actually newer than the original Apple Watch which is referred to as “Series 0” which was released in 2015. The Series 1 debuted in 2016 along with the now-discontinued Series 2.

The 38mm is about 10% lower in price than the 42mm. The Series 1 will save you less than a hundred dollars but still afford you some pretty good smartwatch features. Despite lacking major features like a GPS, the Series 1 can still track your runs and be used for your workouts without needing your phone.

 

The Apple Watch Series 1 is also compatible with the watchOS 4 which features improved heart rate tracking features, smarter Siri, and many other enhancements.

For a cheaper price, expect to miss out on some major features and improvements such as GPS, waterproofing, brighter display, faster performance, better battery life, and more.

As long as you’re not hardcore runner or swimmer, the Series 1 has what you need at a far more affordable price.

Short Introduction to the Fossil Smartwatch

Fossil is a very popular American fashion designer and manufacturing company that is known for their designer watches, wallets, handbags, fragrances, and more.

Not planning to be outdone by Apple, Google has released its own smartwatch operating system which is dubbed Android Wear. When it comes to wearable Google-based watches, Fossil is definitely one of the frontliners.

On top of offering full-blown smartwatches, Fossil somehow has managed to stick with their roots by making hybrid smartwatches.

Fossil Smartwatch Top Contenders

Same with Apple’s lineup, we have taken a look at some of the best models that Fossil has to offer in the smartwatch race.

Best Overall: Fossil Q Explorist Gen 3

 

The Fossil Q Explorist Gen 3 should be an easy recommendation if you want a smartwatch with a fashionable flair.

In my opinion, the Q Explorist lineup is among the best designed and best-looking smartwatches at the moment. It’s also available in many different materials, color options, finishes and band styles, so you can find a timepiece that matches your own personal style. Plus, the straps are swappable which gives you more customization options.

The watch can track steps, distance, and calories burned. However, it’s only making an estimate so it’s not the most accurate tracker out there since it lacks GPS and a heart rate monitor.

 

Like most smartwatches, the Gen 3 Explorist can display notifications and touchscreen functions for calls, texts, app updates, and emails. It’s also powered by Wear OS, so it’s compatible whether you have an Android or iOS smartphone.

Overall, the Fossil Q Explorist Gen 3 looks and feels just like a regular watch but with some smart thrown in the mix.

If You Want a Regular-Looking Smartwatch: Fossil Q Grant Hybrid Smartwatch

 

The Fossil Q Grant Hybrid Smartwatch is described, “looks like a watch, acts like a smartwatch” which is fairly accurate.

It’s basically an analog watch with smart features.

The Fossil Q Grant is simply leagues ahead of its competitors when it comes to design and build. It has a gorgeous watch face that’s a real head-turner. I also particularly enjoy the 44m metal frame which feels just about right on my wrist.

The smart features come in a simplistic form of LED lights and vibration motor. The watch can be synced with your Android smartphone or iPhone and you can get notifications via the Q Grant. The LED lights can be used to notify you of things like when certain hashtags are used or when a certain app sends a notification.

 

The Q Grant is equipped with a 3-axis accelerometer which can track things like steps taken, calories burned, and distance covered. Just don’t expect fancy tracking features like elevation, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking.

The Fossil Q Grant Hybrid Smartwatch is easily the best-looking hybrid smartwatch that you can get in the market. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s offered at a great price point.

For the Fitness Enthusiast: Fossil Q Control Gen 3

The Fossil Q Control Gen 3 Smartwatch is the go-to option for hardcore runners and fitness enthusiasts.

While many people would consider the Q Control to be dull and bland, I think the design is good and can work as a watch that fits in any situation. I really enjoy the clean and almost futuristic look of the watch which can be worn whether you are playing sports or attending a suit event.

 

As mentioned, the Q Control excels in in-depth activity and performance tracking – thanks to its heart rate sensor. It comes pre-loaded with the Google Fit app so you can track your heart rate, steps, and a variety of workouts. The 5ATM water resistance rating means that you can take this watch for a swim.

Overall, the Q Control looks great and works well as a sports watch. However, it does come with a hefty price tag.

The Verdict

So Apple Watch vs Fossil Smartwatch, which do I prefer?

As I’ve mentioned, I have more affinity towards the Apple smartwatches since I’m already knee-deep into Apple’s ecosystem. Plus, most of the “smart” features just work better with Apple’s watches. Tracking and app integration were simply better experiences with my Apple watch.

However, Fossil’s smartwatches have fared well during our comparison.

Fossil watches generally work better with the Android OS, so if you’re already using an Android device, I highly recommend giving Fossil’s offering a look. Plus, they’re great watches if you want a wearable tech that doesn’t look like a “smartwatch.”