Best Swim Watch For Open Water [Our Top Picks]

Best Swim Watch For Open Water

Many watches claim to be waterproof but only a few are truly fit for swimming. Your favorite timepiece may survive the shower or rain but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good fit for open water swimming. This is why I’ve decided to make this list of the best swim watch for open water.

Today, we rounded up the watches that you can wear for open water swimming. For this list, we chose the Garmin Forerunner 935 as our top pick due to its wide range of features, superior build quality, and value proposition. Keep reading to see the rest of our recommendations.

Best Swim Watch For Open Water

Key Features

Our Rating

Garmin Forerunner 935

Advanced running and multisport features, Built-in barometer, altimeter and electronic compass, Advanced dynamics for running, cycling and swimming, Built-in activity profiles

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Apple Watch Series 5

GPS, Always-On Retina display, Swimproof, ECG app, Electrical and optical heart sensors, Built-in compass, Emergency SOS, Digital Crown with haptic feedback, 64-bit dual-core processor, W3 Apple wireless chip

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR

Battery life up to 12 hours, Steel bezel, mineral Crystal Glass, 100 meter water resistance, GPS route navigation, support for over 80 sports, Optical heart rate, Sapphire glass, Triathlon and multisport mode

★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Garmin Swim 2

Wrist-based heart rate, Pool swim mode, Built-in GPS, Full-color Garmin chroma display, Auto rest feature, Advanced Swim Features, Turn-based pacing alerts, Up to 7 days battery life in smartwatch mode

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2

Advanced sensors, Aluminum or stainless steel, Detects a high or a low heart rate, Sleep tracker, 360 x 360 Super AMOLED display, GPS, Bluetooth

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Polar Vantage V

Up to 40 hours of training time with GPS active, Running power from the wrist, Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro, Integrated GPS, Polar Precision Prime sensor fusion technology, Nightly Recharge and Sleep Plus Stages

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Best Swim Watch For Open Water

1. Garmin Forerunner 935

Best Swim Watch For Open Water

The Garmin Forerunner 935 is one of our top picks for the best Garmin for Triathlon and because of that, it’s easy to recommend is as the best swim watch for open water.

Beast of a Multi-Sport Watch

On top of the training and performance tracking features, the Forerunner 935 also has a healthy offering of dedicated pool smarts. It’s a full-featured triathlon watch, so you can trust that it will serve you well in open waters.

The Forerunner 935 comes with built-in activity profiles both for open water and pool swimming. Through the Garmin Connect app, you can create your own workouts or download pre-made sessions to your watch. Moreover, the watch will automatically detect stroke type along with metrics like lengths, distance, pace, and stroke count. Other advanced features include time and distant alerts, countdown start, and other open-water metrics.

Perhaps the best feature of the Forerunner 935 is the Training Status function which automatically evaluates your recent workouts. There are even numerous performance indicators that will let you know if you’ve had a productive swimming session or not.

Overall, the Garmin Forerunner 935 is one of the best GPS watches I’ve used which makes it a solid option for open water swimmers.

2. Apple Watch Series 5

Best Swim Watch For Open Water

The world’s most famous smartwatch also happens to be an excellent gadget for open water swimming. The Apple Watch Series 5 is not just a fancy offering from the Cupertino company, it works great for open water swimming as well.

Not Just a Fancy Apple Gadget

Regardless of how you feel about Apple products, the Apple Watch Series 5 is one of the best-looking smartwatches out there. Over the years, the design of the Apple Watch has seen some updates here and there but its overall design has not changed that much – it has become an iconic design.

The Apple Watch comes with an accelerometer and gyroscope, and they’re very accurate. As a result, the watch can recognize which strokes you are doing (backstroke, freestyle, breaststroke) and provide an accurate quantification. The watch will also track other metrics such as the number of meters or yards completed, pool size (if you’re not swimming in open water), total swim time, number of strokes per lap, and many others.

For open water swimming, you have the GPS feature that will tell you position while you’re in the ocean or a lake. However, one of the best functions of Apple Watch is the ability to use third-party apps that can give you more information about your workouts when compared to stock apps.

If you’re going to buy the Apple Watch Series 5 just for swimming, it can be very expensive. Otherwise, it’s a top-notch smartwatch and fitness tracker for everything else.

3. Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR

Best Swim Watch For Open Water

The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR is also one of the best smartwatches for triathletes. It’s a multi-sport GPS watch with a pretty good heart rate sensor – perfect for hardcore open water swimmers.

Excellent GPS Watch for Swimming

The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR is “everything but the kitchen sink” equivalent of smartwatches. Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the Spartan Sport Wrist HR is the optical heart rate sensor. I won’t say that the heart rate sensor is 100% accurate but it’s more than good enough considering that you don’t have to use a chest-strap add-on. Suunto did a great job of creating an optical HR sensor for swimming.

The Spartan Sport Wrist HR has a water resistance of 100 m (300 ft) which means that it’s perfect for open water swimming. One of my favorite features of the watch is the heat map. It just makes it a lot easier to find training spots. You can create routes using the Movescount app and the best thing about this is that you can filter by sport. This makes it a breeze to find the right swimming routes.

The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR isn’t exactly cheap but I’d say the price is more than warranted.

4. Garmin Swim 2

Best Swim Watch For Open Water

Garmin is one of the biggest manufacturers of sports watches today. When it comes to full-featured sports watches, it’s hard to go wrong with Garmin. The Garmin Swim 2 is no exception. This functionality tracks your heart rate along with your steps taken to provide more accurate data.

Designed for Swimmers

Just by going by the name, you’ll know that the Garmin Swim 2 is a reliable swimming partner. Again, this is not just your standard fitness tracker that you can wear while on the water. The Swim 2 has features that will measure your swimming performance.

The Garmin Swim 2 can measure lap count, recognize all four strokes, and utilizes gamification to motivate to perform better. There’s a SWOLF Scoring feature which is basically a combination of “swimming” and “golf” that combines your stroke rate and overall speed.

One thing that I love about this watch is that it’s quickly usable out of the box. You can simply strap it on and use it right away. With that said, it’s highly recommended that you get the Garmin Connect app to get the most out of your Garmin Swim 2.

Overall, the Garmin Swim 2 is a definite upgrade to the old Swim model which doesn’t even have a GPS function.

5. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2

Samsung has been killing it when it comes to wearable tech. This is true with their Samsung Gear (old name) and Galaxy Watch lines. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is another solid entry from the South Korean tech giant and it’s a pretty good entry for this list of the best swim watch for open water.

Great All-Around Fitness Tracker

With the 5 ATM waterproof rating and the fact that it’s water-sealed, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is an easy recommendation for swimmers. One neat functionality of the watch is that it allows you to customize the information displayed within the swim tracking screen. This includes your target, pool size, guide frequency, and which data to display.

When in the water, the Galaxy Watch Active2 will disable touch sensitivity so you’ll need to use the physical buttons to navigates. Like the Apple Watch, you can simply press a button to reactivate the touch interface after a swim. It also has an impressive battery life at 3-4 days after charging to the max, even when you use the GPS for swimming in open waters.

Overall, the Galaxy Watch Active2 isn’t as advanced as the other watches on this list but it’s robust enough to be used as a general fitness tracker.

6. Polar Vantage V

Best Swim Watch For Open Water

The Polar Vantage V has been touted as the “Garmin Killer.” While I can’t claim that yet, Polar did a great job with the Vantage V, especially when it comes to the swim features.

Formidable Rival to Garmin

For starters, I love the design of the Polar Vantage V. The very thin brushed metal looks great and practically disappears when viewed face on. The touchscreen feels intuitive and snappy, and you’ll have no trouble using touch as a primary input.

Like the Suunto Spartan HR, the Vantage V brings heart rate monitoring to the water. Also, the swimming metrics track information like pool size, swimming style, distance, strokes, rest time, and so on. The tracking results are quite satisfactory especially when you use it in conjunction with the Polar Flow app.

Overall, the Polar Vantage V isn’t the cheapest wearable tech out there. However, it’s very polished and can give some Garmin models a run for their money.

Ready for an Open Water Swim?

Best Swim Watch For Open Water

This concludes our list of the best swim watch for open water. Hopefully, you’ll find something here that will help maximize your training sessions. Stay safe out there!

Best GPS Watch for Backpacking – Outdoor Watches

Best GPS watch for backpacking

Are you planning to go backpacking? Then you should consider getting the Garmin Fenix 5x as it stands as the best GPS watch for backpacking on the market. Aside from its accurate GPS and GLONASS function, this Garmin watch comes with impressive features for backpacking and hiking. It can also withstand water pressure up to a depth of 100 meters.

Best GPS Watch for Backpacking

Best GPS Watch for Backpacking

Today, backpacking has become popular with people across the world. It is an easy way to enjoy the scenery, hiking, as well as learning about various terrain and cultures. But to have a stress free trip, you will surely need the best GPS watch for backpacking on your list.

The significant of GPS watch is that it tells the current time while keeping track of your movement and location. You can find many watches with impressive features, but a GPS watch with special features is best on the trail. Unlike other watches, a GPS timepiece has various features that will suit your backpacking trip. Such options include navigation tools, a map, and a rugged build.

Also, with the unpredictable weather, you will need a device to alert you of potential danger, especially when you camp alone. Hence, when going backpacking, equip yourself with a GPS watch with an altimeter, compass, and barometer.

Staying safe is essential as you head for that independent travel, sightseeing, hiking, and more. This is why you need the best GPS watch for backpacking and hiking.

Best GPS Watches for Backpacking

Suunto Traverse 

Best GPS Watch for Backpacking

 

The Traverse looks casual and has features that make it stand out as the best GPS watch for backpacking and outdoors. It has a durable design, thereby serving as an ideal companion in the outdoors. It even has a look that allows it to doubles as a watch you can wear at home or work. Now here are the features offered by the Suunto Traverse.

Durable Build for Outdoor Use

If you are traveling on wet terrain or passing through water, there is no need to remove this item from the wrist. The Suunto Traverse offers a water resistance of 100m/330feet. It also has a rugged build and sturdy case that can keep the display from cracks, which can occur during a fall on rocky ground.

Provide Weather Information 

With the Suunto Traverse, you can determine the available hours of daylight. You can even use its storm alarm feature to know when the next thunderstorm will hit. Such features will allow you to have ample time to find shelter, especially when you are traveling in a remote location.

Ideal for Daily Use

As mentioned earlier, the Traverse performs functions that will suit your daily life. For instance, it monitors your physical activity by counting your steps and calories. It also allows you to have access to calls, messages, and notifications on your phone. Overall, these features will enable you to keep in touch with work, especially when you are on a backpacking trip.

Opinion and Drawbacks 

There are many reasons to love this watch. First, it has a durable but lightweight build. It also includes a barometer trend for incoming storms while boasting of a good battery that charges quickly.

However, it has some issues that might make you choose other watches. For one, its silicone band weakens within a few months of use.

Suunto Ambit 3

Best GPS Watch for Backpacking

 

If you want another Suunto product with great featuresyou should consider getting the Sunnto Ambit3Apart from telling you the time, the smartwatch provides important readings and monitors your movements. It also has a build that allows it to handle the challenges of backpacking on any terrain.

Long Battery Life 

This watch offers a battery that can last for 200 hours. But when the GPS is not activated, it promises 30 days of battery life. With such features, you can use the watch on long trips, especially in locations where there is no power for a recharge.

Rugged Build 

As expected from an outdoor watch, the Suunto Ambit3 can handle regular use under harsh conditions. For instance, it has a sturdy polyamide case that holds its internal parts. It also boasts of an elastomer band that can maintain its shape after exposure to extreme temperatures. What’s even better is that a scratch-resistant crystal protects the display from knocks or impact from elements.

Great Connectivity

Are you worried about missing important calls or texts during a climb? Well, this watch can pair with your smartphone, thereby keeping you updated with any notification via the Suunto in-house app, Movescount. You can also use this feature to track and share your progress with your loved ones.

Opinion and Drawbacks 

It would be fair to see the Ambit3 as the best GPS watch for hiking with maps if you’re to consider its featuresBut it has a few issues that might make you look for suitable alternatives.

First, it provides inaccurate readings on its calorie and step counter. Next, the company forces you to visit its website before you can download your data from the watch. But if you choose to ignore these problems, the item might be ideal for any hiking and backpacking trip.

Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire

Best GPS Watch for Backpacking

 

Aside backpacking, if you are also looking for the best GPS watch for hiking, then you should consider this Garmin watch. Complete with dependable battery life, wrist-based heart monitor, and other vital sensors, the watch deserves a place on our search for the best GPS watch for backpacking.

Crisp Display 

The watch face on this GPS timepiece is suitable for use in sunlight or darkness. It consists of a full-color display that comes in high resolution. Its LED backlight also increases its readability in poorly lit environments on your backpacking route. The best part is that the screen is covered with a sapphire lens that can withstand scratches.

Wide Selection of Sensors 

If you use the Fenix 5X, you can navigate any terrain with ease. Possibly, the best hiking watch with altimeter, the accessory offers accurate elevation data for climbs. It also has a built-in barometer that can predict changes in weather, thereby providing ample time to prepare for a thunderstorm.

Sleek Design

Walking for hours with a bulky watch on your arm can be frustrating. But if you travel with this Garmin piece, its sleek and lightweight design will not add extra pressure to your wrist. Overall, it is a comfortable piece to use during hours of navigating difficult locations.

Opinion and Drawbacks

Any modern backpacker should consider getting a watch like the Fenix 5X because it stands as the best Garmin watch with GPS for many reasons. These include a clear display, portable design, and a wide range of sensors. Also, it costs less than most other GPS watches in the market.

Apple Watch Series 3

Best GPS Watch for Backpacking

 

There are many reasons to love this Apple watch 3. These include its elegant design, top-notch sensors, and exciting speakers. It even comes for a price of less than $200. Now, let’s see the details of what this watch has to offer.

Impressive Build

Backpacking trips come with conditions that can test the limit of any watch. For this reason, this Apple Watch has a ceramic body that can handle scratches and minor knocks. It also has a band that can resist splashes and sweat.

Cellular Free Calls

Unlike most watches on our list, you can make calls with this device. You can even make these calls without pairing the timepiece with your phone. With this feature, you can make emergency calls or keep in touch with your loved ones while your smartphone stays in your backpack.

Readable Display

The watch has an OLED display that is bright and vivid. The technology conserves energy by going dim after some time. But you can switch it back on by flicking your wrist.  Furthermore, the watch is protected by tough glass, thereby making it a perfect fit for hiking rough terrain.

Opinion and Drawbacks

The Apple Watch Series 3 has features that fit backpacking activities. However, its poor battery life might make you spend time looking for a socket instead of enjoying your trip.

What to Consider when Looking out For the Best GPS Watch for Backpacking

You don’t want to throw away money, which is why you need to consider some of the important things when looking out for the best GPS watch for backpacking. The best smartwatch for backpacking should have the following features and qualities.

Durable and Sturdy Build

Your new device should have a feel of comfort and should be strong enough to withstand knocks and fall. Many GPS watches are built with a sapphire glass lens to make them resistant to scratches and pressures. This characteristic makes them expensive, bulky, and heavy if you have a small wrist.

You may go for lighter watches that are easier to carry when backpacking, running or hiking. These are often less expensive but may not be able to resist cracks or scratches. They are also more comfortable on the wrist, and you can wear them without worrying too much.

Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass (ABC feature)

If you’re looking for the best smartwatch for backpacking and hiking, these three important functions must be there. They provide the information that helps you guard against bad weather and the nature of any terrain you plan to go backpacking.

Altimeter helps to measure air pressure and keeps track of highlands and lowlands. You can’t bet on its 100 percent accuracy, but it’s useful if you’re passing through mountainous areas.

Since altimeters don’t need signals to function, they are more reliable than GPS devices. You can lose signal while on GPS since altimeters use air pressure, they are not lost on the mountains.

The barometer does more than tell you the kind of weather to expect. It gives you a hint of a coming storm and can measure atmospheric pressure too.

If you want the best backpacking watch and have planned a long trip, check for the barometer feature. It is useful when it comes to keeping you safe from storms and other unexpected weather conditions.

Many GPS watches come with a compass usually built into the device. While some devices may appear basic, others have advanced features. 3D compasses work no matter the direction you bend it, but 2D functions well when placed horizontally.

Compass is all-important even if you have a reliable GPS. Turning on your GPS drains the battery, and it won’t be available for support when you need it. But for a compass or map, you don’t need battery power, which makes it a better alternative.

Strap Quality

The type of strap that comes with the GPS watch is important. Rough straps can cause discomfort and annoyance, so choose the one that is comfortable on your wrist. Get a watch with a sturdy strap, which can remain well-secured on your wrist.

Weight

Long backpacking or hiking requires you to go with a lighter load. You may not understand how heavy things can be until you’re on the move. To avoid this problem, go for modern watches which are relatively lighter and more advanced.

Battery Life

GPS works with battery power, and this makes you want to turn it off at regular intervals. When choosing the best GPS watch for hiking and backpacking, consider one with a long battery life. Most watches last between ten and twelve hours when the GPS is turned on.

Depending on the settings, some watches can stay in GPS mode for about 24 hours. Although they are more expensive, they come with special features.

A good way to reduce the consumption of power is to enable Ultra-trac. This feature helps to limit GPS readings and conserves more battery power for essential tasks only. The only issue is that your GPS will not give you an accurate reading of distance or pace.

The best way to conserve battery power is to turn off every function when not in use. If you’re not using the GPS function or other functions, turn off the watch completely until you need them. Switching on all apps, notifications, and alerts will drain your battery much faster.

Heart-Rate Monitor

If you want to lose weight or stay fit while hiking, a GPS watch with a heart-rate monitor is helpful. This feature tells you how fast or how slow your heartbeat, which can help to inform your hiking activities.

Wrist-based heart-rate monitors may feel comfortable, but they don’t give you accurate readings. Monitors closer to the chest region give a reliable reading, although they feel a little less comfortable. Since you want the best GPS watch for backpacking, a more accurate heart-rate reading is a wise choice.

GPS and GLONASS

With the advancement of technology, the best GPS watch for backpacking and hiking should come with GPS and GLONASS satellites. These features, supported by BDS (BeiDou Navigation Satellite System), can tell your exact location, speed, duration, ascent, and the distance you’ve covered. This is a great way to track your progress, especially if you’re backpacking alone.

Final Word on the Best GPS Watch For Backpacking

Backpacking is an interesting activity that can be enjoyed more when you have a GPS watch handy. With such an accessory, you can navigate any terrain and track your progress.

Fortunately, you can find these items in different styles with price tags for every budget. We also recommend that you take care of your GPS watch as this will help it perform properly for a long time.

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.

Users can also swim with this smartwatch as it has 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 enthusiasts; these include GPS, Glonass, expanded internal memory, activities analysis, barometer, and altimeter.

Best Outdoor Smartwatch

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

Best Outdoor Smartwatch

 

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 a 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

Best Outdoor Smartwatch

 

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 that is needed to plan your hiking trips.

Opinion and Drawbacks

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

Suunto Traverse Alpha – Best Outdoor Smartwatch for Military

Best Outdoor Smartwatch

 

The Sunnto Traverse Alpha stands as a trendy and rugged smartwatch that can withstand tough terrains and elements. It also comes with features that will help outdoor enthusiasts 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 a 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 a 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

Best Outdoor Smartwatch

 

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 that 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

Best Outdoor Smartwatch

 

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

Best Outdoor Smartwatch

 

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 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 the 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 climbers, 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 enthusiasts 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 conditions could become pretty harsh that one of our recommended best outdoor smartwatches can come in handy.

But before you make your final decision, it’s 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 7, Apple’s smartwatch operating system.

However, it could easily go the other way.

apple watch vs fossil smartwatch

 

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 recently.

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 6 with GPS

 

The Apple Watch Series 6 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 Apple Watch lineup consists of three major versions: Series 1, Series 3, and Series 6, 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.

apple watch vs fossil smartwatch

Design has always been a major strength of Apple products and the Apple Watch Series 6 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 7 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 in your day-to-day life. Overall, it’s an excellent smartwatch that offers great value.

For the Sports-Oriented: Apple Watch Nike+

apple watch vs fossil smartwatch

 

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

apple watch vs fossil smartwatch

 

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.

apple watch vs fossil smartwatch

 

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 a 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 its 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 front liners.

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 Gen 5 Carlyle

apple watch vs fossil smartwatch

 

The Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle should be an easy recommendation if you want a smartwatch with a fashionable flair.

In my opinion, the Gen 5 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.

apple watch vs fossil smartwatch

 

Like most smartwatches, the Gen 5 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 Gen 5 looks and feels just like a regular watch but with some smart thrown in the mix.

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

 

The Fossil 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 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 a vibration motor. The watch can be synced with your Android smartphone or iPhone and you can get notifications via the 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 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 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

apple watch vs fossil smartwatch

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”.

Best Watches for Strava App

Best Watch for Strava

If you are in need of the perfect watch to sync with your Strava app, then you are in the right place.  Advancements in technology are making it realistic for the production of smartwatches or wrist “computers” that are almost a necessity to own if you are an athlete. The best watch for Strava was selected with the athlete in mind, name it runner, cyclist, or swimmer.

The Strava app is able to connect with many watches, to show you live performance metrics so that you can track your vitals and set goals for your daily run ( or monthly run if you are like me).

For those who are eager to cut to the chase, and get back to their run, here is what we have as the number one watch to sync with the Strava app: the Suunto Spartan Sport. You can not go wrong with the sleek, modern design and unique qualities and features of the Suunto Spartan Sport. It is definitely a top choice and would make for an EXCELLENT gift for any avid runner.

To check out the other top watches that will easily sync with the Strava app, continue reading…(or running)

Best Watch For StravaWhat Makes it GreatOverall Ranking
Suunto Spartan SportDurable build, outdoor grade touch screen, sport-specific training modes★★★★★

Garmin VivoActive 3

Seven-day battery life, sleek modern design (and everyday watch),  Great value★★★★
Samsung Gear S3Classic wrist watch look, military-grade performance, steel bezel★★★★
Garmin Forerunner 235Large screen for visibility,  Oxygen volume estimate, affordable★★★★
Apple Watch Series 6Great battery life, Top smartwatch brand, innovative features★★★

Top Smart Watches for the Strava App

Suunto Spartan Sport 

You can not go wrong with the Spartan Sport. Not only is this a smartwatch, but it is literally made for the active runner.

best watch for strava

When it comes to style, durability, and overall functionality, it is no question that the Spartan Sport takes the cake. Take your mind off the cake though… We have some calories to burn.  Quick points to cover why the Spartan Sport reigns supreme: up to 12 hours of battery life, beautiful steel bezel with many colorway options, and easy connection with the Strava app. It could not be any simpler to set up your watch to the app.

Best Features in a Sport Watch

Not only can you easily sync to your Strava app to track your run, but you can also track over 80 other sports and activities on the Suunto Spartan Sport.  If you enjoy running in the evening, after the sun sets, no worries. The Spartan Sport offers easy visibility with it’s “art color” touch, which can be easily seen in the dimmest of light.

At the end of the day, with the Spartan Sport, you get the most accurate data about daily activity levels, a durable watch that is built for outdoors, features that are unique to the Spartan, and a great looking watch.

Top Features

  • Sapphire Glass, Durable Steel Bezel
  • Control over watch battery life (adjusting GPS tracking frequency)
  • Accurate heart rate monitor
  • Easily syncs with Strava Via Suunto app or in Movescount

Garmin Vivo Active 3

Garmin is known for creating great GPS and tracking devices. They did an excellent job with the Vivo Active.

best watch for strava

Functionality wise, Garmin is pretty close to the Spartan Sport. However, it falls short in a few areas, a big one being the design and build. The Garmin Vivo Active 3 has a basic look, with nothing spectacular about the bezel or case. It is a good watch for those who are more of a minimalist. The one unique feature that stands out with the design, is the ability to change the face of your watch with thousands of options to choose from.

On to what makes the Garmin VivoActive 3 AWESOME! Like previously mentioned, the Vivo Active has a lot of similar features as the Spartan Sport: long battery life, VO2 tracker, and many sports trackers.

Garmin excels in making GPS functions. So you know you are getting an accurate GPS when purchasing a Garmin watch.  It is definitely a comfortable watch. Although not that stylish, the band is VERY comfortable on the wrists. Owners of the Vivo Active rave about the comfort of the watch.

An Everyday Watch

Comfort is definitely a top priority to make a watch an “everyday” watch. But otherwise, the watch is also very easy to use and provides features that are important for everyday use. You can sync to Strava straight from Garmin Beacon, and stay connected unless you decide to cancel.

Garmin Pay is an added feature that lets you make purchases with your watch (need to stop for a bottle of water, you can pay straight from your Garmin)! Overall, the Vivo Active is a top choice for the everyday watch. One you can wear even after you are done with your run, swim, yoga class etc…

Top Features

  • Comfortable band, light build, easy to take off
  • Stress level indicator (see their website for details)
  • Customizable Face
  • Truly waterproof (up to 50M)
  • Easily syncs with Strava

Samsung Gear S3

Nothing beats the design of the Samsung Gear 3. It is a smartwatch that you would never guess is a smartwatch.

At first glance, you would never guess that the Gear 3 was a smartwatch. The distinctive stainless steel bezel resembles the high-quality bezels of a dive watch. Customize the face of your watch with a realistic dial, that can mimic any automatic watch you would like.

The functionality is similar to the Spartan Sport and Vivo Active, yet not as robust. You can count on the GPS, the accelerometer for counting repetitions with cross-fit activities, and the updates from the watch that entice you to get moving. (If you have not been active, the watch will update you to get in a run or a workout). That is a feature that those leaning more on the lazy spectrum should have.

All In the Design

The design and look of the Samsung Gear S3 is the main reason why it is number 3 on today’s review. Other than that, the watch performs well, is quite durable, and syncs with the Strava app. This is a top choice for those who look for style in their smartwatch, rather than pure functionality.

Top Features

  • Stainless steel bezel
  • Durability
  • Smart updates to keep you active and track fitness benchmarks
  • Sync to Strava straight from the Samsung Health app

Garmin Forerunner 235

Garmin makes the list yet again. The Forerunner 235 is a good choice for those seeking an affordable and innovative smartwatch.

best watch for strava

The Garmin Forerunner makes today’s list because of its accurate GPS tracking, a wrist-based heart rate monitor, large display, and comfort. If you are looking for an all-around smartwatch like the Samsung Gear S3, go with the Samsung. The Forerunner 235 is not great with smartwatch features. It shines in the ability to track runs and to be your fitness companion.

Because of the focus on running and sports activities, the watch is perfect for those who are more concerned with fitness capabilities. The battery life is GREAT; current owners claim they can run 18-25 miles a week on 2 charges.

A True Fitness Watch

The best way to describe the Garmin Forerunner 235, is a true fitness watch. It does not have any fancy features like many other smartwatches, it simply tracks your fitness goals.

When it comes to counting steps, runs, calories burnt and alert motivator to get you up and running, the Garmin Forerunner 235 excels. This is a TOP pick for those who want a reliable and durable fitness watch.

Of course, the watch syncs with the Strava app easily, hence why it is on the list.

Top Features

  • Robust activity tracking
  • Long lasting battery life (longest on the list)
  • Comfortable and easy to read
  • Syncs with Strava App

Apple Watch Series 6

Lastly, we have one of the most popular, and one of the first smartwatches. The Apple Watch Series 6.

best watch for strava

Apple is one of the biggest names in EVERY tech industry. It is no surprise that they create some of the best smartwatches. The Apple Watch Series 6 comes in last place today because of a few key factors.

For one: the Apple Watch is a true smartwatch. Yes, it can track your fitness goals, but the main use case for an Apple watch is owning a smart computer, that can sync easily with iPhones and keep the user up to date straight from the wrist

What makes it great is definitely the all-around use of the watch.  Similar to the Vivo Active, it is a comfortable everyday watch. To be honest, if you own an iPhone, this may be the NUMBER ONE pick for you. I say that because rather than spending money on two smartwatches; you can have it all with Apple.

The True Smartwatch

Apple is continuing to advance the fitness-tracking abilities of its smartwatches. As of today, the series 6 is a decent watch for heartbeat monitoring, trail tracking, and total steps. When compared to other watches on the list,  it falls a bit short.

Where it shines, is all of the other capabilities that are innovative and highly advanced. iPhone owners will love how easy the Apple Watch syncs with their phones, and keeps them up to date with all notifications. Runners will enjoy the easy syncing process with Strava.

Top Features

  • Everyday use for iPhone users
  • Comfort and high tech design
  • Music streaming (for runners who enjoy music while running)
  • Syncs with Strava App

The Final Verdict

When it comes to smartwatches for runners, it is not a simple process to rate a watch. There are many factors that determine which watch is best for an individual, my goal was to help lead you towards the top 5.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. You will be happy with any watch that you choose; they are all highly-regarded on Amazon and by yours truly!

When purchasing a watch, make sure you go to a trusted retailer like Amazon, to ensure you get an authentic watch.

Happy watch shopping everyone!