What makes a smartwatch “tactical”? Does it need to have tactical features? Does it need to be stealthy?
In reality, there is no single true definition that makes a smartwatch tactical. There are many timepieces that are used by professionals in the tactical field. These watches are rugged, reliable, highly legible, and have the right set of features.
If you are in the market for the best tactical smartwatch, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we round up some of the best tactical smartwatches that you can get for your money.
Best Tactical Smartwatches
|Suunto Traverse Alpha||Rugged, knurled stainless steel bezel, Water repellent nylon strap, Location-based moon Phase calendar, Automatic shot detection technology, Compatible with Suunto Movescount App, GPS & GLONASS via SIRFStarV chip||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Garmin Fenix 5X||Full-color TOPO U.S. mapping, Routable cycling maps, Training Status and Training Effect readouts, PVD-coated stainless steel bezel, Advanced GPS and GLONASS satellite reception, Chroma Display with LED backlighting, Advanced Running Dynamics||★ ★ ★ ★ ½|
|Suunto Core All Black Military||Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, Weather Trend graph, Storm alarm, Sunrise and sunset times, 100 feet water resistance, Rotating bezel, Replaceable straps, Digital thermometer||★ ★ ★ ★|
|Samsung Gear S3 Frontier||Innovative rotating steel bezel, Text, call and get notifications, Samsung Pay enabled, Military-grade performance, Compatible with Android and iOS smartphones, Wireless charger, Built-in S Health app||★ ★ ★ ★|
|TicWatch Pro||2-30 days of battery life on a single charge, AMOLED display, Google Assistant, Power saving FSTN LCD display, GPS tracker, heart-rate monitor, step counter, Google Pay enabled||★ ★ ★ ★|
|Casio Pro-Trek WSD-F20A||★ ★ ★ ½|
Best Tactical Smartwatch
1. Suunto Traverse Alpha
The Suunto Traverse Alpha has been getting a lot of love among outdoor lovers and for good reason. While many of its features are focused on outdoor adventures, it’s a rugged, feature-rich smartwatch that will serve you well in the field.
A Dynamic, Outdoor Tactical Smartwatch
The Suunto Traverse Alpha is one of our top picks as the best tactical smartwatch due to its ruggedness and reliability. The Traverse Alpha is housed composite case with a fixed knurled steel bezel. On top of that, the watch is protected by sapphire crystal lens and comes with a water-resistant nylon wrist strap.
This combination of features adds up to a very durable watch that can withstand even the harshest of elements. Whether you’re rock climbing or serving in law enforcement, this watch’s durability will not fail you.
This smartwatch comes with GPS and GLONASS technology, navigation becomes a non-issue. You can even set built-in shortcuts for saving your current position as a point of interest or POI. The watch itself is very easy to use and it’s made even more intuitive if you download the Movescount app.
The look of the watch just screams “tactical” with its woodland aesthetic. The display offers two options: black-on-white or white-on-black contrasts. The display is not in your face and you can even set it to show in red backlight so it works with night vision goggles.
It’s seriously one of the best tactical, outdoor smartwatches that money can buy.
2. Garmin Fenix 5X
If you are a tactical professional who’s looking for a top-of-the-line navigation smartwatch, the Garmin Fenix 5X is certainly worth the look. After all, it’s from a company that’s synonymous with stellar GPS navigation systems.
Hefty and Handsome
As mentioned, the Garmin Fenix 5X is a top-tier navigation companion. This multisport GPS watch comes with all sorts of advanced navigation features such as full-color TOPO U.S. mapping, routable cycling maps, and many others.
The GPS and GLONASS sensors work exceptionally well which is no surprise since this watch is a Garmin product after all. Even when you’re in the most challenging tactical environment, the GPS along with features like the 3-axis compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter should come in handy.
Aside from offering excellent navigation features, the Fenix 5X is also a top-notch training companion. If you are obsessed with tracking your performance stats, the Fenix 5X is a no-brainer as it offers some of the most advanced performance metrics I’ve seen.
The enhanced readouts for Training Status and Training Effect will allow you to see the benefits of your workout. There’s the feature called VO2 max estimator that just pumps out the stats such as running speed, heart rate variability, beats per minute, and more. You can even access more data if you have a compatible heart rate chest strap such as the HRM-Run.
It’s perhaps the most expensive tactical / fitness smartwatch on this list but it really is worth the investment.
3. Suunto Core All Black Military
Blacked out watches are ideal for the men and women in the tactical field. The Suunto Core All Black Military is a blacked-out watch that provides the much-needed stealthiness along with features that many won’t mind having.
Tactical Look, Fit, and Feel
The Suunto Core All Black Military watch is the best tactical smartwatch mainly because of its looks. One look at the watch and you know that it’s a timepiece for tactical applications. However, it is stylish enough that you won’t mind wearing it on a daily basis.
The all-black finish does a great job of tying the design elements altogether.
The Suunto Core All Black Military is not just a good-looking watch, it’s also a great outdoor companion with the relevant bells and whistles. For starters, it’s an ABC watch which means that it comes with an altimeter (for determining current elevation), barometer (weather forecast), and a compass. There’s also sunrise and sunset times for over 400 locations.
When it comes to ruggedness, the Suunto Core All Black Military won’t disappoint. The rotating bezel is made from knurled anodized aluminum but unfortunately, it’s not very good at warding off scratches. However, the scratches do add a bit of personality to the watch but that’s just me.
The watch feels solid but never clunky. In fact, the Suunto Core All Black Military is a lightweight watch and feels good on the wrist.
The Core All Black Military is yet another Suunto classic.
4. Samsung Gear S3 Frontier
Samsung is known for its excellent electronic products but not exactly for their smartwatches. This is why the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier was such a nice surprise for me.
Tactical Smartwatch for Android Users
There are actually two Gear S3 models – the Classic and the Frontier. Since we are rounding up the best tactical smartwatch we went with the Frontier model which features a sportier design.
The watch comes with a silicone strap which is more ideal for more rugged applications. It’s easy to slip on and offers just the right amount of comfort which is good if you’re wearing the watch for hours. However, the strap is a dirt magnet. If you’re not a fan of the strap, you can replace it with any 22mm watch band.
The best thing about the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier is the innovative rotating bezel. Rotating the bezel makes a satisfying sound that I can’t get enough of. The bezel is used for navigating the UI which is nothing short of amazing. Quickly scrolling through the menus is just a delightful experience.
The Gear S3 Frontier is also packed with useful features. The built-in GPS should come in handy for tracking your activity and staying on top of your training. When paired with your smartphone, the watch can nearly eliminate the need for having a mobile device. You can read texts, emails, alerts, and even make hands-free calls.
The Gear S3 Frontier is a bit on the expensive side but it’s certainly a better tactical timepiece than the Samsung Galaxy Watch.
5. TicWatch Pro
There’s a good chance that you haven’t heard of Mobvoi or Ticwatch products before. Mobvoi is a Chinese company and is responsible for our next tactical smartwatch, the TicWatch Pro.
Battery Life That Impresses
Don’t let the fact that the TicWatch Pro is a Chinese-made smartwatch deter you from checking it out.
For starters, the TicWatch Pro is actually a high-end offering by Mobvoi. It features a fairly high-end design (which frankly looks like the Gear S3 Frontier) and a revolutionary dual-screen technology. The top-layer display looks more like a traditional watch screen but doesn’t look that high-end.
The second layer, on the other hand, is an OLED smart screen that looks more premium. The OLED screen looks brighter and more impactful. From this screen, you’ll be able to access most of the Wear OS features like GPS tracker, step counter, heart-rate monitor, apps, and more.
But what makes the TicWatch Pro a good tactical smartwatch is its impressive battery life. The watch features two modes of operation: Smart and Essential modes. The Essential Mode basically turns your watch into a low-tech timepiece that can give you as many as 30 days of battery life.
The TicWatch Pro will just keep on ticking even when you’re out in the field for extended periods of time.
6. Casio Pro-Trek WSD-F20A
Casio actually has a smartwatch offering and it’s a pretty good one. The Casio Pro-Trek WSD-F20A features the signature Casio toughness and it just got smarter.
Casio Toughness With Military Standards
The Casio Pro-Trek WSD-F20A is one of the toughest smartwatches that you can get. Whether it’s outdoors or the city, it’s a lifestyle wearable that delivers the goods.
To start, the Pro-Trek WSD-F20A is a big watch with a width of 53mm. On smaller wrists, the watch might be too heavy and uncomfortable. Despite the size, the watch is surprisingly comfortable. It doesn’t get itchy or sweaty even after wearing it for hours.
The Pro-Trek WSD-F20A’s design is a winner in my book. The bold design really fits the outdoor lifestyle. There’s the standard black version if you’re looking for something more “stealthy.”
The watch also features two screens and one is a beautiful OLED display. It runs on Wear OS which can be quite buggy but it gets the job done. However, the battery life is slightly disappointing which can last for only 6 to 8 hours on a single charge.
The watch is marketed as an outdoor timepiece but it’s a good option for tactical applications. Unfortunately, the price tag is a bit on the expensive side.
Tactical Watches Just Got Smarter
That wraps up our roundup of the best tactical smartwatch. Hopefully, this buyer’s guide has helped you find a watch that best fits your tactical needs.