We all love our workout gear, don’t we? They make outdoor activities more comfortable and convenient. The best watches for an active lifestyles are not an exception either. First of all, sports watches in the sports industry have gone through so much revolution and the result is a near-intelligent piece of gadget with numerous applications. For example, it is now possible to monitor your pulse rate, steps, temperature, and fatigue using only one device. And while at it, they also keep you abreast of all important notifications.
The market has been flooded by so many products with major players releasing new wares every so often. So which are the best watches for outdoor activities? What factors should you consider when shopping for such a watch? We took a review of some of the most popular brands in the market (Samsung, Apple, Garmin, and Suunto) and below are the verdicts.
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Garmin vivoactive HR
This is yet another elegant design from the Garmin Vivoactive series that is only available in a shade of black. It has a display size of 28.6mmx20.7mm.The touchscreen is full LED and readable even under sunlight. It features a 24/7 heart rate monitor which is not however operational while swimming. The watch can be synchronized with your phone to enable smart notifications that are displayed on the screen.
The HR is available for both IOS and Android operating systems which allows you to download custom applications for your desired use. Thus if you are a sportsman in skiing, hiking, golf, cyclist, rowing or even swimming there are custom applications for your needs. Further, the watch has a GPS tracker which is very handy while running.
- Long battery life
- Light and compact
- Accurate tracking
- Custom applications for vast uses
- GPS support
- Dull design
- Pixels do not meet standard screen resolution
Are you an outdoor adventurer? Then, the Suunto Traverse is your must-have multi-functional watch. It serves as a barometer, altimeter, and an activity tracker. Indeed, it is GPS-enabled with features for a hiking adventure.
This outdoor watch’s rivals high-end designs like the Garmin Fenix 3. It is hardy, has stainless steel bezels, a gorgeous and large display, and solid buttons. This look is for mountaineers, backpackers, hikers, and climbers. For sure, you won’t feel embarrassed wearing it in the outdoors.
The Suunto Traverse is a compact, water-resistant watch, withstanding up to 100 meters. Its intuitive screens have versatile settings for safety, fitness tracking, and regular updates. Use the side buttons for views, backlight, scrolling, and turn the watch on or off. Also, it has a USB port and a charging cable that connects to a laptop, car, or power outlets at your camping site.
The Suunto Traverse is compatible with the Suunto Movescount App. Through this app, you can plan and stick to a training program. Then, analyze your progress, share, and inspire your friends with your best moves. Second, do you prefer using your fitness app? Then, integrate the watch with your smartphone or iPhones. Third, the watch supports most localized grid systems like UTM, BNG, RT90, and MGRS coordinates. Finally, it is compatible with Spartan, Ambit3, and other EON devices.
The watch has a built-in Bluetooth connection. It works well with a heart rate monitor and other fitness trackers. It tracks your steps, speed, and distance covered as you trek through the woods. Or, set it to show your metrics when running. The watch has three profiles, that is, barometer, altimeter, and automatic. Choose each of these settings to match your activity for the day.
GPS and GLONASS for Navigation
The Suunto Traverse’s GPS receiver works excellently as a wristwatch. Set accurate pauses of one, five, or sixty seconds with optimal power consumption. View a map that helps you see where you are. Or, set your watch’s time according to your GPS location. This way, you can track back to the right route. Do you want to capture the sunset or sunrise moments? Use this watch to get the perfect timings for your photo-shoots.
- GPS-enabled altimeter, barometer, and fitness tracker
- Water resistant up to 100m/330 ft deep
- Battery life – 14 days – Watch mode, 15 hours –GPS mode (5 secs), 100 hours – GPS mode (60 seconds)
- Uses a USB recharge cable
- Sleek design
- Relatively expensive
Apple Watch Series 3
Apple has made strides in revolutionizing the sports world with functional smartwatches that provide the most vital monitoring parameters in a single gadget. Since 2015 when Apple launched its first smartwatch, there have been several improvements. For example, Apple improved the design, battery life, user interface, and compatibility with other gadgets.
The Apple Watch Series 3 model combines various attractive features that allow for texting, calling and audio entertainment as you do your workouts. It uses an LTE cellular antenna to make and receive calls, texts, notifications, and important reminders.
The Apple Watch Series 3 smart watch’s vital features include a GPS sensor, an accelerometer, a barometric altimeter, for elevator activity tracking, a heart rate monitor for heart endurance monitoring, Apple GymKit, and Apple Pay. The Apple GymKit can share your fitness statistics with other fitness apps allowing you to analyze your progress further.
It is one of the best watches for active lifestyles because this model features a rectangular OLED touchscreen of 563 sq mm for its 38mm casing and another display area of 740 sq mm for it is 42 mm casing. These touchscreen sizes eliminate the finger obstructions that were experienced with the predecessor models.
The watch has a dual-core processor with improved power consumption and wireless connectivity. It uses either a Bluetooth connection or an e-sim to connect to other monitoring gadgets including an iPhone. Therefore, you only need a sim card on your iPhone. You can also move around without carrying heavy gadgets and still be able to operate these synchronized devices from your wrist.
The Apple Watch Series 3 smartwatch has an 11.4mm thick casing that is waterproof. It can resist water for up to 50 meters of immersion.
- A variety of straps to choose from
- Retails with a free charging cable
- The battery lasts up to 18 hours when fully charged
- Sufficient brightness for all day use
- Separate subscription needed to access Apple Music
Samsung Galaxy Watch
The Samsung Galaxy Watch has maintained the classic look of an analog watch, yet provides the latest digital features of a smartphone. It has a variety of customizable round watch faces with adjustable brightness and depth and a ticking watch hand that mimics the classic watch.
Make or receive calls, texts, reminders, notifications and stream music online using this LTE version standalone watch backed up by a 0.75GB RAM and an additional 4 GB internal storage. Its display stays on throughout the day and night. Its battery lasts for up to 4 days after a single charge from a wireless charger.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch’s health features include:
- A heart rate monitor that tracks up to six activities at a go including step counting
- HR tracking after every 10 minutes
- Calories burning rate
It has an accelerometer that tracks your acceleration on the track. And an alti-barometer that measures the altitude and atmospheric pressure of your current location.
The smart watch’s built-in gyroscope sensor determines your angular position.
Its ambient light sensor tracks all brightness changes including when you sleep. These fitness features make the Samsung Galaxy Watch one of the best watches for an active lifestyle.
The watch is available in either a body size of 42mm for the Midnight Black and Rose Gold colors or body size of 46mm in silver color. It can be paired with eight different interchangeable straps. The watch is also ideal for swimming for up to 50 meters in depth.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch connects to both Android and iOS smartphones via a Bluetooth connection. It has inbuilt speakers and microphone allowing for accurate transcription.
- Military grade durability
- Retails with a travel adaptor and two additional straps
- A variety of straps to choose from
- 1-year manufacturer warranty
- Unable to connect to captive portal Wi-Fi
Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Sports Watch
Before we render our verdict, what are the features to look out for when shopping for outdoor gear?
- Battery life. Settle for a sports watch with a long lasting battery life if you’re always outdoors.
- Compatibility. Some watches don’t have a multi-sports mode limiting them to select activities. Confirm that your preferred watch supports whichever sport you intend to use it for. I would recommend watches with multi-sport support.
- Intelligence. You don’t want to be carrying your phone each time you are working out. A smartwatch can be synced with your phone to receive notifications besides several other numerous possibilities.
- Durability. Fashion might be compromised a bit here but sports watches by their very nature wear out easily. A durable watch should serve you for a reasonable time.
- Band. The band should be one that is comfortable on your wrist as well as durable. Some watches such as Fitbit charge 2 have a provision for switching between different skins.
- Water and shock proofing. A watch that can withstand fall or deep water is most certainly a prized possession. It is no wonder why Casio G-Shock watches are popular amongst many sportsmen.
- Quality. Never compromise on quality just because you want to cut on cost. Remember; “Cheap is expensive”. Buy from a recognized, tested, and approved brand.
There is a need to appreciate that each watch has its strengths which gives it a competitive edge over the other. That said, after much analysis and reviews the Garmin HR takes the day. It is a powerhouse of all features found in the other watches shy for a fancy design. I would still recommend it for its versatility with so many needs. However, the best watches for active lifestyle decisions rest on you. Get that watch that will serve your chief purposes without failure. A watch is just as important as the clothes you wear so be sure to choose wisely to make a positive fashion statement.