In the day and age of activity trackers, GPS devices and hands-free cellular applications, choosing a watch that fits your lifestyle and training can be overwhelming. Here are three watches we’ve tested in the past six months that are great options depending on your needs.
Apple Watch Series 4 – $519; $649 with a cellular plan
The Apple Watch Series 4 is an all-round watch that allows you to stay connected with friends and family, and maintain a sleek look in the boardroom and training sessions. A common setback for some GPS watches is its size. When wearing some other brand watches, you constantly ask the question, “Does it really need to be this big?” Well, the Apple Watch Series 4 is small and light. Offered in two sizes, 40mm and 44mm, and two casings, stainless steel and aluminum, the weight ranges from 30 grams (40mm aluminum) to 48 grams (44mm stainless steel).
Related: Review: The Apple Watch Series 4
What makes this watch so attractive is its versatility – I can get from sitting in the office to on the streets in minutes, and I don’t need to change my watch. I can literally watch my heart rate rise from 38 bpm to 140 bpm in less than 10 minutes. Speaking of heart rate, I found the Apple Watch Series 4 to do a really good job of picking up heart rate with minimal drops in performance. Thanks to the electrical and optical heart rate sensors, you can monitor your heart rate during training sessions and throughout the day.
Polar Vantage V – $679.99; $389.99 Vantage M
Polar has integrated activity monitoring with high-performance training features into a sleek new look. Gone are the days of the boxy Polar watch, here is the new Polar Vantage V and Vantage M. The Polar Vantage V quite literally does it all, from sleep monitoring to 130 different activity profiles. Easy accessibility, pairing capability and access to software updates is a must when it comes to GPS watches. The Polar syncing platform and Flow App allows you to sync your sleep and activity files easily. You can also connect your Polar account to third-party training platforms to share with your followers.
Related: Review: Polar Vantage V
Some of the exciting features of the Polar Vantage V are Training Load Pro, Running Index, Recovery Pro and continuous HR tracking. Using HR, power tracking, cadence and pace, the Polar Vantage V calculates a running index for your runs. This can give you the motivation to adjust your cadence or even provide a nice confidence boost when you score an ‘elite’ rating.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Starting from $320
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a watch that fits comfortably with your healthy active lifestyle. With 15 activity profiles to choose from, including indoor settings that track your treadmill runs, trainer sessions and swims in the pool, the Vivoactive 3 is comparable to most activity monitoring devices. With Bluetooth connection to Garmin’s Connect app, you’re able to customize your favourite activity profiles and upload data to Garmin.
The feature that deserves a lot more attention, especially from triathletes, is its stress level monitor. By measuring Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability (HRV), training load and sleep/recovery, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 calculates your VO2 max, fitness age and a stress rating. With the Connect app, you’re able to track these values over the course of weeks and months. If you’re already a user of Garmin products, this addition complements your Forerunner, Fenix or Edge nicely.