Whether you’re looking for a great gift to put under someone’s tree or want to end the year fit and healthy, nothing is better than a GPS watch during Holiday / New Year Sale. Part fitness tracker, part smart gadget, they use GPS technology to incorporate features such as interval training and mapping to improve your exercise routine.
From runners to hikers, these watches are a perfect gift, but with so many on the market it can be hard to pick the right one. Which is where I come in. My Top GPS Watches for the Holiday Review will help explore the best of the bunch. I will give you an up-close look at each model, and break down their benefits, to ensure that you get the right watch for the right person.
The Top GPS Watches for the Holidays
Table of Contents
- 1 The Top GPS Watches for the Holidays
- 1.1 Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS Watch
- 1.2 Garmin Forerunner 225 GPS Running Watch with Wrist-based Heart Rate
- 1.3 Garmin Forerunner 235
- 1.4 Fitbit Surge GPS Fitness Superwatch
- 1.5 TomTom Runner GPS Watch
- 1.6 Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom
- 1.7 New Balance GPS Trainer
- 1.8 What a GPS Watch Can Do for You
Now that you see the benefits of owning, or giving, a GPS watch this holiday season, let’s look at the top models and see what they can do.
Garmin has a few GPS watches, but this one gets top honors thanks to its fresh styling and start to finish customization features that enhance any routine. Designed with a round, larger than average face and sporty, interchangeable bands, this watch can go from work to play and makes a statement
The display can be completely customized, with different clock faces and apps to suit your style and needs. The face shows all your stats, as well as text, call and email notifications, so it is great for professionals and parents who need to stay connected. It is also convenient, as you can look down to find out how far you ran or who is calling.
The GPS and built-in accelerometer work together to track pace and distance, so you can streamline your runs and monitors steps and calories for calorie efficiency. For runners, there is also the VO2 estimator, which can tell you how much oxygen can be used during an activity, to maximize lung capacity.
Finally, there is added customization thanks to the Garmin Connect network, which lets you share goals with other users, upload maps and charts and compare stats in real time with the LiveTrack feature. An all-around device that anyone would appreciate.
One of Garmin’s most affordable watches, it is also one of its most impressive, thanks to a sleek face and extremely accurate tracking for runners. Built to last, it has a rugged black casing with red accents and can be worn in any situation.
The GPS system is one of the best, able to track your progress even when you’re in an area of dense trees or tall buildings. Which means you never have to worry about getting lost. The GPS calculates your distance and pace as you run trails and roads.
Even better, the built-in accelerometer, combined with the GPS, can track pace and distance indoors, so you can run on the treadmill and still get real stats. The face displays all the information, showing heart beats and target zones with just a glance.
Lightweight and comfortable, it works with Garmin Connect, which gives you access to various training plans and workouts. Great for hikers, runners and outdoor lovers.
Fitted with GPS and heart rate monitoring, serious exercise enthusiasts will appreciate this watch, which comes in at just under $200. Slightly sportier than their 230 model, it has 2 interchangeable bands and a colored screen that is easy to read and use.
The face shows stats and graphs, so you can literally see your progress. It can tell you heart rate, incoming notifications, and graphs that show progress over the course of the day, so you can adjust as you need to. The bands close like a traditional watch, so you never have to worry about it falling off, and it is durable, so you can wear it in any weather.
The wrist based heart rate monitor, combined with the GPS, can monitor heart rate and mile splits, so runners know how hard they are working and if they need to slow up or speed down. Plus, using it with Garmin Connect, you have access to trails and roads for new and challenging courses to keep your routine fresh.
The heart rate monitor tracks you 24/7, and when not using GPS, the battery lasts for 12 weeks. A solid investment for yourself or someone you love.
Garmin is not the only GPS watch maker here, as Fitbit has a great choice for enthusiasts with their Fitbit Surge. Considered the company’s most popular model, it has not just GPS, but heart rate monitoring, activity tracker features and advanced program capabilities that make it a steal for under $200.
Available in 3 colors: black, tangerine and blue, it is made with Fitbit’s trademark elastomer band and can be worn comfortably without irritation. It is also equipped with Fitbit’s PurePulse technology, providing pinpoint heart rate monitoring around the clock. This is important, as it allows you to safely and effectively run, hike or just hit the gym.
The GPS can use global positioning to track pace, distance and elevation, so you can analyze your regimen and SmartTrack can differentiate between activities and record stats for each one automatically.
There is sleep monitoring with this device, so you know how long and well you sleep, to optimize muscle recovery and make sure you exercise healthy. Plus, the battery can last over 10 hours in GPS mode and can notify you of texts and calls, so you can talk when you need to. A good device for those new to trackers.
At under $100, there is nothing not to like about this watch, which is designed specifically for runners. One of the few GPS watches that is waterproof, users can wear it in the shower, rain or pool without issue. For runners and hikers, this allows them to be out in stormy or bad weather and still track their progress.
Slim and light-weight, it has an extra-large display to see calories, distance, pace and time in an instant, along with a single-button control for quick access as you navigate menus, even while you run.
But it’s best feature is by far QuickGPSFix, which can tell you in seconds where you are and where you need to go. So, for those who like to explore new trails are run in different locations, they can do so safely.
You can use the TomTom Graphical Training Partner to help you set a routine and reach goals, including how to use interval training. For beginners, this is a big help, as it will teach them how to do it properly and effectively.
In addition, you can compare current performances with past ones to see real-time progress and helping you set realistic goals. One of the best watches for serious runners.
It’s no surprise that Nike would have an entry here, and even less surprising that is would look as good as it performs. At under $170, this watch comes in multiple colors, has heart rate monitor and a cool stopwatch feature to provide users with head to toe tracking.
You can connect to Nikeplus.com to analyze all your data and connect with friends and family, which will help you stay focused and have fun while you exercise. Nikeplus has unlimited routes and maps, which you can view online It comes in 7 colors and has a large display so you can track progress at a glance.
The GPS can track distance, even when the signal drops, for unrivaled accuracy, and the watch will monitor calories, distance, pace and speed, for an overall view of what you’re doing and how well it is working.
The heat rate monitoring requires an additional sensor, but with or without it you still get your money’s worth. And best of all, the rechargeable lithium polymer battery can go 8 hours in GPS mode and 50 hours on stand-by. Great for young, active runners.
Anyone serious about interval training or looking for a GPS watch on a budget will appreciate this watch from sneaker giant New Balance. Low in price but high on features, it is water resistant up to 50 meters, so you can get caught in the rain, or work up a good sweat without ruining it.
Using GPS technology, it monitors speed, distance and pace, and has run memory to compare to past results and improve your pace as you go. Run memory holds up to 30 runs, with 3,000 laps/splits. That means you can see full, as well as individual lap times to analyze overall and interval performance.
Speaking of intervals, the lap times allow you to schedule various time and pace intervals, so you can teach your body to run harder and faster as you go.
You can also customize the screen and apps, so it performs how you want. The display is basic, but has 3-line multi-view, so you see what you need, when you need it. And if you connect your device via USB to your computer you can get an in-depth breakdown of your performance. Perfect for new runners, it is worth the investment.
What a GPS Watch Can Do for You
GPS watches are highly coveted, as they function in ways a traditional tracker, or smartwatch, cannot. GPS enhances many typical watches features, such as heart rate monitoring, while providing features you can’t fond elsewhere, such as interval training and course plotting.
Let’s see what a GPS can do for you:
- Improves Stats: GPS allows your watch to give more precise readings, so you know exactly how well you’re doing and where you need to improve. That means you can see how many calories you burn, and how hard your heart is working, to maximize workouts.
For those on a diet, or concerned about heart health, this is a big advantage.
- Maps Out Routes: With GPS, you can map out trails and routes to run, jog or hike along- and never get lost. The GPS can show you trails you may not have known about, and will show you how to get there and get back. That means you can run or hike without worrying about getting lost.
- Improves & Teaches Interval Training: Interval training is a great way to increase speed and metabolism, making this feature a winner if you’re a runner or trying to shed pounds. Interval training allows you to alternate sessions of high and low intensity, and can be monitored using pace or distance.
GPS watches can calculate both and can be programmed based on distance or time to alert you when you need to speed up or increase intensity, and when to slow down. Interval training is great for improving run times, distance and speed. It also is good for increasing stamina, a benefit for anyone looking to stay fit.
- More Effective Than a Smartphone: Using GPS on your phone can drain the battery fast, and it can also be annoying to carry it when you run or exercise. A GPS watch has a longer battery life, lasting around 20 hours, as opposed to the typical 2-3 hours your phone lasts.
Plus, many watches can tell you when someone calls or texts, making it an all-around better option.
My Top GPS Watches for the Holiday Review shows just how ingenious these watches are for runners, and why they make a great gift. Affordable, stylish and highly effective, they can take any routine to the next level. All you need to do is pick the right one. Whether you want one that is stylish and adaptable, or rugged and no-nonsense, there is something here for everyone- including you!