Watch Guru: What Makes a Good Sports Watch?

Watch Guru: What Makes a Good Sports Watch?

When it comes to the world of affordable watches, Wristwatch Review UK tries to cover the brands the other blogs don’t. Here are some insights from Mike Richmond into what to watch out for when choosing a timepiece

Knowledge is power when trying to improve your sporting performance. Top athletes have access to coaches and performance experts to help analyse their sports performance. For the rest of us, there is the sports watch! Also known as a fitness watch, what exactly makes a good sports watch? How do you know what sport watch features to look out for? From GPS to multisport tracking and everything in between, we help you pick out the ideal sports watch for your needs.

GPS Tracking

A key sports watch function for runners is GPS tracking. This means that you can work out exactly how far you have travelled and keep constant track of your speed, direction and location. Combined with a smartphone app, you can use mapping to generate run routes, review your progress and virtually retrace your steps to find opportunities to boost your performance.

When it comes to GPS, Garmin is a major player, having honed their skills with satellite navigation systems. Those years of experience have been distilled into the Garmin Vivoactive Bluetooth smartwatch, which has a big, clear display and a hard-wearing case and strap. As well as tracking your location, it also keeps an eye on your heart rate, hydration, sleep and breathing – it’s your all-in-one fitness companion.

Unisex Garmin vivoactive 4 Large Bluetooth Smartwatch 010-02174-12

Battery Life

The trouble with most modern electronics is that all those energy-sapping features, combined with a consumer preference for slim devices, means that battery life is often the thing that has to give. For most smart watch users, a daily charge is a necessary evil, but it does limit the ability of such devices to monitor your vital statistics around the clock.

The Reflex Active Bluetooth Smartwatch RA06-2082 is a sports watch for women that has a wealth of features but also has a battery life of up to seven days.

Its features include tracking specific activities (running/walking/cycling/climbing) in real-time, measuring distance, steps and calories, live weather updates, a control for your selfie camera, a find your phone function, sleep tracking, alarm and reminders. It’s a good job that the battery lasts a week as you won’t want to take your Reflex Active watch off!

Reflex Active Bluetooth Smartwatch RA06-2082

Water Resistance

Sports watches are about more than just road running. If you have a predilection for water sports, then you need something that can stand up to a greater degree of pressure than your average water-resistant timepiece.

Although you may see watches with water resistance ratings of 30m or 50m, in reality, these are rarely suitable for anything other than temporary immersion. The act of swimming exerts a significant amount of pressure onto a watch, and so you ideally require a minimum of 100m water resistance for these activities.

Tissot has a heritage in producing diver’s watches and waterproof watches, so it is no surprise that their Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar Watch T1214204705101 offers 100m of water resistance on top of its impressive list of features.

Also noteworthy is that this watch is solar-powered, meaning that whilst it may not have as many flashy features and displays as some of its competitors, it will keep on going almost indefinitely as long as it is regularly shown sufficient sunlight. It’s one of the few connected watches that will attract regular watch enthusiasts, with its electronic display coupled with a regular set of analogue hands.

Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar Watch T1214204705101

Multisport Tracking

If you take part in a multitude of sporting activities, then you might find some of the sports watches on offer to be a little bit limiting in terms of features. Luckily, there is a category of multisport watches with a multitude of features suitable for the general fitness enthusiast.

The Polar Grit X Outdoor Multisport Watch is a true Jack of all trades in sports tracking, with an ultra-long battery life, military-grade durability and access to the Fitspark training guide for tailored workouts, which are custom-designed based on your readiness and recovery levels. It’s a suitable sports watch for men and women, with a choice of band sizes and a clear display to track your progress.

Polar Grit  X Outdoor Multisport Smartwatch

Size & Durability

When it comes to sports watches, you need to think about durability. Unlike a dress watch, which will live a relatively sheltered life and be carefully stored when it is not being worn, sports watches are designed to be worn almost constantly – and by their very nature they are subjected to knocks, wind, rain and sweat. Even if you change your watch every time you change your phone, your sports watch is going to have a tough couple of years. Another factor is size – the thickness and weight of a watch is something you will really start to notice on a workout, so it is worth choosing a well-balanced watch with a comfortable strap.

If you want a tough watch, there is one brand at the top of every list of recommendations: Casio G Shock. The Casio G-Shock Heart Rate Monitor Smartwatch GBD-H1000-1ER takes everything that Casio knows about making a hardy, go-anywhere timepiece, and they have added a selection of smart features to elevate it even further. It’s big, it’s bulky, but it can go anywhere with 200m of water resistance and a shock-resistant construction. It also offers a GPS function and solar charging. Although it relies on your phone to do a lot of the heavy lifting and doesn’t offer as much at-a-glance functionality as some of its competitors, this G-Shock would be an ideal companion for sports such as off-road cycling.

Mens Casio G-Shock Heart Rate Monitor Bluetooth Smartwatch GBD-H1000-1ER

There are so many good sports watch brands to choose from that picking the right one can be a bit of a marathon. We hope that we have given you some ideas about which sports watch features you need and which you will never use so you can pick out the best timepiece for you.