Which fitness watches have the best battery life

First published: 20-06-2017

Which fitness watches have the best battery life?

Two hands wearing a watch on each wrist

Sports watches are all about performance, and a key feature of any fitness-focused timepiece should be its battery life.

The advent of smartwatches has brought with it the need for regular recharging, but the requirement to plug in can range from 10 hours to more than 10 weeks, depending on how they are used.

Here are some of the most popular fitness watches from our collection that deliver the battery life and the technology to satisfy the needs of athletes everywhere.

Garmin Unisex Vivoactive Watch Garmin Unisex Vivoactive Watch
  • Estimated battery life: 3 weeks to 10 hours
The Garmin Vivoactive describes itself as a "GPS smartwatch for the active lifestyle", and its features include built-in applications for specific sports and activities, movement alerts, smart notifications, and high readability in bright sunlight.

Garmin also boasts that the Vivoactive has a three-week battery life, and this applies when the watch is being used as a watch or if it is in activity tracking mode.

However, if you want the Vivoactive to track your time, pace and distance when you're out on a run, you're going to need the watch's GPS function enabled and this puts a strain on the battery. In fact, if you were using the GPS continually, the battery would last 10 hours.

The reality for most smartwatch users is that GPS mode is used occasionally rather than continually, and the Vivoactive holds up well when compared to its major competitors. It also boasts a great touchscreen, an ultra-thin 8mm design, and a clear, intuitive interface.

Polar Men's A300 Bluetooth Activity Tracker Heart Rate Bundle Polar Men's A300 Bluetooth Activity Tracker Heart Rate Bundle
  • Estimated battery life: 4 weeks
The Polar A300 is one of the most popular fitness watches on the market, and the heart rate monitor that accompanies the watch has brought a level of activity tracking previously consigned to professional athletes into the mainstream.

The A300 is a powerful tool that brings real-time data on key metrics such as distance travelled, steps taken and calories burned, while also delivering feedback on your progress and prompts about when to get active.

All this functionality puts a strain on the A300's battery, and the operational time of the watch varies depending on the following factors:

  • Temperature
  • Features used
  • The use of peripherals (e.g. heart rate monitor)
  • Syncing with the Polar Flow app
  • Battery age
Polar says the A300 only requires a full battery charge once every four weeks, based on normal usage with daily monitored workouts. This claim has been shown to hold up well when tested by users, with the A300 lasting around four times longer than some competitors.

Suunto Men's Ambit3 Peak HR Watch Suunto Men's Ambit3 Peak HR Watch
  • Estimated battery life: 30 days to 20 hours
The Ambit3 Peak from Suunto is described as a "multisport experience" and this watch packs in functionality tailored to running, cycling, swimming and more.

The Ambit3 Peak's most impressive, immersive features are heavily reliant on its smart mobile connection with the user's phone or tablet, with Suunto putting a strong emphasis on the ability to relive and share activity data and feedback with other connected users.

Suunto offers three models of the Ambit3: the Run, the Sport, and the Peak. The Peak is the brand's flagship, premium product, and extended battery life is one of its major selling points over its sister products.

The Peak offers 30 days of battery life in time/watch mode, compared to the 14 days offered by the Run and the Sport, while in GPS it delivers an impressive 20-30 hours compared to the 10-15 you get from the Run or the Sport.

The Peak is the most expensive of the three models, but with around double the battery life, water resistance to 100 metres rather than 50, and weather information relayed to your wrist in real time, Suunto is aiming this fitness watch at athletes who want top-level performance from their timepiece.


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