GPS Watches have come a long way since its inception. Forget the heavy clocks, today’s GPS watches are sleek, accurate and come packed with features to enhance your workout.
While Garmin has been the industry leader for more than a decade, new GPS watches from established companies such as Magellan, TomTom, Timex and Polar have found a niche in the market. GPS Watches made today come in a wide range of prices and styles, and are often designed for specific types of athletes.
With so many options available, it is important to consider certain factors when you want to buy a GPS watch. One must determine the use, clock style and his/her intended budget before making a choice. From this, you can choose the features that will be most beneficial to yourselves.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO USE THE GPS WATCH FOR?
Almost any sport done outdoors can be controlled with a GPS watch. Running, cycling, skiing, a bit of hiking and even walking the dog can have a follow up.
Although GPS watches are primarily made for runners, there are specific features found in some watches that are essentially useful for cyclists, triathletes and hikers. It is important to determine your intended usage before buying a GPS watch to ensure you get the most benefit.
Additionally, they will have to take into account their level of technological ability. High-end GPS watches come with advanced features designed for experienced athletes. For example, the Garmin Forerunner 620 measures heart rate and pace cadence. The VO2 Max, on the other hand, can be programmed with advanced interval training. If you are a beginner or an intermediate runner, it may be best to go for a more basic watch.
THE STYLE OF THE CLOCK
Only a few years ago, most of the GPS watches were large, bulky and heavy. But the current models, while still large, have significantly reduced their size.
But at the other end of the spectrum, there are still brick style clocks, reminiscent of early GPS clocks. Its advantage is the screen size. While you would probably not bring one to a job interview, these clocks are useful in viewing large amount of recorded data during training.
In the background, all GPS watches track time, distance and pace. But as prices rise, the number of functions increases. Although it varies from watch to clock, these are the main budgetary differences between clocks of average and high ranges.
Budget: less than US $ 150
These measure race time, distance and rhythm / speed. Most lack support for accessories such as heart rate monitors and foot pods. Some – but not all – can be synchronized with a computer to download the workouts.
Average range U $ S 150- U $ S 250
These GPS watches support heart rate monitors as well as other accessories. They are usually synchronized with a computer, have good battery life, and can be programmed with interval workouts or training aids (like the Garmin virtual companion).
High-end: U $ S 250 and up
GPS Watches that exceed this price, support all accessories. They can be programmed with advanced training through the computer and have highly customizable screens.
They also tend to be divided into specific activities. There are watches for triathletes, for distance swimming and counting of strokes. These watches are usually slim, elegant and have many advanced features. Mountaineering clocks, for instance, have barometric altimeters and compasses.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A GPS WATCH
It would take us too long to review all of the individual features available today, but they generally meet these categories:
Included here are things like battery life and additional sensors beyond the GPS function. Usually found in high-end watches, examples include thermometers, accelerometers, compasses or barometric altimeters.
THE FIELDS OF DATA
This is the type of information that a GPS watch can perform: tracking and recording. Time, distance and standard rhythm. But it also includes calories, elevation, heart rate, cadence, swimming laps and many more.
MAPS AND MEMORIES
The maps appear on some GPS clocks, though usually they are just simple lines that display your route. Other clocks store waypoints. These are navigational coordinates that mark important places (like your home or a public bathroom).
How much information does a GPS watch provide? It is very variable. Some may contain only a few activities, others may store hours and hours of workouts.
Training aids and alerts
These are things like the automatic pause when leaving activity. Alerts flash on the screen, sound a beep, or vibrate when they reach a turn or reach some other target. Some GPS watches also have tools to help them train. Examples include interval workouts.
Most GPS watches can download workouts (sometimes wirelessly) to a computer. Others can download the information to a smartphone to sync with a particular app. And even often integrate with Twitter and Facebook to make the exchange easy.
The different accessories found in GPS watches include heart rate monitors and foot pods, as well as support for the bike with cadence sensors and power meters for cyclists.
Simplicity is another factor worth considering. If the users are easily intimidated by technology and would rather just push a button and start running, it is best to avoid very advanced clocks.
A GPS watch is an incredibly powerful training tool. It has the potential to do a lot of heavy lifting when you train. And it even makes the workouts more fun and varied. Hopefully this guide has provided you with some basic insight into when purchasing your next GPS watch.