To be quite honest I don’t believe there is a “Top 10 Smart Watches For Working Out” or a “Top 10 Fitness Watches” to even consider. In my opinion there are really only 3 companies that are in the top when it comes to a fully functional really kick butt watch. While there are companies like Under Armour, Fitbit, Timex, Suunto, Apple, and others that are all vying for the average athlete’s money, they simply aren’t offering what I consider to be totally awesome watches. The companies I am talking about are Garmin, Polar and TomTom bringing up the rear.
Apple for instance really blew a chance to dominate the scene when they released their Apple Watch. To me it looks like junk and as far as really using it in sports, I think they either didn’t have good testers or they simply didn’t listen enough to real athletes. They fell way short of my expectations and certainly didn’t design a watch for real athletes.
So if you want the best fitness watch you can get, here are the top 5 that make my list.
Polar – M400 & V800
First off we have the Polar M400 and the Polar V800. Both are super watches that come loaded with an abundance of features. Polar has dominated the multi-sport arena for years and are the leading experts in heart rate monitoring.
The watches design and overall appearance is stellar, something Apple should take note of. We were fortunate to get very acquainted with the M400 when Polar sent us 2 for evaluation. Our M400 review goes into some nice aspects of what you can expect from the M400.
You can think of the Polar V800 as the M400’s bigger brother. More functionality, more add-ons and more capability to track your training. For those that are simply one sport users, the M400 is probably all you need. If however you find you’re running, swimming and cycling all in the same day and want to track everything and anything, then the V800 is it.
Beyond the watch, Polar has the Polar Flow software app to analyze your workouts. The software is really good and feels more refined than Garmin’s Connect software and app.
Garmin 920XT & Fenix 3
Next up we have what I consider the best fitness watches around. While Polar’s lineup is stellar, Garmin IMO is the one to beat. They have the best GPS acquiring capabilities bar none. I have run and worked out with countless people and the ones that own Garmins always seem to be first with acquiring a GPS signal.
We recently reviewed the Garmin 920XT and are knocking on Garmin’s door to review the Fenix 3.
To be totally honest there is very little difference between the Garmin 920XT and the Fenix 3. They are both loaded with features. What really sets them apart is more of an aesthetics appeal than anything. While the Fenix 3 has slightly more functionality, how the watch feels and looks is usually the biggest deciding factor for purchase.
Garmin recently added a Fenix 3 HR to their lineup, which stands for Heart Rate. This is a game changer and put’s the Fenix 3 HR at the top of the list, but I assume that Garmin will come out with a 930XT HR or something to that effect.
The 920XT is more of a rugged looking beast and the Fenix 3 is much more refined. I look at the two like you might compare a road cyclist to a mountain biker. Both can be great cyclists, the road cyclist looking more polished and the mountain biker looking a bit gritty. That said, I have zero problem sporting the 920XT at whatever engagement I attend.
For those who love to look at post workout data, Garmin offers their Garmin Connect for viewing online and via the Garmin Connect app. While the app is good, you really need to use their website Connect to get all the features. This is a drawback to being able to really view everything you might want via the app.
TomTom offers their multi-Sport watch that features a wrist heart rate reader/scanner and GPS, but it doesn’t have the full capabilities of either the Garmin or Polars lineup. Of the 3 companies, TomTom’s watch strap is the bulkiest and since the watch is integrated into the strap, it isn’t going to be as easy to replace as the Garmin 920XT or the Garmin Fenix.
GPS wise, I still believe Garmin has the edge on both the Polar and TomTom. Since we haven’t reviewed this watch yet, we really don’t know all the ins and outs. A friend of mine does use the watch and really likes the heart rate feature and getting to various screens during a workout.
TomTom is certainly a name brand to watch for future releases.
Top 10 Smart Watches – Bottom Line
If you can only buy 1 watch, I would look at Garmin first and then Polar and lastly TomTom. After that you are really stepping down in overall quality and functionality. Now some may say that all these watches are overkill and they may be right, but they sure do look good and performance wise they are the best.
If your goal is to simply count steps and minimal activity, Under Armour, Fitbit, Polar and Garmin are probably are your best best. Activity trackers have come a really long way since 2015 and 2016 looks to be a great year for Under Armour as they launch their Healthbox. Both Garmin and Polar are jumping into the Stepping arena and have come out with similar options to Fitbits.
Check our our articles on Fitbit and Garmins tracking watches.
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