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Best activity trackers and fitness watches

Top five fitness watches and activity trackers with built-in GPS

By Hannah Walsh

Article 6 of 6

Keep track of your route with a great fitness watch or activity tracker with built-in GPS. Our guide will help you pick the perfect one.

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If you want to leave your smartphone at home while still tracking your distance and route using your wearable device, then built-in GPS is the extra feature to look for. We’ve tested fitness watches and activity trackers with built-in GPS from all the big brands, including Garmin, Polar, New Balance, TomTom and Samsung.

The devices in the table below are some of the best models we’ve seen that come with built-in GPS. We’ve gone further to check the accuracy of the GPS data and the consistency of the signal for each device, too.

All fitness watches and activity trackers with built-in GPS are tested for accuracy on a 1km route. The route includes dense trees and an underpass to add the challenge of potential loss of GPS signal. We even add a hill climb and compare the elevation data to Ordnance Survey topographical data to get an idea of the accuracy of the distance calculator. Fitness watches with advanced running capabilities are put to the test on a longer 5km run, too.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?.

Best fitness watches and activity trackers with built-in GPS

Typical price £344.00
Which? score 77%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Accuracy:
4 out of 54 out of 5
GPS:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type of tracker:
Member exclusive
Built in heart rate monitor:
Member exclusive

This slim and lightweight watch is really great for in-depth running analysis and activity tracking, and provides plenty of detailed information for keen runners.

Lowest price (in stock) £99.99
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Mar 2018
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Accuracy:
5 out of 55 out of 5
GPS:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type of tracker:
Member exclusive
Built in heart rate monitor:
Member exclusive

An entry-level Garmin fitness watch is a little light on features, but could suit for those only after tracking the basics.

Lowest price (in stock) £150.09
Which? score 71%
Reviewed May 2018
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Accuracy:
4 out of 54 out of 5
GPS:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type of tracker:
Member exclusive
Built in heart rate monitor:
Member exclusive

A plethora of fitness functions and accurate GPS tracking make this a good option for runners.

Lowest price (in stock) £395.95
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Accuracy:
5 out of 55 out of 5
GPS:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type of tracker:
Member exclusive
Built in heart rate monitor:
Member exclusive

This tough and durable fitness watch is one of the most accurate devices we’ve tested.

Lowest price (in stock) £194.50
Which? score 62%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Accuracy:
4 out of 54 out of 5
GPS:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type of tracker:
Member exclusive
Built in heart rate monitor:
Member exclusive

This fitness watch uses both GPS and Glonass for location positioning, meaning it will find you quickly and accurately. What else does it offer?

Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of June 2018.

Not found the perfect product for you? Browse all of our fitness watch and activity tracker reviews.

Should I buy a fitness watch or activity tracker with built-in GPS?

If you want to track how far you’ve run or your route without your smartphone glued to your side, built-in GPS is a must-have. Trackers with built-in GPS will often track your distance more accurately, as long as the GPS works well and doesn’t drop the connection as soon as you pass through an underpass, under tree cover or between tall buildings. Click here to find out more about how GPS works.

Devices with built-in GPS tend to be a little more expensive than basic activity trackers – you’ll need to spend more than £100. If that’s more than you want to part with, look for a model that can use the GPS on your smartphone. Other trackers can also calculate the distance you’ve travelled based on your step count and stride length, and will often have an option in the companion app to enter your stride-length data to help make this more accurate. Both of these options rely on your smartphone, so you’ll need to ensure you take it with you.

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