12 Top Sports Watches
12 Top Sports Watches
Simple, clean and low-profile, the sporty Adizero is an easy-to-use running trainer. It’s built with a chronograph, 100-lap memory, an interval timer and two alarms. The clean, large display and function buttons make navigating through features a no-brainer, and the price tag doesn’t cut too deep, either.
Best For: Running
Able to switch from wrist to bike handlebar mount for seamless transition, the GPS-enabled Switch Up can track multisport training exercises as one workout, making it an especially good tool for triathletes. It’ll record time, distance and speed/pace, plus the barometric altimeter delivers accurate elevation data for precise feedback on ascent and descent rates. The high-resolution display adapts to varying light conditions, all the while offering strong readability, especially in ultra-bright situations. A cool new feature is the activity pacer, which allows you to set your desired workout time and distance, then keeps you up to speed on whether you’re hitting your goal pace. The entire screen changes color one way or the other, for easy readability.
Best For: Running, Biking, Swimming, Triathlon
The steel-reinforced Fenix is the ultimate wrist-worn backcountry navigator. Complete with compass, altimeter and barometer, this full-featured GPS watch has a robust track log that can create routes, and record up to 1,000 waypoints or 10,000 track points—leaving a perfect breadcrumb trail to lead you safely back to basecamp or your car. As sleek as any everyday timepiece, it also connects to smartphones and computers via Bluetooth, so you can share hike, climb and mountain bike data with friends.
Best For: Hiking, Orienteering, Mountaineering, Backcountry Travel, Water Sports
The Vertech II is a robust altimeter watch with a full-featured stopwatch and split memory, which means it’s as prized by alpinists and skiers as it is by runners and cyclists. It also includes a thermometer and barometric trend display to warn you of incoming severe weather. In ski mode, it stores up to 199 runs, and measures your descent in feet per minute (a much more useful metric than per hour).
Best For: Hiking, Skiing, Trail Running, Biking, Climbing
It’s no surprise that Nike would make a very cool running watch. The large display is easy to see, while large buttons allow for simple navigation through features that include distance, pace, calories burned, and route and elevation data. Its memory will store up to 50 runs that you can upload on Nikeplus.com, allowing you to view training data and manage your progress, as well as that of your friends.
Best For: Running, Biking
High Gear’s unisex Alti-XTss is the working stiff’s mountaineering timepiece. At less than $200, it has all the features of a much more expensive tool—altimeter, barometer, digital compass, thermometer and chronograph. Plus, a steel body means it can take whatever beating you dish out.
Best For: Hiking, Mountaineering, Climbing, Backcountry Travel
A perfect budget option, entry-level GPS watch, the Fit allows runners and cyclists to track speed, pace and distance with precision. It provides auto lap splits at every mile to keep you honest, and allows you to customize your personal data to track calories burned for each workout. There’s also the nightlight that’s always on, so transitions at dusk and dawn are no issue.
Best For: Running, Biking
Measuring your pool workout is as easy is diving in and going with this dedicated swim watch that automatically detects stroke type (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly) and count to calculate efficiency, counts laps to calculate distance and measures total time in the water. Intervals are a cinch, thanks to a lap/pause button that starts a rest timer, so you know when to start swimming again. After a workout, upload your data to your computer via Bluetooth to crunch numbers and measure your progress.
Best For: Swimming
The Ambit2 is a serious multisport training tool. With GPS for running, biking and swimming, this heart rate monitor watch keeps a pulse on speed, pace and distance traveled, as well as route and waypoint navigation. Suunto also offers over 1,000 free apps that customize your watch to your workouts, whether you want to know the grade of a hill youre riding up, pool splits, or how many Pabst Blue Ribbons youve burned before your post-workout bar session.
Best For: Running, Biking, Swimming, Hiking, Backcountry Travel
There’s a reason the classic Ironman is still around nearly three decades later (besides that it’s tough as hell). Bolstered with improved functionality, the Ironman makes going hard on yourself easy; larger buttons can be manipulated on the go, easy-to-read lap and split times won’t slow you down, and the Indiglo night light allows you to press on into the wee hours, whether you’re riding a 24-hour mountain bike race or putting in a dawn patrol workout.
Best For: Running, Biking, Swimming
Train, catalog and review in Polar’s professional-grade tool for running, cycling and CrossFit. Seriously detailed training features, including body measurements, heart rate personalization zones, stride sensors, as well as current, max and average speeds, can all be downloaded to Mac and PC for an accurate and systematic record of your personal progress. What’s more, for the real data freaks, the RCX5 (click here for a more thorough review) displays up to 24 real-time data fields (heart rate, pace, calories burned, distance, time elapsed, pace highs and lows, exertion compared to previous runs and more) on six customizable, easy-to-read data screens during your workout. Welcome to the quantified life.
Best For: Biking, Running, Swimming, Triathlon
Two words: No batteries. Or rather, like every other member of the Pro Trek family, it uses one large, efficient solar battery that’s fully rechargeable, lasting up to five months between charges. A solid option for water-based adventure, this watch features a tide/moon data graph for sea kayaking and fishing. It’s also water-resistant to 200 meters, though we recommend not testing it.
Best For: Hiking, Sea Kayaking, Sailing, Fishing, Rafting