Activity and fitness trackers are changing the way people exercise. Previously, people would simply time their workouts and use that information to optimize their fitness routines. Surprisingly, despite its limitations, they would still produce beneficial results if the data were used wisely.
Activity trackers took that concept and blew it out of the park by being able to record so many different types of data such as the number of steps taken, distance run or walked, calories burned, and heart rate. Using all of this data, the horizon of a fitness-oriented or healthy lifestyle was greatly expanded, and people began to notice a significant difference in their workout routines prior to and post-activity trackers. Most trackers today include a pedometer and a heart rate monitor as standard features, making them the most basic type of fitness device.
However, there are some activity trackers on the market that have a lot of features and even cater to specific sports. Because the data is now rich and detailed, the GPS feature is also a truly revolutionary aspect of activity trackers. With the addition of geographic data, runners and riders can better plan their laps and even see a visual representation of their lap. They can also import this data onto a computer or any smart device. Some activity trackers are solely GPS-based and cater to individuals who run or prefer cycling, whereas others serve as an Omni-device with many great features, including GPS, and cater to a wide range of activities. Read this related post about the best fitness trackers with built-in GPS and music storage so you can run while listening to your favorite music while leaving your phone at home.
What is the difference between a “built-in GPS and a “connected GPS”?
The difference is significant, and you should be aware of it because it may lead you to purchase a watch that will not meet your needs. A built-in GPS, as the name implies, is a device that has a GPS built into it, allowing you to go for a run or other activity without needing to carry your phone with you.
Of course, this raises the price of the device. While “connected GPS” devices (such as the popular Fitbit Versa) can only connect to the GPS in your phone, you will need to carry it with you to benefit from the GPS tracking capabilities. When GPS tracking is enabled, the battery life of the activity tracker drops dramatically, so a strong, long-lasting battery is also important to consider when purchasing a tracker with built-in GPS.
The following are ten of the best activity trackers with built-in GPS.
1. Polar M400 – Best fitness tracker with a built-in GPS
The Polar M400 is an impressive piece of wearable technology that combines the features of various fitness bands, recording all relevant data, as well as extended features such as heart rate tracking and GPS activity tracking to provide more in-depth detail of one’s geographic activities.
It can compete with high-end running watches and trackers because it is incredibly slim, which gives it a significant advantage over the competition.
Because it isn’t bulky, it’s ideal for taking with you on your running or cycling laps.
Another point to consider is the accuracy of the recorded data. Including features like step tracking and sleep tracking that work automatically and don’t require you to tell it when you’re ready to call it a night. When combined with other features such as reminding you of your workouts and inactivity with simple alerts, you will find this fitness companion to be extremely useful and motivating. The device comes pre-programmed with a plethora of activities, which is where the built-in GPS module shines the brightest.
You’ll notice right away that there are distinct modes for cycling, running, and even swimming, which allows for very accurate tracking of each activity. The device can track GPS and heart rate for up to 8 hours.
2. Garmin Vivosport – small fitness tracker band with A Built-in GPS
This activity tracker is slightly more expensive than the one mentioned above, but it makes up for it with a much more durable design. It’s quite compact, which is impressive for a device with a GPS feature, as most devices with that feature are comparatively bigger and clunkier in both appearance and overall feel.
It has a battery that lasts approximately 7 days on a single charge despite having GPS features enabled, making it a very dependable gadget to have. The only significant disadvantage of the Garmin Vivosport is that it does not track swimming. However, it tracks jogging and cycling almost perfectly to compensate for the lack of a swimming mode. The heart rate monitor is also quite accurate. The Garmin chroma display’s signature always-on color makes it a visual treat that also scores points for being fashionable.
It supports and integrates with the Garmin Connect app, which you can get for free on your phone. The device has a number of intriguing features, including smart notifications and Live Track, as well as the ability to pair with your smartphone and provide additional control.
3. Garmin Forerunner 235, GPS Running Watch – Best Garmin fitness tracker watch with a built-in GPS
As of now, in early 2019, there is no new version of the veteran Forerunner 235. Rumors about a new version, 245, have been circulating for quite some time. If the Forerunner 245 ever hits the market and proves to be worth its price tag, I will update this list, but for now, the Forerunner 235 is an excellent choice for runners looking for a watch with an accurate built-in GPS at an affordable price. The Forerunner is classified as a “middle-class” watch, which means it is not as expensive or as feature-rich as its big brother, the Forerunner 645; in fact, it is less than half the price.
Although it is classified as middle-class, I believe it is more appropriate for the “big league” of smartwatches. The watch’s feature set exceeds everything that a reasonable and average runner requires.
To begin with, to receive heart rate data from the sensor built into the band to measure heart rate without a chest strap, GPS navigator that is both accurate and quick. A programmable dashboard (including a screen with four fields), A dependable Bluetooth connection to the smartphone, allowing for a very user-friendly interface with the applet – Garmin Connect, the most advanced running log.
To accomplish this, you must add the ability to control the music player and receive messages on the watch’s screen. And that is only a partial list.
The operating system and internal logic in the 235 are Garmin’s classic systems. Once you understand one watch, you understand them all, and it is easy to get used to the new running computer on the wrist within 150 meters. The screen is not a touchscreen (which is a big plus for me, but it’s a matter of personal preference), but instead is controlled by side buttons located around the outer circle. It is aesthetically pleasing, bright, and easy to use while running, making it suitable for daily wear as a serious personal statement.
I don’t see why you should pay twice as much for the Forerunner 645, and in my opinion, the 235 version provides the best value for money when looking for a good, reliable activity tracker with built-in GPS.
4. Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4 is the most recent addition to the Fitbit Trackers Family, and it is arguably Fitbit’s best fitness tracker to date. It has an excellent value-to-feature ratio, making it one of my favorite fitness trackers. While most Fitbit trackers use the connected GPS, the Fitbit Charge 4 has its own built-in GPS tracker, so you can leave your smartphone at home and go for a run, and Fitbit will accurately track your progress.
The tracker is also outfitted with a slew of sensors that accurately track your daily activities, sleep patterns, heart rate, and a variety of other metrics. The watch is also capable of automatically detecting your workout, so even if you forget to start the workout, Charge 4 will track it for you. However, I would still recommend that you start tracking your workouts manually because it is more accurate. So, if you’re looking for a low-cost fitness tracker with built-in GPS, the Fitbit Charge 4 is a good choice.
5. Garmin Vivoactive 4S
Garmin is well-known for producing some of the best activity trackers, and the Garmin Vivoactive 4S is yet another feature-rich fitness tracker from the company. What I like best about this tracker is that it has a minimalistic design, and the black version of the tracker has a great stealth look. However, it is also available in Rose Gold, Light Gold, and Silver Stainless Steel finishes.
The tracker also includes three GPS systems: GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO. You can use any of these Global Navigation Systems to track your movements using satellites. It also includes sensors such as a gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, and pulse OX sensor.
Calories, floors climbed, step counter, distance traveled, intensity minutes, and other metrics can be accurately tracked by the watch. If you want a comprehensive fitness tracker with a lot of features, the Garmin Vivoactive 4s is a great choice.
6. Garmin Fenix 6S Pro
There are many excellent premium activity trackers available, but only a few are worth the price, and the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro is one of them. It’s a high-end activity tracker with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a great tracker.
Let’s start with the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro’s design. The case of the watch is made of fiber-reinforced polymer, which can withstand rough handling. It has a Sapphire Crystal on top, which is one of the hardest materials on the planet, and it can easily handle minor crashes, but I wouldn’t recommend testing it because it is still a Glass after all.
On the inside, you’ll find a GPS transmitter as well as two other navigation systems: GLONASS and GALILEO. So, when it comes to tracking, you can rest assured that you will receive accurate tracking. So, if you want a high-end activity tracker, the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro is one of the best options.
7. Huawei GT 2e
Huawei GT 2e is the company’s latest smartwatch, and Huawei has changed the design of the watch to make it more appealing to the younger generation. While the Huawei GT 2 has a classic and somewhat neutral design, the Huawei GT 2e has sporty looks and a great design.
The design of the Huawei GT 2e and GT 2 is the most noticeable difference, as both watches are intended for different users. On the inside, however, things are very similar. Both watches include GPS, Bluetooth 5.1, and other similar features.
Another distinction between the two watches is the number of straps that can be used with them. The Huawei GT 2e has a slightly different mount, and it can only be used with certain types of straps. As a result, standard 22mm watch straps will not fit the watch. Overall, if you want an activity tracker with a sporty appearance, the Huawei GT 2e is a good option.
8. Apple Watch Series 5
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The Apple Watch Series 5 is one of the best smartwatches available, and if you are an Apple user, you should get it because of its integration with the Apple Ecosystem.
The design of the Apple Watch Series 5 is very similar to previous watches, and there is no need for change in my opinion because this design is perfect. Apple has spent a lot of time and effort on the design of the Apple Watch over the years, and it is now more refined than ever.
On the inside, you’ll find a slew of great sensors, such as a GPS sensor, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and many others. The watch can also detect cardiac irregularities as well as falls. So, if you’re looking for the best activity tracker for your iPhone or Apple ecosystem, the Apple Watch Series 5 is the way to go.
9. Xiaomi Amazfit Bip S
Amazfit Bip S is Xiaomi’s latest activity tracker, and the best thing about it is that it offers a plethora of great features at a very reasonable price.
It includes a built-in GPS tracker that allows you to easily track your activities and distance traveled. The device also has a large battery that can run for 40 days on a single charge.
The Amazfit Bip S has a colorful display, but it isn’t of high quality, as we would expect at this price point. If you’re looking for a great activity tracker for less than $100, the Amazfit Bip S is one of the best options.
10. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the company’s most recent and greatest smartwatch, and it comes with a beautiful design and a plethora of useful features.
The watch has a new subtle and minimalistic design that has become the industry standard for smartwatches in 2020. It also has a beautiful AMOLED display and access to the Galaxy Store, where you can find thousands of different watch faces.
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 also includes a GPS tracker and other sensors to accurately track your activities. It can also detect the workout automatically, but if you want accurate tracking, I recommend that you start tracking your workout manually.