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Smart Sports Watch

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Sports smart watches vary depending on the type of activities they support, number of functions, heart rate monitoring method, battery life, price, and, of course, the overall appearance. Read on for some tips on how to choose the right device for you.

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What functions does a sports smart watch offer?

Basic features:

  • Time display.
  • Stopwatch.
  • Activity tracker (number of steps, distance travelled, calories burned).
  • GPS sensor.

Advanced features and functions

  • IP Code certification - increased resistance against water, dust or mechanical damage.
  • Integrated heart rate sensor.
  • Smart activity detection.
  • Sensors - accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, thermometer, etc.
  • Smartphone connectivity and notification display.
  • Sleep monitoring.
  • Music control.
  • VO2 max calculation (maximum oxygen consumption).

Heart rate monitoring with a chest belt or with a built-in integrated sensor— which method is better?

Integrated sensor

The sleeker, more compact, and often the cheaper option, entirely sufficient for most amateur athletes. On the other hand, this sensor type is less accurate and can’t be used in cold weather when wearing long sleeves—the watch needs to be in direct contact with the skin to measure heart rate effectively.

Chest strap

Requires an extra accessory element and occasional battery replacement, plus not all watches support it. On the upside, it provides the most accurate measurements and you can wear it anywhere.

What sport are you into?

The sport focus affects the price of the watch considerably.

Running

Doesn’t require any exotic functions, so an ordinary GPS watch is enough. Most models include a stopwatch, time, speed and pace tracking, interval measurement function and so on. Water resistance comes in handy.

Cycling

Requires pretty much the same functions as those found in smart watches for runners, except you probably need significantly higher battery life. Water resistance is also strongly recommended.

Universal

You do a little of everything—sometimes you go for a run, other times you go biking or hiking. Generally, you should probably buy a watch for runners. If you only go on hikes, get a watch with GPS and activity monitor (pedometer, calories burned, distance walked). Higher battery life is good to have, as is improved scratch resistance (Gorilla Glass or Sapphire Glass) and water resistance.

Triathlon

What you really need is high battery life, sufficient IP protection (resistance against dust, water and mechanical damage) and a model that can track swimming. These, unfortunately, are among the most expensive watches on the market, so be prepared to invest a quite hefty sum.

I want a watch I could wear every day and that wouldn’t look out of place at a formal dinner

Finding a smart watch like that is not easy and usually it means you will have to either sacrifice some functions or get ready for a higher price tag. It all depends on what you want from your watch and what sports do you do. Generally, we recommend watches by Withings or Garmin.

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Best Deals

1.
Fitbit Blaze Large Black Gunmetal Expected September 6, 2017
Smartwatch Wireless monitor activity (steps, distance, calories burned, Auto Sleep, active minutes, time, caller ID, alarm clock, heart rate), size L (17-20.6cm), the use of GPS devices, SmartTrack, Smartphone notification, playback music, caller ID, SMS, calendar, waterproof bracelet, LCD display, Bluetooth 4.0 with a reach of 20 meters, USB, battery life of 5 days.
£184.48

2.
Samsung Gear Sport Black Expected October 27, 2017
Smartwatch - 1.2t;360 x 360 round Super AMOLED Gorilla Glass3, Dual Core 1.0GHz processor, internal memory 4GB, RAM 768MB, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS/Glonass, wireless charging, 300mAh Li-ion battery, Tizen 3.0
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3.
SUUNTO SPARTAN Trainer WRIST HR Black Expected October 20, 2017
Sports Watch - colour display with button control, heart rate monitor from wrist or HP strip (not included), pedometer and daily activity statistics, iOS and Android compatibility, waterproof 10ATM
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