GPS Technology and Fitness Watches

GPS, or global positioning system, technology has been integrated into a number of different devices since its inception by the US Department of Defense. Global positioning systems are used for surveying, navigation and engaging in cartography or map making. The system itself is free to use, since the US Department of Defense maintains the system’s costs while allowing the public to freely utilize it.

GPS devices are long associated with cars; in recent years, the technology has been adapted to other vehicles, such as bicycles. Global Positioning System has also been adapted to fit in fitness watches, allowing one to enhance their fitness. The easy-to-setup nature of fitness GPS devices make them popular with hobbyists and athletes alike—the most popular and increasingly common fitness GPS device is the GPS-enabled fitness watch, also known as a smartwatch.

Traditional fitness watches used special peripheral sensors to detect the movement of an athlete during their workout or training regime. Instead of using sensors, GPS fitness watches connect to global positioning system technology, allowing the watch to track the status of an athlete’s location, in addition to their physiological conditioning. Some watches can even be used in conjunction with applications, such as Google Earth, to pinpoint exactly where their workout location took place.

There are many GPS-enabled fitness watches available in the market that can store data based on one’s time, location, distance and the elevation of their location. You can even view this information online, typically through the watch manufacturer’s fitness-related applications.

A global positioning system utilizes 24 satellites in each of Earth’s time zones to calculate the position of a location on the planet, by its latitude, altitude and longitude measurements. If you are wondering about the benefits of using a GPS-enabled fitness device then here are some:

  • Track projected location
  • Track calorie count
  • Track heart rate
  • Log your work rate into a calendar-based system
  • Track different routes

All that information about the GPS technology and not mentioning the best GPS-enabled smartwatches won’t do justice to the article. So, here is the list of best fitness watches/smartwatches that are equipped with the facility of GPS:

Where to Buy
Fitbit Versa
Fitbit Charge 3
Garmin Forerunner 235
Apple Watch Series 4
Fitbit Ionic GPS Smart Watch
Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch


1. Fitbit Versa

Fitbit Versa is a well-rounded smartwatch that looks similar to the Apple watch in design. But it doesn’t come with such a high price tag and has plenty of exciting features like color screen, music player, a heart rate monitor, etc. It is an excellent blend of a fitness tracker and a smartwatch that is compatible with Android, Windows, and iOS.

You can connect this watch with your smartphone and check calls, texts, and notifications right on it rather than reaching to your smartphone every time you receive an important notification while driving, riding, or cycling. The heart rate monitor equipped in the watch can help you track your heartbeat while you jog down the sidewalk. You can replace the band of the watch but some users found it quite difficult to get the strap free. With an amazing 4-day long battery life, you won’t need to charge it frequently.

2. Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit Charge 3 is an excellent wearable on a budget, equipped with an impressive touchscreen that is quite responsive. Its ergonomic design and tons of features make it one of the best fitness trackers available in the market. You can connect it with your smartphone and receive important notifications right away. If you are a fitness lover then this fitness watch would be a great choice for you. You can track 15 types of workouts in it and even dive 50 meters deep into the water without getting it damaged.

With its 7-day long battery life, you can use it without worrying about charging it again and again. It has a watch-style buckle that can easily blend in with whatever your outfit is. You can also replace the band, which is a nice option if you like to go with different styles. However, the only downside with this fitness tracker is the lack of built-in GPS but there is a solution to it too: you can pair the watch through the GPS on your smartphone. Still, the features like a heart rate monitor, step/distance/calorie tracker, and sleep tracking technology are what that makes it a great choice to go for.

3. Garmin Forerunner 235

Garmin Forerunner 235, the best product by the best brand. It is an ideal choice for a smartwatch. Keep track of four types of activities on the watch: biking, running indoors, running, and other misc. activities. You can monitor time, distance, or your heart rate. It features a 44% larger touchscreen than its predecessor, Garmin Forerunner 225. You can connect the watch with your smartphone and receive important notifications of calls, texts, emails etc. on the go.

On GPS mode, its battery can last up to 11 hours while on the smartwatch mode, you can expect up to 9 days of battery life which is quite fascinating if you are not using GPS.  You don’t need to pair it with your smartphone to use the GPS as it has a built-in GPS system which is quite efficient. You can track your steps, calories, distance traveled, and select the best route for navigating the city.

4. Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch Series 4 is not the gear that will come to your mind when talking about cheap fitness watches but if you have a high budget and want a premium gadget, this would be your best bet. It is equipped with tons of features and GPS+Cellular connectivity that provide efficient and fast tracking and navigation options. Whether you are looking for the best screen, performance, quality, and responsiveness in a watch, then this smartwatch excels in all these departments.

The combination of GPS+Cellular connectivity and electrical and optical sensors makes it a great choice to go for. You can enable the emergency settings option on it that will automatically call the emergency services and give them your location if it detects a crash. Indeed, a perfect blend of style and smart technology.

5. Fitbit Ionic GPS Smart Watch

Fitbit Ionic is a GPS-enabled smartwatch that is admired by most fitness enthusiasts due to the features it offers. Unlike most smartwatches out there, this Fitbit Ionic is easy to use and isn’t bloated with tons of third-party unnecessary applications that an average user won’t even be using. You can pair it with different operating systems like iOS, Mac OS, Android, and Windows 10.

The company gives away two bands (small and large) with this smartwatch, you can choose the one according to your preference and size of wrist. Not just it has amazing GPS technology but it also features an NFC chip that can be used to make quick payments when you don’t have a credit card on you. Plus, you won’t be disappointed by its battery life because it is superb!

6. Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch

Polar V800 is an advanced smartwatch targeted towards serious sports enthusiasts and professional athletes who want quality and performance. It has a built-in GPS that can help keep track of your ride, measure speed and distance, navigate, route, etc. It also features a heart rate monitor so you can keep check it while running, jogging, or cycling.

Another great thing about Polar V800 is that you can create multiple fitness profiles for different sports and get tailored fitness data accordingly. You can also pair it with your PC or Mac to check the stats of your data. If you are a swimmer, you can take it with you into the pool without worrying about it getting damaged as it is water resistant up to 30 meters.


GPS technology has made its way to a lot of smart devices nowadays, you can take advantage of it without paying any extra money. Whether you want a fitness tracker or a smartwatch with a GPS system, there are tons of options available in the market. The list of best fitness watches we have mentioned in the article is great if you are looking to invest in a GPS watch. However, the only watch in our list that doesn’t have a built-in GPS is the Fitbit Charge 3 but it isn’t much of a problem as you can easily pair it with the smartphone’s GPS, and the reason we have listed it is tons of exciting features it offers at a budget price.