Updated Spring 2017
Fitness watches evolve fast and this April was no exception. Most of award winners either got minor upgrades or were completely replaced with new models. In addition, the explosion of fitness trackers and smart watches has blurred the category. We recommend reading this fitness tracker buying advice article to see if maybe there is a better device category for your training.
Best Overall GPS Watch for Running and Training
Suunto Ambit 3 Sport
Updated Ambit 3
The Ambit 3 got a new look and a few features. The model we tested had a different aesthetic and was $60 less expensive. The main difference in the new model is a software update intended to better gauge energy consumption when not using a heart rate monitor.
The Ambit line keeps growing and winning our awards. We've been testing Ambits since the first model and have extensively used the Ambit 2 and 2S models. The 3 Sport hits the sweet spot for the vast majority of consumers. By omitting the arguably unnecessary barometric altimeter sensor and using a smaller battery, the 3 Sport slims down considerably as compared to other models. With plenty of battery for full days of action, and given the fact that only the most dedicated mountaineers will require the barometric pressure sensor, the slimmer profile of the 3 Sport is well worth the compromise.
Read full review: Suunto Ambit 3 Sport
Best Bang for the Buck
Garmin Forerunner 230
The Forerunner we tested, the 210, has been replaced by the 230. It was a nice update. The 230 keeps all the great features of the 210 and adds in Garmin Connect and better technology for measuring heart rate, VO2 Max and pace.
With virtually no reservations we can recommend the Garmin Forerunner 230
to any and all consumers looking for basic run tracking. You will have access to the important data fields while on the go, and be able to sort through the data post-event with one of Garmin's proprietary services or any of a whole host of data management services. The price isn't the lowest in our review, but the value is high. This is a proven product from a proven manufacturer.
Read full review: Garmin Forerunner 230