As the gun goes off, three popular GPS running watches explode out of the box and head for the finish line. In the first lane, we have the Timex Speed Distance watch. The second lane belongs to the Suuno X9M/I GPS watch, and the third competitor is the Garmin Forerunner Series of GPS watches. But which of these three mighty competitors will finish first? The truth is — they all come out on top for their features and price points. Let’s take a quick look at each GPS running watch.
At the low end of the price scale, you’ll find the Timex Speed-Distance watch. One of the primary benefits of this sports watch is its ability to provide precise measurement. It not only measures speed and distance, but altitude as well. You might appreciate its auto pause feature, as well as its lap and target speed settings. Running at night is no problem, as the Indiglo night light provides a nice uniform glow of the surface of the dial. The watch contains a built-in GPS receiver that sends speed and distance data directly to the synchronized digital FM signal for visual display.
Runners will really appreciate the auto lap feature on the Timex Speed-Distance watch. This feature provides a programmed log of each lap that you travel, allowing you to focus on speed work. The auto pause feature allows you to hit the pause tab when you have to stop running — it picks up again as soon as you resume your run
Moving up the price scale, we find the Suunto X9M/I GPS watch. It is a visually stunning watch, with a black-on-black color palette and a red backlight for night use. Highlights also include a three-hundred-sixty degree compass, as well as 6400 MILS bearing display. If you wan to take off for a run without a predetermined route, the Suuno watch will record your position, speed and distance traveled. If necessary, it will even provide a guide to return you to your original position. You can use the digital mapping feature to track landmarks along your route, or use the uploadable preplanned routes to map out a new running course.
With more feature than the Timex, the Suunto X9M/I GPS watch is easily regarded as one of the best choices for GPS running watches. However, the clear favorite seems to be Garmin’s forerunner series of GPS watches.
The Garmin Forerunner 305 was the heavyweight in its weight class for quite a while. But the Forerunner 405 was introduced recently and is quickly becoming the go-to favorite for serious sports enthusiasts. The 405 is lightweight but feature-packed. It boasts a heart rate monitor and can be connected to your PC via a USB connection to easily track your stats. With more features, it’s obviously a bit more expensive that the Timex or Suuno, but it actually more affordable than the similar Timex Body Link.
You will have to determine which of these watches are best suited to your workout needs and financials budget, but you can rest assured that each of them will keep you on track — and on time!