Sports Watches: Top 10 GPS Performers going into 2018

Suunto SPARTAN TRAINER + AMBIT3Here we are looking at JUST the GPS performance of the sports watch. Not only how it reports distance but also how well it tracks your route. So it could be the worst ever sports watch in terms of user-friendliness, but if it tracks a route well then it scores highly here

RESULT(/52)CHIPSETFIRMWAREWRIST
1SuuntoAMBIT3 RUN87%SiRFstarVv2.4.17RIGHT
2PolarM20083%SiRFstar ?Xv1.1.3NORMAL LEFT
3SuuntoAMBIT3 Run (repeated Test)81%SiRFstarVv2.4.17NORMAL LEFT
4SuuntoSpartan Sport81%SiRFstarVv1.2.4NORMAL
5SuuntoSPARTAN SPORT WHR81%SiRFstarVv1.7.30NORMAL LEFT
6PolarV80081%SiRFstarIVv1.10.103RIGHT
7SuuntoSPARTAN TRAINER81%MTK 3339v1.10.4NORMAL LEFT
8SuuntoSPARTAN SPORT WHR BARO81%SiRFstarVv1.11.56NORMAL LEFT
9SuuntoSPARTAN TRAINER79%MTK 3339v1.10.4RIGHT
10TomTomRunner 379%SirfStar (5?)v1.3.204NORMAL
11TomTomAdventurer79%SirfStar (5?)v1.3.255NORMAL

 

These are performances over a specific test route I have. Generally that route throws up good and useful results. I’d say that the Top10 table, above, is a very useful pointer to GPS accuracy. Even if something is 5th then maybe with more extensive testing it would come out 4th or 6th…but it wouldn’t come out 24th, if you get my drift. So if you think the Polar V800 is uber-wonderful; then maybe it is, don’t worry about it being in 6th. 81% is a GREAT score.

The only cautionary note is the Polar M200. It is NOT that good. It had a really, really, really good day. (Did I say ‘really’?)

Another cautionary note is the SPARTAN ULTRA. In my experience it did not perform as well as the other SPARTANs (I had 3 of them). So do NOT extrapolate good GPS performance from that of the other SPARTANs, shown above.

I would also add that if you use a properly calibrated footpod for speed and/or distance then you don’t really need GPS for that much else. Nearly all sports watches will produce a post-workout GPS track that tells you where you went to a satisfactory degree, even the Ticwatch S will do that (test result here)

The full test files, methodology and table of results are here, link to the5krunner.com. OK, you can go off and buy a Garmin or an Apple Watch now.

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Barrie Day
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Barrie Day

Ambit run 3 with the same chips etc and firmware takes 2 of the top 3 positions!

Justin
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Justin

Top 10 and not a single Garmin to be found.

I’m not calling bias, i’m simply stating the company that was known for their GPS units…not even there.

The 4+ year old V800 is there!!

I have the Suunto Spartan Sport HR Baro in my wish list on Amazon. I usually stick things i’m hunting for the best deal on there as Amazon tends to shift prices around dependent on a number of things (Stock,demand etc..). I’ve gotten some pretty crazy deals doing on that on watches and running shoes–the $30 I paid for a pair of Adidas Supernova glide 8, which was already the older model and in high demand (they are going from $150 and up to near $400 new currently).

Kinda hoping the Baro drops to something more decent than what it is currently. Lowest i’ve seen was $487.

TringGremlin
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TringGremlin

I got from here at about this kind of price too.
https://www.fitnessdigital.couk/suunto-spartan-sport-wrist-hr-baro-amber/p/10012194/?ct=105

Brilliant watch.

MCC
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MCC

How it’s possible this test gives different result than http://fellrnr.com/wiki/GPS_Accuracy ? V800 is damn accurate (excluding altitude) i can easily see which side of the road i was riding or biking.

MCC
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MCC

meant running or biking 🙂

Wolf
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Wolf

I wonder if the offerings by Sigma are worth looking at, e.g. the “id.run HR”
http://www.sigmasport.com/de/produkte/wearables/id-series/id-series/id-run-hr
Cheers!

Tobias
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Tobias

how it comes that all of the sudden in trunken gamrin 5k runner pages no garmin watch as “best” rated, are you getting objective?