Sports Watches: Top 10 GPS Performers going into 2018

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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

1 Suunto AMBIT3 RUN 87% SiRFstarV v2.4.17 RIGHT
2 Polar M200 83% SiRFstar ?X v1.1.3 NORMAL LEFT
3 Suunto AMBIT3 Run (repeated Test) 81% SiRFstarV v2.4.17 NORMAL LEFT
4 Suunto Spartan Sport 81% SiRFstarV v1.2.4 NORMAL
5 Suunto SPARTAN SPORT WHR 81% SiRFstarV v1.7.30 NORMAL LEFT
6 Polar V800 81% SiRFstarIV v1.10.103 RIGHT
7 Suunto SPARTAN TRAINER 81% MTK 3339 v1.10.4 NORMAL LEFT
9 Suunto SPARTAN TRAINER 79% MTK 3339 v1.10.4 RIGHT
10 TomTom Runner 3 79% SirfStar (5?) v1.3.204 NORMAL
11 TomTom Adventurer 79% SirfStar (5?) v1.3.255 NORMAL


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 OK, you can go off and buy a Garmin or an Apple Watch now.

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


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.


Only 75%. You’d think with newer tech GPS would get better…


I got from here at about this kind of price too.

Brilliant watch.


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


meant running or biking πŸ™‚


Is the m430 really that weak out of the bunch? Or did you just not have one on hand to test?

I also have images of you testing these all at the same time on the streets of London; forearms bedazzled with Sport Watches.


I generally like/appreciate fellrnβ€˜s work very much, but I would be (very) careful with his GPS testing, as his method has a major flaw: He does not use strict 1 sec recording for every device. Instead he uses smart recording.


The problem/issue with any type of smart recording isthat itβ€˜s implemented differently by each brand (and even devices).
Therefore two devices never record at the same time stamp. It overall enhances the randomisation of the result.


I wonder if the offerings by Sigma are worth looking at, e.g. the “ HR”


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