Best GPS running watches of 2018

There are masses of nice health trackers in the marketplace at this time, every of which cater to other customers with other wishes. Just want to keep watch over your day-to-day task ranges? Maybe the Fitbit Alta HR or Garmin vívosport will fit your wishes. Looking for one thing even inexpensive than that? Garmin’s vívofit four or Xiaomi’s Mi Band 2 may do the trick. But in case you’re a extra severe athlete that wishes one thing a little extra tough — one thing that may monitor your lengthy runs and now not skimp at the at hand watch options — what are your choices? Today, we’re going to stroll you via our record of the most efficient GPS running watches in the marketplace.

Related: The perfect health trackers | Which Fitbit is best for you?

If you’re a major runner and want one thing that can as it should be monitor your routes, has a large, easy-to-read display screen, a integrated center fee observe, and of direction, a GPS, this record is for you. Some of the choices on listed below are a little expensive, however that’s par for the direction on this section of wearables.

Editor’s Note: We will replace this record as extra units hit the marketplace.

Best GPS running watch

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

best gps running watches

If you’re on the lookout for the most efficient GPS running watch in the marketplace, the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is it. Although it has a clunky identify, there’s not anything clunky about this watch — it’s filled with options, comfy to put on, and is in truth Garmin’s first wearable that helps onboard tune garage.

The giant information here’s the power to tale tune at once at the watch, this means that you don’t want to take your telephone with you on a run if you wish to pay attention to tune. Garmin says the watch can dangle roughly 500 songs at one time, and you’ll be able to additionally obtain offline playlists from make a choice tune services and products like iHeart Radio. Once your watch is loaded up with tune, simply pair it with some Bluetooth earbuds and also you’ll be in your means.

This may be an ideal choice if you wish to have a coaching watch. The Forerunner 645 Music comes with coaching options powered by means of Firstbeat, which can allow you to higher get ready for a race by means of letting you already know in case you’re coaching productively, peaking, or overreaching.


Garmin Forerunner 935

best gps running watches

The Garmin Forerunner 935 is any other nice choice for hardcore runners, swimmers, bikers, and triathletes. It supplies complicated dynamics that will help you make stronger your runs, corresponding to touch time steadiness, stride period, and extra.

It additionally comes with a two-week battery existence in smartwatch mode, as much as a complete day in GPS mode, and as much as 60 hours in UltraTrac mode. UltraTrac mode is a GPS atmosphere that makes the watch monitor sensor information much less ceaselessly, permitting you to squeeze out some further battery existence in case you don’t want all of your information recorded.

It’s a little expensive, however we actually suppose the excessive ticket is worthwhile. 

Honorable point out

Garmin fenix five

best gps running watches

Garmin’s fenix five lineup could be jack-of-all-trade units, however they’re some of the most efficient GPS running watches you’ll be able to purchase these days.

All 3 fenix five fashions include preloaded multisport capability for running, mountaineering, swimming, cycling, and extra. They all function Garmin’s spectacular Elevate center fee trackers, integrated GPS (of direction), water resistance as much as 100 meters, in addition to navigation options with a Three-axis compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter.

Don’t omit: Garmin fenix five evaluate | Best center fee displays and watches

They all additionally function a wide range of attached options that make those units true smartwatches. Users can get name, textual content and e mail smartphone notifications. All Sapphire fashions also are Wi-Fi enabled, so customers will have the ability to hook up with their house community and add statistics even though their smartphones aren’t round.

Not loopy in regards to the common fenix five? The smaller fenix 5S could be for you. It has all of the identical specifications because the fenix five, even though it’s constructed for other folks with smaller wrists and has a moderately smaller battery. Looking for one thing much more beefy than the fenix five? The fenix 5X is way higher and is derived with preloaded with TOPO U.S. mapping, routable biking maps and different navigation options like Round Trip Run and Round Trip Ride. The 5X may also show steering cues for upcoming turns.

Also learn: The darkish aspect of health trackers: tips on how to steer clear of commonplace errors that would harm your health objectives

Best reasonable GPS running watch

Polar M200

best gps running watches

If you’re on the cheap, you’ll be able to’t move flawed with the Polar M200.

This is a water-resistant running watch with a integrated center fee sensor and GPS that can monitor your velocity, distance and path throughout a run, and also will stay tabs in your day-to-day task, steps, energy burned, sleep time and high quality. This may be a sleek-looking tool. In our opinion, it’s significantly better browsing than its predecessor, the Polar M400.

Plus, this tool additionally comes with Polar’s Running Index, which can display you ways your running efficiency is bettering time beyond regulation. In the Polar Flow app, you’ll get a Running Index rating that’s robotically calculated after each run, according to your center fee and velocity information.


Polar M430

best gps running watches

The Polar M430 is a moderately reasonable GPS running watch that doesn’t skimp at the options.

It has a integrated GPS, 6-LED center fee observe, and a battery that can last as long as 30 hours on a unmarried rate. It’ll additionally show your smartphone notifications.

See additionally: Best Fitbit choices: Garmin, Misfit, Samsung, and extra

Perhaps essentially the most thrilling side of the watch is its compatibility with the Polar Running Program, which can assist information your day-to-day coaching and allow you to succeed in your efficiency objectives. You can add day-to-day coaching techniques on your M430, get entry to energy and core coaching movies, or even observe your running development by the use of the Running Index function.

Best smartwatch for running

Polar M600

best gps running watches

See extra Polar M600 pictures

Polar’s M600 recreation watch is the most efficient GPS running smartwatch in the marketplace.

With a integrated GPS, IPX8 water resistance score, optical center fee observe and 4GB of on-board garage, the M600 is fairly the feature-packed watch. It additionally comes with give a boost to for Polar’s superb Flow app, permitting you to trace with regards to any task you’ll be able to suppose of – rowing, snowboarding, mountaineering and a lot more. You’ll additionally have the ability to squeeze about two days of battery existence out of this factor, which is spectacular for an Android Wear watch.

You can unquestionably in finding Android Wear units for lower than the $300 asking value, however the M600 supplies a lot more than different units.


Fitbit Ionic

best gps running watches

The Fitbit Ionic is the most efficient Fitbit you’ll be able to purchase, length. It’s an out of this world health and sleep tracker, comes with a integrated GPS, lets you pay for issues out of your wrist, and it’s water-proof. If you don’t care about smartwatch options and are on the lookout for a high-end Fitbit tool, purchase the Ionic.

The instrument is a little laggy, however the advent of Fitbit OS introduced some efficiency improvements to the tool. It’s additionally slated to get fast answer capability and feminine well being monitoring in May 2018, which can make it a significantly better smartwatch and well being tracker total.

We sought after to incorporate this on our record as it’s a stellar GPS running watch and health tracker, even though you will have to know that it’s now not the neatest smartwatch in the marketplace.

So there you’ve it — our record of the most efficient GPS running watches in the marketplace! Did we omit the rest? Let us know your ideas within the feedback underneath.

Next: How to make use of your health tracker to in truth get are compatible – a complete information

Create a GPS tracking application with Firebase Realtime Database

Firebase Realtime Database GPS app

There are many various ways in which you’ll use location information on your Android apps. Previously, we’ve noticed how you’ll show the consumer’s location on a Google Map; opposite geocode coordinates into a boulevard cope with; and how one can mix location information with the Places API.

All of those examples have something in not unusual: the positioning information most effective ever exists in the community at the consumer’s instrument. In this instructional I’m going to turn you how one can report the instrument’s location to Firebase Realtime Database, so you’ll view this data remotely.

While an app that necessarily acts as a GPS tracker would possibly sound invasive, this capability bureaucracy the root of a number of other packages, together with social apps akin to Find My Friends, and safety-focused packages like Family GPS tracker. The skill to view a instrument’s location remotely could also be crucial for any app that is helping reunite house owners with their misplaced or stolen instrument.

By the top of this instructional, you’ll have created a easy app that screens the instrument’s location after which data this data to a Firebase Realtime Database. Since Firebase Realtime Database receives information in, neatly, realtime, you’ll be capable to view the instrument’s precise coordinates at any time, just by logging into the Firebase Console.

Create a new Firebase challenge

The Firebase Realtime Database is a NoSQL, cloud-hosted database that makes use of information synchronization to routinely obtain new knowledge in realtime from each attached shopper, with out requiring you to setup your individual application server.

Since Realtime Database is a Firebase provider, step one is developing a connection between our challenge and the Firebase Console. I’m additionally going to sign in a consumer account within the Firebase Console, which we’ll in the end use to check our challenge.

  • Head over to the Firebase console and make a selection “Add project.”
  • Give your challenge a call after which click on “Create Project,” adopted by means of “Continue.”
  • Select “Authentication” from the left-hand menu.

Firebase Realtime Database GPS app

  • Select “Set up sign-in method.”
  • Choose “Email/password” after which push the slider into the “On” place. Click “Save.”
  • Select the “Users” tab after which click on “Add User.”
  • Enter the e-mail and password for the take a look at consumer; I’m choosing take a look at@take a look and testpassword.
  • Click “Add User.”

Connect your app to Firebase

Next, you want to attach this challenge for your application, and upload toughen for each Firebase Realtime Database and Firebase Authentication.

  • Create a new Android challenge after which open the Firebase Assistant, by means of settling on Tools > Firebase from the Android Studio toolbar.
  • In the Firebase Assistant, make bigger the “Authentication” segment after which make a selection “Email and password authentication.”

Firebase Realtime Database GPS app

  • Select “Connect to Firebase.”
  • In the following conversation, make a selection “Choose an existing Firebase or Google project.”
  • Select the challenge that you simply created, after which click on “Connect to Firebase.”
  • Click “Add Firebase Authentication to your app.”
  • Check the following popup, and in case you’re satisfied to continue then click on “Accept Changes.”
  • Once the Firebase Assistant is exhibiting the “Dependencies set up correctly” message, go out this a part of the Assistant by means of clicking the little backwards-arrow in its upper-left nook.
  • Expand the “Realtime Database” segment, after which make a selection the “Save and retrieve data” hyperlink.
  • Select “Add the Realtime Database to your app.”
  • Check the adjustments that Android Studio is ready to make for your challenge, after which click on “Accept Changes.”
  • Even despite the fact that Android Studio will have to have added Firebase toughen for your challenge effectively, it’s nonetheless value opening the construct.gradle document and checking that it’s added the newest variations of firebase-auth and firebase-database. Update to a more recent model of those libraries, if to be had.
  • Add play-services-location as a challenge dependency. Your challenge’s “dependencies” segment will have to now glance one thing like this:

Getting get entry to to the positioning

Since our app goes to get entry to the instrument’s location after which ship this data to a far flung database, it wishes the positioning and web permissions, so upload the next to the Manifest:

<?xml model="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android=""
   package deal="com.jessicathornsby.mytrackerapp">

   <uses-permission android:call="android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION"/>
   <uses-permission android:call="android.permission.INTERNET"/>

Make positive the consumer is aware of they’re being tracked!

Every app that makes use of location information must request both the ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION or the ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION permission. However, when an app is able to tracking the consumer and sharing this data out of doors of the instrument, merely issuing a permission request isn’t sufficient. Your app will have to supply a visible indication all of the time it’s recording and sharing this probably delicate knowledge, and the consumer should be capable to droop tracking at any time.

I’m going to create a chronic notification that’ll be onscreen all of the time this application is recording the instrument’s location. The consumer can droop tracking by means of tapping this notification — which would be the most effective approach of disregarding the notification.

Let’s create the icon and textual content that we’ll use on this notification. The best possible approach so as to add notification icons for your challenge, is by means of Android Studio’s integrated Asset Studio:

  • Control-click your challenge’s “res/drawable” folder after which make a selection New > Image Asset.
  • Open the “Icon Type” dropdown after which make a selection “Notification Icons.”
  • Click the little button that looks along the “Clip Art” label.
  • Choose the icon you wish to have to make use of; I’m choosing “My Location.” Click “OK.”
  • Name this icon “tracking_enabled,” after which click on “Next.”
  • Check the ideas at the next display, after which click on “Finish.”

Next, open the strings.xml document and create the notification textual content. While the strings.xml document is open, I’m additionally including a firebase_path label that’ll seem along the knowledge in Firebase, plus the e-mail and password for the take a look at consumer we registered within the Firebase Console. While it’s by no means a excellent concept to retailer usernames and passwords as undeniable textual content in manufacturing apps, on this example it’ll make our challenge more straightforward to check.

<string call="tracking_enabled_notif">Tracking is recently enabled. Tap to cancel.</string>
<string call="test_email">take a look at@take a look</string>
<string call="test_password">testpassword</string>
<string call="firebase_path">location</string>

Start tracking the instrument’s location

We’ll carry out lots of the heavy lifting in a separate location tracking provider, however there’s nonetheless a few issues we wish to do in PrimaryActivity:

  • Request get entry to to the instrument’s location. In Android and better, packages wish to request permissions at runtime, and the consumer can revoke previously-granted permissions at any level. PrimaryActivity will wish to take a look at whether or not it recently has get entry to to the consumer’s location, each unmarried time it’s introduced.
  • Start location tracking. The PrimaryActivity will have to take a look at whether or not location tracking is enabled, after which get started the positioning tracking provider if important.
  • Display a toast. Any app that tracks the consumer’s location has the prospective to really feel invasive, so you want to make it very transparent when your app is accumulating this data. In addition to the chronic notification, PrimaryActivity will have to show a toast when location tracking is first enabled.
  • Exit the app. Once PrimaryActivity has began the positioning tracking provider, its paintings is finished. Rather than looking ahead to the consumer to near the application, PrimaryActivity will have to take the initiative and close itself down routinely.
import android.os.Bundle;
import android.toughen.v4.content material.ContextCompat;
import android.content material.Intent;
import android.location.LocationSupervisor;
import android.Manifest;
import android.content;
import android.widget.Toast;

public magnificence PrimaryActivity extends Activity 

Create a location-tracking provider

We now wish to create the provider that’s chargeable for sending the instrument’s location to Firebase. I’m additionally going to create the chronic notification that’ll supply that all-important visible reminder that the consumer is recently being tracked.

Create a new provider, by means of settling on File > New > Service > Service from the Android Studio toolbar. Name the provider “TrackingService,” after which upload the next:

import result;


import android.content material.BroadcastReceiver;
import android.content material.Context;
import android.toughen.v4.content material.ContextCompat;
import android.os.IBinder;
import android.content material.Intent;
import android.content material.IntentClear out;
import android.util.Log;
import android.Manifest;
import android.location.Location;
import android.content;

public magnificence TrackingService extends Service {

   personal static ultimate String TAG = TrackingService.magnificence.getSimpleName();

   public IBinder onBind(Intent intent) 

   public void onCreate() 

//Create the chronic notification//

   personal void constructNotification() 

   safe BroadcastReceiver stopReceiver = new BroadcastReceiver() ;

   personal void loginToFirebase() {

//Authenticate with Firebase, the use of the e-mail and password we created previous//

       String electronic mail = getString(R.string.test_email);
       String password = getString(R.string.test_password);

//Call OnCompleteListener if the consumer is signed in effectively//

               electronic mail, password).uploadOnCompleteListener(new OnCompleteListener<AuthResult>() );

//Initiate the request to trace the instrument's location//

   personal void requestLocationUpdates() {
       LocationRequest request = new LocationRequest();

//Specify how steadily your app will have to request the instrument’s location//


//Get essentially the most correct location information to be had//

       FusedLocationProviderClient shopper = LocationServices.getFusedLocationProviderClient(this);
       ultimate String trail = getString(R.string.firebase_path);
       int permission = ContextCompat.checkSelfPermission(this,

//If the app recently has get entry to to the positioning permission...//

     if (permission == PackageManager.PERMISSION_GRANTED) {

//...then request location updates//

           shopper.requestLocationUpdates(request, new LocationCallagain() , null);

You can in finding all of the code for the GPS tracker on GitHub.

Testing the application

When trying out any application that makes use of location information, it may well lend a hand to spoof your location.

With our tracking app, simply strolling round your own home or administrative center received’t dramatically modify the longitude and latitude coordinates, which may make it tricky to identify whether or not the ideas in Firebase actually is converting. By spoofing your location, you’ll ship dramatically other coordinates to Firebase, so that you don’t need to scour lengthy strings of numbers, on the lookout for a unmarried digit that may have modified.

If you’re trying out your app on a bodily Android smartphone or pill, then one of the best ways to spoof your location is by means of putting in a 3rd birthday party app, akin to Fake GPS Location.

If you’re the use of Android Virtual Device (AVD) then you have already got the whole lot you want to faux a location:

  • Select “More” from the strip of buttons that looks along the emulator window (the place the cursor is situated within the following screenshot).

Firebase Realtime Database GPS app

  • Select “Location” from the left-hand menu.
  • Enter your new coordinates into the “Longitude” and “Latitude” fields, after which click on “Send.” The emulator will now use those new coordinates.

To take a look at that your app is recording the instrument’s location to Firebase:

  • Install the challenge to your Android instrument.
  • When brought on, grant the app get entry to for your location. You will have to see a toast, informing you that GPS tracking is now enabled.
  • Open the notification drawer, and take a look at that the chronic notification has been created.
  • In your internet browser, head over to the Firebase Console and open the challenge that’s related for your tracking app.
  • In the left-hand menu, make a selection “Database.”
  • Select the “Data” tab, and also you will have to see that location information is now showing within the Firebase Console.

Reading the Firebase Realtime information

Firebase gifts its information as JSON gadgets, that are units of attribute-value pairs. These pairs may also be numbers, strings, true/false Booleans, arrays of 0 or extra values, collections of name-value pairs, and nulls, so the entire following are legitimate JSON information sorts:

accuracy : 1.6430000066757202
entire: true
bearing: zero
supplier: “fused”

The JSON tree incorporates a number of information, however one of the best ways to test that Firebase is recording information accurately, is to duplicate/paste the longitude and longitude values into Google Maps. If this information is right kind, then it will have to go back your present location, or the positioning you’re recently spoofing.

We’re sending location information to Firebase the use of the setValue() manner, which replaces the former information access. This signifies that Firebase Realtime Database will most effective ever comprise the consumer’s remaining recognized location. You will also see new information changing the previous information, when you have the Firebase database open on your internet browser whilst spoofing other places to your Android instrument.

When operating with Firebase on your personal tasks, you might occasionally wish to report greater than a unmarried piece of knowledge. You can upload information to Firebase with out changing the former values, by means of the use of any of the next strategies as an alternative of setValue():

  • setRawJsonValueAsync(). Replaces information with uncooked JSON.
  • push(). Adds a new kid to a checklist of knowledge. Each time you name push(), Firebase generates a distinctive key according to a timestamp, so even supposing more than one purchasers upload youngsters to the similar location on the identical time, it received’t motive a write warfare.
  • updateChildAsync(). Writes information to the desired location, with out writing over different kid nodes. By specifying other paths, you’ll carry out simultaneous updates in more than one spaces of the JSON tree, with a unmarried name to UpdateChildrenAsync().
  • runTransaction(). You will have to use this system if you want to replace complicated information that would turn out to be corrupted by means of concurrent updates.

If you do retailer more than one units of kid information inside your JSON tree, then you definitely will have to sparsely construction your database to verify it doesn’t get too complicated.

In addition, when the use of the Firebase Realtime Database on your personal tasks, you might wish to setup some Database Security Rules, which outline how your information will have to be structured, listed, and when your information may also be learn and written to. You too can use regulations to specify who has get entry to for your Firebase database, despite the fact that Firebase already restricts get entry to to authenticated customers by means of default.

You can view your Database Security Rules, by means of settling on the “Rules” tab within the Firebase Console.

Firebase Realtime Database GPS app

Wrapping up

In this text, we checked out how one can report the consumer’s location to a far flung database. Once this data is to be had in Firebase, you’ll use it in a number of other ways, as an example, you should lend a hand the consumer find their friends and family; report their day-to-day run to Google Maps, and even ship them distinctive content material according to their converting location.

Have you noticed any apps that use GPS tracking in a distinctive approach? Or do you have got any concepts about how you could use this option on your long run tasks? Let us know within the feedback!