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Best GPS smartwatches & fitness trackers 2022

Garmin Forerunner 245
Garmin Forerunner 245 (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Whether you're a casual or professional athlete, GPS is often one of the most sought-after features when buying an Android smartwatch or fitness tracker. Depending on your budget and what features you're seeking, there are some great options out there, but you may have to pay more for the privilege of GPS. If you're serious about tracking your activities and want all the details plus built-in GPS, we'd recommend the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music as the best GPS smartwatch. It has plenty to offer, especially if you're an active individual who's committed to fitness tracking.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Best overall: Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

Garmin - Forerunner 245 Music GPS Heart Rate Monitor Running Smartwatch

For fitness and feature lovers

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
Music streaming & storage
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
In-depth fitness tracking
+
Pulse Ox sensor
+
Stress/sleep monitoring

Reasons to avoid

-
Few smartwatch features
-
Bland design
-
A bit expensive

If you enjoy exercise just as much as you enjoy tracking it, you'll love the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music. It comes with a built-in GPS that's reliable and accurate. It also promises at least seven days of battery life in smartwatch mode. You'll get a total of six hours in continuous GPS mode with music playing, which is more than enough juice to track even your most active day of workouts. Whether you're cycling, swimming, indoor rowing, or stair-stepping, the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music can track it, and you can listen to sweet tunes while doing it.

You'll also have 24/7 heart rate monitoring, stress/sleep tracking, a Pulse Ox sensor, VO2 max estimation, which is a feature the measures the maximum amount of oxygen you use during an intense workout, and more. You'll have support for Garmin Coach and Running Dynamics so you can set your goals and monitor your progress as you work to achieve them. The training status feature will let you know when you're training too hard or falling short. The training effect feature tells you how your workouts are influencing your speed and endurance. These are just a handful of the features that make the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music one of the best GPS smartwatches.

It may not support other smartwatch features, like NFC payments, but you still get impressive activity tracking, notifications, onboard music storage plus streaming, and Wi-Fi connectivity. If you want a solid running watch with GPS, the Forerunner 245 Music is easily one of the best out there right now.

Galaxy Watch Active 2

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Best smartwatch features: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (Silicon Strap + Aluminum Bezel)

A well-rounded wearable

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight, attractive design
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Stress/sleep tracking
+
Automatic activity tracking
+
Heart-rate monitoring
+
Optional LTE

Reasons to avoid

-
Third-party app support is lacking
-
Tizen OS takes practice
-
LTE version can get expensive

Those who want a GPS-enabled wearable designed for activity tracking and beyond might want something with more smartwatch features. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is one of the most well-rounded options out there. Its lightweight design is subtle but appealing and has a crisp, colorful touchscreen display. Navigation is especially easy thanks to the digital rotating bezel. These smartwatches run on Tizen OS, which is smooth and simple once you get past the inevitable learning curve. Battery life lasts for 2-3 days, depending on how you use the watch, but that's not bad compared to other wearables that require daily charging.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is more than a pretty face. It's also got automatic activity tracking for six workouts, 39 additional workouts, heart-rate monitoring, and sleep/stress tracking. The new-and-improved Running Coach provides real-time pace metrics with a rundown of what to expect from your workout. This feature also offers audio cues via the external speaker or Bluetooth headphones.

There's an LTE version of this smartwatch for those who want the full experience, but you'll have to pay more for it. Regardless of which model you choose, you'll enjoy notifications, Wi-Fi, Samsung Pay, music storage, well-rounded activity tracking, and a trusty GPS. While third-party app support could be better, it's hard to complain about that with everything else that you get.

Garmin Forerunner 35 Press

Source: Garmin (Image credit: Source: Garmin)

Best value: Garmin Forerunner 35

Garmin - Forerunner 35 GPS Watch

The basics and then some

Reasons to buy

+
Great battery life
+
Activity/sleep tracking
+
Heart-rate monitoring
+
Interval training
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Music controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks key smartwatch features
-
No swim tracking

Want a GPS smartwatch that can track the basics, but you don't have to break the bank for it? The Forerunner 35 might be the perfect Garmin smartwatch for you. It's more of a fitness tracker than a smartwatch in many ways, but it has plenty of features to go around, such as built-in GPS and a heart-rate sensor. You'll enjoy all of the basic benefits as far as tracking is concerned. It's not going to have multi-sport modes or advanced training metrics that pro athletes might want, but it has a lot to offer the casual runner.

You can count on the Forerunner 35 to track your steps, distance, time, pace, and calories burned. It can store up to seven activities, too. If you're a fan of interval training, this watch allows you to set a length of time for a chosen activity, the rest time, and the number of intervals you want to complete. You can expect nine days of battery life in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode. You'll have music controls and smartphone notifications as well.

The swim-proof design makes it water-resistant up to 50 meters, but there is no swim mode on the Garmin Forerunner 35. You won't have more advanced smartwatch features, like NFC payments or music storage, but you can't argue that this affordable GPS smartwatch does a good job of covering the basics.

Apple Watch Series 6

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Best premium pick: Apple Watch Series 6

New Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS, 40mm)

Never settle for less

Reasons to buy

+
Optional LTE
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Heart-rate monitoring
+
Built-in ECG, sleep tracking
+
Emergency calling
+
Apple Fitness+

Reasons to avoid

-
Short battery life
-
Not many upgrades
-
Expensive

If you're all about the "go big or go home" mentality when it comes to wearables, you might not be afraid to spend money on a premium smartwatch. One such option is the Apple Watch Series 6. It's definitely not cheap, and there aren't a ton of upgrades from the predecessor. However, the Series 6 now offers built-in sleep tracking, an always-on altimeter for tracking floors climbed, blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, and a new service called Apple Fitness+.

As usual, the design is familiar, although this time, you have some more color options: blue, red, gold, and graphite. The case material is available in aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. There's no ceramic model with this edition. Users will appreciate the updated S6 processor, which the company claims will run faster and for longer than its predecessor.

The Apple Watch Series 6 might be one of the best GPS smartwatches, and the company is doing everything in its power to keep it that way. Now, users will have access to a subscription service called Apple Fitness+, which includes a giant library of video-led workouts. Once signed up, users can pick their preferred workout and display the video on their preferred Apple device, such as an iPhone or iPad. As you exercise, your real-time stats will be displayed on the screen. This is great and all, but it's still a mighty expensive wearable. Not to mention, we're still stuck with the disappointing 18-hour battery life. As always, this is still the best choice for iOS users.

Ticwatch Pro 3

Source: Chris Wedel/Android Central (Image credit: Source: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Best oversized option: TicWatch Pro 3 GPS

Ticwatch Pro 3 GPS Smart Watch

The biggest of them all

Reasons to buy

+
Large, easy-to-read screen
+
Unique dual-layer display
+
New Snapdragon Wear 4100
+
Multiple battery modes
+
Blood oxygen monitoring
+
Google Pay and Google Assistant

Reasons to avoid

-
Too big for small wrists
-
Expensive
-
Only one color

Another great choice is the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS. With GPS in its name, you can feel confident that this is one of the best GPS smartwatches you can buy. The Dual Display 2.0 offers a live seconds counter and a much-needed backlight. When in Smart Mode, the TicWatch Pro uses the typical AMOLED display in conjunction with the LCD panel for more than three days of use. As for Essential Mode, this enables the LCD without any color. You'll be able to focus on fitness tracking with impressive outdoor visibility and up to 45 days of battery life.

The TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is more lightweight than the previous model, but it's still a huge smartwatch at 47mm. Fortunately, now that it's 30% lighter, it's much more comfortable to wear despite the ginormous case size. The stand-out improvement, however, is the inclusion of the new Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor. The company has refreshed numerous existing apps, like TicExercise and TicPulse. As for new ones, you'll now have TicOxygen for blood oxygen tracking, TicHearing for noise detection and alert, TicBreathe for breath training, and TicZen to track your stress levels using heart-rate data.

If you have a small wrist, this probably isn't the right watch for you. Those who like large wearables will love the new TicWatch Pro 3 GPS. You'll love the faster performance with the processor, the improvements to the display, and the new sensors. That said, the hefty price tag might be a bit high for some users, so you'll have to decide if these features are worth your money.

Garmin Vivosport

Source: Garmin (Image credit: Source: Garmin)

Best compact tracker: Garmin Vivosport

Garmin vívosport, Fitness/Activity Tracker with GPS and Heart Rate Monitoring

A compact tracking solution

Reasons to buy

+
Solid battery life
+
Automatic exercise tracking
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Activity/sleep tracking
+
VO2 max estimation
+
Heart-rate monitoring

Reasons to avoid

-
No swim mode
-
Bland design
-
Small screen can be tricky to navigate

Perhaps you're here because all you want is a fitness tracker with GPS. While many trackers can connect to your smartphone's GPS, it's a lot harder to find a fitness tracker with onboard GPS. But Garmin offers the Vivosport, which is an ideal solution for those who don't want a full-on smartwatch. It's not the company's newest tracker by any means, but it does have what you need for a successful tracking experience.

Along with the GPS and basic activity tracking, you also get heart-rate monitoring, sleep and stress tracking, automatic exercise detection, and 5 ATM water resistance. It even has VO2 max estimation. The Fitness Age feature analyzes your data and tells you what your estimated age is in regards to fitness. That's not bad for a compact tracker that won't weigh you down during your activities. Not to mention, the battery lasts for a full week before you need to charge it again.

As mighty as this tiny tracker might be, don't expect it to function like a smartwatch. Unfortunately, it doesn't have any buttons, so all of your navigating will occur on the small touchscreen. This can be frustrating at times and take a while to select a particular activity. It's swim-proof, but there is no dedicated swim tracking mode, which is a missed opportunity.

fossil gen 5

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Best for Wear OS: Fossil Gen 5

Fossil Gen 5

Perfect for Wear OS users

Reasons to buy

+
3 ATM water resistance
+
Heart-rate monitoring
+
Activity/health tracking
+
Google Assistant
+
Google Pay
+
Fashionable design options

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery only lasts a day
-
Wear OS still lags

If you're a fan of Wear OS and you're seeking a GPS smartwatch that's both fashionable and efficient, the Fossil Gen 5 is an option worth considering. This isn't the only Wear OS smartwatch on this list, but it is the most stylish. It comes in a 44mm stainless steel case, which is available in a few variants. Depending on your preferences, you can opt for the men's Carlyle model or the women's Julianna model.

Let's talk features. In addition to built-in GPS, you'll get many other features. Some examples include heart-rate monitoring, activity/health tracking, Google Pay, and Google Assistant. It's also water-resistant up to 30 meters (3 ATM). It has the Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, so the performance on this GPS smartwatch is decent. However, you may still experience some lags from time to time.

The usual issue with Wear OS is subpar battery life. Unfortunately, that's still an issue on the Fossil Gen 5. The battery should last for a day or so. This means you should prepare to charge your watch daily. Some users may want to take advantage of the battery-saving modes to prevent their watch from dying, but this does restrict some key features.

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

Best for style: Garmin Vivoactive 4

Garmin Vivoactive 4, GPS Smartwatch, Features Music

Style and performance in one

Reasons to buy

+
Long-lasting battery
+
Stylish smartwatch
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Heart-rate monitoring
+
In-depth fitness tracking
+
Music storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty pricey
-
Display could be better

One of Garmin's newest arrivals is the Vivoactive 4, which brings with it some noteworthy improvements. For starters, you'll be able to choose between a 40mm and 45mm model. You get an extra day of battery life with the larger version, which gives you eight days in smartwatch mode and six hours in GPS with music mode. When it comes to the features, you'll love having onboard GPS, 5 ATM water resistance, a Pulse Ox sensor that tracks blood oxygen saturation levels, stress/sleep tracking, and heart-rate monitoring.

Whether you're hitting the elliptical, going for a run, or relaxing with some yoga, the Vivoactive 4 has sport modes for just about anything you can think of. There is also a Body Battery feature that allows you to check your energy levels throughout the day by analyzing your key metrics. This is especially helpful when you want to schedule your exercise and rest periods at optimal times based on your energy levels.

There aren't too many downsides to this GPS smartwatch. If you pick the bigger 45mm model, you'll only have two color choices: slate or silver. The Vivoactive 4 uses the standard transflective display found on Garmin wearables. Given the price tag, a higher quality display would have been nice to see here.

Fitbit Versa 3

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Best for Fitbit fans: Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3 Health & Fitness Smartwatch with GPS

Go the distance

Reasons to buy

+
6+ days of battery life
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Heart-rate monitoring
+
Activity/sleep tracking
+
Automatic exercise recognition
+
Music storage, voice assistants

Reasons to avoid

-
Previous Versa bands don't work

Those who are already familiar with the Fitbit ecosystem and want one of the company's best GPS smartwatches will appreciate the Versa 3. It offers a great blend of fitness features and smartwatch perks, including activity/health tracking, heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, voice assistant, music storage, and a built-in mic/speaker. The battery will last for at least six days with typical use, which is pretty impressive.

The Fitbit Versa 3 maintains the company's well-known squircle design with a few improvements. It has a larger display area, softer lines, increased responsiveness, and improved comfort. You also have new interchangeable bands with a quick-release system that's finally easy to use. Unfortunately, this means the previous Versa bands won't be compatible with this new model.

While it may not have some of the more advanced features found on other smartwatches, the Fitbit Versa 3 is an excellent pick for casual trackers who don't want to break the bank when buying a wearable.

Fitbit Charge 4 Review

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Best advanced tracker: Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker with Built-in GPS

A truly smart wearable

Reasons to buy

+
Up to seven days of battery life
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Heart-rate monitoring
+
Activity/sleep tracking
+
Spotify music controls
+
Fitbit Pay

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for a tracker
-
Bigger body than predecessor

Speaking of Fitbit Fans, the new Charge 4 is all the rage. If you're not ready for a full-on smartwatch or you'd simply prefer something compact and lightweight, the Charge 4 is the way to go. It might be slightly bigger than its predecessor, but it's still not as big or bulky as a watch. It also comes with built-in GPS, which is a rare find on Fitbit wearables. You'll have a full week of battery life and the ability to track your activity, sleep, heart rate, pace, steps, calories, and distance.

It also has a new Active Zone Minutes feature, collecting data from your fat burn, cardio, and heart rate zones. You'll receive credit when you achieve an optimal workout and your heart rate reaches 120 bpm or higher. This feature aims to give users a more in-depth activity tracking experience with a personalized number to work toward. Fitbit Pay is also a standard feature, which is another convenient perk to have on your wrist. Spotify can be easily accessed, which allows you to control your music from your tracker.

The Fitbit Charge 4 is one of the smartest trackers out there by far. The price tag might seem a bit steep when you can spend a few more bucks and get a much more capable smartwatch. That being said, if you're solely in the market for a fitness tracker with GPS as well as some other neat perks, the Charge 4 is where it's at.

Best GPS smartwatch: Which one is right for you?

A lot of the best Android smartwatches and trackers don't have built-in GPS, while others allow you to connect your watch to your phone so you can track your route. If you want the privilege of having built-in GPS on your wearable, then you'll probably need to pay a bit more for it. There are many options to choose from, some of which are still surprisingly affordable.

We're big fans of the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music for its advanced running features, onboard music storage, long battery life, and built-in GPS. Most athletes will be fond of all the tracking perks of this GPS smartwatch, like Garmin Coach, Running Dynamics, a Pulse Ox sensor, and VO2 max estimation. It may not be the most attractive option on this list, but it delivers when it comes to having a reliable GPS and robust tracking suite.

If that one doesn't interest you, there are some other solid choices. Perhaps you want something more affordable or a smartwatch that's a tad more fashionable. Whatever it is you're looking for, there's no shortage of options when it comes to finding a smartwatch or fitness tracker with GPS.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.