Image source: Samsung

Fitness bands with built-in GPS, activity tracking for runners and cyclists

Built-in GPS is important – but only if you need it. If you run or cycle on a regular basis it ensures your stats are as accurate as possible, plus you get a map of your workout. All this comes at a cost, though, and such devices are more pricey.

Essential reading: Top GPS watches for running and training

The other route of course is to go for Connected GPS. With this option the wearable on your wrist connects to a smartphone’s GPS signal. This is just as accurate as the first option, the only problem is you need your phone to be in close vicinity. For those that like phone-free exercising its not an ideal option.

There are lots of sports watches to choose from with built-in GPS, but the selection is quite limited when it comes to fitness bands. This is our overview of the few that fall into the latter group.

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Garmin Vivosport | Garmin Vivosmart HR+ | Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro | Huawei Band 2 Pro


Garmin Vivosport

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which garmin fitness tracker should you buy - Fitness bands with built-in GPS, activity tracking for runners and cyclists
Image source: Garmin

Vivosport can be seen as an upgraded blend of the company’s popular Vivosmart 3 and Vivosmart HR+ trackers. In a sense, Garmin has taken the best from these two and come up with an entirely new fitness band.

The large size weighs only 27 grams and the small-medium 24.1 grams. It feels great on your wrist, fitting very snuggly. Measuring 21mm in width and 10.9mm in thickness, you hardly feel you are wearing it.

Despite the slim form-factor, Vivosport has some pretty decent specs under the hood making it one of the most fully featured fitness bands. Garmin has managed to squeeze a GPS along with a barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer and optical heart rate sensor into the device – pretty much everything you could hope for in terms of sensors.

Battery life is not too shabby either. Up to 8 hours with GPS switched on will get you through any run. In smartwatch mode this goes up to a week.

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Garmin Vivosmart HR+

which garmin fitness tracker should you buy 11 - Fitness bands with built-in GPS, activity tracking for runners and cyclists
Image source: Garmin

Launched in 2016, Vivosmart HR+ features a B&W screen, activity and sleep tracking and smart notifications. There is also an internal optical HR sensor, with 24×7 heart rate recording including resting heart rate.

The built-in GPS allows users to track distance, time and pace more accurately, and you can also view a map of your activity via Garmin Connect. The sleek band is swim-friendly, comfortable to wear all day, and the always-on touchscreen display shows your stats, even in sunlight.

Like the earlier version of the product, the device packs a rechargeable lithium battery. This one will keep going for up to 5 days between charges which bodes well compared to the direct competition. In GPS/HR mode battery life comes down to around 8 hours.

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Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro

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choosing from samsung s range of fitness wearables 6 - Fitness bands with built-in GPS, activity tracking for runners and cyclists
Image source: Samsung

Samsung’s popular second generation fitness tracker uses a range of sensors to keep tabs on your activity levels including steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, and sleep quality. It can even automatically identify the different types of physical activities such as running, cycling, working out on the elliptical, and more.

In terms of design, the water-resistant Gear Fit2 Pro features a beautiful curved full-color Super AMOLED screen that displays real-time activity stats along with texts and other alerts from your iOS or Android smartphone. The fitness tracker boasts 0.5 GB RAM and 4.0 GB of internal memory, while under the hood you will find an accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope, heart rate sensor and GPS for mapping your runs. Battery life is up to 5 days, and 9 hours with GPS switched on.

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Huawei Band 2 Pro

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fitness bands with built in gps activity tracking for runners and cyclists 1 - Fitness bands with built-in GPS, activity tracking for runners and cyclists
Image source: Huawei

Thanks to a 3-axis Accelerometer, PPG Cardiotachometer and Infrared Wear Sensor, Huawei Band 2 Pro covers the basics when it comes to tracking your fitness.The continuous heart monitoring has your heart data covered around the clock, while a Breathing Coach makes sure you are not stressed out.

There are some more advanced metrics, too. This includes Huawei’s TruSleep virtual sleep hygiene and an on-board GPS sensor that measures speed, movement and distance. There is also Huawei’s Running Coach which (along with VO2 Max), taps into Firstbeat technology to assess your running style and suggest tailored workouts.

In terms of design, the water-resistant gizmo comes with a PMOLED screen and a choice of Black, Blue and Red colours. The 100mAH battery will keep it keep it running for an impressive 3 weeks, and 3.5 hours with GPS switched on.

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