Smartwatches with GPS navigation were first introduced by Casio and Garmin before they first appeared in the mainstream Apple and Samsung watches. Garmin has been leading in the GPS watches niche with its top-tier Fenix and Forerunner series.
If we have to name one smartwatch with the most accurate GPS navigation, it would definitely be the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro included in our round-up. You can read its review to find out whether it fits your preferences.
However, not anybody needs a rugged, sporty watch to get reliable directions while out on a trail running or hiking. Many needs an affordable watch with an acceptable GPS accuracy for casual fitness or running routine. Worry not, we have also included those options in this detailed roundup.
First thing first, this is going to be a detailed post, so if you are in a hurry, better look at our top three smartwatches with GPS navigation.
- Garmin Venu
- Garmin Fenix 6X
- Suunto 9 GPS
Though we have put hours and hours into this post, that doesn’t mean that it is perfect. We keep our promise to our readers to timely update it with the relevant information and new smartwatches.
BEST SMARTWATCHES WITH GPS:
Garmin Forerunner 945
Forerunner 945 is the best all-rounder smartwatch on the market with a spot-on GPS.
Forerunner 945 is probably the Garmin watch with the most accurate GPS out there on the market. This makes it the best watch to have for the professional runners and adventure enthusiasts. It offers a very high precision tracking. It even out performs GPS provided in some phones. The tracks are not accidentally mapped and even perform immaculately around the corners.
The GPS app has the background maps enabled that shows the roads, terrain and other topography which is very convenient to have. This is especially useful when you are using the terrain to map your path and well defined areas are not visible like during a forest run or a rocky terrain.
The battery life on the Forerunner 945 is very impressive considering the fact that it is a GPS watch. With the GPS enabled all the time, it can last for 36 hours without a problem. Without the GPS, it can go on for a couple of weeks.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 2
A visually attractive, premium watch with a great GPS.
Galaxy Watch Active 2 has a multi-satellite navigation system, comprising of GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS and A-GPS. This system allows it to work almost anywhere in the world, even in the remotest of the areas.
The GPS is not that delivers the most accuracy, it is built to just work anywhere, as much as it can. Sometimes around the corners when taking sharp turns, it does not record that properly. Nothing very serious though, just minute differences that might build up in long runs. There is no jagged or zigzag mapping and it follows the tracks quite well.
Galaxy Active 2 has a pretty decent battery life. With the always on display turned off, it can last for almost 2 days along with music and other apps. With the display turned on, it lasts for a bit more than 24 hours. It juices up in about 2 complete hours.
Fitbit Versa 2
GPS added to Fitbit’s finest lineup.
GPS was one of the largest update Versa 3 got from Versa 2. It is a standalone GPS which means you don’t have to have the phone all time with you, which is quite convenient for people who want to run light. The GPS is not the most accurate out there but competes with the likes of Garmin and Samsung.
Versa 3’s GPS has to be activated manually, which means that you have to set a workout plan manually to make it start. The maps are provided on the Fitbit app instantaneously after you’ve finished. It is accurate enough to track movements in urban areas and straighter paths but struggles a little bit in jungle tracks or jagged cycling paths.
Battery is one of the most promising features of Versa 3. It can last upto 6 days with routine usage and GPS used 2-3 times a week. With the always-on display turned on, it lasts roughly for 2 days. It supports fast charging also with a 15 minute charge giving roughly 35% boost.
Ticwatch Pro 3
An inexpensive watch with great features and a standalone GPS.
There is a multi-satellite GPS system installed in the Ticwatch Pro 3. Beidou, GLONASS, GALILEO, all that you can ask for is there. Although it is not the most precise one out there but gets the job done in a smaller budget.
The GPS works as all GPS should. It tracks your workout and paths and displays it but, it is not the most responsive GPS out there. It also struggles to show the route with proper context sometimes, like staying on the actual path. Not recommended for the professionals but still a great option for the beginners or casuals.
It has a large 577 mAh battery that is capable of lasting about 3 days in the smartwatch mode. The watch has a dual display setup, one AMOLED and the other one a monochrome LCD. The essential mode provided uses the monochrome display to provide necessary information and lasts for about 45 days.
Garmin Forerunner 245 music
A great GPS watch that also fulfills your musical needs.
Forerunner 245 music has multi satellite GPS system available with both GLONASS and GALILEO. It is capable of mapping the path on which you run as well as the pace and intervals. The GPS itself is quick and responsive and is ready to roll in just under a minute.
The GPS + GLONASS provided in the Forerunner 245 music is very capable in terms of accuracy and speed. Its testing in the urban and rural areas depict results close to the best GPS smartwatches. The watch performs equally good in tree cover or underground areas too, as well as the hilly areas and mountainous tracks.
Garmin claims its battery lasts 7 days with GPS turned off. It lasts 24 hours with GPS turned on. Battery endurance has decreased compared to the previous model but that is because of the music features enabled. But if used 4-5 times in a week, that 7 day number is decent.
An elegant looking premium GPS smartwatch from Fossil.
Fossil sport comes with an untethered GPS, which in layman terms mean that you can forget your phone at home and still not worry about tracking your running or workout routine. The only problem is that it sometimes takes up to 5 minutes to pick up a signal.
The GPS is quite accurate for a day to day runner or a casual user. For people who run professionally and competitively, for which accuracy is a huge deal, they might want to consider another option. Overall GPS works fine in irregular areas and under-defined paths like those in forest or cycling tracks in hilly areas.
Due to its more efficient chipset, you can get about 24 hours on a single charge with all the sports features turned on. You can squeeze it up to a week if you would compromise on the features. Quick charging comes as a cherry on top that gives 50 percent juice with just a 30 minute charge.
Coros Pace 2
One of the best GPS smartwatch in the market with an extremely competitive price.
The GPS provided in the Coros Pace 2 is probably its highlighting feature. It is also supported by GLONASS, GALILEO and BEIDOU satellite systems. The signals are established without any lag and are quite responsive.
The accuracy delivered by Pace 2 is without doubt, top notch in the smartwatch world. It is comparable to the likes of top tier Garmin and even GPS of some smartphones. The GPS tracks immaculately through dense tree canopies, and confusing paths like a railway track next to a jogging track. It is therefore recommended for professionals too.
Coros Pace 2 provides a huge battery life of 30 hours with the GPS usage with very low drainage. If the GPS is not being used, the watch can keep running for 10 to 12 days depending upon the usage. There is also an Ultramax mode in which you sacrifice a little bit of accuracy in exchange of 5 more GPS hours.
Made specifically for the outdoor freaks, provided with a top-of-the-line GPS.
Garmin went with the multi-satellite approach with their Instinct. It has support for both GLONASS and GALILEO. Its untethered GPS comes in handy especially when you are not carrying or don’t want to carry your phone around.
The accuracy is just what you would expect from a good Garmin watch. It copes up with almost all the terrains and pathways. Sometimes when a few complex paths is involved, there is a potential wobble in the track but it is occasional and random. So not much recommended for professional use but a must-have for casual runs and workouts.
Normally instance battery lasts for about two weeks but is reduced by the GPS with the GPS always turned on it lasts for about 16 hours. There is an Ultra Track GPS mode in which the GPS recording rates are decreased hence boosting the battery performance up to 40 hours.
Garmin Fenix 6
The most premium GPS smartwatch with premium features from the Fenix lineup.
Just as a norm with Garmin smartwatches, Fenix 6 too, supports a multi-satellite GPS system. That includes both GLONASS and GALILEO. GPS connectivity is within the blink of an eye and is stable.
When the watch is branded as premium, which is exactly what is expected of it. Fenix 6 GPS is no less. Flawless accuracy, spot-on elevations even in the highest and remotest of areas. The GPS with its multi-satellite system works well even at the more complex pathways and under dense canopies. Highly recommend for professional athletes and daredevils.
Battery timing is just great when smartwatch mode is turned on. The watch lasts up to two weeks on a full charge. The lowest battery performance which comes with the GPS turned on is also not bad with the watch lasting for 36 hours almost. There is also a max battery GPS mode which compromises accuracy but lasts for 72 hours.
An affordable smartwatch confronts the likes of more expensive ones with a decent GPS.
Coros Apex is a watch that offers you the best of both worlds. It has a fully functional GPS with multi-satellite system consisting of GLONASS and GALILEO. While it may not be a perfect smartwatch, it surely is a great fitness trainer.
The GPS accuracy Apex offers is at par with the other giants in the market. In the urban and suburban tracks, it shows no errors in tracking whatsoever. It will not go off the tracks in complex areas. Even in the higher altitude environments, the GPS stays put. If you are a regular workout freak, this might be it.
Apex has a great battery stamina. With the always on GPS the watch provides the juice of about 25 hours which is great for a complete day of hiking and trekking. In the normal usage The Apex lasts for 24 days. In the Ultra Max GPS mode the watch gives a backup of 80 hours.
Polar Vantage V2
A comprehensive multisport watch with exciting features including a well-functioning GPS.
Route tracking in Vantage V2 is backed by the usual multi-satellite system including GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS. It locks on quick and gives quite accurate bearings. A little issue is when you abruptly change the pace, its response time decreases a little bit but works great at average speeds.
The watch is very precise in its readings even when there is a dense tree cover. It does not confuse pathways with railway tracks or roads. It sometimes is a bit off when there are two tracks close to each other but overall works fine. There are no jagged or irregular tracings and is a very good option if you want to switch from the likes of Garmin or Suunto.
Battery life is great beyond doubt. In the training mode in which the GPS is turned on 24/7, the watch is said to last 40 hours which is a big number. There is also a smartwatch mode with heartrate monitoring always on, in which the watch lasts for seven days easy.
Polar Grit X
A comprehensive multisport watch with exciting features including a well-functioning GPS.
The workouts are tracked very well with the standalone GPS provided, with the support of multi satellite systems like GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS and A-GPS. The GPS is very swift in making up the connection and maintains it very well too.
The watch is not very recommended for pro marathon runners or mountaineers. It struggles a tiny bit on narrower tracks and sometimes may wander off into the forests or off the hills. On the easier, wider and straighter paths, the tracking was flawless. It also works great under higher tree canopies.
Grit X comes with the same 346 mAh battery that was installed in the Vantage V2. It is capable of keeping the watch running with the GPS for 40 hours. You can change the GPS pinging frequency to increase the endurance but that’ll suck some accuracy out of it. The smartwatch mode lasts for about a week.
Fitbit Charge 4
A sleek looking fitness trainer smartwatch with an above average GPS and music controls.
This watch is for the people who want a great smartwatch but can compromise on the GPS a little bit. Charge 4 is the jack of all trades, master of none. It does everything including fitness and workout tracking.
The GPS of charge 4…works. It tracks all your runs and connectivity is quite fast too. But the only hiccup is some compromised accuracy. It is decent for the most part but whenever there is tree cover or tall buildings, there comes an error in the bearings. It is not much but it is still there. An above-average GPS most definitely.
The battery life when the GPS is on standby is enduring. It can last for four days without GPS. Things go downhill when GPS is concerned. The only runtime with GPS is five hours which is not very competitive considering the market at the present.
Apple Watch 6
A fully capable smartwatch from Apple which also comes with an excellent GPS.
Watch 6 comes with a multi-satellite configuration. It can take from GLONASS, GALILEO, A-GPS and QZSS. The watch also allows you to start mapping without making a GPS lock first. This sucks a little accuracy out of it but is fast and convenient.
Watch 6 can definitely be a competition-level watch. It maps all the paths properly and precisely. The readings are also stored to be viewed later. There are no major errors or anomalies even when tracking around tall buildings or densest of the tree cover. Tree-covered environments may depict a little disparity in the distance but nothing too harsh.
The battery situation in the series 6 watch is pretty compelling. In the normal day to day usage the battery lasts for more than 36 hours which is pretty decent. The battery juices up from flat to 80% in about an hour. Wireless charging provided also serves as a cherry on top.
Garmin Vivoactive 4
A watch having forerunner-like specs at a more affordable price.
Vivoactive 4 is just a cheap forerunner. It has all the tracking and training specs minus some monthly features. It does have the support of GLONASS and GALILEO which makes the connectivity faster, efficient and reliable.
The affordability of the watch reflects in the GPS performance. It is not bad and for the most part it even matches the premium watches. Problem comes whenever there is a dense tree cover or very tall buildings. The watch struggles a bit to stay on the path. There is also a little dislocation of about 2-3 meter which is no problem for casual users.
Battery life is not where corners are cut. Vivoactive 4 lasts for almost 8 days without active tracking and switching GPS mode. With the activity tracking and GPS on, it lasts for about 4 days. It also supports fast charging which boosts the battery back up in about an hour.
Amazfit Verge Smartwatch
A dirt-cheap smartwatch with a working GPS that works with both iOS and Android.
Right off the bat, the watch costs probably half of what most top tier watches do. Still it comes with a functional, standalone GPS along with multi-satellite support from GLONASS and GALILEO. The GPS, although is slow, sometimes taking 3-4 minutes to lock-on, which can be a nuisance.
The accuracy is what you would expect of an inexpensive watch. It works fine and even above average in most areas. It might fall short in complex areas like a forest or narrow tracks in mountainous areas or tall buildings even. But if you don’t want to spend much on a smartwatch but want a GPS on your wrist too, there might not be an option better than this one.
The battery is probably the highlighting feature of this watch. The watch lasts for 4-5 days like nothing, that if, the automated fitness tracking is turned off. With that turned off, it lasts for 3 days. The watch charges quite fast too, like 0 to about 90% in an almost 30 minutes.
Suunto’s Ambit 3
A top dog in fitness trainer watches, Suunto’s Ambit 3 has an accurate and reliable GPS.
The Ambit 3 has some seriously slick connectivity. It is even faster when the same locations is used to make connections again and again. The connection is solid and locks on well enough.
The data is stored on the Ambit 3. You cannot view maps and tracks directly on the watch, the watch has to be synced with your phone via Bluetooth. You can use the Suunto’s Movescount app to see the tracks you’ve run and multiple other data and readings. The watch works well in dense environments and heavily urbanized areas. A good option for occasional runners and cyclists.
Ambit3’s excellent battery performance is supported by its monochrome display. It drains lesser battery while performing more functions than its rivals. The battery lasts for about a week with the GPS turned on. It can go on for about 15 days in the normal watch mode.
Motorola Moto360 3rd gen
Launched 4 years after the 2nd gen, 3rd gen Moto360 is a refined, solid watch with a competition level GPS.
It took about 4 years for Motorola to come up with a better, more user-friendly smartwatch that offered a great GPS. It comes with the GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou connectivity too that makes the connection fast and enduring.
Moto 360 GPS has improved from the previous gen, there is no lag now, occasional turning off etc. The tracings are precise now. It works as good in tree cover and tall skyscrapers as it does in normal, flat plains. Results are comparable to the likes of Garmin and Apple with very minor differences.
Moto 360 is powered by a 355 mAh battery but it does not keep it running for quite a long time. The blame can be put on its always on display. It lasts only for about 26 hours with average use. Charges up completely in an hour though which is a plus.
A GPS smartwatch with much more elite features like an AMOLED display, Pulse Ox in a lesser price bracket.
Garmin has loaded the Venu’s GPS with GLONASS and GALILEO that offer an above average location tracking and excellent coverage. The signal picking capability though, is excellent and locks on in no time at all.
When it is said that it has an above average accuracy, it means that the watch, just may lack behind in some places. It works great in simpler, plain areas. Things start to go a little bit downhill when complex and heavily jagged tracks or tree cover comes. A little of difference (about 3-4%) occurs due to this. It is great overall.
Garmin Venu has a great, enduring battery. In the smartwatch mode, in which the GPS is turned off, it gives 6 days of battery backup. Now when the GPS is constantly on and you are also using your watch for music, it lasts for six hours which is comparatively better
Mobvoi Ticwatch S2
A comparatively new smartwatch with GPS thrown in there to make a place in the smartwatch market.
Mobvoi has applied the multi-satellite approach with the Ticwatch S2. It is supported by Galileo, GLONASS and Beidou. The connection is firm and takes a little while to establish, but once it is done there are no occasional drop outs.
The GPS is good enough for casual users who don’t care about the exact distances and paths, they just want it mapped. The accuracy is substandard, which means there may be occasional deflection from the original path at very complex or densely covered areas. Good enough for casual use though.
Battery life is improved in S2 from the previous models. It can last for about 3 days or more if you turn some of the features off. Endurance with GPS is just about 24 hours which is what most watches offer.
CASIO PRO Trek
A GPS smartwatch made precisely for hikers and climbers.
Casio comes with the support of GPS along with GLONASS and QZSS. The watch can be a bit problematic when making a connection indoors. While in the outdoors it locks on in just under a minute or two.
The GPS is precise and accurate. It is specialized for professional marathon runners and hikers. The Navigation is smooth and on point. Tracking may have some minute problems when running through tree cover but that too is rare. A well-made watch for those who dare.
In the normal day to day usage the watch lasts around 1.5 days. There is also a dumb watch mode where only the monochrome screen is working in which it lasts for about 30 days. The extend mode with the loss of GPS accuracy pushes the time to 3 days. The watch also takes a good 3 hours to charge completely.
With newer battery management with the ability to create GPS tracks, this watch does it all.
Suunto 9 supports all the satellites like GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS and Beidou. The GPS lock is quick overall. The connection also is strong and reliable and does not drop on you while you are enjoying a decent run.
Suunto has introduced a new form of GPS tracking known as FusedTrack. It uses the date from the compass, barometric altimeter, and accelerometer to track the data alongside the regular GPS modes. The GPS is comparable to the likes of Garmin and the new mode is very nifty and handy.
Suunto 9 has 3 battery modes. The performance mode is in which the battery drains the fastest lasting for 24 hours but performs the most. The endurance mode lasts longer about 50 hours but has a slightly decreased accuracy. The Ultra mode has the least GPS accuracy but lasts insanely long for about 120 hours.
Huawei GT 2 Pro
An aesthetically good-looking smartwatch with an untethered GPS.
Firstly, Huawei has made absolutely no compromises on their watch. Fully supported by the GLONASS and Galileo, the GPS is slick in making the connections. It is fast, responsive and straight up something you can rely on.
GT 2 Pro comes with quality fitness tracking. The GPS is accurate and comes with the function of mapping out your running and cycling tracks. The path mapping is pretty much indifferent to excessive tree shade or sky rocketing urban environment. Not being a WearOS watch, it still has a decent interface favoring the fitness enthusiasts.
GT 2 Pro’s battery life is great as a smartwatch. It can last for about 9 days on a full charge with all the pro features turned on. So theoretically you can get about Huawei’s claim of 14 days if you turn all the features off. Using the GPS occasionally may decrease the battery timing to about 5 days. Wireless Qi charging is also a perk.
A beastly midranger with fairly accurate GPS tracking and convenient fitness training.
Polar Instinct comes with the support for GLONASS with GPS. This enables it to develop the satellite connection almost instantaneously. It tracks just everything, from running to swimming, hiking, and cycling. You name it, this got you covered.
The GPS is precise and on the spot most of the times. Drawbacks come when there is a tree cover too dense for it to fathom. It goes 3-4 meters off path in those cases. Similar anomalies are shown when there are heavily urbanized areas and tall buildings. Speed also affects the accuracy as it struggles a little bit while tracking the corners around a cycling track. Nothing like a deal breaker though, still a decent tracker.
The battery life is also astonishingly good. The Watch lasts for 17 hours in the sports mode in which the GPS and heart rate sensor are constantly running. With reduced GPS usage this watch can also keep tracking for about a week and also charges overnight.
A relatively new submission from Garmin in the realm of GPS smartwatches, specifically build for endurance.
Garmin named this watch to be enduring but not compromising its features in any way. The GPS comes with a multi satellite configuration with GLONASS and Galileo. The GPS lock happens within the blink of an eye and stays put without any discrepancies.
Garmin put its top-of-the-line sensors in Enduro. The watch goes neck in neck with their watches specifically made for fitness like Forerunner 945 and Fenix 6X. GPS tracking is on point and keeps sticking to the actual path in areas where most other watches fail. Be it a dense tree cover, complex intertwined cycling tracks or the tallest of the skyscrapers, this watch works immaculately. One of the best GPS watches out there.
The situation with battery is quite interesting with the Enduro, it’s got solar power. There are about 5 modes all consisting of the mighty sun helping you out. The smartwatch mode lasts 65 days, battery saver upto a year, GPS workout for about 80 hours, max battery GPS mode with 300 hours and the Expedition mode with 95 days. These are some insane stats.
People who are looking for affordable GPS watches might find a perfect fit in Amazfit Verge, Ticwatch Pro 3, Fitbit Versa 3, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 and Garmin Venu. But there are limitations to their GPS tracking abilities. The accuracy often is compromised when tracking long runs and at the corners.
These watches are perfect for casual fitness tracking.
For serious runners or triathletes, the Garmin Forerunner 945, Fenix 6X and Suunto 9 are the most appropriate choices. Keep in mind that these watches tend to be heavy, and are also big in size and big on sports and fitness features. On the top of that, they have a hefty price tag.