Best GPS Watches For 2023 - Outdoors Magic

Outdoors Gear, Equipment, News, Reviews, Forums, Walking Routes and More at


Walking Equipment and Accessories

Best GPS Watches For 2023

We’ve spent time testing the best GPS watches for adventure enthusiasts, whether you’re hiking, running or cycling

GPS watches have become an essential adventure accessory these days. They are on-trend. Head out on any outdoorsy adventure and you’re sure to see numerous wrists proudly emblazoned with chunky, brightly-coloured timepieces. Hikers, runners and cyclists are all using them – it’s the tech-centric, gadget-loving way of things these days. But why have GPS smartwatches become so popular?

It’s partly about fashion – they looks stylish and contemporary. But ultimately it’s more about functionality. GPS watches are incredibly useful in a practical sense. They can help if you’re hopelessly lost, enabling you to navigate back to safety or pinpoint your exact location. They improve your physical performance by tracking your fitness goals and motivating you to push harder, faster and higher. And they can keep you connected, with social media notifications, Spotify integration and weather alerts.

Most GPS smartwatches enable you to keep a very close eye on your physical performance while out on an adventure, recording enough data to satisfy even the geekiest and most obsessive of fitness fanatics. You can track all the usual stuff: distance travelled, ascent, time and heart rate, choosing one of a myriad of workout modes such as running, cycling, hiking, skiing or whatever else you’re up to. High-end watches also include technical measurements such as blood oxygen levels, barometer pressure and altitude. And then there’s all of the more lifestyle-y, everyday fitness-related features, such daily step counts, calories burnt, stress levels, and even a sleep monitor, which tracks both the length and quality of your sleep.

Not all smartwatches are created equal, however, and it’s common sense to pick one designed with your favourite activities in mind. If you want to use your GPS watch for navigation while cycling and hiking, choose a timepiece with in-built mapping, or one that has integration with a mapping app such as komoot. These will give you turn-by-turn notifications and even allow you to view Ordnance Survey map tiles on-the-go. If you’ll be off-grid for long periods, opt for a smartwatch with good battery life and solar charging, or if fitness tracking is your thing then choose a running-specific smartwatch that’ll give you all the stats you need. But, whatever your priorities, there’s a smartwatch out there for you in our top 10 list of the best outdoor watches for this year.

The Best Outdoor Watches

We’ve scoured the market for the best GPS watches out there, with a wide variety in terms of price, features and styles. Here are our favourites:

  • Garmin Instinct 2 Solar – Best GPS Watch
  • Garmin Fenix 6X Pro
  • Casio G-Shock GBD-H1000-1 Heart Rate Monitor
  • Polar Grit X
  • Honor Magic Watch 2 – Best Value Outdoor Watch
  • COROS Vertix Icebreaker
  • Suunto 9 Baro
  • Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30
  • Honor Watch GS Pro
  • Elliot Brown Tyneham


BEST BUY: Garmin Instinct 2 Solar

Price: £299.99
Weight: 52g
Best for: Off-grid adventures, multi-day adventures
Key attributes: Solar charging, GPS tracking

In a new watch design from Garmin, the Instinct 2 Solar has possibly the most impressive battery we’ve seen. A step up from its previous incarnation, this watch offers unlimited battery life even while using its Smart features (providing you’re able to capture enough sun to provide charge, of course). It’s remarkable how long this thing can last, even without solar charging, you’ll get up to 28 days of full functionality, and as many as 32 with Expedition GPS Activity (again, indefinite with solar). If you’re using the GPS at its most accurate, with frequent satellite positioning, then the charge should last up to 48 hours. That’s over a 50% increase from the original Instinct Solar. These times are all assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux (bright) conditions.

The watch is equipped with a GPS device that makes use of GPS, GLONASS and Galileo system of satellites (standard from Garmin), meaning you’ll be able to track all of your activities including trail running, hiking, ski touring, among many others. On top of this, the Instinct 2 Solar is also carrying a wrist-top heart rate monitor (chest heart rate sensor can also be purchased separately for accurate readings) and improved smartphone pairing thanks to the Garmin Connect+ app. You can check the day’s total ascent / descent, view your route fully mapped on your phone, receive texts, notifications, and even stream music from the Garmin. It’s all contained within a rugged shell that’ll withstand pressures equivalent to a depth of 100 metres. Easy to use and navigate even with its arsenal of smart features; the perfect companion for someone who wants to get lost in the wild but stay safe and connected.

Read the full Garmin Instinct 2 Solar review



Garmin Fenix 6X Pro

Price: £749.99
Weight: 82g
Best for: Multi-sports, mountain pursuits, running, hiking
Key attributes: Long battery life, TOPO mapping, full health & fitness tracking, music storage. 

The Garmin Fenix 6X Pro might seem eye-wateringly pricey, but this watch really is an all-singing, all-dancing multi-sport champion with an impressive suite of outdoors tools, bucket loads of premium features and an impressive design. It’s packed full of sensor tech, including built-in heart rate monitoring, GPS/Galileo and GLONASS satellite support, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, blood oxygen sensor and thermometer. And essentially is designed to streamline your life on the trail, be that full-colour Europe-wide TOPO mapping for navigation support or health and fitness insights like Pulse Ox Acclimation to keep tabs on your blood oxygen saturation (SATs) levels while you’re ascending. 

At 83g, the 6X is a chunk of a watch with a large 51 mm case size – the largest in the whole Fenix lineup. That’s made up of a large titanium bezel to protect the 280 x 280 pixel Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX or sapphire crystal watch face, depending on which model you go for. Battery life is impressive with 21 days in smartwatch mode, 72 hours of tracking in UltraTrac GPS tracking and up to 56 days of GPS tracking in Expedition Mode that takes a new GPS fix every hour to save juice. Music lovers will enjoy the onboard storage for 2,000 songs storage and it also plays nice with Garmin’s InReach satellite communicators. 

Chosen for our Outdoor 100 2021/22. Read our full Garmin Fenix 6X Pro review.



Casio G-Shock GBD-H1000-1 Heart Rate Monitor

Price: £380
Weight: 106g
Best for: Multi-sports, watersports
Key attributes: Sturdy and rugged build, scuba diving compatibility

Able to survive a lifetime’s worth of abuse in the outdoors, this G-Shock model is not only tough as nails – it’s also packed with everything you’d expect from a modern day smartwatch: GPS, wrist heart rate measurements, training analysis, training data (up to 100 runs), digital compass, altimeter, barometer and a thermometer. You even get ISO 200 water resistance built in – that’s an equivalent of 20bar pressure, or 290.075 psi – more than enough to bring with you on your next scuba diving adventure.

All of these features are powered by a battery that’ll last around 14-hours with continuous smartwatch use (GPS & heart rate tracking), an astonishing 12 months in regular watch mode without battery saving functions enabled, or 34 months with battery saving enabled. These astonishing figures are further boosted by solar power charging when you’re in clear sunlight.

Read our full Casio G-Shock GBD-H1000-1 Heart Rate Monitor review


Polar Grit X

Price: £379
Weight: 64g
Best for: Trail running, hiking
Key attributes: Lightweight, komoot integration, excellent for trail running

Well-suited to hikers and trail runners, the Polar Grit X is, in our opinion, a great looking GPS watch. The screen has lovely clarity and it’s actually brighter and clearer than previous Polar models. You navigate using the touch screen and buttons on the sides. At 64g it’s pretty lightweight and it’s passed a bunch of military-level grades so you can be sure the outdoor durability is there. Its waterproof to 100m too.

Related: Best Trail Running Shoes

With 130 different sports modes, including activities like open water swimming, road cycling and mountain biking, this watch has a bunch of very useful features that help you plan, perform and analyse your exercise. You get altitude measurements, barometric readings, weather forecasts and of course basic stats such as distance and pace. The hill splits feature is nifty too, automatically breaking down your performance going uphill and downhill. The watch also advises you on what you should be drinking and eating after each exercise, like your own personal nutritionist. Integration with navigation app komoot also enables you to follow a route via breadcrumb trails.

Read our full Polar Grit X review



HONOR MagicWatch 2

Price: £100
Weight: 41g (excluding strap)
Best for: General fitness, outdoor activities
Key attributes: Superb price, fitness tracking

This is one of those watches that will help you with your daily life; whether that’s keeping on top of your diary, listening to music or, well, being on time for things, but it also has the added bonus of being an aid for your outdoor adventures and training as well. Whether you’re into hiking, trail running, snow sports or even open water swimming, there are a bunch of features here that will aid, record and ultimately improve your performance.

Fully waterproof with a 1.39-inch screen with crystal clear clarity, this superbly-priced watch has 15 different fitness modes covering outdoor activities like running, walking, hiking, climbing, trail running, cycling, open water swimming and then indoor, gym training stuff as well. With each one you get a bunch of useful data feedback along with professional advice – even with optional real-time voiceover guidance. When hiking, for example, you get accurate readings of your heart rate, pace, footsteps, altitude and the distance covered, as well as barometric readings so you can prepare for any bad weather on the way. If you lose your bearings, just flip on the compass mode to get back on track. All of this for £120 is a remarkable bargain.

Read our full Honor Magic Watch 2 review



COROS Vertix Icebreaker

Price: £600
Weight: 76g
Best for: Multi-sports, skiing
Key attributes: Powerful battery, excellent skiing mode, rugged design

Coros’ high-grade hardware, loaded with innovative tech, is designed with outdoor enthusiasts, mountain lovers, and all-round active lifestyle folk in mind. This watch is all about “attitude” and “altitude”, as the marketing spin suggests, and it certainly hits the spot for mountaineers who like to climb up high bits of rock. You get a built-in barometer, altimeter, compass and GPS / GLONASS satellite connection feature, as well as 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring with altitude acclimatisation assistance, and a 150-meter waterproof rating. Battery life is impressive: 45 days of regular use without using all the bells and whistles, 60 hours in full GPS mode, and 150 hours in UltraMax GPS mode. To follow a route you’ll need to download it as a GPX file onto your smartphone off another app like Strava or komoot. You then need to open it with the Coros app on your phone and you can then view it on the watch as a breadcumb trail once you’ve paired your two devices together. In terms of design, there’s a titanium bezel and cover, with high-grade fibre watch body, and sapphire glass with diamond-like coating –  which all ensures the Vertix Icebreaker is more than tough enough to handle itself in the world’s most extreme places.

Read our full Coros Vertix Icebreaker review




Price: £450
Weight: 59g
Best for: Training, racing and conquering multi-day challenges
Key attributes: Excellent battery life, vital health statistics including 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring, tough, lightweight and waterproof. 

The COROS APEX Pro is an outdoors watch built for adventure with some serious training skills to boot. With a set of sensors that matches Garmin’s Fenix range, it’s a tool built to help anyone who spends time working up a sweat in the mountains – whether that’s ski touring or trail running – prepare for, and conquer challenges. It packs a standout battery life with 40-hours of full GPS, extendable up to 100 hours in low-GPS mode. There’s built-in optical heart rate and 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring with Altitude Mode providing hourly acclimatisation evaluations. 

At 59g, it’s surprisingly lightweight on the wrist thanks to a lightweight, titanium alloy bezel that wraps a large, bright and crisp sapphire glass reinforced LCD touchscreen display. You also get 100 metres of waterproof protection and a huge selection of activity-specific workouts created by athletes and coaches as part of a library that lets you create more event or challenge-specific training sessions. It also comes in white, silver and black. 

Chosen for our Outdoor 100 2021/22. Read our full Coros Apex Pro review.



Suunto 9 Baro

Price: £540
Weight: 81g
Best for: Multi-sports, skiing
Key attributes: Powerful battery, heart rate monitor, 80 pre-installed sports modes

The Suunto 9 Baro represents the new flagship model in their range of sports watches. This smartwatch is packed full of features that make tracking and logging your days out while hiking, running, climbing, or whatever else you like to get up to in the outdoors, not only extremely easy, but also enjoyable. The battery life is certainly Suunto’s main selling feature for the 9. A single charge can last up to 120 hours in the ‘Ultra’ mode which keeps up GPS tracking but deactivates wrist heart rate tracking. In ‘Endurance’ mode, battery life is 40 hours with full wrist heart rate and GPS tracking. With 80 pre-installed sport modes that are able to track over 50 different values such as heart-rate, GPS location and many others, there doesn’t seem to be an outdoor sport that this watch wouldn’t be able to track and give you essential feedback on. Running watches don’t always offer to carry GPS tracking, whilst traditional hillwalking watches don’t house heart rate sensors. The Suunto 9 offers both in a pretty sleek form factor.

Read our full Suunto 9 Baro review



Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30

Price: £450
Weight: 83g
Best for: Hiking, trekking
Key attributes: Wear OS by Google integration, Viewranger maps and routes

Here’s a smartwatch that, as the name suggests, is designed for hikers. It helps trekkers to navigate through the countryside, understand the conditions they’re about to face and, well, to know the time (obviously). The key feature comes courtesy of Google’s Wear OS technology. With this watch you can download apps, and the Viewranger option enables you to view full Ordnance Survey map tiles – complete with contour lines and topographical features – on-the-go. Obviously it’s not as detailed as a navigation app on your phone, but the watch touchscreen does its job admirably. If Viewranger isn’t your thing, there’s also pre-loaded Google mapping as well as MapBox which presents OpenStreetMap in a way that is easy to interpret in terms of terrain variation. Aside from navigation, the watch is sturdy and robust with 50m waterproofing and three buttons that are glove-friendly. You also get a a compass, altimeter, air pressure reading, tide times and a screen that shows the sunrise and sunset times.

Read our full Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 review



Honor Watch GS Pro

Price: £200
Weight: 46g (excluding strap)
Best for: Multi-sports, skiing
Key attributes: Powerful battery, excellent skiing mode, rugged design

THE GS Pro is a rugged, chunky smartwatch designed specifically for the intrepid outdoor adventurer. It’s an adventure watch and nothing else and that clarity of purpose is refreshing. For £200 you get a sharp AMOLED display, enhanced GPS capabilities including a ‘route back’ function with breadcrumb navigation, over 100 workout modes such as mountain climbing, hiking and skiing, and weather alerts. A headline stat is the 25-day battery life (up to 48 hours with GPS enabled) and for high-altitude mountaineers there’s in-built blood oxygen level monitoring. The skiing mode is particularly impressive too. It tracks slope gradient, altitude, average speed, biggest slope, average pace, altitude and so much more, giving skiers (or snowboarders) more info at their fingertips than ever before.

Read our full Honor Watch GS Pro review




Elliot Brown Tyneham

Price: £845
Weight: 125g
Best for: Simplicity and all-day
Key attributes: Unbeatable toughness, stylish simplicity, impressive water resistance, pressure tested to 300m 

When many outdoor watches pack GPS, wrist altimeters and topographical maps, this classic and rugged automatic field watch might seem a little under-equipped – particularly when you consider that £845 price tag. But Elliot Brown’s trademark exceptional build quality, attention to detail and uniquely British design sensibility, makes the Tyenham a stand out for anyone seeking an adventure-proof wristwatch that’ll keep good time, without the distractions of temperamental tech and limited battery life.

The Tyneham’s go-anywhere, do-anything toughness comes from the combination of a fairly-compact, 41mm stainless-steel case and individually case-hardened bezel that delivers supreme scratch-resistance. Apparently six times harder than marine-grade stainless steel Plus an anti-reflective sapphire crystal screen that’s recessed, with a bevelled circumference to protect the edge from chipping. That houses a reliable, low-maintenance Miyota 9130 Japanese automatic movement, with a protective two-stage shock absorption system. It’s pressure-tested to 300m so also boasts impressive water resistance. And we’re big fans of having the indices, markers and hands being liberally coated with 8 hour SuperLuminova, for a soft but highly visible blue glow at night.

Chosen for our Outdoor 100 2021/22. Read our full Elliot Brown Tyneham review.




You May Also Like:

Best Trail Running Backpacks

Best Walks In The Lake District


Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.