Best GPS Watch for CS?

With all the great topics and dialog on this forum, I’m surprised not to find a discussion about GPS watches themselves and if there are particular models that are better than others for streets projects. If I’ve missed it, let me know where to find it!

I’m just curious if anyone has found one watch to be better than another for whatever reason. I personally have a Garmin Forerunner 235 which works fine for tracking my results but definitely lacks some of the more advanced features of newer watches.

What are you all using and what’s good or bad about it?

I also have the FR235. Picked it up during a Black Friday sale on Amazon. Bought it primarily for training, but is working perfectly for CS too. It is my first GPS enabled watch, so did not want to spent a lot of money on tech that was new to me.

Only negative about the watch is that walking/hiking are not built-in activities, but there are apps for that… In fact there is even an app for “Any Activity”… So it’s really not a negative.

Any watch that has the possibility to import routes from CS would be great i think.

I use a Polar Vantage V watch.

It can import and display the GPX tracks that CityStrides generates. It does not have maps, only shows the route line, but works for me.

I have a Garmin Forerunner 245 music, which I’m disappointed with. I chose it as it can give turn by turn directions but - for CityStrides - it is not up to scratch. It only holds 50 bits of data. That’s not bits as in computer bytes and the problem is I can’t work out what it is which counts towards this limit.
I’ll often plan 15-20k to catch a lot of roads (sometimes LOTS of roads, sometimes a long run to then get to a selection of roads then a long run home). There is no apparent logic to where it runs out of capacity: I understand that running into a dead-end, doing a U-turn and running back out would use more data than running along a straight road. But sometimes the turn-by-turn directions will say “turn right in 800m” when there are actually 3 road junctions between me and that turning.
I’ve inquired directly to Garmin (but got little joy). It’s a good watch if you want to do CityStrides up to about 8 or 10k runs. Once it runs out of data for the turn-by-turn directions it still shows the route, but you can’t zoom in enough to have the accuracy to tell which road you’re meant to be going down.

Thanks for the info on the 245. I’ve been reading reviews on the Garmin fenix 6 and it’s varieties. Super expensive, but it sounds like it does everything except do the run for you. I’m wondering how practical a map on my wrist would be in real life on a run though.

When I bought my Fenix 6x, I was mostly interested in the long battery life, but was “meh” about gaining maps.

For CS, however, the map has been awesome. You can upload your route and see it progress on the map, and even more useful sometimes is if you are going from memory or freestyling a route, you can look at that map and see where you have already been and see right away when you missed an area, or see that you already did a street on that run and don’t need to re-do it. This is especially useful in confusing suburban neighborhoods that are flat out DESIGNED to keep you from being able to get from one side of it to the other efficiently.

I have been a bit disappointed my 6x from a pace and distance tracking standpoint. It seems to short my distance by ~10% per run due to its distance and pace-smoothing algorithm, despite the GPS track being pretty much spot-on. In every other aspect it has been rock-solid.

My wife has a Fenix 6 Pro. I planned a 10mile run for us to do together and we imported the same gpx file into our watches. I got to the end at the loop at the correct distance - she was about 800m short (so carried on and ran a bit further!). She then came back and descended into google to resolve it. I’m not sure what she managed to find out

Hi There,

I’ve tried many different devices, from Fenix 5 and 6, to forerunner, mobile apps like strava etc.
The best outcome; Tracking with Runkeeper on your phone. Very accurate with straight lines in the end result. Make sure not to look at the map while recording (possible in pauze mode) becouse it will be off a bit.

Hope this was helpfull.

Regards Willem

I will say, looking back at my old data from the pre-GPS watch days, my phone with data running definitely gave me the more accurate GPS trace than those recorded on my watch. Even so I won’t be going back, watch is too much more convenient, and I can always fix the GPS trace after.

That’s not bits as in computer bytes and the problem is I can’t work out what it is which counts towards this limit.

I have a FR645 with the same useless breadcrumb maps … The ‘50 Limit’ is essentially 50 waypoints, so every dot for direction change counts to the limit. The longer and more complicated the route - the bigger the problem.

I try not to loop as much as I used to (as this causes me to miss roads. I’m also no longer afraid to stop for a few seconds so that it can right itself and show me if I’ve missed or about to miss some nodes!

Hope this helps to ease the frustration slightly :wink:

I have a new phone, a Samsung Galaxy S20FE, and I must say its GPS is way more accurate than my old phone, a Moto G5 Plus. Prior to the Samsung, I was not confident in using a phone’s GPS for CS.

Also, on the maps subject, I am more comfortable with a printed paper map. I have not spent a great deal of time with mapping apps, but a) the FR235 is rather limited, and b) the process was more cumbersome than just using a piece of paper, which I keep using until that area is finished.

Also, I have only played a little with the CS Route Builder (available on the map page). Since it basically does on screen, what I do on paper, I have not used it very much.