The 10 Best Bets for Wrist-Mounted GPS

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The 10 Best Bets for Wrist-Mounted GPS
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The Global Positioning System works the same way no matter what receiver you use, but your choice of outdoor activity affects which receiver makes the most sense for you. Different manufacturers -- with Garmin at the head of the pack -- offer wrist-mounted GPS units with varying price points and features, each of which is tailored to a specific niche market.

Garmin Fenix
Photo courtesy Garmin

Garmin Fenix

Designed for back-country hikers, the Garmin Fenix -- rated a 2013 Editor's Choice by "Backpacker Magazine" -- features a GPS receiver with 1,000 waypoints as well as an "ABC" suite of an altimeter, barometer and three-axis digital compass. Its backlit LCD display works for up to 50 hours on a charge with the GPS activated, or 10 weeks as a mere timepiece.

Suggested retail price as of March 2013 is $399.99.

Related: Garmin Fenix

Garmin Forerunner 210
Photo courtesy Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 210

This GPS-enabled, shock-resistant sports watch works great as an all-purpose trainer. An optional heart monitor tracks workout efficiency while an optional foot pod tracks distance on a treadmill. The battery lasts eight hours in training mode and three weeks in power-saving mode.

Suggested retail price is $249.99 including the heart monitor, and $199.99 without.

Related: Garmin Forerunner 210

Garmin Foreunner 310XT
Photo courtesy Garmin

Garmin Foreunner 310XT

The Garmin Forerunner 310XT was designed for triathletes. Water resistant to 164 feet, the watch includes an optional bike mount to give your wrist a break, and a heart monitor to ensure that you're operating at peak aerobic capacity. The battery lasts for 20 hours.

Suggested retail price is $299.99 with the mounting bundle, or $249.99 for the watch alone.

Related: Garmin Foreunner 310XT

Garmin Forerunner 405
Photo courtesy Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 405

The Garmin Forerunner 405 is a versatile cross-trainer tool that tracks location, calories burned, pace and heart rate. Heart monitoring syncs with an optional sensor. It integrates with the Garmin Connect community, so you can track your workouts and share your performance with friends.

Although Garmin has discontinued the Forerunner 405, the device remains widely available and highly rated for its price tier.

Related: Garmin Forerunner 405

Garmin Foretrex 401
Photo courtesy Garmin

Garmin Foretrex 401

A full 17 hours of charge and replaceable AA batteries make this all-purpose backcountry GPS unit an invaluable resource on the trail. The Foretrex 401's ABC capabilities and wayfinding with Garmin's BaseCamp software helps you plot a route, and its TracBack feature helps you retrace your steps. This device puts the navigation aspects of GPS at the fore.

Suggested retail price is $199.99.

Related: Garmin Foretrex 401

Motorola MotoActv Golf Edition
Photo courtesy Motorola

Motorola MotoActv Golf Edition

Enjoy golf? The Motorola MotoActv Golf Edition includes precise GPS maps of more than 20,000 different golf courses, so you'll always know the exact distance to the next green. Plus, the watch includes a built-in MP3 and FM radio player so you can let some soothing Bach de-stress you after your ball lands in the bunker.

Suggested retail price is $299.99

Related: Motorola MotoActv Golf Edition on Amazon

Nike+ SportsWatch GPS
Photo courtesy Nike

Nike+ SportsWatch GPS

It tracks a ton: speed, pace, calories, heart rate, intervals. The Nike+ SportsWatch's biggest draw, however, rests in its seamless integration with the Nike+ suite of online trackers and social-media tools. The Nike+ ecosystem shares your performance with others, helping you to achieve your fitness goals and giving you the chance to brag about a new personal record. The backlit LCD lasts for roughly eight hours on a single charge.

Suggested retail price is $149.

Related: Nike+ SportsWatch GPS

Timex Marathon GPS
Photo courtesy Timex

Timex Marathon GPS

Wrist-mounted GPS trackers don't always have to cost the arm it's strapped to. The Timex Marathon GPS retails for a suggested price of $125, and for the price, you get eight hours of battery life, 30-meter water resistance and GPS-based pace and speed data. The device also automatically calculates splits, so you can focus on your run instead of tracking your run.

Related: Timex Marathon GPS

Suunto Ambit
Photo courtesy Suunto

Suunto Ambit

Suunto's premium explorer watch includes ABC features plus a thermometer. In addition, the GPS unit may be set for greater or lesser precision -- greater, for runners, and lesser, for hikers, with a huge impact on battery life. The training mode lasts 15 hours on a charge and the lower-power mode lasts 50 hours. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters.

Suggested retail price is $500.

Related: Suunto Ambit

Suunto GPS Track POD
Photo courtesy Suunto

Suunto GPS Track POD

Suunto developed a series of PODs -- small strap-on devices with sensors that augment component devices like the Quest line of watches. PODs serve different purposes; some track speed and distance, while others track pedaling efficiency.

The GPS Track POD, which adds GPS functionality to watches that otherwise lack it, retails for $149. Its battery lasts 100 hours when set to track once every 60 seconds.

Related: Suunto GPS Track POD

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