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Step counters are great, but if you actually want to know how far you’ve gone, and how fast you’ve been running, riding, skiing, or golfing, nothing beats a GPS watch. But the differences between a baseline watch that tells you speed and distance and a top-of-the line one that connects to your cell phone and keeps track of your heartrate is big. Not sure what is best for you? We broke down four of the best options to help you make a decision and then get out there.

Get your stats, don’t pay for extras. Amazon

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GPS watch technology has improved immensely in the last decade. An “affordable” GPS watch hasn’t always been an option. Enter the Forerunner 35. The slick design looks good while estimating your heart rate. It also automatically downloads data to your smartphone and tracks steps, calories, and intensity minutes throughout the day. Most importantly, it tracks your distance, speed, and location.

Leave your phone at home. Amazon

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Download playlists from Spotify, Amazon music, or Deezer, put your phone on your kitchen counter and head out the door. The Garmin Vivoactive 4S tracks your energy levels, respiration, stress, sleep, workouts, and estimated heart rate. It also lets you listen to music on the go. The slimmer, smaller watch lasts up to seven days in smartwatch mode and up to five hours in GPS and music modes. It also gives you easy-to-follow workouts and has more than 20 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps.

Stay connected without your phone. Amazon

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It might not be cheap, but it’s hard to put a price on convenience. The Apple Watch 5 has GPS and cellular, meaning you can go for those epic runs and not worry about where to store your phone. Its screen is 30 percent larger than older generations without looking bulky. Because it’s swim-proof so you can wear it during any workout. It also offers a built-in compass, elevation tracker, and emergency SOS with international calling.

Track your rounds, swings and stats. Amazon

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Golfing is a game of stats and community, and this watch does it all. It’s an elegant timepiece that also happens to use Garmin’s GPS technology to track your steps, distance, and courses. The Garmin TruSwing sensor gives you metrics to help you improve your swing. CourseView updates frequently played courses. Garmin Connect hooks you into an online golf community. The watch even keeps track of your score, gives you smartphone notifications, and uses GPS to track your rounds.


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