Health & Lifestyle, Running4It

Garmin vs Smartphone

If you’re a runner/fitness app user who uses GPS on your smartphone to train and track your progress – this blog post might just coax you into GPS watch territory.

Finlay from the Run4It Edinburgh team, is a triathlete and big fan of Garmin. Below he shares his main reasons for using a dedicated GPS watch overa smartphone.

There’s no pressure to switch. For those feeling the pinch, the price of GPS watches can be the clincher. And many find the attributes on fitness apps equal andadequate to those of GPS watches (dependent on their needs). It’s your call!

Accuracy:Forerunner 235

Garmin watches have much higher quality GPS sensors than smartphones.  This makes them very accurate which is really important when working in small distances.  If I’m doing 400m reps I want to know I’m running 400m’s so I can compare my times accurately.  The pace is always right on a Garmin and you can see exactly how fast you are going.  The pace on a smartphone can vary significantly when running on the same route at the same pace.  This isn’t very motivating and it doesn’t help you to make sure you’re running at the right intensity.


Phones running out of charge is the ultimate bugbear – I’m sure everyone relates! Using GPS on your phone runs down your battery very quickly and using a Garmin solves this issue. They have much longer battery life while using GPS.  A Garmin can have a battery life from 8-20 hours but a phone will only last 3-4 hours.

Water Resistance:

Garmins are much more robust than smartphones.  Garmins can be worn in any conditions (some can even be worn in the sea).  Rain is not good for smartphones and sweat is even worse.  You don’t want to run the risk of corroding your phone with all the salt in your sweat.


I prefer to run without a phone on me, as I find the weight weighs me down (pardon the pun)!  Having a really lightweight watch on your wrist is much more comfortable. And being able to see all the metrics on your wrist – without the pain of pulling out your phone, punching in your pin, angling your screen to avoid sun glare and so on – is a godsend.  The functions on Garmin watches make your training easier and running, more enjoyable.

Geek out! If you’re a techie, the data Garmins provide outstrip what’s available on smartphone – particularly if you go for the higher value Forerunners (630, 920XT and 735XT) complete with Running Dynamics and Advanced Fitness Metrics.Garmin Connect

What’s more Garmin offer more than just features on the watch. Garmin Connect is a free service that you create an account on. This records all your information and allows you to download training plans (which you can send to your watch) and monitor the ins and outs of your running in one place.  For me, Garmin Connect trumps any running app! Garmin also created Garmin IQ which allows you to customise your watch with APPS and Widgets.

Garmin have a watch for every type of runner. The Forerunner range has vast and varying features to meet each person’s demands.  No runner ever looks back after taking the leap and getting a GPS watch – I promise!

Garmin Forerunner

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