Whether you’re looking for a fitness tracker or a GPS running watch, you will find many options available to you. Investing in one can be a great option if you’re looking for motivation and the ability to track your progress.
No matter what model you choose, each of these will offer you GPS technology, an enhanced monitoring system, and a wealth of other amazing features. But as we said, there are many options, so you might be struggling with choosing even the brand.
We thought we would take a look at two of the most popular brands – Polar and Fitbit. So if you have been considering either of these two brands, make sure you keep reading so that you can get an in-depth look at what they offer you.
Polar: An In-Depth Look
Polar has been creating innovations in technology for over four decades, and because of this, they are one of the most reputable names in the fitness industry. Looking to maximize the performance of the individual so that they can lead a healthier life, this company has focused on delivering durable and high-quality products.
View our reviews of the Best Polar Watches For Running
Like most fitness watches, Polar watches offer displays that can be customized to show the exact real-time data that you want to keep track of. They, of course, have the standard heart rate and pace monitoring systems, among many others, but they also include a plethora of other data.
On Polar watches, you’ll be able to look at real-time data dealing with your average pace, stride count, and even elevation gain.
This data is displayed using a clear and easy-to-read display. Most models use touch screen technology that makes it easy to use. Tempered or gorilla glass is placed over this design to help protect the display so the watch lasts longer and can stand up to whatever you throw at it.
Polar utilizes multiple premium quality satellites, giving them enhanced GPS capabilities. This means that their watches lend themselves to a higher level of accuracy, which is essential no matter where you’re choosing to run. The GPS also allows them to give you more detailed maps, which improves your navigation.
The GPS technology used in these watches is designed as a built-in system. This technology accesses multiple satellite systems, including GLONASS and QZSS, for more accurate speed and distance monitoring.
When it comes to navigation and mapping, Polar’s use of high-quality GPS technology offers a lot of advantages. In fact, because of the maps’ accuracy and quality, those who opt for this sports watch will be able to stay the course and find their way back to the start easily. Many Polar watch models allow you to download the maps to utilize them offline.
When it comes to heart rate monitoring on GPS watches, you often choose between a strap or a wrist-based system. Polar understands this and wants to give you even more improved accuracy, so many of their models offer plenty of sensors. This allows them to reduce random spikes and give you a highly accurate look at your metrics.
The battery (which is a CR2025) life of your GPS watch is very important as power is needed to monitor all your metrics. With a Polar watch, you have a wide variety of battery life options. Typically you’re looking at the watch (depending on what systems you’re using) to last anywhere from 4 to 10 days.
But even the battery life in an individual model will vary from day to day as, once again, it depends on the features you’re using. For example, if you use GPS non-stop, your battery life will be less than if you don’t.
Fitbit: An In-Depth Look
Fitbit is one of those brand names that everyone knows and is synonymous with fitness trackers. These watches have developed into a wide variety of technological options that utilize high-performance systems over the past several decades. These systems are designed to help users maximize their fitness results.
View our list of the Best Fitbit Fitness Trackers For Running
There is a wide range of options when it comes to choosing a Fitbit watch. This means that there are a ton of different displays that you can choose from with different features.
However, standard displays are always user-friendly and designed to be easily read. This means that if you are not as tech-savvy as others, then the Fitbit could be a better option than the Polar as the display (as well as the navigation) is straightforward to understand.
That user-friendly display is streamlined and not too cluttered. The display on most Fitbit models uses a bright and colorful AMOLED display. This AMOLED display is often protected by high-grade gorilla glass.
GPS tracking capability is essential for accurate measurement of metrics so that you have excellent navigation capabilities. Depending on the model, of course, just like with everything else, the level of this capability is variable. The GPS technology in this brand of watches tracks using the GLONASS satellite system.
Of course, the designers try to make sure that they are outfitted to give you the most optimal performance and be as accurate as they possibly can.
That being said, the type of GPS will vary from the watch as some will have built-in, and others will be connected. For instance, if you invest in a Charge 4, you will be choosing a connected GPS option. Whereas if you look to purchase a Versa 3, you are working with a premium grade built-in GPS.
The navigation of using this fitness watch is one of the best things about any Fitbit model. Over the years, they have crafted the ability to make the navigation of the product very user-friendly. On top of that, it is compatible with many external apps giving it higher levels of versatility.
This compatibility allows you to take advantage of these apps’ extra features, including more detailed maps and better dietary trackers.
In order to optimize your fitness performance, you have to be able to keep track of specific metrics. This, of course, varies from person to person and is affected by what your end goal is.
Fitbit has a wide range of options for monitoring, including the standard heart rate and calories burnt. But depending on which watch you go with, you can find options that monitor many other options.
GPS watches sometimes have a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to battery life. This is because they utilize systems that eat up energy quicker than you can charge it.
When it comes to Fitbit’s battery life, it has a wealth of capability levels thanks to the use of premium-grade lithium-polymer batteries. The pieces’ battery life also depends on what features come installed on it. Some Fitbit models will offer you a couple of days, while others will offer you months of battery life.
Pros & Cons: Polar Versus Fitbit
Even with extensive knowledge now at your disposal, many find a nice comparison chart of a pros and cons list incredibly helpful. So to make sure we’ve given you all the information and the forms that will help you out the most, we have crafted this pros and cons list for each of the companies.
- Designed to offer highly accurate measurement of a wide range of metrics
- Crafted with the ability to suggest best workouts
- Personalized running plans are available on a few of the models
- A wide range of monitoring capabilities, including sleep
- Able to choose battery modes for a longer life per charge
- High-grade GPS technology that can track distance as well as speed and route
- There are some compatibility issues with select models when it comes to other technology
- Some find that the display can be a little hard to read on specific models
- Issues with the size of the watch face make display hard to read
- Simple to use and set up even for those with limited tech abilities
- Designed to help build a social network for better accountability and motivation
- Highly compatible with a wide range of fitness apps
- Can track your sleep for a more thorough look at your health
- Depending on the model, battery life can range from a week to several
- Built with water-resistant material (on most models)
- Is not programmed to send user alerts on movement
- Issues with the accuracy of step counting
- Not able to utilize watch as a tool for creating a fitness plan
FAQ on Polar vs. Fitbit Watches
We have been looking at two of the most popular brands on the market today, but we also realize that having the basic knowledge is fantastic. So we took some time and found a couple of the most commonly asked questions that we think will help you and your decision-making process.
It can be a little overwhelming when you’re starting to look at the features of these fitness watches. Though there are a lot of great luxury features that you can invest in, like swimming support and even coaching tools.
However, a couple of main features are vital to ensure you get the best quality fitness watch. These include smartphone integration, heart rate monitoring, and high-quality GPS technology.
The features included in your fitness watch will depend on the model you are opting to invest in. Most come with standard things like heart rate monitoring and tracking of calories. But some models also monitor breathing, sleeping, and even for women their hormonal cycles.
Because of the high-quality build and features included in the wide range of models from Polar and Fitbit, you are bound to invest in a high-quality option.
Each brand brings its own unique aesthetic, but the features and benefits of the watches are very similar. We certainly hope that we have helped you out a little bit by taking this in-depth look.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is through constantly challenging yourself.