GPS WATCH OR PHONE TECH: Hi to All, Well my... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
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Hi to All,

Well my 9 weeks probation is almost at an end, and hopefully will be moving into the halfway house...oops wrong forum!...he he he. Seriously only have one more run and then probation is over and in the 9 weeks I have really got to like running! Which brings me to my title.

Now I am one of those kind of people who has to have everything associated with that particular subject (on my photography forum it's classified as G.A.S = Gear Acquisition Syndrome) . The running shoes, tops, tights, socks, etc have all been purchased and I am now thinking of treating myself to some tech.

Can anyone recommend a decent gps watch? Ideally I would like it to have HRM and also MP3 player if poss. At the same time I am also thinking/considering a smart watch or a new mobile phone (upgrade) and just purchase a HRM to go with.

Your thoughts and recommendations would be much appreciated.


29 Replies

Recommend TomTom spark cardio with music. Not cheap but excellent. Reads your heart rate on your wrist. Monitors multi sport and stores and plays music to Bluetooth headphones. Used to tom watch for years and never been let down. Depends on your budget. Happy running

sharon1978Graduate in reply to Hidden

Hi was interested to hear uuuse tomtom. I just bought my first. I am having problems loading my sports on my laptop and wondered if you had this too? I have been using runkeeper 4 over a year and I believe they are compatible so does that take out the need for my sports? sorry for the hijack of the post would appreciate any help. Happy running

HiddenGraduate in reply to sharon1978

I assume you have downloaded the programme to your laptop. Within the app there is a setting for uploading from the watch to other apps. If you check out the watch forum on tom tom site you will find a better explanation. Hope this helps.

saul01Graduate in reply to Hidden

I like the look of this watch, also comes with 3gb memory (more than enough) for my playlists. Will have enough left over for a decent set of bluetooth headphones as well!!


I've tried the Sony Sw3 and moto 360, and they are rubbish for fitness( poor GPS and him). I just use my HTC One m9 and some jabra sport pulse headphones, these have a built in hrm.

saul01Graduate in reply to SolNaveen


Great idea didn't think about hrm headphones. Will look into this as well. How are you finding the headphones overall?

Hi Saul, I bought the garmin forerunner 225 which has heart rate, and can link to all addons, it's great, accurate, battery lasts a week, monitors activity ie steps and calories I use it as my daily wear. I was tempted by the TomTom runner 2 cardio music but some of the reviews on the Bluetooth dropping put me off. I think really stick with garmin or Suunto. They auto sync with your smartphone when you get home and upload to the Web.

The app is great and the info available superb, integrates with myfitnesspal and mapmyrun endo etc etc and feeds this back to the watch to show calories left etc

This is the best review site.

And start thinking of a name for it, mines called Sir Terry

saul01Graduate in reply to Paul46-ipswich

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the link, excellent review. The Garmin has been mentioned/recommended on a few sites as well. Does it have an mp3 player?

Is this in memory of the late great?

ju-ju-Administrator in reply to Paul46-ipswich

I have the same watch, I have called him Viktor...!!!!


I don't run (yet) but go on 8-12 mile walks most days. I use both an Apple Watch and a Fitbit "one". I find there are varying amounts of discrepancies in steps/distance covered when compared to tracking my walk using GPS in my OS maps app.

My partner has a Fitbit watch which seems to be more accurate in terms of steps/distance but it doesn't have the option of playing music.

If you want music on the go and no need to bring your phone I can recommend the Apple Watch but bare in mind the lack of GPS... But I so far haven't had issues with the music and the step difference between my Fitbit and my Apple Watch is about 1500 (on a day where I cover more than 15 miles, so it's not the end of the world).

All devices have their pros and cons, I think at the end of the day it's a price question and personal preference, whether you want something bulky plasticky on your wrist or not... ;)

Good luck picking your next gadget.


I find my Garmin forerunner 210 good, but have to wear a hrm sensor strap on the chest, which is not really a problem, as it's not noticed while running, but probably best to get all in one on the wrist. And sports watches have generally better GPS than phone, due to size of sensor..


I use a Magellan Echo which is kind of a half way house, it has no internal GPS but piggybacks off an app on my phone- I can get information and use controls on the watch and just have the phone stashed somewhere. Much cheaper and I'd always have my phone with me anyway.

saul01Graduate in reply to Saralexis

I would really like to keep it as one gadget that I carry around. Had a quick look and price wise not that far off from the TomTom Spark.

SaralexisGraduate in reply to saul01

£30 off eBay shop with heart rate monitor was the one I got ;)

It only really makes sense if you would have wanted to carry your phone anyway, which I would.


I used my telephone at first with various gps trackers endomomdo, runkeeper, strava etc they work great and it's a good solution for people on a budget. I ended up buying a second hand tomtom runner watch ( with a strap on HRM, that I seldom use) I love running in the rain and always found it difficult to hide my phone from the humidity (rain or perspiration) and it's uncomfortable to lug around sometimes.

I love the tomtom runner, it uploads to all of my previous trackers ( yes I still use all of them, can never decide which is best :/) never had any issues with it. I will buy the newer version 2 with integrated HRM and music when I can afford it, it's slightly cheaper than the equivalent Garmin products. I have a friend ( pro triathlon ironman and technology geek) who uses a Garmin 225 and even he says my tomtom is really good

I must admit the TomTom is very tempting with that mp3, I still have to lug my phone around with me to listen to music. Yes I named it after the late great terry wogan 😁

Only thing that put me off the tt was reviews said if it's on the wrong wrist it drops Bluetooth but somebody here will be able to advise on that


Off the web the Garmin does looks better as a daily wear than the tt. Don't know how the Bluetooth knows which wrist the watch is on though. There is a John Lewis nearby me, will pop in over the weekend and have a gander.

I do like the idea of the Jabra hrm headphones though.

davelinksGraduate in reply to saul01

Bluetooth receiver's only on one side of the headphones? Seems a tad sensitive to the small distance though..

saul01Graduate in reply to davelinks

My sentiments too.


Garmin FR15 c/w HRM - Still use my smart phone as mp3 but the watch is MUCH more convenient.


I think I have GAS as well :0

I use my iPhone 6 so I can use Runtastic as well as C5K Apps etc. In addition I have a Bluetooth Polor heart rate monitor (bought from eBay) and Bluetooth headphones (these also have a heart rate monitor in the left ear unit) which both work with my phone. However to my surprise the reading differ slightly (my original plan was to not wear the Polor chest band and just the headphones). The headphones also come with a app so I can configure it to tell me my performance / heart rate at a regular intervals. I previously had a Polor watch however when I am running I can not see the display unless I stop which is no good.

saul01Graduate in reply to Carlton_

Hi Carlton,

Good ole GAS! Wow that's a lot of kit, and you still manage to run?! Which headphones are using, I am starting to lean more towards the headphones idea.

However the simplicity and lightweight watch is also a very big plus.

Carlton_Graduate in reply to saul01

Its the Jabra Sport Pulse earphones, the Bluetooth is very good indeed. I tested the range by playing music from my phone and leave the phone and walk away to test the range, it would still work in different rooms and even upstairs. You can get the for just under £100 if you shop around.


I cannot recommend my new Garmin 225 enough. I had a forerunner 10 before and this one is the dogs boll****s,. It has integral HR monitor - v accurate and I now know my HR for most activities ;) , you can programme workouts on it, blue tooth to phone, long battery life ( loads left after 3 hours 18 long run) and it does steps and gives you a daily target. It looks good on the wrist too ( I am biased!!). Have fun with your GAS... it can be quite addictive!!


Just had a look at the Jabra headphones, for a little bit more I can get the Garmin.

My good friend Shinyhappy123 DEFINITELY has GAS!


.. There are lots of solutions :)

Mine is a Sony Smartwatch 3 paired to a Mio Fuse on my wrist (for Heart rate), a Moov Now on my ankle (for very accurate running statistics including cadence and running impact - this has been amazing for me in improving my running form and consequently reducing my impact load from 15g to 11g - at 176 strikes per minute that is a lot less Gs through my joints over the course of 90 minutes running per week), I use a Layen Audiostream for making whichever headphones I want to use Bluetooth enabled. On the watch I run the Ghostracer app for GPS mapping and collecting run statistics and this uploads automatically to Strava at the end of my run for later analysis!

For me, the modular approach is much better because I can choose what technology I want to run with depending on what I want to achieve. Its also proved to be more reliable than having all one's eggs in one basket - especially when running :)

I tried the Jabra Sport Pulse headphones but I didn't get on with them at all.. they worked OK but they didn't 'coach' me - they just gave me feedback, whereas the MOOV tells me - in real time, while I'm running, what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong and then what I should do to improve and then a few seconds later measures and feeds back the improvement ...

I also looked at the Garmin products and they are hugely popular but I don't like the idea of proprietary technology - everything I use is Android based and is therefore open, updateable and I can switch to or choose new apps whenever I want.

.. Whatever you choose - I'm sure you'll enjoy the experience - good luck


I have Garmin FR15 watch which I use with MIO Link heatrate monitor which is worn on the wrist. I prefer the MIO Link rather than the chest strap. I suspect that the FR15 watch, although excellent, may not be as high spec as you are looking for, but certainly recommend the MIO Link for heartrate.

For music and podcasts I use SansDisc Clip+ beacause it is very small, light, simple, sound is fine, and the battery lasts for weeks. I use it with sonnix over the ear in ear headphones (which I was very pleasantly surprised by) they were to replace some very expensive sure in ear headphones which after 10 years were finally showing their age.

Since I bought the Garmin FR15 it has become my all day watch. It monitors steps, sleep, your runs and it's gps is vvery accurate indeed. I've been very happy with it.

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