Best Rugged Smartwatches For 2021 [Our Reviews & Comparisons]

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The best outdoor watches are even better than smartphones, with a very long battery life . There are smartwatches that have become nearly-indestructible which suits you if you want to go mountain climbing, hiking or any other activities where you’ll need a rugged smartwatch. We have found 10 of the best for you.

PRODUCTFEATURESLATEST PRICE
1. Garmin Forerunner 945
  • Allows you to sync playlists from Deezer and Spotify or to transfer music from your computer library.
  • VO2 max and training status (with adjustments for heat, recovery time, training load focus, altitude acclimation status, etc.).
  • Garmin Pay is available for supported cards from selected banks.
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2. Garmin Fenix 5
  • Tracks many sports
  • Fashionable
  • Durable
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3. Amazfit Stratos 3
  • Dustproof, water- and sweat-resistant
  • In-depth analytics with VO2 max, training load, recovery time, training effect, etc.
  • 1.34-inch full round transflective professional sports display
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4. DOWAC00L
  • Dual Bluetooth module BT5.0
  • 8 multiple sports modes
  • 24/7 heart rate detection
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5. Polargrit x
  • Fuelwise aids in maximizing nutrition absorption
  • Komoot navigation system
  • Hill Splitting to record ascents/descents
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6. Ticwatch Pro 3
  • Up to 45 days of battery life in Enhanced Essential Mode
  • Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 Platform
  • Built-in barometer, GPS, and 24/7 heart rate monitoring
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7. COSULAN
  • Bluetooth calling and messages notifications
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Blood pressure and SpO2 monitors
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8. Citizen Smart
  • Allows to make contactless payments using Google Pay and NFC technology
  • Barometer, heart rate monitor, gyroscope
  • 24-hour battery life
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9. Suunto Core
  • Water-resistant
  • Compass and thermometer
  • Storm alarm and weather tracking
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10. HUAWEI GT 2
  • Speaker phone
  • Audio and vibration alerts
  • Accurate GPS, and weather
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Rugged Smartwatches Reviews

1. Garmin Forerunner 945

Product Highlights

Forerunner 945 is Garmin’s premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch that lets you sync music from selected streaming services. The lightweight device also includes plenty of performance monitoring features, onboard maps, and safety and tracking features. Moreover, you can use the smartwatch as a contactless paying solution.

Features

  • Allows you to sync playlists from Deezer and Spotify or to transfer music from your computer library.
  • VO2 max and training status (with adjustments for heat, recovery time, training load focus, altitude acclimation status, etc.).
  • Garmin Pay is available for supported cards from selected banks.
  • Full-color, onboard maps
  • Incident detection can send your location to emergency contacts

What We Like

The smartwatch is sturdy yet lightweight which lets you comfortably wear it all day long. It’s incredibly easy to download your favorite music from selected providers. Connect your wireless headphones and you’re ready to go.

Features a helpful training focus graph that will show you how well polarized your training is. The ‘body battery’ addition takes into account your activity level, sleep, and VO2 max and comes up with a number that describes how you feel today.

What We Don’t Like

The smartwatch will cost you a small fortune. The manufacturer claims that the battery can run for 2 weeks without charge, but you’ll be getting only about 7 days with all the major features turned off. The heart rate monitor is inaccurate, so you would still need an external sensor.

PROS

  • Music
  • Contactless payments
  • Great fit and appearance
  • Plenty of performance monitoring features

CONS

  • Battery life
  • Fragile buttons
  • HR inaccurate
  • You have to use your phone to text back

2. Garmin Fenix 5

Product Highlights

Fenix 5 is a multisport GPS watch that includes all the advanced fitness features you are looking for to improve your performance metrics. The included QuickFit bands let you coordinate your watch with your clothing whether it’s for a workout or the workplace.

The stainless steel bezel, buttons, and rear case give you a rugged smartwatch that is ready for any trails you are ready to traverse. Tracking your metrics and displaying your activity profiles while you are on the go.

Features

  • The display is viewable under bright sunlight conditions
  • Performance widgets show your progress during your workouts
  • Smart notifications
  • Outdoor sensors, including GPS and GLONASS satellite reception
  • 3 axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter

What We Like

A great GPS watch and fitness tracker for running, swimming and biking. A lightweight and waterproof watch with a long-life battery. This watch can be worn both for exercise and for going out.

The phone can be left at home while going out for your workout. This is especially valuable when you choose activities like swimming, cycling, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, and rowing.

What We Don’t Like

Cannot store music on this device. The battery does not reliably remain charged for very long, even if battery draining apps like Bluetooth and notification are turned off. Erratic syncing between the watch and phone. The watch scratches too easily.

PROS

  • Tracks many sports
  • Fashionable
  • Weather, messages and other notifications
  • Durable

CONS

  • Doesn’t store music
  • The battery isn’t reliable

3. Amazfit Stratos 3

Product Highlights

Amazfit Stratos 3 is a third-generation update powered by FirstBeat Analytics, features 80 professional sports modes, and, at the same time, is perfectly suited for your daily life. The full round display adjusts to the lighting conditions.

The bezel is made out of zirconia ceramic and the physical buttons are built using stainless steel.

Features

  • Dustproof, water- and sweat-resistant
  • In-depth analytics with VO2 max, training load, recovery time, training effect, etc.
  • 1.34-inch full round transflective professional sports display
  • Dual chip system
  • Integrated Sony GNSS chips support 4 global positioning systems.

What We Like

The smartwatch allows you to switch between smart mode and ultra-endurance mode to get from a 7-day to 14-day battery life. We are impressed by the full round reflective display with anti-fingerprint coating – something that sets this option apart from other smartwatches.

The silicone straps are extremely durable and have quite a few holes for ventilation.

After recording your metrics the data syncs to the H Band app.

What We Don’t Like

The double-tap option to wake the screen doesn’t always work and you can’t delete a notification when it pops up on your screen. By the way, you need a special app on your device to sync data and set up the smartwatch and the application is not ideal at the moment and does need some updates. Amazfit Stratos 3 doesn’t track your naps and REM sleep.

PROS

  • Compatible with Android and iOS
  • 2GB of internal storage (play music directly from the watch)
  • Sleep tracking
  • 80 indoor and outdoor sports modes

CONS

  • Connectivity issues
  • Notification management needs improvements

4. DOWAC00L

Product Highlights

This smartwatch offers full-day heart rate detection and comes with a magnetic charge that needs only about 2-3 hours to fully charge the device. You can also pick up incoming calls and get convenient reminders.

Features

  • Dual Bluetooth module BT5.0
  • 8 multiple sports modes
  • 24/7 heart rate detection
  • Smart notifications
  • 10 days extra-long battery life

What We Like

The smartwatch is a real steal at this price. The BP and SPO2 functions provide accurate information. You can make and pick up calls via Bluetooth and receive smart notifications and convenient reminders.

The battery has an extra-long life, the device can be used for up to 10 days without being charged. By the way, the magnetic charger that comes with the smartwatch gets the job done in only about 2-3 hours.

Downloading the Da Fit application will help you get started.

What We Don’t Like

You can have only 5 installed watch faces at a time, so you might have to download the ones that you like a lot from the app. The step counter is inaccurate, as well as the sleep tracker. You cannot reply to text messages using the watch. Moreover, the device is not waterproof and should not come into contact with water (that means no running or walking in the rain).

PROS

  • Long battery life
  • Compatible with iOS 8.0/Android 4.4 or above
  • Phone feature
  • 3 levels of brightness

CONS

  • Not waterproof
  • Inaccurate step counter
  • Issues with loading the contact list

5. Polargrit x

Product Highlights

Polar Grit X is a durable smartwatch that weighs 64 grams, making it one of the lightest outdoor multisport watches in the market.

Polar Flow is the app and web service that works together with this smartwatch to keep all training, activity, sleep data as well as all plans and progress reports conveniently kept in one place.

Features

  • Durability meets military standards
  • Built-in GPS compass and altimeter
  • New FuelWise fueling assistant.
  • Hill Splitter detects uphill and downhill stats

What We Like

Fuelwise is a valuable app that aids in optimizing nutritional demands when working out. Accurate and reliable GPS that stays connected in tunnels while tracking pace and location.

Battery life lasts for days. Komoot is a helpful tool for long runs preventing the user from getting lost. Hill Splitter is a distinct app that senses ascent, and automatically counts repeated ascents including details like distance and time of ascent as well as descent.

The calories burned tracker displays the Carbs/Protein/Fat breakdown.

This device includes four buttons – (i) lock/light, (ii) back, (iii) forward, and (iv) start/stop exercise. With these features, there is no need for a touch screen.

No need to manually sync the device after each set of exercises.

What We Don’t Like

No negative input was submitted on this product.

PROS

  • GPS with strong connectivity even in tunnels
  • Fuel wise aids in maximizing nutrition absorption
  • Komoot navigation system
  • Hill Splitting to record ascents/descents

CONS

  • None indicated

 

6. Ticwatch Pro 3

Product Highlights

Ticwatch Pro 3 is a smartwatch that uses Qualcomm’s latest processor – the Snapdragon 4100. It features an LCD panel right on top of the OLED screen which allows the smartwatch to go into a super low-power mode if you need to save the battery for longer.
The watch can do the basics and is a good option for people who opt for a chunkier design.

Features

  • Up to 45 days of battery life in Enhanced Essential Mode
  • Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 Platform
  • Built-in barometer, GPS, and 24/7 heart rate monitoring
  • Anti-fingerprint glass cover

What We Like

The watch is lightweight and much thinner than the previous models. By the way, the silicone strap feels great on the wrist. The SPO2 reading is pretty accurate and the updated processor runs the smartwatch smoothly. Wear OS provides plenty of app support.

You can receive and make phone calls, as well as receive and reply to messages.

What We Don’t Like

The heart rate monitoring is not accurate and can’t really be trusted once the wrist becomes sweaty. The step counter is quite unreliable as well. ‘OK, Google’ detection doesn’t seem to work and there is no rotating crown or bezel to make the whole experience with the watch more convenient.

Some experts recommend waiting for another Snapdragon 4100 for Wear OS creation as it would be a much better version.

PROS

  • An abundant choice of watch faces
  • Long battery life
  • The light sensor adapts even to direct sunlight

CONS

  • No compass
  • No ECG monitoring
  • Inaccurate sleep tracking

7. COSULAN

Product Highlights

The fitness activity tracker has a zinc alloy frame and a silicone belt with holes for ventilation. It allows you to set a photo as the face which is really cute. You can easily receive and read messages and notifications from various social media platforms. Users may also take advantage of ultra-fast charging and extra-long battery life.

Features

  • Bluetooth calling and messages notifications
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Blood pressure and SpO2 monitors
  • 7 sport modes
  • Bluetooth music play

What We Like

The image quality is crisp and the display stays bright even in direct sunlight. A lot of users love getting to choose one out of many faces (you can even upload your own photo).

It is very convenient to receive all notifications and the model doesn’t feel like you have a bulky watch on your wrist. The display will light up, once you lift your arm up. The watch comes with a magnetic port that can charge the device in as little as 2 hours. By the way, there is also a period reminder for the ladies.

What We Don’t Like

The majority of the sensors are quite inaccurate. You would have to connect to a special app – Da Fit. Some users might not like the band as it is made out of silicone that looks like folding plastic and may seem ‘cheap’.

There is no option to set the on-screen time.

PROS

  • 184 watch face styles
  • Accurate message notifications
  • Quick charging

CONS

  • Connectivity issues
  • Doesn’t sync with Google Fit
  • Not waterproof

8. Citizen Smart

Product Highlights

Unlike a lot of other smartwatches, Citizen Smart comes in a few different styles and you’ll get to choose between various straps and materials. You can go for a leather or a silicone strap, or even a stainless-steel link bracelet.

The watch is durable and has 3 control buttons (including a rotating crown). All in all, the watch looks more premium than most options out there.

Features

  • Compatible with iPhone and Android
  • Built-in GPS
  • Built-in speaker
  • Allows to make contactless payments using Google Pay and NFC technology
  • Barometer, heart rate monitor, gyroscope
  • 24-hour battery life

What We Like

The thing that makes this smartwatch stand out is, of course, the design. You can go for a beautiful stainless-steel bracelet and then order plenty of 22mm straps online. The bezel with a scalloped edge that acts as an index feels sturdy and of premium quality.

You can easily reply to messages that pop up as vibrant animations. It also does a decent job at counting your steps, monitoring the HR 24/7, and measuring sleep.

What We Don’t Like

There are only a few Citizen-designed watch faces, so you might end up downloading third-party ones. The included wellness app will show only basic activity data, but if you are looking for something more professional, you would have to download a separate app (like GoogleFit).

GPS tracking is not always accurate and you can’t really use the watch to track your sleep because of the short battery life.

PROS

  • Contactless payments
  • Premium design
  • 8 GB storage

CONS

  • Inconsistent GPS tracking
  • The battery drains quickly

9. Suunto Core

Product Highlights

This non-GPS watch has an incredible altimeter and waterproof buttons. The classic outdoor sports smartwatch is packed with quite a few different features. In a nutshell, it has something to offer for everyone.

By the way, the company was founded way back in 1936, so you will be getting decades of high-quality craftsmanship and pioneering innovations.

Features

  • Water-resistant
  • Compass and thermometer
  • Storm alarm and weather tracking
  • Altimeter and barometer
  • Stopwatch and timer

What We Like

The watch features an extremely accurate altimeter and a helpful barometer. It also has a compass with adjustable declination, a thermometer, is waterproof (you can take it down to 100 feet), and even sunrise and sunset times. The design is beautiful and solid without being too chunky.

It is definitely a great smartwatch for all the adventure lovers out there.

What We Don’t Like

There are quite a few things that this smartwatch can’t be used for. For example, it doesn’t track your sleep and oxygen level and doesn’t have a GPS. Moreover, it can’t be connected to other devices. The alarms are not loud enough and might not wake you up unless you put the watch right next to your head.

Eventually, the buttons can get stuck and the band will need to be replaced. You would also have to replace the battery every now and then, depending on how much you use the actual watch (1-2 times per year).

PROS

  • Easy-to-use menus
  • Accurate altimeter
  • Waterproof (amazing for diving and snorkeling)

CONS

  • The display is a bit dark
  • No GPS

10. HUAWEI GT 2

Product Highlights

Another plateau in personal training is being made possible all thanks to Huawei’s self-developed wearable chip Kirin A1. The Huawei GT 2 incorporates the dual-chip design. This intelligent power-saving technology operates continuously 24/7 for up to 7 days of battery use.

Features

  • 15 workout modes
  • TruSleepTM 2.0 sleep tracking, tracking you sleep quality
  • TruSeen 3.5 Real-time Heart rate Monitoring
  • TruRelax pressure monitoring

What We Like

The minimalistic design is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The 3D glass face creates a bezel-less vision.

The touch screen is responsive and accurate due to the AMOLED display.

As a full-time fitness trainer, Huawei GT 2 is programmed with multiple professional training courses that accommodate all levels from beginner to more advanced guiding users to achieve their fitness goals.

Includes two positioning systems (GPS and GLONASS) in order to detect more satellites, and increase positioning accuracy.

Can receive and answer calls.

What We Don’t Like

Users with average size wrists found the watch face to be large, heavy, and bulky to wear during workouts. The watch moves around the wrist when the arm is moving around while exercising. Tightening the band does not help.

When the pace or heart rates are out of range the running coach continuously shouts loudly at the runner, which is unsettling during the run. There is no option to pause this feature.

Inaccurate tracking readings. MyFitnessPal cannot sync with the smartwatch so users must manually input all data.

There is no option to reply to messages or notifications

Cannot download music from streaming apps like Samsung, Apple, and Garmin or Spotify.

Reports that after a software update the watch stopped working and could not be turned back on.

PROS

  • Audio and vibration alerts
  • Speaker phone
  • Monitors for stress levels, heart rate, and sleeping patterns
  • Accurate GPS, and weather

CONS

  • Limited watch faces
  • Can’t respond to messages

Final Verdict

Polar Grit X is a great outdoor watch for many reasons. This multisport watch is lightweight and durable and includes many features like GPS, compass, and altimeter, which is great for hikes and other mountaineer activities.

However, this smartwatch is suited for specific sports enthusiasts.

Apple Watch 3 is better suited for someone whose exercise criteria follow low key exercises than those Polar Grit X support.

The variety of needs and health focus these devices offer means you do want to be clear on your goals and how you wish to achieve those goals so you have the most suited device sitting on your wrist.

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