Best Rugged Smartwatches For 2020 [Our Reviews & Comparisons]

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General

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.

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1. Garmin instinct
  • Light and comfortable
  • Clear and readable
  • Easy to use
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2. Garmin Fenix 5
  • Tracks many sports
  • Fashionable
  • Durable
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3. Hopofit
  • Adjustable screen brightness
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Long battery life
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4. Gokoo
  • Visible in the dark and bright sunlight
  • Doesn’t scratch
  • Long lasting battery
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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 Smartwatch Pro 4G LTE
  • 2-5 days battery life
  • Google Assistant
  • Tilt-to-wake
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7. RunDoing
  • Remote camera
  • IP67 Waterproof
  • Sedentary reminder
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8. Naturehike M7C
  • Easy to view display
  • Remote camera
  • Accurate and reliabl
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9. Apple Watch Series 3
  • GPS
  • Retina display
  • Can answer call
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10. HUAWEI GT 2
  • Speaker phone
  • Audio and vibration alerts
  • Accurate GPS, and weather
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Our Best Rugged Smartwatches Reviews and Comparisons

1. Garmin instinct

Product Highlights

This rugged smartwatch meets military standards for thermal, shock, and water resistance. The case is strong and durable as it is made from fiber-reinforced polymer. A chemically-strengthened display that is scratch-resistant and the high-contrast level means the screen is clear enough to read even in bright sunlight.

Features

  • Withstands shock and is water resistant
  • Includes a 3 axis compass and barometric altimeter,
  • Multiple global navigation satellite systems
  • Tracback allows you to navigate your route back to the starting point
  • Smart notifications

What We Like About Garmin instinct

While it is a strong and durable smartwatch it is also very light and comfortable. The screen display is clear and readable under many lighting conditions, especially bright sunlight.

The keys and apps are very responsive and easy to navigate. The menus are a breeze to maneuver. The battery life gives you up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, up to 16 hours in GPS mode and up to 40 hours in Ultratrac battery saver mode.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin instinct

Users have reported that the watch causes rashes and bumps on the skin. The readings are not accurate. The screen area is very small making it not easy to read.

While actively on a run, you have to slow down to read your watch. The battery doesn’t last more than 48 hours even when not using the heart monitor and GPS.

PROS

  • Light and comfortable
  • Clear and readable
  • Keys and apps are very responsive
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • Causes rash and bumps
  • Doesn’t give accurate readings

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 About Garmin Fenix 5

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 About Garmin Fenix 5

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. Hopofit

Product Highlights

This smartwatch’s high-performance motion sensors will track and display your metrics allowing you to maximize every workout and disclose health patterns that guide you to make the necessary adjustments to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Features

  • Full Touch screen
  • 5 Diverse Dials
  • 10 sport modes
  • IP67 Waterproof means it can be worn in the rain or washing your hands
  • Remote Camera Control

What We Like About Hopofit

Easy to set up. Reliable and accurate monitoring. The display screen lights up automatically when lifting the wrist. The screen brightness can be adjusted via the H Band app. The full touch screen offers many display styles to choose from.

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

Users really like the magnetic charger. Charging the device for 1.5 hours gives 6 days for regular use and 20 days standby time.
Watch is comfortable to wear, is dustproof and able to withstand water under 1 meter.

What We Don’t Like About Hopofit

The watch doesn’t always respond to turn on when rotating the wrist. Some users found that the battery only lasts a few hours.

The vibration feature for notifications goes on for a bit too long, it can be reduced by using the power saving mode via the app. Inaccurate and unreliable metric readings.

The touch screen is very low quality with a low pixel screen. Some users report the device would not sync with an Android phone. Text messages did not sync with the watch.

PROS

  • Adjustable screen brightness
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Waterproof under 1 meter
  • Long battery life

CONS

  • Doesn’t always turn on when turning wrist
  • Low-quality touch screen

4. Gokoo

Product Highlights

GOKOO specializes in sports smartwatches fitness trackers for men and women. This sports smartwatch designed for travel and outdoor sports for men measures and displays accurate sports data via the app to guide you to make the necessary modifications to support your optimal health.

Features

  • Digital outdoor sports watch with a display that is visible in the dark
  • Suitable for travel, indoor and outdoor sports
  • Built-in Maxell CR2450 610mAh Button Cell lasts up to 6 months under a single charge
  • Automatically tracks and displays the data in detail in the app

What We Like About Gokoo

Easy to use. Receives phone calls and text messages. Remains scratch-resistant under rough conditions. Visible in the dark and easy to view in bright sunlight.

What We Don’t Like About Gokoo

Some report it’s not user friendly. Lacks clear directions in using the software. Connection with the phone failed after a period of time. Unreliable Bluetooth connection.

PROS

  • Visible in the dark and bright sunlight
  • Receives phone calls and text messages
  • Doesn’t scratch
  • Long lasting battery

CONS

  • Not user friendly
  • Problems connecting with phone

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 About Polargrit x

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 the touch screen.

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

What We Don’t Like About Polargrit x

No negative input submitted on this product.

PROS

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

CONS

  • None indicated

6. TicWatch Smartwatch Pro 4G LTE

Product Highlights

Mobovi and Google, in partnership, brings you Ticwatch, an AI-enabled phone-free active smartwatch. This product contains two modes. The smart mode is made possible by Wear OS by Google with a multi-touch AMOLED display. The essential mode includes an LCD screen that includes fitness-focused features and easy to read in bright sunlight.

Features

  • Smart Sleep Tracking
  • IP68 waterproof and fit for swimming
  • 6 smart sports modes
  • Built-in GPS
  • US Military Standard 810G certified durability
  • Lightweight Silicone strap

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What We Like About TicWatch Smartwatch Pro 4G LTE

TicPulse monitors heart rate 24/7 with abnormal heart rate warnings. TicMotion detects motion and tracks running, fast walking, and swimming activities.

Anti-finger print cover glass and water-resistant speaker. Users like the larger display size as well as the resolution.

Smart Mode: 2 days of battery life. Essential Mode: up to 5 days of battery life. Cellular Usage: Up to 18 hours battery life.

Can receive and make calls from the device.

What We Don’t Like About TicWatch Smartwatch Pro 4G LTE

The watch died after 3 months of use. The fitness tracker was inaccurate from the beginning. Device would not sync with the phone. Can be difficult to view the display in direct sunlight. The watch’s thickness interferes with putting on and taking off long sleeve items.

PROS

  • 2-5 days battery life (essential mode)
  • Google Assistant
  • Instant notifications and quick replies
  • Tilt-to-wake + voice assistant
  • Google Pay

CONS

  • Battery is not longlasting
  • Software issues
  • Does not track fitness and sleeping patterns correctly

7. RunDoing

Product Highlights

This sleek smartwatch has a screen that is easy to navigate between functions. As you are working out, the Bluetooth connection keeps your smartphone and smartwatch connected so you will never miss important notifications.

Features

  • 1.3 Inch Color Screen
  • IP67 waterproof, can be worn in the rain
  • 7 modes activity tracker
  • Battery life – 3 days; standby mode 8 days

What We Like About RunDoing

The case of this sleek smartwatch is thinner than most other watches and lightweight. Easily adjustable any wrist circumference from 6.29 inches to 8.66 inches.

The watch is IP67 waterproof, which means you wash your hands while wearing the device. There are three clock faces.

Monitor readings are reliable and accurate. The device receives and displays viewable message notifications from the phone retaining the last 4 or 5 messages. The Bluetooth connection controls the phone’s camera shutter and music player.

What We Don’t Like About RunDoing

The touch screen is not responsive. The menu doesn’t go past the first display options. Extremely difficult to navigate through the options to access the one you want.

Users report not being able to change time, date, weather when prompted to. The apps do not sync up with the device, even with an active Bluetooth connection to the phone.

The prongs of the device break off easily and require the purchase of a new smartwatch.

The device does not continuously monitor heart rate, it will have to be set manually from the phone to check heart rate during the day. Other trackers are inaccurate. Suited for teenagers, especially at a reasonable price for the features included.

The intense vibration setting cannot be set at a softer setting, it can only be muted but then you don’t get notifications. You have to click from one setting to the next. When you want to change or view there is a long pause and takes a long time and an additional inconvenience is you can’t go back to where you wish to be. Instead one must click all the way through.

PROS

  • Push notifications
  • Remote camera
  • IP67 Waterproof
  • Sedentary reminder

CONS

  • Difficulty navigating through the display options
  • Screen doesn’t work all the time

8. Naturehike M7C

Product Highlights

Naturehike M7C is this smartwatch’s new features that motivate you to track, keep a close eye on and take steps to reach your health goals. A comfortable watch to wear all day due to its ergonomic design and adjustable strap. The large touch screen high resolution makes it easy to view your apps and metrics.

Features

  • 1.3 inch high resolution large screen
  • GPS/Beidou/multi-satellite positioning.
  • 10 different main watch face
  • automatically monitor your 24-hour heart rate
  • IP67 waterproof

What We Like About Naturehike M7C

The remote camera functions well, experiencing no lag. Download and use the camera app instead of the phone’s factory camera.
A responsive and bright display that is dimmable. Eight face designs to choose from.

Accurate health trackers and compass. The speaker allows you to control the music output on the watch. The watch is designed to answer calls when synced with the smartphone via Bluetooth. The audio of the calls are very clear.

What We Don’t Like About Naturehike M7C

The set up is not easy or user friendly. Syncing is unreliable and erratic. The battery does not last as long as advertised.

The heart rate monitor and other trackers are inaccurate and the device will not stay connected to the phone via Bluetooth.

The band may be tight for users with wrists that are larger than 8 ¾ -9 inches.

PROS

  • Easy to view display
  • Remote camera
  • Accurate and reliable health trackers
  • 8 different faces to choose from

CONS

  • Battery does not last long
  • Device does not sync well with with apps and software
  • Heart rate monitor is inaccurate

9. Apple Watch Series 3

Product Highlights

Apple Watch Series 3 keeps you up to date with everything you need in your daily life. Its daily itinerary assists you to keep track of your personal schedule. This waterproof fitness and health tracker can be worn while swimming and other water activities.

While exercising you can access over 60 million songs via Apple music and receive smartphone notifications.

Features

  • GPS
  • Retina display
  • Optical heart sensor
  • Emergency SOS
  • 3 chip with dual-core processor

What We Like About Apple Watch Series 3

The convenience of answering calls on the smartwatch, which means the phone can be left behind. Easy to view text messages as they show up on the screen. Easy navigation between apps and the messages app occurs quickly.

Interchangeable bands allow the user to coordinate with other fashion. The “always-on” feature of cellular is appealing to many. Siri can respond to verbal inquiries.

It is worth the price to buy AppleCare+, at $2.49 a month or $49 dollars for two years covers two accidental damage repairs over the life of the policy.

What We Don’t Like About Apple Watch Series 3

The device has a little lip found in the beveled part of the glass. When the glass is lifted the edge is razor blade sharp which can injure the user.

Watch would not “wake” with certain wrist movements. Texts were not displaying on the screen unless the message app was open. Siri only worked 30% of the time. “Raise to Speak” feature does not work.

This smartwatch is more low tech compared with other watches.

PROS

  • GPS
  • Retina display
  • Waterproof allows for swimming
  • Can answer call

CONS

  • Glass beveled display is extremely sharp
  • Voice command most of the time will not work

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 About HUAWEI GT 2

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 About HUAWEI GT 2

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.