WHY? Up to 500 Songs on Watch, Tons of Running Features for the $, Health-Monitoring
WHY? Up to 500 Songs on Watch, Tons of Running Features for the $, Health-Monitoring
WHY? Up to 2,000 Songs on Watch! Most Outdoor & Training Features, Durability
WHY? Stores up to 500 Songs on Watch, gorgeous AMOLED Display, Sports Apps
They want a fitness GPS watch that has the tunes they can train to. You want to give it to them this Christmas. Congratulations, you're almost done shopping!
We've narrowed it down to only the best in this holiday buyer's guide—and not just the most expensive. Our collection offers fitness watches for every budget without compromising quality.
Shop only top-of-the-line brands on PlayBetter—like Garmin, Polar, and COROS. We'll tell you what each watch offers in the way of features, starting with the music factor, and who we recommend these gifts for.
We've even thrown in a Garmin fēnix 6 vs Venu 2 video review (2 watches in this buyer's guide) from Dave at Chase the Summit for some added fun and information. Happy Shopping!
Not only does this affordable Garmin running watch option play and control phone music, it stores up to 500 songs on watch for phone-free listening. The user simply downloads must-have workout tunes from a Spotify, Deezer, or Amazon account and they're ready to go.
You can also opt for the Garmin Forerunner 245 without music for $299.99—and they'll still be able to control their phone music from their watch.
The 245/245 Music also offers a nice chunk of Garmin running metrics, including VO2 Max, Race Predictor, PacePro, Recovery Advisor, Training Status, and Training Load. And for health, factor in wrist-based heart rate, Body Battery energy monitor, Pulse Ox, and advanced sleep monitoring.
Multi-GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo satellite imagery access) for advanced tracking and highly useful navigation tools like point-to-point and back to start make this a pretty reliable watch to have on the wrist.
And the Forerunner 245 battery life is not too shabby at: Up to 7 days in smartwatch, 6 hours in GPS+music, and 24 hours in GPS without music.
The fēnix 6 Pro blows every watch on this list out of the water (or off the trial) with its ability to store up to 2,000 songs on watch. And it leaves most of them in the dust when it comes to performance metrics, navigation, and more. All this, of course, is reflected in the $650+ price tag.
They'll be able to heave the heaviest playlist into the fēnix 6 Pro by simply uploading from Spotify®, Deezer, and Amazon Music for phone-free listening. It also plays and controls phone music.
Performance metrics include running dynamics, heat- and altitude-adjusted VO2 max, recovery advisor, training status and load, and more! Plus run-specific activity profiles for track and trail runs, and even an ultrarun profile!
An obscene amount of outdoor activity profiles, tons of preloaded maps, advanced navigation, all Garmin's best health metrics, superior connectivity, and quality build easily makes this one of the best Christmas gifts you can give.
Crazy customizable battery life looks like this: Up to 14 days in smartwatch, 48 days in battery saver mode, 36 hours in GPS, 10 hours in GPS+music, 72 hours in max battery GPS mode, and 28 day in expedition GPS activity mode.
For a breakdown of all the models, we recommend you check out this fēnix 6 article.
This one's the perfect gift for your marathoner or triathlete, who relies on their motivational playlist and advanced training features for the win.
The 945 can store up to 1,000 songs on board—twice as much as the 245, but only half as much as the fēnix 6 Pro. Easily onboard tunes through services like Spotify®, Deezer, and Amazon Music for phone-free listening.
The Forerunner 945 features are basically the same as the fēnix 6 Pro with a few exceptions. With the bulk of the fēnix 6 Pro comes more storage space (hence more song storage) and battery life. The Forerunner 945 battery life offers up to 2 weeks in smartwatch, up to 10 hours in GPS+music, and up to 36 hours in GPS mode. The 945 does not have the battery saver or expedition GPS mode of the fēnix 6 Pro.
But the Forerunner 945 is still stuffed with most of the activity features as the fēnix 6 Pro, but substantially sleeker and lighter in build, making it better for runners and triathletes who prefer a lighter wrist.
The 945 also offers the 945 LTE option (requires subscription), which can help keep them safe and connected with Assistance Plus, Incident Detection, and LiveTrack features.
This previous generation Garmin Venu offers phone-free listening with room for up to 500 songs on watch. And right now, PlayBetter has a limited number for $130 off our original price!
This stunning watch has a gorgeous AMOLED display accented by a rose gold stainless steel bezel and light sand silicone band. But you will be giving them more than a smartwatch with a pretty face.
The Venu offers activity tracking (step counter, move bar, calories burned, floors climbed, distance traveled) and basic sport profiles for gym workouts, running, cycling, golfing, and swimming. It also offers VO2 Max for running and GPS-based distance, time, and pace that is highly accurate because it has the same advanced multi-GNSS tracking as the more expensive watches above.
You'll also be giving them Garmin's robust health-monitoring, including wrist-based heart rate, respiration rate (24x7), Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen Saturation (spot-check, and optional all-day and in sleep), Body Battery™ energy monitor, advanced sleep, women's health, and more!
As with the other Garmins, you can easily stream or download music onto your Venu 2 through Spotify®, Deezer, or Amazon Music. Connect your headphones through Bluetooth and access up to 650 tunes on watch.
Why would you give this GPS fitness smartwatch over the previous deeply discounted Venu?
In a nutshell, they'll get much longer battery life, the new and improved Elevate 4.0 heart rate sensor, a few more software features like Health Snapshot and the new highly accurate sleep-tracking widget, and more music storage on the watch itself. Get more details in this Garmin Venu 2 review.
Plus, you get more size and color options. The Venu 2 series caters to a range of wrist sizes with the Venu 2, which has a 1.3" diameter display and the Venu 2S with a 1.1" display. This series also offer more color palettes: Venu 2 comes out of box in slate bezel/black band and silver bezel/granite blue band; Venu 2S is available in light gold bezel/light sand band, rose gold bezel/white band, silver bezel/mist gray band, and slate bezel/graphite band.
This monster outdoor endurance watch—loaded with ultra-helpful features for serious trail runners, cyclists, hikers, and rock climbers—is the first COROS watch to offer music on watch with its massive storage capacity.
On the music side of things, this amazing outdoor fitness watch is a bit different than the rest. While it does provide internal storage and Bluetooth headphone connectivity for offline listening, the storage is in the form of MP3s onto your watch from your computer. No music service like Spotify is available, so it's not quite as convenient as the Garmins.
Most notably, this adventure watch's battery life is extreme—even for COROS. And it offers some of the most impressive GPS tracking available.
COROS VERTIX 2 battery life will give them up to 60 days in smartwatch mode, up to 140 hours in standard full GPS (GPS/QZSS), up to 240 hours in UltraMax GPS mode, and up to 50 hours in All Systems + Dual Frequency On. We know ... brow-raising.
They'll also be able to access all 5 major satellite systems—GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, and QZSS—with Dual Frequency satellite communication. This was previously only available in aviation products and means that whether they're deep in tall buildings, forest cover, or rock walls, they'll get the best GPS plotting available on a GPS watch.
The VERTIX 2 also provides advanced training analytics; interval, triathlon, and multisport training; recovery time; and sleep monitoring. Not to mention specifics like winter sports mode, mountain climb mode, and acclimation mode.
As the name implies, the Garmin Venu Sq offers phone-free, on-watch music—up to 500 songs. Like other Garmins with music, playlists are easily downloaded from streaming music services, and users can play and control phone music with it as well.
In essence, the Venu Sq Music fitness smartwatch is the Garmin Venu without the brilliant AMOLED display. And while it has most of the running, workout, and health features, it's missing a few of the bells and whistles like on-screen workout animations and muscle heat maps.
However, it is the most affordable GPS fitness watch with music in this guide, and pairs perfectly with any active lifestyle.
The Vantage V2 allows you to control volume, pause, and switch up songs on your watch—using either the lovely touchscreen or the watch buttons. However, you must have your phone paired to the device and with you during your workout.
From a purely running watch perspective, the Vantage V2 is the ultimate tool for tapping into personalized smart training. Not only will they get Polar's trademark heart rate monitoring on wrist, this GPS running watch provides features like Running Performance Test, Cycling Performance Test, and Training Load Pro for personalized stats, info on their power zones, and how much they're straining your body.
This runner's watch is also about knowing the optimal time to workout and when to rest with features like Recovery Pro, Nightly Recharge, and Leg Recovery Test.
Plus, get a lot more out of this watch, including 40-100 hours of continuous training battery life and the Polar Flow app that offers super comprehensive training, planning, and analysis tools.
Again, another great running watch from Polar that focuses on personalized data and adaptive training—but doesn't have the onboard music storage. Users can control music on their phone from the training display, the watch face, or both.
To use the music controls on the Vantage M2, users need the Polar Flow app. The music controls setting becomes visible after pairing the watch with their phone via the app.
As far as running features go, this mid-range priced watch offers some high-end features like Polar Running Program, Training Load Pro, and Nightly Recharge. FitSpark training guide offers different types of daily workouts to choose from that match recovery, fitness level, and training history.
Plus, give them advanced wrist-based heart rate, smart notifications, and access to the Polar Flow app.
The Polar Vantage M2 battery life gets up to 40 hours in training mode (GPS and wrist-based heart rate) or up to 7 days in smartwatch mode with continuous heart rate tracking. Multiple power saving options are available.