Multisport watches: 5 key functions to look for when buying

A multisport watch will take your performance to another level. But what are the key functions and extras to look for?

Triathlete checking run watch in training

1. GPS

A built-in GPS (Global Positioning System), instead of an accelerometer that measures movement, will give more accurate real-time tracking information, with many GPS units informing you of the direction and distance back to your starting position.


2. HRM

A heart rate monitor will allow you to establish your own training zones to perform at your own best pace. A chest strap is more accurate than the wrist-based optical heart rate (OHR), but many athletes prefer the comfort and simplicity of OHR.

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3. Connectivity

Many manufacturers have comprehensive post-session analysis software (e.g. Garmin Connect) via USB or wireless means (Bluetooth, Ant+ or even WiFi). You can also utilise a wealth of third-party apps such as Strava for live tracking and social media sharing.

4. Activation

Multisport watches offer button and/or touch screen usability to scroll through the watch’s main features. Check that the touchscreen doesn’t have a history of losing contact when scrolled with sweaty fingers or in the rain, and that data is displayed as clearly as possible.



Once you tip over the £100 price point, most models require USB charging via a charger bespoke to that manufacturer, usually clipping onto the side or back of the unit. Battery life can range from 5hrs to 20+ depending on how many features (i.e. GPS) you’re using.

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