What is better for you: The running application or the running watch?

Nowadays, it is common to use devices that you can easily carry on with you when you exercise. A good example in this case is the new Polar M400 running watch that has incorporated GPS and you can use it on your recording as a normal watch. But the main question is: which is more suitable to you, the running application installed on your smartphone or a quite costly watch? Let's try to find out by comparing these two step by step.

First of all, both devices gives us details about how many steps we do, what is the distance that we covered and provides us informations about the time and the number of calories that we burned during the run. However, there are watches like the Garmin Forerunner 15 and TomTom Cardio Multisport that brings the sport to a new level, giving you data about the rhythm and monitoring your heart rate, informations that will remarkably improve the way you exercise. There are also exquisite apps like Runkeeper or Runtastic that match up with your heart rate so you won't even need a watch at all for this.

Which one is better on tracking?

Since the running app will work thru the GPS system, you will know in any moment how many steps you've made or what was your speed. Sadly, not all wearable devices can connect to a GPS, so it is very probably that the sport wearable you have won't work properly unless you acquire a GPS running watch.

There are running watches like the Garmin Fenix 2 that is very specific regarding your training and even gives you alternative routes for a better workout.

Which one is more precise?

To establish which one fits better to our needs, we tested the Garmin Fenix 2 and the Runkeeper using a Samsung Galaxy S5 during a half marathon. We were both surprised and scandalized to find out that the Runkeeper app failed the test by recording 14.1 miles instead of 13.2 miles, the distance recorded by the watch. It could be quite disturbing if you are a runner and you want to train intensively because you could end up confused, insuficiently prepared, desillusioned and discouraged, all this due to the fact that the device you were using couldn't count correctly your steps.

Which one has a better battery life?

As you all know, the GPS connection can quickly consume your phone battery, which is not really suitable if you have long series of running. On the other hand, if you use a running watch you won't have any problems from this point of view. We've tested the Fenix 2 and we are glad to announce that the battery refuses to die even after 50 hours of GPS tracking and almost five weeks of normal use with only one charge.

What about music?

This time the apps are the winners. If you want to listen music while running, you will have to take your phone with you. Even if there are some watches like the Adidas miCoach Smart Run that allows you to listen to music via bluetooth headphones, you will still need your phone if your playlists are stored there. So, many people will rather take their smartphones with them for both entertainment and safety, so why bother carrying a running watch too?

The final verdict

Although it is very difficult to choose between these two forms of tracking, the conclusion is quite simple: if you want to perform and you're serious with your training then you should get a watch, and if you run just for pleasure or to stay fit then all you have to do is install the app. The best you can do is think how serious you are and which one represents a better option for you.