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Being physically active is one of the keys to not only increasing life expectancy but also the quality of life in general.
Researches from Harvard university state that even as little as 15 minutes of exercise daily can prolong your stay on Planet Earth by three additional years. Don’t know about you but for me, that’s a pretty damn huge incentive.
Like with everything in life, the biggest challenge is to start. Once you get going, the momentum will take you to places you thought you couldn’t go. In order to stay on the right track and continue progress, it’s great to pick up clues and valuable data that confirm we’re doing the right thing. Or, notify us about necessary adjustments if the results aren’t as satisfying.
Whether you’re just getting into the habits of living a more healthy lifestyle or you’re more experience in the field, a capable smartwatch can go a long way in helping you achieve even the most ambitious fitness goals.
The smartwatch industry has come a long way since the introduction of the first “smart” model, Microsoft Spot, in 2004. Nowadays, all newly-released models provide you with basic data regarding your health, such as heartbeat, the number of steps you make, or the calories you burn throughout the day.
However, for folks who like to get precise insights into their physical endeavors, the so-called MultiSport watch is the best solution. These watches have pre-installed programs and trackers for up to 25 different sports. Trying to pick the best multisport watch in 2021, below we will have a close look at 5 models that constantly score great reviews from fitness dorks around the globe.
Best MultiSports Watch (Top 4 Reviewed)
Apple Watch 6
As things stand, Apple Watch 6 is arguably the most advanced smartwatch on the market. The model is mostly known for its highly advanced health-monitoring features (which we will discuss below) but the number of workout modes for different sport disciplines makes it an outstanding multisport watch as well.
Since you can only make the first impression once, let’s start the review with the design.
When it comes to the design, Apple Watch 6, just like its predecessors, gives you a myriad of customization options.
Starting with the case, you can pick from two sizes: 40mm and 44mm. The first is the best option for ladies or men with slender wrists whilst the other is probably best suited for men with medium-to-large wrists. There are as many as 10 color variations to pick from, including black, white, and red options.
Apple gives you arguably the biggest freedom as far as the selection of bands is concerned. On top of the endless list of colors and patterns, you can pick your own strap type including solo loop, braided solo loop, sport band, sport loop, leather, and stainless steel.
Finally, there are tens of free watch faces you can select from. There are specific designs suitable for different occasions, including for workouts and more official gatherings.
Even the most splendid looks won’t matter a jot if the durability isn’t up to the required standard. Fortunately, with Apple Watch 6 we get the full package.
Depending on your budget, you can pick from different materials that contribute to the overall durability score of the smartwatch. Beginning with the case, there are three choices:
- aluminium – the cheapest option both in terms of the quality and the price
- stainless steel – most scratch-resistant material out there (medium price)
- titanium – the lightest of all three although more prone to scratches than steel (the highest price)
The type of case you select will have a great bearing on the glass type. As we know, a screen is the most damage-prone part of any watch and should be made of rugged material. Apple Watch 6 offers two options in this aspect:
- Ion-X – a highly durable glass used by a large chunk of smartwatch brands. Available with the aluminum version of the watch
- sapphire crystal – the most desired material out there with the strongest scratch-resistant properties. Used in the stainless steel and titanium versions of the watch
The durability of the watch is hugely influenced by the type of band you select. The most enduring types are silicone straps and stainless steel link bracelets. Although considered the most elegant, leather bands are easiest to damage.
Crucially, all Apple Watch 6 versions come with a 100m water-resistance.
Apple Watch 6 is absolutely jammed with useful features.
Starting with the MultiSport aspect, the smartwatch has exclusive programs for 15 workout types: walk, running, cycling, yoga, rower, stair stepper, HIIT, elliptical, functional strength, dance, cooldown, core training, swimming, wheelchair, hiking. There’s also a possibility of creating your own workout program.
On top of the multisport programs, the smartwatch offers some of the most advanced insights into your wellbeing.
For starters, it’s the first model on the market with an FDA-approved app for ECG readings. The application has been part of many studies and proven to be highly successful in detecting heart arrhythmias, such as Atrial Fibrillation.
Another two standout functions are the Blood OX monitor and the Fall Detection app. The first app takes precise readings of the oxygen saturation in your blood whilst the latter allows you to call an emergency in case of a fall (it’s especially useful for senior citizens).
Few other features worth mentioning are:
- 24/7 heart rate monitor
- sleep quality tracker
- calorie counter
- Apple Pay
Crucially, Apple Watch 6 comes with an integrated GPS. This means you can easily leave your phone behind and still enjoy all the perks of fitness apps. Additionally, there’s a version of the Apple Watch 6 that has support for LTE – meaning it can function as a standalone smartwatch.
The biggest shortcoming of this otherwise excellent product is the lack of compatibility with Android devices.
Although there are not many smartwatches that can come near Apple’s newest release when it comes to the long list of features, there’s a huge room for improvement in terms of battery life.
With the majority of the apps running, Apple Watch 6 is unlikely to get past the 18 hours mark on a full charge. It’s highly disappointing as there’s basically no improvement in this aspect when compared to the predecessor, Series 5.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3
If you love what’s on offer with Apple Watch 6 but don’t plan on getting an iPhone just to be able to use it, Samsung Galaxy Active 3 is an excellent alternative.
With the newest Samsung release, we see a departure from the rectangular case offered by all Apple models.
What links the two smartwatches is the possibility of choosing from two case sizes. Samsung Galaxy Active 3 offers either a 41mm or 45mm case.
However, the number of design options isn’t as impressive as in the case of the Apple model. Nevertheless, Galaxy Active 3 is available in four versions:
- Rose Gold (rose gold case and leather strap)
- Mystic Silver (a silver case and a black leather strap)
- Mystic Black (a matte black case and a black leather strap)
- Titanium (all black titanium case and bracelet)
In terms of the watch faces, the Galaxy model offers even more options than Series 6 by Apple.
The durability credentials of the Samsung Galaxy Active 3 are on point as well.
Starting out with the case, three versions of the model (rose gold, mystic silver, and mystic black) use stainless steel cases. The fourth model, considered the “premium pick”, comes with a titanium case. Both materials are extremely enduring.
Unlike the Apple model, none of the smartwatch’s versions are equipped with sapphire crystal glass. Instead, Samsung has opted for a Corning Gorilla Glass. The specific type used in Galaxy Active 3 models is Corning Gorilla Glass DX, known for superior optical clarity and sunlight readability. Despite not being held in the same regard in terms of the impact-resistance, it still provides excellent protection.
If you’re a regular swimmer, the leather bands offered by 3 out of 4 models might not last long. However, the good news is that Samsung straps are interchangeable. There are lots of budget-friendly silicone bands to pick from on marketplaces such as Amazon or Samsung’s official website.
On the waterproofing front, Galaxy Active 3 can withstand depths of up to 100m.
Apropos the number of impressive features, Galaxy Active 3 is in no way inferior to the Apple smartwatch.
In fact, the number of pre-loaded workout trackers is bigger (40). Amongst many, the Multisport smartwatch gives you great insights into activities such as: running, walking, hiking, swimming, yoga, weight-lifting, HIIT, cycling, elliptical training, circuit training, mountain climbing, pilates, and stretching. On top of all these, there are as many as 120 home workout programs available.
Moving on to other wellness features, in September 2020 the watch joined Apple in being one of very few models with an FDA-approved ECG feature. However, there are no large studies on the effectiveness of the app as of yet.
Samsung’s newest release matches Apple in the richness of health & wellness apps. The much-praised Blood OX Sensor and Fell Detection apps are available, just like some of the more basic features such as:
- heart rate monitor
- calorie counter
- sleep quality tracker
- contactless payments (Samsung Pay)
Moreover, Galaxy Active 3 is able to take accurate blood pressure measurements. The feature is not available with any of the Apple Watch models. There are rumors of Apple planning to add it with the release of the Apple Watch 7.
Naturally, the smartwatch is supplied with its own GPS – allowing you the luxury of not having to carry your mobile to every workout.
Akin to Apple Watch 6, there’s a version of Samsung’s model that supports LTE. Should you decide to buy one, you will be able to perform all the phone-like tasks from your wrist despite leaving your smartphone behind.
Definitely, what’s really likable about all Samsung releases is the fact that they work equally well with both iOS and Android devices. In this aspect, Galaxy Active 3 is not an exception.
Unlike some other reviewers, I wouldn’t rate the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy Active 3 as excellent. However, it’s still a considerable improvement on the disappointing result provided by Apple Watch 6.
With most of your favorite apps running in the background, you can expect the smartwatch to reach 48 hours on a single charge. That’s double the longevity of the predecessor, Galaxy Active 2. Take note, Apple!
Furthermore, with a more efficient approach, the watch can easily run for up to 4 days.
Garmin Fenix 6x Pro Solar
Believe it or not, the smartwatch industry doesn’t end with Apple and Samsung. Although the two moguls are leading the way in terms of the coverage and number of sales, there are some excellent alternatives out there. One of such is Garmin – a brand that’s been on the lips of millions of sports enthusiasts around the globe.
Unlike the Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch Active lines which are pretty much on-wrist computers with an endless list of contrasting functions, Garmin focuses strictly on providing the best experience for sports aficionados.
These watches are known for their extremely rugged construction and are a popular choice amongst folks who are into the most demanding sports and leisure activities such as hiking, hunting, or mountain biking. The vast majority of Garmin models are built to U.S. military standards, making them a much safer bet for people prone to damaging their wristwatches – whether due to the extreme environment they wear them in or pure negligence.
As things stand, Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar is considered the most advanced release by the US-based tech brand.
We can safely say that Fenix 6x Pro – just like lion’s share of Garmin models in general – sends out a more sporty, tactical vibe than both the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Active. Like the Samsung model, it opts for a round case.
The smartwatch is available in three case sizes:
- 42mm (best option for females or men with slender wrists)
- 47mm (best option for men with medium wrists)
- 51mm (best option for men with large wrists)
On top of the all-black version of the watch included in the article, you can select from as many as 20 color variations of bands. Similar to Apple and Samsung models, the bands are interchangeable and can be purchased at either Amazon or Garmin’s official website.
Naturally, the model offers a wide range of free watch faces.
If you value durability standards above everything else, Garmin Fenix 6X is highly unlikely to disappoint.
Starting with the most damage-prone part of any watch, the screen is made from Garmin-patented Power Glass. In other words, it’s a DX-coated Corning Gorilla Glass 3 equipped with solar panels to absorb the energy and convert it into fuel for the watch’s battery. This type of glass is used by Garmin in all of its solar-powered models. In terms of ruggedness, it’s somewhere in between a mineral crystal and sapphire glass.
To further protect the screen from damage, the watch uses a titanium bezel that’s embedded slightly above the level of the dial. The case is made from fiber-reinforced polymer with a metal rear cover. Finally, there are two strap materials to pick from: silicone or titanium.
Garmin Fenix 6x Pro also holds an advantage over the two aforementioned smartwatches on the waterproofing front. The watch has a WR rating of 100m and is a safe companion during longer swimming sessions or extreme weather conditions.
The number of programs for different sports disciplines, workouts, and outdoor activities makes Garmin Fenix 6X Pro one of if not the best multisport watches currently on the market.
The most popular sport modes used by Garmin wearers include running, swimming, cycling, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, golfing, hunting, yoga, pilates, HIIT, weight-lifting (see also: Top Garmin Watches for Hunting & Top Garmin Watches for Mountain Biking).
Because of additional perks such as hunt and fish calendars, the model is highly popular in hunting and fishing communities. On the other hand, those who love hiking or mountain climbing greatly appreciate the presence of ABC sensors (altimeter, barometer, and compass). In addition to a thermometer, these can accurately predict rapid changes in weather conditions. The Storm Alarm feature is particularly impressive.
Unsurprisingly, the smartwatch is supplied with its own GPS. The system uses data from three satellites – GPS, GLONASS & Galileo. The availability of additional modes such as TracBack – responsible for safely guiding you back to your starting point with GPS mode off – makes the feature even more impressive than in Apple and Samsung models.
The list of health-tracking features is long and impressive. These include:
- 24/7 heart rate monitor (including abnormal heart rate alerts)
- All-day stress monitor
- Body Battery monitor
- Hydration monitor
- Relaxation reminder
- Sleep quality tracker
- Contactless payments (Garmin Pay)
However, there are a few notable absentees when compared to the Apple & Samsung pair. Garmin Fenix 6x includes neither the ECG app nor the Blood Pressure monitor. Also, the model doesn’t support LTE meaning that to perform all the phone-like tasks, you will have to stay connected to your smartphone.
The smartwatch is compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Fenix 6X Pro crushes both Apple and Samsung in terms of battery performance.
On a single charge, the smartwatch can reach up to 3 weeks – that’s with the GPS tracking disabled. With GPS mode constantly running, the battery is likely to run for around 15 hours. Additionally, there’s the battery-saver mode that can prolong the lifespan to incredibly 80 days.
Looking at all the numbers above, let’s remember that the smartwatch is solar-powered. Exposure to any form of light will keep refueling the battery.
Even though all three smartwatches provide excellent value for money, it would be a lie to say they’re cheap. If you’re on a tight budget, the second Garmin model on the list, the Instinct, is an excellent alternative.
The fact that Instinct has been around for more than 3 years and is still one of Garmin’s most capable and best-selling tactical watches speaks volumes.
As expected, Garmin Instinct boasts a similar, strong, and rugged look to the Fenix 6X model.
The watch is available in a few color variations. Apart from the black version you see above, other options include white, blue, and red. There are just as many customization options with the band.
Unlike all three smartwatches discussed above, the Instinct comes with a unified case size – 45mm. Just like in the case of the Fenix watch, it’s round.
Despite a considerably lower price, the durability levels are high.
In fact, when it comes to the thermal, shock, and water-resistance capabilities, the watch is built to U.S military standards. Going for a run in heavy rain or an accidental drop during a gym workout should pose no threat.
The tough-to-beat body is made of a fiber-reinforced polymer case and bezel, and a silicone strap. Just like in the case of the Fenix 6X model, the bezel is set a tad higher than the screen to boost the protection against cracks and scratches. And since we’ve touched on the subject of the screen, it’s high time to mention that it’s made from a chemically strengthened glass. On a durability scale, it’s similar to the PowerGlass installed in the Fenix model.
In terms of water resistance, Garmin Instinct matches the Fenix 6X model and offers 100m WR rating.
The Instinct model offers a myriad of useful features, including a long list of workout programs. This makes it one of the best budget multisport watches currently available.
Some of the most frequently used sport-specific apps include: cardio, weight-lifting (including automatic rep counting), running, cycling, and swimming.
Additionally, there’s a long list of apps that will help you keep in good mental and physical condition on daily basis. Amongst others, Garmin Instinct is equipped with:
- 24/7 heart rate monitor
- 24/7 stress monitor
- sleep quality tracker
- relaxation breathing timer
- hydration timer
- Body Battery energy monitor
In terms of the quality of GPS, it’s on virtually the same level as in the considerably more expensive Fenix model. Garmin Instinct has an integrated GPS that absorbs data from three satellites – GPS, GLONASS & Galileo. In case you want to avoid draining the battery too much, you can always switch to the TracBack mode that will guide you to your initial location with GPS off.
Just like the Fenix, Garmin Instinct is an excellent ABC watch – offering reliable environment data with the help of altimeter, barometer, and compass sensors. A thermometer is also on board.
Unfortunately, the smartwatch doesn’t offer the Garmin Pay feature. It’s also impossible to use the model as a standalone device as there’s no support for LTE either.
There’s not much to moan about as far as the battery life is concerned.
In the standard smartwatch mode, the Instinct should easily reach 14 days. With the GPS mode on, the longevity is reduced to around 16 hours. Both results can be considerably bettered if you opt for the Solar version of Instinct. It’s likely to set you back $50-$100 more.
Best Multisport Smartwatch: Buying Guide
I’m quite positive that the above list has provided you with enough clues on what qualities the best multisport watch should possess. All four models discussed in the article provide excellent value and each has unique qualities that help it stand out in this dog-eat-dog industry of smartwatches.
To sum up, going for either the Apple Watch 6 or Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 will get you arguably the most complete and all-round smartwatch model currently available. Both offer an endless list of features and, most noticeably, can function as standalone devices. When choosing between the two, remember that the Apple Watch series isn’t compatible with Android devices whilst the Galaxy model works perfectly fine both with Android and iOS smartphones.
Going for either of the two Garmin models is likely to prove an excellent investment as well. The US-based company puts an even bigger focus on the sporty qualities of their wristwatches, offering an even wider range of sport and workout modes than both Apple and Samsung. Additionally, Garmin smartwatches are built to U.S military standards. This makes both the Fenix 6X and Instinct considerably safer options for those engaging in more demanding sport disciplines.
If none of the four multisport smartwatches is appealing enough, don’t worry. Below find an easy-to-grasp Buying Guide that will help you pick the best multisports watch on your own.
So, what to look for in the best multisport watch?
a) Durable Body
Folks who are physically active know that most sports disciplines carry some risk of injury. Fashion accessories and wearables are not an exception – they can be damaged too! The more you’re willing to shell out on a product, the more confident you should be that it’s going to stand the test of time.
By default, multisport watches are pretty sturdy. Nonetheless, when shopping for one on your own, make sure about a few things.
Firstly, the screen must be made from a reliable material. The dial is the most damage-prone part of any watch and you should avoid any form of plastic lenses at all costs!
If you’re shopping on a lower budget, make sure the watch has mineral crystal glass or any other material with similar impact-resistant properties, such as Corning Gorilla Glass or Garmin’s PowerGlass. The best form of protection is associated with sapphire crystal but usually, it comes at a considerably higher cost.
Secondly, beat the temptation of the neat-looking leather straps. These are a good choice for more official occasions or even everyday wear – provided you’re not pumping out tons of sweat from your body. However, wearing a leather watch while exercising will make the strap wear off much quicker and likely produce an unpleasant smell in the process. Instead, look for rubber, silicone, stainless steel, or titanium bands.
When it comes to cases, opt for stainless steel or titanium. If the case bezel is set a tad higher than the surface of the screen, even better! That decreases the chances of damage to the dial by some margin.
Water-related damage can be just as deadly. At the very least, make sure your multisport watch is splashproof (water-resistant up to 50m). This rating should be more than enough for the majority of sports outside swimming.
If you’re a frequent swimmer, only consider watches with a rating of 100m and upwards. As of now, there are no multisport watches for those who love diving as these usually require at least a 200m WR rating and no smartwatch offers this kind of protection yet. Instead, you can check out the list of best diving watches.
c) Various sport modes
Quite obvious for a multisport watch – I know.
The number of sport modes in a smartwatch can range from a few to even more than 100. As long as you make sure the disciplines you engage in are available, you’re good to go.
d) Health & wellness features
Health and sports (usually) go hand in hand.
The more insights you get into your overall wellbeing from your smartwatch, the merrier. When looking for the best multisport watch on your own, make sure it’s at the very least supplied with basic wellness apps such as:
- heart rate monitor
- calorie counter
- sleep quality tracker
- stress monitor
Last but definitely not least, it’s essential the smartwatch comes with an integrated GPS. Integrated being the key word here.
Why? Models with a built-in GPS function can give you just precise location/distance/speed data without the need of being connected to a smartphone. Trust me, mobile-free workouts are not only more comfortable but also more efficient. Been there, done that.