If you are looking for an affordable GPS/sports watch as a possible alternative to Garmin then I think I found a very good one from Letsfit which sells a variety of affordable fitness trackers and smartwatches.
At the time I purchased it the price was just below $80 which is quite reasonable for a good GPS watch. It also has features that I haven’t seen on any other budget friendly watch in its price range and that is a transflective display and live breadcrumbing.
Breadcrumbing on a GPS watch shows your path on the watch which can be useful when hiking, walking, or biking so you can navigate back to your starting point. The watch also has a compass but it would be more helpful to be able to access it during an activity and to have the direction you’re moving in on the breadcrumbing screen.
Still, it’s nice to have the breadcrumbing feature to possibly help you get back to where you started.
The watch receives frequent AGPS updates to ensure more accurate GPS positioning. AGPS stands for Assisted GPS and its the same technology that mobile phones use to provide more accurate positioning. This is very useful for emergency situations in which you dial 911 from your smartphone. The caller’s location can be pinpointed more precisely. Data is stored on the watch to better pinpoint your location.
You’ll need to use the VeryFitPro app that the watch connects to to download AGPS updates. The VeryFitPro app is used by many budget smartwatches and it’s okay. It’s not Garmin Connect by any stretch of the imagination but it’s where you will set up your watch. The watch and app are compatible with both Apple and Android smartphones.
Like standard GPS, AGPS can also be affected by interference and breaks in the signal to satellites but in my experience it has become very good at knowing my location. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that a lGPS watch can know my location within a few feet on planet Earth.
Location tracking is useful in determining the true distance you may have ran, walked, biked, etc. No GPS watch is 100% accurate but some are really good and this particular one from Letsfit appears to be one of the better ones.
You can view the current price and availability of the Letsfit GPS watch on Amazon here.
I compared it against the Garmin Vivoactive 4s and the results were nearly identical. Actually, if anything I think the Letsfit watch tracked me a little better.
It did take about 45 seconds or so longer for the Letsfit to connect to GPS when I began this biking activity but it performed well once connected.
Letsfit estimated my distance at 1.08 miles which the Vivoactive 4s estimated 1.05. Yes this was a short test but I was riding my daughter’s old Trek bicycle that had a rusty chain and sprockets, no back brakes, and a wobbly front wheel! It was like pedaling a farm tractor through a muddy field.
In the full review I will doing much longer tests but I wanted to share this first result because I was so impressed by it.
As you can see from the results below from Letsfit it tracked me nearly perfectly along the streets that I was riding on. I really haven’t seen this from any other watch I’ve tested, even very pricey ones.
The watch followed my actual route very well, even though I had gone up and down the same street to get to the one mile mark. It wasn’t easy on that bike. The location where I had traveled one mile is also shown on the map.
As a comparison, below is the map from the Garmin Vivoactive 4s. It also followed me well but the Letsfit watch did just a tiny bit better.
The heart rate sensor on the Letsfit also performed good in this short test. I still need to test it in the gym and during longer outdoor activities but it’s been my experience that either a heart rate sensor is really good or it’s really not and I can tell quickly. The Letsfit seems to be good – so far.
The Letsfit estimated my average heart rate at 118 bpm and a max heart rate of 137 bpm. The Vivoactive 4s estimated an average heart rate of 121 and max heart rate of 136.
I’m a fan of transflective displays for GPS watches because they’re good for two reasons. One, they use much less power so it extends battery life of the watch and secondly, they look terrific in even the brightest sunshine.
The trade off is that you’re not going to see a super vibrant display with smooth edges like you would on the Apple Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 which use a different screen technology.
Below is an example of the display of the Letsfit GPS watch. It truly looked better in person so I guess you’ll just have to believe me. There is also a backlight for when you’re in darker conditions. The display is touchscreen but you can also scroll through the various data screens during an activity by using the top button. Pressing in the top button for a few seconds will give you the option to stop the activity.
Below is the display of the Garmin Vivoactive 4s. (See current price and availability on Amazon.) The display from Garmin is better in that its just crisper and the display of data is laid out so well for easy viewing but the Letsfit was also easy to view when riding my bike.
Oh, and that brings me to a third reason why transflective displays are great for GPS watches. The screen is always on, yet very little power is drained from the battery. You also don’t have to tilt your wrist or tap a button to see the screen. Neither do you have force the display to always be on and greatly reduce battery life as is seen in watches with AMOLED displays.
Here are some more views of the Letsfit GPS watch:
The Letsfit is lightweight and very comfortable to wear. The battery life is advertised as 15 days with normal usage and with fast charging. I haven’t yet tested battery life for 15 days but it used very little battery during the bike ride and charged quickly when I first set up the watch.
The diameter is 46 mm with a 1.1 inch display. It has a water resistance rating of 5ATM which means you can swim with it and it does support swimming as an activity. It also supports outdoor running, outdoor walking, indoor walking, hiking, outdoor cycling, and pool swimming.
I will be testing it in the pool too.
If you’re looking for a watch to track your outdoor activities and don’t want to spend a lot of money or just prefer a watch that is easy to operate than I think it is certainly worth a try.
The Vivoactive 4 and 4s from Garmin are feature packed GPS watches that do more than what I’ve tested in this article but if you’re mostly just interested in accurate distance and heart rate from an affordable nice looking watch then maybe you don’t need to spend so much.
Check back for the full review. I’m eager to see how well the watch performs during longer activities and in the gym.