Polar M430 GPS Running Watch
While not among the most state-of-the-art running watch on the market, we’ve discovered the heart rate performance of the Polar M430 to be top notch. Even in the course of short sharp HIIT intervals the Polar M430 remained lasered onto a chest strap, and is among the most reliable on-wrist performers we’ve seen.
There is an issue. Our testing– and the reports of Wareable readers– have indicated that Polar’s heart rate tech has a problem with dark skin, which is extremely problematic. It stopped the device getting a big score in our Polar M430 review, however if you have pale white skin, it does come highly recommended.
TomTom Spark 3
Of all the running watches we’ve tested that pack heart rate monitors, the TomTom Spark 3 continues to be our go-to device for delivering accurate heart rate readings from the wrist.
The built-in heart rate monitor means there’s no need for a traditional HR strap, and it uses TomTom’s own optical sensor. Our testing has repeatedly found TomTom devices to be much better at high intensity then competing watches, with superb accuracy at medium intensity when directly compared with a chest strap. There are dedicated modes that show your current heart rate zones.
With the newer Spark, you get the addition of route exploration to view your location on the watch screen, plus you still get an integrated music player with 3GB storage area giving you in excess of 500 high-tempo running songs in order to help get you in the zone.
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit
The Forerunner 935 sits at the top table of Garmin’s sport watch line up, and is created with serious triathletes in mind. It makes use of Garmin’s Elevate optical HR tech, and in our testing it’s mustered the most effective performance of a Garmin device to this day.
While the Fenix 5 and Foreunner 35 have indeed been sluggish in early parts of runs and during high intensity, the Forerunner 935 put in a solid performance, which makes it much easier to recommend. Of course, the Forerunner 935 is capable of being paired with a chest strap in case you do have to get really accurate data.