920XT, Ambit3, Garmin, M400, Magellan, Polar, Product Reviews, Suunto, V800 - December 05, 2014

Best of the Best: GPS Heart Rate Monitors for Christmas 2014

Athletes are spoiled for choice these days when it comes to sport technology. With some great new releases this year, there are excellent products on offer for this summer’s triathlon season. We here at Highly Tuned Athletes have put together our Christmas 2014 list of some of the best GPS heart rate monitors around.

All of the products listed here use traditional heart rate straps, we are yet to find an optical wrist monitor as accurate or reliable as a strap sensor, and most likely the big players are in the same position. One day the optical HR sensor may be standard gear, but not for quite some time.

Best GPS Heart Rate Monitors for Christmas 2014

If you would like to know more about any of the products listed below, drop past our Hampton store in bayside Melbourne, or give us a call on (03) 9598 7888 for a friendly chat and we will try and match your needs to a device that will serve you best.


Garmin Forerunner 920XT

Garmin still offers the best multisport watch on the planet. The Forerunner 920XT follows on from the very successful Forerunner 910XT as the fifth generation of the original Forerunner 101 GPS heart rate monitor released in 2003. Currently the Forerunner 920XT includes most of the features of the Forerunner 910XT such as intervals and workouts and adds many of the new features introduced with the Forerunner 620, such as HRM run metrics, Wi-Fi uploads, and Bluetooth phone integration. The thinner profile and lighter weight (61 grams), primarily due to a revamped antenna design, is very comfortable on the wrist.


  • Excellent performer as a swimming, cycling, running, or virtually any sport training companion
  • Full swim mode supports indoor or outdoor, stroke count, efficiency, and drills
  • Combine up to 5 profiles into a multisport session, with optional transitions
  • Comfortable and strong user replaceable wrist bands
  • Optional Velcro strap for smaller wrists, also a Quick Release kit for smooth transitions on and off the bike
  • Easy to read high contrast colour display, fully customisable on the fly
  • Full ANT+ multiple sensor support, including Power Meters
  • Uses the HRM-Run transmitter and measures advanced running dynamics
  • 24-hour battery with GPS on, and 40-hour in Ultratrac mode
  • GLONASS support for greater satellite coverage
  • Lightest true multisport watch at 61 grams
  • Built-in magnetic compass  for finer directional tracking
  • Built-in Accelerometer for arm cadence or indoor training
  • Altimeter for accurate gradient and elevation readings
  • Vibration alerts, even on the alarm for those early morning starts
  • Bluetooth Smart phone integration
  • 50-metre water resistance rating
  • Now with time of day and alarm functionality
  • Activity tracking, which you can disable
  • Very good user interface, tried and tested
  • Supports Connect IQ – open platform for third party developers

Purchase the Garmin Forerunner 920XT for Christmas 2014.

Garmin Fenix2

This is the ruggedised outdoor version of the Forerunner 920XT. More wearable as a day-to-day watch, and packed full of outdoor features yet still equipped with multisport capability and barometric altimeter.

Purchase the Garmin Fenix2 for Christmas 2014.

Garmin Edge 1000

Garmin’s top of the range cycling head unit, the Edge 1000, is a cut above the rest. Excellent high-contrast display, fully configurable to support multiple profiles, and now comes with built-in Aus/NZ Topo and routable street maps, which are super fast. Full multipage screen configuration with all the data metrics you could dream of. Full ANT+ sensor support, plus Bluetooth Smart phone integration.

Purchase the Garmin Edge 1000 for Christmas 2014.

Garmin Forerunner 220

This is one of our personal favourite running watches, very light at 41gms, it is a great ‘out the door’ training watch. Nice and simple, very reliable, gives HR, pace, speed, distance, vibration alerts, intervals, and uploads via Bluetooth to your phone. 10-hour battery life and water resistant to 50 metres. Not quite as configurable as its big brother the Forerunner 620 with touch screen and the HRM-Run strap, but as a day to day watch it won’t disappoint.

Purchase the Garmin Forerunner 220 for Christmas 2014.

Garmin Vector Pedal

Garmin released the Vector S recently, a single-pedal version of its popular Vector pedal set. Aimed at a lower price point, it simulates L/R pedal power from the single pedal. Integrates nicely with the Forerunner 920XT and Edge 1000.

Purchase the Garmin Vector for Christmas 2014.


Suunto Ambit3 Peak and Ambit3 Sport

Suunto released two super-reliable, GPS multisport-capable watches this year. The Peak comes with double the battery life on GPS (16 hours at best sample rate), very accurate built-in altimeter, and 100-metre water resistance rating. The Ambit3 Sport is thinner and lighter, but measures up well as a multisport training tool.


  • Heart rate under water with the new Suunto transmitter
  • Made in Finland, very tough, with 2 year warranty
  • Bluetooth Smart phone integration with iPhone. Android version due March 2015
  • Bluetooth Smart sensor support
  • Swim metrics, indoor or open water
  • Excellent Satellite lock times and accuracy

Purchase the Ambit3 for Christmas 2014.


Polar V800

Two new releases this year from Polar. Firstly, the V800 will be Polar’s new flagship multisport watch. At the time of testing, the actual product appears solid, but many planned features are still in the pipeline and are due for release in late 2014. Full swim metrics and Bluetooth power meter support, will be released via firmware updates soon. The V800 is a nice looking unit, usable as a day-to-day watch, but try before you buy if you have thin wrists. If you are a big Polar fan this unit will really start to make its mark in 2015.


  • 13-hour battery at 1 second sample rate
  • Bluetooth Smart sensor support
  • Smartphone uploads
  • 30-metre water resistance rating
  • Barometric Altimeter
  • Multisport capable
  • Activity monitoring
  • Magnetic compass
  • Vibration alerts

Purchase the Polar V800 for Christmas 2014.

Polar M400

The M400 has only been on the market since October, but already measures up as a great mid-level GPS running watch with HRM. Much smaller than the V800, it has an excellent build quality and display. The M400 also has built-in activity tracking, and is available in a white or black version. Great to see Polar stepping up to the mark with GPS-integrated heart rate monitors, they have been noticeably absent of late from the market.


  • 8-hour battery with GPS on
  • 30-metre water resistance rating
  • Usable as a day-to-day watch
  • Bluetooth Smart HR
  • Smartphone uploads
  • Customisable screen layouts
  • No bike sensor support
  • Interval and Workout support

Purchase the Polar M400 for Christmas 2014.


Magellan Cyclo 500 and 505HC

Magellan have recently released three new bike head units. The lightweight Cyclo 500 and 505, with heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor included in the 505HC. What’s cool is that Open Street Maps are preloaded on all, and they also come with Bicycling Australia’s Where to Ride database including off-road tracks. Certainly worth a look.

Purchase the Magellan Cyclo 505HC for Christmas 2014.

The post Best of the Best: GPS Heart Rate Monitors for Christmas 2014 appeared first on Highly Tuned Athletes.

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