What is best, a GPS watch or a handheld GPS unit?
One of the questions we often get asked – What is best, a GPS watch or a handheld GPS unit?
So, let’s look at the pros and cons of walking with a GPS watch or GPS unit.
GPS watch – pros
- GPS watches are lightweight.
- You can wear a GPS watch at all times, as it is also a smartwatch.
GPS watch – cons
- GPS watches do have a small screen.
- Sometimes with a GPS watch you can suffer a little with battery life and charging whist on the move.
- Sadly with a Garmin GPS watch there is no option to put Ordnance Survey maps on a GPS watch, but you can still plan on free Ordnance Survey route planning software and transfer the course onto your watch.
GPS unit – pros
- Often a GPS unit is cheaper than a GPS watch.
- You get a larger screen on your GPS unit compared to the GPS watch.
- Battery life is often better with a GPS unit and you are able to charge or change the batteries whilst out walking.
- If you are in the UK you can put Ordnance Survey maps on an Outdoor GPS unit.
GPS unit – cons
- A GPS unit is more bulkier than a GPS watch.
But the key difference is in the navigational experience –
- With a GPS watch the watch vibrates when you are ‘off course’.
You also can follow an arrow on the screen, but please be aware it is a smaller screen.
With the new Fenix 7 from Garmin you also get an audible beep as you approach a turn as your course is overlaid on the preinstalled Topo active maps.
- With a GPS unit you also get an audible beep, but this will be when you are approaching a pre-determined waypoint that you have planned beforehand.
The other thing with a handheld GPS unit is you also have to ability with the larger screen and Ordnance Survey Maps to ‘plan on the hoof’. If you do need to change your walk you can easily do this on a handheld GPS unit.