GPS Watches: External vs Internal Aerial Mounting Options

GPS Watches come in two different forms: those with an internally mounted aerial like the Garmin Forerunner watches and those connect to an external device worn on the body like the Polar RS800CX and Timex Bodylink watches.

The Garmin was the first popularize the concept of a self-contained GPS aerial with their original product line of Forerunner watches that included the 101, 201 and 301. (For a comparison see our Garmin Forerunner Comparison page).

The two GPS styles both have their pros and cons.

The upside of a self-contained aerial unit is that you do not have to worry about more than one device; you can just put your watch on and you’re ready to go.

The downside of the single piece unit is that it is a lot bulkier on the wrist than a normal sports watch. Garmin’s latest watch – the 405, however, is a lot less cumbersome than their legacy models.

The Timex’s Navman 2 GPS is an example of an external GPS sensor. It links wirelessly to the Timex Ironman Bodylink and Speed & Distance watches and can be attached to the arm, or running shorts via a belt clip.

A two-piece GPS unit is a device like Timex’s Navman sensors that comes with an arm band or belt clip and attaches to your body. While one may not wish to bother with strapping extraneous GPS sensor to your arm, for every “pro” there’s a “con”, and vice versa. The upshot of the separate GPS component is that the wrist-watch unit is much smaller than the Garmin, and actually looks like … well … a watch!

Battery Considerations

Another consideration you should take into account is the GPS battery life of your watch. Most two-piece GPS units require one or two AA or AAA batteries, whereas one-piece watches house a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, so there’s no need to go to the trouble and expense of purchasing new ones.

List of one-piece GPS watches

Series Model Battery Type
Garmin Forerunner 101 2x AAA batteries Product Link
201 Li Rechargeable Product Link
301 Li Rechargeable Product Link
205 Li Rechargeable Product Link
305 Li Rechargeable Product Link
405 Li Rechargeable Product Link
Suunto X9/i Li Rechargeable Product Link
X10 Li Rechargeable Product Link
GlobalSat GH-615B/615M Li Rechargeable Product Link
GH-625M Li Rechargeable Product Link

List of two-piece GPS watches

Series Model Battery Type
Suunto T3/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
T4/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
T6/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
Polar RS200G1 2x AAA batteries Product Link
RS400G1 2x AAA batteries Product Link
RS800CX 2x AAA batteries Product Link
Timex S & D T5E701 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5F011 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink Trailrunner T5J985 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5F011 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5G311 2 AA batteries Product Link

For more information on GPS sports watches, visit our GPS watches guide.

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GPS Watches: External vs Internal Aerial Mounting Options

GPS Watches come in two different forms: those with an internally mounted aerial like the Garmin Forerunner watches and those connect to an external device worn on the body like the Polar RS800CX and Timex Bodylink watches.

The Garmin was the first popularize the concept of a self-contained GPS aerial with their original product line of Forerunner watches that included the 101, 201 and 301. (For a comparison see our Garmin Forerunner Comparison page).

The two GPS styles both have their pros and cons.

The upside of a self-contained aerial unit is that you do not have to worry about more than one device; you can just put your watch on and you’re ready to go.

The downside of the single piece unit is that it is a lot bulkier on the wrist than a normal sports watch. Garmin’s latest watch – the 405, however, is a lot less cumbersome than their legacy models.

The Timex’s Navman 2 GPS is an example of an external GPS sensor. It links wirelessly to the Timex Ironman Bodylink and Speed & Distance watches and can be attached to the arm, or running shorts via a belt clip.

A two-piece GPS unit is a device like Timex’s Navman sensors that comes with an arm band or belt clip and attaches to your body. While one may not wish to bother with strapping extraneous GPS sensor to your arm, for every “pro” there’s a “con”, and vice versa. The upshot of the separate GPS component is that the wrist-watch unit is much smaller than the Garmin, and actually looks like … well … a watch!

Battery Considerations

Another consideration you should take into account is the GPS battery life of your watch. Most two-piece GPS units require one or two AA or AAA batteries, whereas one-piece watches house a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, so there’s no need to go to the trouble and expense of purchasing new ones.

List of one-piece GPS watches

Series Model Battery Type
Garmin Forerunner 101 2x AAA batteries Product Link
201 Li Rechargeable Product Link
301 Li Rechargeable Product Link
205 Li Rechargeable Product Link
305 Li Rechargeable Product Link
405 Li Rechargeable Product Link
Suunto X9/i Li Rechargeable Product Link
X10 Li Rechargeable Product Link
GlobalSat GH-615B/615M Li Rechargeable Product Link
GH-625M Li Rechargeable Product Link

List of two-piece GPS watches

Series Model Battery Type
Suunto T3/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
T4/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
T6/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
Polar RS200G1 2x AAA batteries Product Link
RS400G1 2x AAA batteries Product Link
RS800CX 2x AAA batteries Product Link
Timex S & D T5E701 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5F011 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink Trailrunner T5J985 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5F011 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5G311 2 AA batteries Product Link

For more information on GPS sports watches, visit our GPS watches guide.

Leave a Reply

GPS Watches: External vs Internal Aerial Mounting Options

GPS Watches come in two different forms: those with an internally mounted aerial like the Garmin Forerunner watches and those connect to an external device worn on the body like the Polar RS800CX and Timex Bodylink watches.

The Garmin was the first popularize the concept of a self-contained GPS aerial with their original product line of Forerunner watches that included the 101, 201 and 301. (For a comparison see our Garmin Forerunner Comparison page).

The two GPS styles both have their pros and cons.

The upside of a self-contained aerial unit is that you do not have to worry about more than one device; you can just put your watch on and you’re ready to go.

The downside of the single piece unit is that it is a lot bulkier on the wrist than a normal sports watch. Garmin’s latest watch – the 405, however, is a lot less cumbersome than their legacy models.

The Timex’s Navman 2 GPS is an example of an external GPS sensor. It links wirelessly to the Timex Ironman Bodylink and Speed & Distance watches and can be attached to the arm, or running shorts via a belt clip.

A two-piece GPS unit is a device like Timex’s Navman sensors that comes with an arm band or belt clip and attaches to your body. While one may not wish to bother with strapping extraneous GPS sensor to your arm, for every “pro” there’s a “con”, and vice versa. The upshot of the separate GPS component is that the wrist-watch unit is much smaller than the Garmin, and actually looks like … well … a watch!

Battery Considerations

Another consideration you should take into account is the GPS battery life of your watch. Most two-piece GPS units require one or two AA or AAA batteries, whereas one-piece watches house a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, so there’s no need to go to the trouble and expense of purchasing new ones.

List of one-piece GPS watches

Series Model Battery Type
Garmin Forerunner 101 2x AAA batteries Product Link
201 Li Rechargeable Product Link
301 Li Rechargeable Product Link
205 Li Rechargeable Product Link
305 Li Rechargeable Product Link
405 Li Rechargeable Product Link
Suunto X9/i Li Rechargeable Product Link
X10 Li Rechargeable Product Link
GlobalSat GH-615B/615M Li Rechargeable Product Link
GH-625M Li Rechargeable Product Link

List of two-piece GPS watches

Series Model Battery Type
Suunto T3/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
T4/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
T6/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
Polar RS200G1 2x AAA batteries Product Link
RS400G1 2x AAA batteries Product Link
RS800CX 2x AAA batteries Product Link
Timex S & D T5E701 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5F011 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink Trailrunner T5J985 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5F011 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5G311 2 AA batteries Product Link

For more information on GPS sports watches, visit our GPS watches guide.

Leave a Reply

GPS Watches: External vs Internal Aerial Mounting Options

GPS Watches come in two different forms: those with an internally mounted aerial like the Garmin Forerunner watches and those connect to an external device worn on the body like the Polar RS800CX and Timex Bodylink watches.

The Garmin was the first popularize the concept of a self-contained GPS aerial with their original product line of Forerunner watches that included the 101, 201 and 301. (For a comparison see our Garmin Forerunner Comparison page).

The two GPS styles both have their pros and cons.

The upside of a self-contained aerial unit is that you do not have to worry about more than one device; you can just put your watch on and you’re ready to go.

The downside of the single piece unit is that it is a lot bulkier on the wrist than a normal sports watch. Garmin’s latest watch – the 405, however, is a lot less cumbersome than their legacy models.

The Timex’s Navman 2 GPS is an example of an external GPS sensor. It links wirelessly to the Timex Ironman Bodylink and Speed & Distance watches and can be attached to the arm, or running shorts via a belt clip.

A two-piece GPS unit is a device like Timex’s Navman sensors that comes with an arm band or belt clip and attaches to your body. While one may not wish to bother with strapping extraneous GPS sensor to your arm, for every “pro” there’s a “con”, and vice versa. The upshot of the separate GPS component is that the wrist-watch unit is much smaller than the Garmin, and actually looks like … well … a watch!

Battery Considerations

Another consideration you should take into account is the GPS battery life of your watch. Most two-piece GPS units require one or two AA or AAA batteries, whereas one-piece watches house a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, so there’s no need to go to the trouble and expense of purchasing new ones.

List of one-piece GPS watches

Series Model Battery Type
Garmin Forerunner 101 2x AAA batteries Product Link
201 Li Rechargeable Product Link
301 Li Rechargeable Product Link
205 Li Rechargeable Product Link
305 Li Rechargeable Product Link
405 Li Rechargeable Product Link
Suunto X9/i Li Rechargeable Product Link
X10 Li Rechargeable Product Link
GlobalSat GH-615B/615M Li Rechargeable Product Link
GH-625M Li Rechargeable Product Link

List of two-piece GPS watches

Series Model Battery Type
Suunto T3/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
T4/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
T6/c 2x AAA batteries Product Link
Polar RS200G1 2x AAA batteries Product Link
RS400G1 2x AAA batteries Product Link
RS800CX 2x AAA batteries Product Link
Timex S & D T5E701 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5F011 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink Trailrunner T5J985 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5F011 2x AA batteries Product Link
Bodylink T5G311 2 AA batteries Product Link

For more information on GPS sports watches, visit our GPS watches guide.

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