Best devices to help you ditch your smartphone


Strava is a great place to store your workout data, and the good news is that most big-name sports watches work with the service, enabling you to have you workout data appear in the service.

We love Strava – both for its use of things like Strava Segments, and the community aspect. You’re likely to find more of your pals recording their workouts on Strava than other apps – and that can be much more motivating.

We’re also big fans of the analysis. Strava really make it easy to dive into looking at your performance levels, and in our experience, does a better job of showing improvement than many of its rivals.

Finding a Strava compatible running watch isn’t too hard – so have a good think about your budget and needs. There’s no need to spend big, which is why we’ve presented options for every budget and level below. However, if you are a Strava power user, buying a top end device will bag you things like Live Segments.

We actually published a big guide on using Strava – and naturally we focused on how that works with your wearables and sports watches.

We’ve listed our favourite Strava compatible watch brands below – and picked out the ones with special features.

Garmin

Garmin watches work with Strava

Pretty much all of Garmin’s watches are built to play nice with Strava, from budget watches like the Garmin Forerunner 35 all the way up to the likes of the Fenix 6 (pictured above) and the Forerunner 945.

You can connect Garmin and Strava from within Garmin Connect, so basically any activity you track on your watch can be synced automatically in Strava. That means you get full Strava Segments, KOM and records.

Strava does a lot of good analysis of your sessions based on heart rate – but there are data points it doesn’t track. So connecting Garmin Connect and Strava does give you the best of both worlds.

The problem, of course, is that Garmin Connect isn’t nearly as fun, informative and motivating as Strava, despite its recent facelift. Thankfully, you can link your account with the app for seamless syncing of runs, cycles and swims.

But some Garmin’s are more Strava-friendly than others. The following devices can detect when you land on favourited Strava Segments and display live progress, most importantly telling you how far ahead/behind your PB you are.

Garmin devices with Live Strava Segments

  • Forerunner 935
  • Forerunner 945
  • Forerunner 645 Music
  • Forerunner 735XT
  • Fenix 6
  • Fenix 5

That list just so happens to be the most expensive Garmin devices – so here’s our pick of our favorite Garmin watches – all of which play nicely with Strava.

Garmin Forerunner 35: £169.99 | Amazon | Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 45: £200 | Amazon | Garmin

Garmin Vivoactive 4: £279.99 |Amazon | Garmin

Garmin Fenix 6 £529 | Amazon | Garmin

Fitbit Charge 4 and Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit strava

We’ve naturally chosen the two Fitbit devices with GPS built-in here – but actually Fitbit and Strava play really nicely together. And while there are GPS devices to consider, there’s also a great reason to hook Strava up to non-GPS Fitbit.

Once you link your accounts, the data transfer is two-way. That means while you can view any run or cycle recorded on a Fitbit in Strava, you will also get credit in Fitbit for any Strava workout, regardless of whether your Fitbit was there or not.

Fitbit is a great ecosystem for looking at 24/7 health – but it’s not amazing for runners. This solves the problem, and means you can take a cheap Fitbit like the Inspire HR for your sleep tracking, and use a different running device.

Read this: How to connect Fitbit and Strava

The two devices that play nicest with Strava are obviously the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Fitbit Ionic. The Charge 4 has been newly updated with GPS built in and a dedicated sport profile. And then there’s the Fitbit Ionic, the company’s true GPS running watch.

However, don’t forget you can track runs using ConnectedGPS (from your phone) on Inspire HR, and Fitbit Versa as well.

Fitbit Charge 4: £129.99: Amazon

Fitbit Ionic: £213.99: Amazon

Apple Watch Series 5/Series 3

Apple Watch strava

It took some time, but we do have a standalone Strava app that’s compatible with the Apple Watch and it continues to improve over time.

And after initial accuracy issues, this can now be considered a strong addition to the watch’s third-party mix.

There’s still limited customisation of the data faces, and you can’t view workout history from the watch itself, but much of what makes Strava worthwhile is provided through the companion app, so we don’t consider this a reason to avoid the smartwatch.

During our testing both on the bike and running, accuracy has matched up well to the both bike computers and running watches too so it’s becoming one of the better apps to download to your Apple smartwatch now.

You can also have sessions recorded in the Apple Workouts app synced to Starva, and this can be done by connecting Apple Health from within the Strava app. However, syncing is manual – so we prefer using the third party Apple Watch app.

Series 5: £399 | Amazon | Apple

Series 3: £199 | Amazon | Apple

Polar (various)

Polar watches work with Strava

Just like Garmin, Polar makes sure that watches like the Polar M200, the feature-packed M430 and even the ageing Polar V800 offers Strava integration. The Vantage V and Vantage M watches also integrate, though you won’t get Live Segments with those two – and there’s the all-new Polar Grit X outdoor watch too.

Those who enjoy using the Polar Flow app can sync runs and cycle rides, as well as take advantage of features such as Strava Segments.

To pair the two services, just log into the Polar Flow web account, head to settings and opt to connect the Flow account with Strava. Log into your Strava account and verify the connection to have your workouts transferred when you sync your device as normal. Then you’re good to get tracking.

You can get Live Strava segments on a couple of Polar bike computers (M460 and V650) but only one watch – the ageing V800. It’s a little too dated for us to recommend.

Polar Vantage V: £439 |Amazon | Polar

Polar Vantage M: £249.99 | Amazon | Polar

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Samsung watches strava

While Samsung disappointingly doesn’t offer direct support for Strava, you can still sync your data to Strava from the Samsung Health app.

And it’s in a special club of one because Strava is the only app with that privilege.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 offers built-in GPS for activities like running and cycling, plus a host of sensors including a heart rate monitor, barometer and speedometer.

Even before the update, Samsung’s Health platform has improved and the we’ve found the Galaxy Watch to be a solid device to work out with too.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: £269 Amazon | Samsung

Suunto

Strava compatible watches: Best devices to help you ditch your smartphone

Suunto’s Spartan watches are steadily becoming better rivals for Garmin and Polar’s top end devices, including the Spartan Sport Wrist HR and the newer Trainer Wrist HR, which offers similar features in a slimmer body. You can also include the new and the new Suunto 9 into that equation, which comes packing mammoth battery life.

When the two are connected, you can track runs, rides and cross-training sessions with Segment support syncing the data to Strava.

The best way to get the two to play nice is to head into Suunto Movescount from the web application and choose the Connect with Strava option to get the ball rolling.

At the time of writing no Suunto watch supports Live Strava Segments.

Suunto 9: £499 Amazon | Suunto

Suunto Trainer Wrist HR: £219 | Amazon| Suunto

Suunto Sport Wrist HR: £400 | Amazon| Suunto

Coros Apex

Best running watches 2019: Affordable options for every runner

Coros might be one of the more lesser known brands on this list, but the startup is starting to make a name for itself with its affordable, feature-packed sports watches.

Its Pace and new Apex (pictured above) watches all work with Coros’ own steadily improving companion app. But the startup also knows people love using Strava and it’s made sure there the integration is on board.

From the Coros app you can connect the two services together in the same manner as Garmin, Suunto and Polar watches letting you view your run, ride and swim data in Strava. You will of course need to sync workout data to the Coros app first, but it’s one of the quickest at doing it based on experience. So you can be poring over that Strava data in no time.

$300 (42mm) or $350 (46mm), Amazon | coros.com

Fossil Sport

Strava compatible watches: Best devices to help you ditch your smartphone

With Wear 2.0 and its standalone app goodness now spread across a whole host of devices, you’re free to enjoy Strava on Android without your phone for the first time.

Fortunately, pretty much any device rocking Google’s new OS can get involved including the Fossil Sport. The Wear smartwatch packs in built-in GPS, heart rate and crucially, a run-friendly design. Strava offers a standalone app letting you take advantage of those sports tracking features showing time, distance, pace, lap and split times. It will also work with some built-in heart rate monitors too.

Elsewhere on the Wear front, there’s a whole bunch of new options from the Fossil Group that include Michael Kors Access Runway, Armani Exchange and the Fossil Q Venture HR that now all include GPS (sans smartphone) and heart rate monitors. So you can get something a little more stylish that will also track your workouts.

Buy now: £250 Amazon | fossil.com

Amazfit GTS

It’s an Apple Watch clone, for sure but Amazfit has got so much right on the Amazfit GTS – and it plays nicely with Strava to boot.

It’s a health and fitness smartwatch that actually delivers, with good sleep tracking and a weekly rating of your activity and fitness using Mio’s PAI score. It’s a single number derived from all your weekly health and fitness activity – and we have a lot of respect for that technology and glad it’s seen the light of day here.

You get 14 tracked sports, with outdoor workouts tracked by GPS that passed mustard in terms of accuracy. And syncing to Strava is baked into the companion app – and it’s the only available API.

There’s an always-on display and you’re looking at around a week of battery life with all the advanced features turned on, which is certainly more than the Apple Watch’s single-day.

£110.99 | Amazon | Amazfit



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