Smartphone vs. GPS Watch

Natalie Cecconi
Written by
Last update:


Walking, running, cycling, hiking … for all of these types of activities, the number of applications and the amount of features offered has increased drastically. GPS apps for your smartphone are becoming increasingly popular. Both for sport-specific applications and for general fitness apps.

Should I use my smartphone when running or cycling instead of a GPS watch?


  • Less bulk on your wrist
  • No more worrying about the battery running out
  • No need to purchase a GPS watch


  • Accuracy could decrease
  • Lack of features

You might already be familiar with some of the Garmin or Suunto apps already available.

Time/pace Alarms

Now if you combine the features of the app with your smartphone, then you’ve got a pretty good solution.

The disadvantages of smartphone workouts:

No heart rate monitor

No support for specific sports (e.g., swimming, skiing, cycling, golf)

A Summary:

3 Reasons for using a smartphone instead of a GPS Watch

Many people ask me, why do I need a smartphone if I have a GPS watch? Here is why.

3 Reasons why You Need a Smartphone with GPS

Smartphone will work without internet

Every running app which you will install on your phone will give you some analytics such as distance, duration, and number of calories burned. They all seem to be accurate too.

But every time you are disconnected from the internet, there will be a huge lag in the data. Most of the time, you won’t even get the data.

Whereas, if you have a wearable GPS watch, it will store all the data in the memory, so that you can connect it later to your computer, and it gives you the analysis instantly, without even pairing it with your phone.

Actually, a really good GPS watch is what you need if you want accurate real-time data when you are on a run.

You can now get a live view of real time data (heart rate, pace, etc.) in your smartphone

Yes, I was amazed too when I tried it for the first time.

If you use apps like Strava or MapMyRun mobile, you can see a live data stream using smart notifications.

So, if you have a heart rate monitoring device or a cadence sensor, this is going to be your biggest advantage.

5 Reasons for NOT using a smartphone instead of a GPS Watch

Most smartphones are equipped with some sort of GPS chip nowadays. Ever since the advent of the smartphone, athletes and fitness enthusiasts have wondered whether that little chip in their phone could be used to accurately track their running and cycling workouts.

It turns out that if you are looking for a simple way to track your exercise, your smartphone may be the solution to your problem.

Current smartphones are about as fast as dedicated GPS watches at getting satellite connections. GPS function of some smartphone models are even more accurate than the GPS in your GPS watch. Today, many app designers have also made it convenient for you to record your exercise. All you have to do is start the app, tap a couple of buttons, and you are ready to go!

But Wait a Second…

There are a few important factors to consider before you take your phone out on a trail or a path. Below, we look at some of the advantages of using a dedicated GPS watch and why you might want to choose a GPS watch over a smartphone.


Both of these products are amazing. It is very hard to decide which one is better because both of them serve different functions.

For traveling purposes, I prefer to use a smartphone because I am able to use an app on my phone instead of the watch to see how much distance I have traveled, how many calories I have burned, and how long I have run.

I also like that I am able to choose any type of app. With the G-Shock solar charging watch it is very specific unchanging apps that you can choose from.

However, the great thing about the G-Shock solar charging watch is that you never run out of battery. It has an amazing solar charging technology that allows you to solar charge it while you run, that way you can keep track of all of your travel, distance, and time.