sports watch
A sports watch typically features a wider catalogue of exercises than your regular smartwatch. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Gym buffs, yogis, adrenaline seekers and even busy mums will benefit from an intuitive watch that tells them how much they've sweat it out.

Any outdoor and indoor activities you're fond of can be neatly logged onto a dedicated sports band, which typically features a wider catalogue of exercises than your regular smartwatch. If a fitness tracker does too little and a smartwatch too much, then a rugged sports watch will help you strike a balance by only tailoring to the metrics you need.

Whether you're looking at a running watch or a band that tracks a bit of everything, the perfect sports watch is the one you'll actually use. So, grab a pen and paper, and jot down the workouts you often engage in to narrow down your options. We take you through what features fitness pros look for to give you an idea, having spoken to Dayana Solano, a Dubai-based yoga teacher of 15 years and a nutritionist; and fitness trainers Jelena Jovanovic and Sanja Velimirovic at DubaiPT Personal Trainers.

Check out some of their recommendations below, alongside Amazon's best-rated sports watches. We have a separate list for men's watches, as well. Get a Prime subscription to shop items with free delivery.

1. Best Overall: Polar Vantage M2


  • Over 130 sports modes with individual tracking methods
  • Dedicated running programme and coaching
  • Eating and drinking reminders for a longer-lasting session
  • Non-touch display
  • Smart features with GPS, music control and phone notifications


  • Display could be brighter

The Polar Vantage M2 is a multi-sport watch with smart functionalities, complete with GPS tracking and wrist-based heart rate monitoring. From mountain biking to trail running, the watch lets you pick from over 130 sports to access sport-specific tracking and metrics. It keeps an eye on your sleep data and recovery score so that you're not straining the body with intensive cardio. Instead, the watch suggests alternative workouts every day to match your fitness level. While you're busy mid-session, the Vantage M2 offers helpful reminders to sip on electrolytes or eat a granola bar to get even better performance. Runners will also find a special programme on the watch, ranging from a 5K to a marathon, to train and guide them over months accordingly. Out of a single charge, you can squeeze up to 40 hours of training, and up to 100 hours if you turn off the GPS. These incredible features are not lost on happy reviewers, who find the non-touch colour display a great way to avoid accidents. They do wish the screen was brighter.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh66.92 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh52 and two years for Dh85.

2. Best for iOS Users: Apple Watch Ultra 2 


  • Rugged smartwatch built for athletes
  • 36 hours of battery life on normal usage
  • View and retrace steps on route maps
  • Emergency safety features, including built-in siren
  • Easy to use


  • Expensive
  • Water activities need a waterproof strap sold separately

Not to be mistaken with Apple's flagship smartwatch range, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is designed to meet the demands of athletes, outdoor adventurers and water sports enthusiasts. It's super-charged with up to 72 hours of battery life and a corrosion-resistant titanium case that survives a water depth of 100 metres and scuba diving up to 40 metres. Out of all the watches put to test by Solano, Apple was her number one choice with its simple and easy functionality, and, of course, seamless connectivity with her iPhone. The Ultra 2 carries cellular support, too. The GPS here is highly accurate for calculating distance and pace, and displaying route maps that help you retrace your steps. Added safety features make sure you're able to contact loved ones, sound the built-in siren or send out an SOS if you've fallen. The watch matches your choice of sports with special straps - our pick has the Trail Loop band, best for all workouts. It's full-featured for a wealth of sports and has easily digestible graphics for beginners.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh264.92 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh199 and two years for Dh329.

3. Best Value: Amazfit Balance Smart Watch


  • Lightweight 35 grams watch
  • Over 150 sports modes
  • Week-long battery life
  • Six navigation satellites with route map display
  • Syncs with Google Fit, Apple Health, Strava and more


  • Detailed health reports are paid features
  • Heart rate sensor is somewhat accurate

Amazfit will always have value options in their range for sports-focused smartwatches. The Balance watch is exactly what it sounds like - a smart assistant that keeps you up to date with detailed health and recovery reports, and guides you through 150 sports modes. The round AMOLED touchscreen displays route maps, powered by six navigation satellites, and real-time exercise metrics with clarity, showing you the heart rate, distance, pace and workout duration at a glance. Its built-in speaker can also broadcast your data so you don't have to stop to check. You will need the Zepp App to help you curate a better session; this app is going to allow you to sync data with Adidas Running, Strava, Apple Health, Google Fit and more. Though it looks bulky, the watch only weighs 35 grams, and the display remains bright in the sun, say reviews. The options on the Zepp App can be a bit overwhelming, but once you have a customised plan down, it's a great companion.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh56.83 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh40 and two years for Dh66.

4. Best Offline Watch: Timex Women's Ironman Transit


  • Sports stopwatch feature with 10-lap memory
  • Easy lap split button on the watch
  • Water resistant to 100 meters
  • Countdown timer
  • Shows up to two time zones


  • White band is prone to discolouring

This one is for triathletes who train for Ironman races or anyone with a penchant for swimming, cycling and running without distractions. The Timex Ironman Transit is a powerful and feminine tool with a sports stopwatch feature. It has a 10-lap memory, so you can beat your personal record over and over again - all you have to do is press the start/split button on the watch face. You also get a countdown timer for timing your workout reps. Like most Timex watches, the digital dial lights up in the dark with the push of a button. Swimmers get up to 100 metres of water resistance, meaning the watch is suitable for snorkeling, poolside diving and surfing, but not scuba diving. Reviewers put it through daily sports for over four years and still find their device up and running, from swimming to running.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh12 and two years for Dh17.

5. Best with GPS: Coros Pace 3


  • Amazing GPS accuracy with five satellites
  • Route maps, retracing and more
  • On-board music storage
  • Has a separate tracking mode for triathletes
  • Syncs with many sports apps


  • Music is stored with downloaded files

Train for a triathlon with a watch that tracks everything automatically, supported by a dual-frequency GPS, meaning it connects to five satellites at the same time. Build custom routes on the Coros Pace 3 and engage in runs, trail runs, biking, swimming, skiing, open water swimming and so much more. It only weighs 30 grams with a 1.2-inch touch display, smaller than the Amazfit watch. Like most smart sports watches, the Pace 3 does a decent job of tracking your heart rate and sleep, and stores music for offline listening. You can sync your data with a long list of third-party, from Strava and Apple Health to Decathlon and Nike Run Club. Many find it a better bargain than Garmin watches and note how accurate the GPS is, coming in handy when they have to walk back to the point they started from.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh83.33 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh57 and two years for Dh94.

Why do I need a sports watch?

sports watch
Track sports-specific activities with better metric breakdowns on these watches. Image Credit: Shutterstock

According to our experts, a sports watch is an excellent tool that aids in training and keeping up with health. Velimirovic, who's been a trainer for over 15 years, says that it's always a revelation to see how much you've moved or not moved at the end of the day.

"Everyone should have one so that they can be aware of how much they are moving and be surprised at how much they are not moving. It can be like a motivation [to exercise]," said Velimirovic, who especially likes her watch's idle alert to get her moving.

For Solano, a sports watch is for everyone and all lifestyles. While it's a tool made for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, it can also benefit "those who are not active in a sporty way". She mentions mundane activities, like running behind energetic kids at home or working a job with a high step count, can all contribute to burning calories even if you're not hitting the gym.

Besides being a yoga teacher, Solano likes to skate, a sport she struggled to locate on several trackers she tried in the past, till her current watch. A sports-specific mode will calculate your metrics for an activity better than a watch's default auto-tracking.

Jovanovic, on the other hand, is an interested shopper such as yourself, who is actively considering a sports watch for various reasons: "Sports watches are designed to cater to specific sports and activities, like running, swimming, cycling, skipping, and other outdoor activities. They're more durable and water-resistant, making them suitable for use during workouts or water-based activities. You also have GPS for tracking routes and distances and providing location data."

Which features should I look for in a sports watch?

This depends on what functions you value the most. Solano uses the guided breathing option often as someone who practises yoga. A watch that reminds her to be mindful allows her to take a break when the day gets busy. But what ultimately drove her decision was the ease of use, compatibility with her smartphone, music control and a comfortable wristband that doesn't slide around during exercise.

The music feature is again something Jovanovic looks for, since this can encourage you to beat the last mile as you're running or jogging. Other health metrics for tracking the heart rate and quality of your sleep are all bonuses to let you know how well you're performing.

Not all sports watches arrive with smart features, however. If you're looking to train without the notification noise, digital watches are much more stripped back and rugged, and their battery lasts for years. These mainly come with advanced stop watch settings for triathletes engaging in running, biking and swimming.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.