Two weeks after the newest Apple Watch landed at Runner’s World HQ, we’re happy to report that it’s a suitable option for your next GPS running watch. Read on to find out what we discovered during testing. (And read our initial observations here.)
The biggest update for the Apple Watch 2 is a new focus on fitness and the integration of GPS into the watch itself. The first version off-loaded that work to your phone, but not all runners like to carry a phone when working out. Now they don’t have to. In our testing, we’ve found the GPS accuracy to be on par with our sport-specific watches.
On our first run with it, the watch was within a hundredth of a mile at every split—a good start. We would continue to see such precision throughout our testing, whether running in suburbs or rural areas. But for a true test of its GPS power, I took it to New York City.
Setting out for a lunch run from our midtown Manhattan offices near Grand Central, as challenging a setting as you’ll find for any watch, I wore a Garmin Fenix 3 HR on my right wrist and the Watch 2 on my left. I waited only about 10 seconds for the Fenix to signal that it had located satellites. Annoyingly, there’s absolutely no indication of satellite signal on the Apple Watch 2. That’s a little unsettling—does it know where I am? Assuming I had a signal, I hit start and headed south through the urban canyons. Both watches, miraculously, picked up my run right about the point where I’d actually began and tracked me about as well as I could expect down Third Avenue (as confirmed by looking at maps on an iPhone post-run).