Features | Syncing

Computer Downloads

Most watches will download your workouts from watch to computer. Usually this is done with a USB cord, but some can download wirelessly. Downloading is left out of many budget watches so if you are interested in this feature but are considering a budget watch, double-check that it’s included.

It should also be noted that the software your activities are downloaded to varies by brand. Every watch company has its own proprietary software, and like GPS watches themselves, vary in features and user friendliness. Ideally, these would give you all the functions you need to properly analyze and track your workouts. Sadly, though, they are not created equal. Most are decent. A few, like Garmin Connect, are pretty good.

Ideally, the downloaded files are in a format that can be used in 3rd party applications like Training Peaks and Strava. But not every watch – Nike+ is a good example – supports exporting to outside applications.

Facebook and Twitter Sharing

If you are the type who likes to post achievements to your online friends, nearly all GPS watch software supports sharing on Facebook and Twitter. Brag away!

Wireless Upload

As we mentioned above, a few watches – generally higher-end models – can download activities to a computer wirelessly.

Automatic Sync

Along with wireless functionality, watches with that feature will also automatically sync with your computer. This means as soon as the watch enters the same vicinity as your PC, the data automatically downloads.

Body Composition Scale Sync (Garmin feature)

Some Garmin watches are able to sync wirelessly with body scales. What this means is that as you weigh yourself, the data is automatically uploaded to the personal settings on your watch. A nice feature IF you own or are interested in buying a scale that works with Garmin’s watches (only a few models are compatible). Otherwise, you’ll just have to manually input it like everyone else…..

Fitness Equipment Sync (Garmin feature)

Also available on a few select Garmin watches, this syncing feature uploads indoor gym workouts automatically to your watch – provided you use compatible equipment. Basically, it’s another way to record treadmill workouts and upload them to Garmin Connect.

Unit to Unit Wireless Transfer

Only found on one watch – Garmin’s fenix – this gives you the ability to share data wirelessly between two (fenix) watches. A practical example might be if you and a friend are going along a pre-specified course uploaded to your watch (and not his) and you want to share it with your friend (who also happens to own a fenix), you can wirelessly send it over.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Sync (Garmin feature)

Garmin’s newest GPS watch – the Forerunner 620 – can sync wirelessly via Wi-Fi to download activities to your PC.

Using Bluetooth, both of Garmin’s new Forerunner watches, the 220 and 620, can sync activities to Garmin Connect via your smartphone.

Live Tracking (Garmin feature)

If you happen to own one of Garmin’s new watches (the Forerunner 220 or 620) and you own a smartphone –and you don’t mind taking that smartphone for you on a run – friends and family can follow you in real-time while you run.

This is great for large marathons or crowded events. Your family can know exactly where and when to you look for you in the race.