Electronics Buying Guide

Whether you’re looking for a new smartwatch to track your activity and help you navigate, or the latest wireless headphones and lighting, we’ve got all you need when it comes to electronics. In this guide, we’ll take you through the main features and functions to look out for in each category to help you make the right choice when investing in your next piece of tech.


On top of all the traditional features you’d expect from a digital watch, like alarms and timers, the latest generation of smartwatches also come equipped with technologies for navigation and fitness tracking. That makes them ideal for a wide range of outdoor activities and sports like running, hiking, cycling and even swimming, aiding you on your journey and tracking your progress at the same time. Here are some of the key features to look out for: 


For anyone looking for help navigating outdoors, one of the great things about some smartwatches is their GPS (global positioning system) functionality. With all the tech you find in a handheld GPS device, the GPS smartwatch is a great and convenient addition to a kit list for anyone spending a lot of time outdoors. Not only can you get full directions of your route pinged to your wrist, but you can use your watch as a compass to aid navigation. Plus, in the event you get into difficulties, it can also provide a more accurate location for the emergency services. 


GPS systems are often compatible with different apps that allow you to track your movements and share your adventures with friends. They tend to be slightly more expensive than standard smartwatches, but with all that extra tech on your wrist, in our opinion, they’re well worth the investment.

Fitness tracker

Many smartwatches come with fitness tracking capabilities, ranging from counting your steps and measuring your activity levels to monitoring your vital stats like heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen and temperature – great for keeping on top of your fitness. 


Fitness trackers are also helpful when you’re training for an event. Whether it’s a marathon, a cycling challenge or a triathlon, a smartwatch will monitor your progress and your recovery to ensure you’re as prepared as you can be. If you’re hoping to track activity in the water whilst swimming, just remember to look out for a smartwatch with a good waterproof rating.


They’re also great for reminding and encouraging you to get out and exercise when motivation ebbs. Some even offer suggested workouts based on previous data, which means for many people, they're the next best thing to having your own personal trainer.

Sleep tracking

It’s no secret that we perform better after a good night’s sleep, so getting to know more about your sleep quality and patterns can help improve your performance. 


Not only can you use your smartwatch as an alarm to gently wake you in the morning, but it can also switch off any notifications at a set time to ensure that you aren’t disturbed as you wind down for the evening. Whilst not as accurate as high-tech medical sleep trackers, smartwatches also offer an insight into your sleeping patterns. Sleep tracking itself won’t improve your sleep, but it can be useful for tracking trends, so that you can improve your evening routine.

Phone functionality

Another great feature of smartwatches is that they offer many of the same functions as your phone. This means when you’re out on a run, cycle or hiking up a mountain, you can answer a call or read a text on the move at the tap of a button without having to scramble about for your phone. Many smartwatches will even read your text messages out for you and allow you to dictate a reply, so there’s no need to even look at your watch, which is especially useful when wearing gloves. Just be sure to check your current phone is compatible to get full functionality on the move. 


For many, this kind of functionality is great but for some, getting away from notifications is part of the draw of being outdoors. The good news is that these functions can be managed, so that you only receive the smartwatch notifications you want, when you want. 

Battery life

Whether you’re on a long-distance expedition or competing in a multi-day race, the last thing you want to be worrying about is charging your watch. With that in mind, looking at the battery life capability is an important consideration. 


The good news is that most manufacturers recognise the need for longer performance, and as a result, many smartwatches can now last for days at a time without charging. The caveat is that it depends on how you use them and how often. For example, some functions like GPS drain the battery quicker than others, and this can drastically affect how often you need to charge it. 


There are usually ways to help preserve battery life though, from closing down battery-draining apps to putting your watch into battery-saver mode. 


Whether you’re on a group walking adventure or out on a solo ride, it pays to take extra measures to keep yourself safe, so looking for a smartwatch that can track and share your location with your emergency contacts could be a potentially life-saving function to have.


Garmin’s LiveTrack technology is a great example, as it creates a real-time view of your location and shares it with friends and family via a link sent by text. It means no matter where you go, your friends and family can stay connected with your activity, meet up with you easily or raise the alarm if things look amiss. 


As well as location tracking, many smartwatches can also monitor your movement and alert designated contacts after a set time if they detect you’ve had a fall. Great if you’re adventuring solo, providing the reassurance you need, whilst still enjoying the solitude.

Wireless Headphones

Investing in wireless headphones can be extremely useful for lots of different types of activity, from runs to gym sessions, cycling rides, or just getting out for a walk. With no wires to limit movement or get snagged on anything, wireless headphones leave you free to concentrate on what you're doing whilst staying on the move.


Everyone is different, and it’s a personal choice when it comes to finding what fit suits you best. Many headphones come with interchangeable in-ear appliances in varying sizes to help keep them secure in your ear. But if you’re going to be active wearing them, we recommend going for a pair with a wrap-around band that sits securely over the top of your ear.


Listening to music or catching up with friends on the phone via your headphones is great, but you still need to stay aware of your surroundings to stay safe, especially if you’re using them when running or cycling on roads or in populated areas. Keeping the volume at a sensible level is one solution, but another is choosing headphones from brands like Shokz that utilise bone conduction technology. 


Unlike traditional headphones that use speakers to transmit sound, bone conduction technology uses transducers to send mini vibrations through the cheekbones to deliver sound directly to the inner ear, bypassing the eardrum. As well as being incredibly effective and great sounding, this leaves your ears open to experience your surrounding environment. It might sound strange as a concept, but bone conduction is a natural form of hearing. If you plug your ears and hum, that’s an example of you hearing through bone conduction.



Whether you're night walking, trail running, mountaineering, or just want a light to read by in your tent, a headtorch is a useful, hands-free accessory for adventures, especially in winter when the days are shorter. There are many factors to consider when choosing the headtorch, so it’s worth checking out our expert buying guide to help find the right one for you.

Handheld Torches

Although headtorches have surged in popularity, don’t forget handheld torches and flashlights as an option too. Handheld torches come into their own when you need the strongest portable beam available or when more dexterity and control over the beam is important. Lanterns are also great if you need to set a light down to work on a task and are a great option on a campsite or camp table when you need a big, stationary pool of light.

Beam Type


When choosing a handheld torch or a headtorch, you’ll want to consider what type of beam it offers. There are three common options. Flood (or wide) offer a wide, single beam and are great for general tasks in camp or walking on trails. Spot (or focussed) give a single beam condensed into a spotlight that can penetrate over a longer distance. These are great for route finding or picking out specific landmarks in the distance. Lastly, adjustable beams let you range from wide to focussed or any point in between. Great, for example, with activities like hillwalking where you might need to look for far-off landmarks with a spot beam, then study a map with a flood beam.

Related articles

Let us know you agree to cookies

We use marketing, analytical and functional cookies as well as similar technologies to give you the best experience. Third parties, including social media platforms, often place tracking cookies on our site to show you personalised adverts outside of our website.


We store your cookie preferences for two years and you can edit your preferences via ‘manage cookies’ or through the cookie policy at the bottom of every page. For more information, please see our cookie policy.