But I've noticed those with the GPS watch. For some of them, they seem rather large and a bit bulky on the wrist. I wonder how they manage to feel comfortable wearing one. Still it was something I had started to consider over the past year or so. I figured I should look into purchasing one of them, since I wasn't sure I would be comfortable carrying my phone with me at races. I have been, because I do like to keep a record of where and what I've done with regards to running.
As Christmas came, I was fortunate enough to get a gift card to The Running Room. Being familiar with The Running Room, through the number of races I have done and registered with, I went to check out the website. Looking for GPS watches, I came across the Soleus GPS Fit watch. The price was very reasonable, only $75.00, plus free shipping if I order through website and have it shipped to a local store. Done and done. Just had to wait a few days and it arrived.
I had a few choices, and decided for the black with lime green colour. Got it, charged it up and waited to give it a try.
Right at the start, got to say a few things, the connecting to which I both link and charge the devise can be a bit finicky. If it's not on just right, you might not be able to either link or charge. It just takes a moment or two until that happens. The battery does charge at a reasonable speed, and as it instructs, before using charge it up for a couple of hours. The watch is a reasonable size and feels comfortable on the wrist. It may seem a little larger then the average wrist watch, but it's not overly bulky, so it will pass as simply another watch. The screen is a good size and the font for the numbers is also a good size. You can quickly get the right time and date with simply a glance. It is a watch after all, and that still remains the first function of a watch. One of the reasons I chose this color is the fact the important button is also lime green, you can't miss it.
when the box arrived, it contains the watch, usb sync cable, adaptor to plug devise into a wallplug and a quick start manual, plus a few other pieces of paper. Once charged you're ready to go. One thing I felt is that the quick start wasn't that clear on instrutions and almost begs you to get the full manual. Might as well get and download the .pdf, you will use it to get started.
Getting started by getting the right time is easy, turn on the GPS function and point the watch in the right direction, you will get the time and date. Once the watch is powered, you add all the personal data, such as age, weight, height and then it uses this information to calculate the result of calories. As for getting the right time, there is a manual way, or the easy way which is to turn on the GPS feature, find the satellite and you will get the right time. I sort of found that out by accident, by pressing all the buttons in different intervals. By the way, the manual is worth getting and downloading.
It has a back light feature, which makes it very usable at night. While thicker then the average watch, again it does not feel heavy on the wrist. As I said, the font on the face is good and makes everything readable.
It is a GPS device and so I was able to use it a couple of times this weekend during my runs. The first time, it was a bit hit and miss and I had to go to the manual to get the feel as to the right buttons to press. Like every other GPS device, it takes a few moments, or seconds to latch onto a signal. At least with the watch, I'm simply holding my arm and turning myself around to get the right angle. According to the guide, the antenna is at the bottom, or 6:00 position of the watch. So you simply stand there and wait. When searching, there will be a scrolling action at the top of the face, once it stops and becomes a solid line, you have a signal and are good to go. I should say, to get everything going, press in my case, the lime green button and once signal acquired, push it again and you are good to go.
Due to the cold weather and the multiple layers, I haven't looked at the watch during the run. From the manual you can change what information is visible on the fly. I should say, when you start with GPS you have two options, 'GPS' or 'Indoors', the latter doesn't turn on the GPS feature and you just have a regular timer. When the run is over, simply press the lime green button again and you are done. Pressing another button will get you to scroll through the information. You can read, your start and stop time, distance, calories burned, average pace, max pace, average speed, max speed and you can get the time for each lap. In my case, a lap is every kilometer. You can review each lap to learn the time and pace per lap. This can be handy when you go back to review.
At the Soleus site, you can download the sync software, which allows you to download the information from each run. When it's up on your computer, you can send the information from the watch, and if you wish, delete once downloaded. You plug the watch in, start the software and you will see the word 'Link' on the screen. When that happens, simply click on the computer screen the 'download' button and the information is on your computer.
What one has, is the pertinent information, start time, stop, distance, time, pace, speed and lap information. You can review your run to each second of the run. If you stopped or had a walk, you can do the calculations. There is also a map feature, so you can check your route. One more feature, you can download the file as a either a .TCX or a .GPX. You can then upload the information to whatever fitness program, such as mapmyrun.com. Although any site that you can upload the .gpx file to, you can do the same. By the way, I'm Paul28922440 on Mapmyrun. We can follow each other.
So far, I'm very satisfied with the watch. It functions well and is very accurate with distance and time. As I have said, it's a bit larger then standard watch, not much more. It looks good, feels good and functions well. The battery holds a charge for a reasonable time, it seems after an hour run, to lose about 20% of power. Since I'm usually uploading the information quickly to the computer, it's just as easy once that's complete to leave the watch attached and let it power up. The syncing cable can be temperamental at times, but I suspect after a time it will become second nature to click it in place. With the fact I can also plug it into an outlet, rather then always charge through the computer, makes it easier. I know some may think, it's another cable I've got to worry about, well, I suppose get over the fact. It is water resistant, but I don't plan to use it in the shower or bath.
The price was right and while it doesn't have a heart rate monitor feature, personally I can either take that or leave that, should I need my heart rate it's fingers to the neck and count for 15 seconds. For a person starting out with a GPS watch, it is a good introduction to the type of watches out there. Perhaps it doesn't have the same features as a watch costing hundreds more, but that applies to anything anyways. I can see it being an important part of my running gear, as it will be just a regular feature on my wrist.