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Soleus GPS 1.0 $90 Running Watch In-Depth Review

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I had heard about the Soleus GPS 1.0 watch a few times over the course of the fall, but with how busy things have been, I just didn’t have the chance to hit up the folks from Soleus and give it a shot.  But back around Thanksgiving we got in contact and they sent me out a unit to try out.

I actually hadn’t planned to put together a review until after Christmas, but two things changed my mind.  First, the unit has exceeded my expectations.  I honestly didn’t expect much from the unit, and expected that it might be poorly executed on.  But in reality, its simplicity is astonishingly easy to use, and even more importantly – its accuracy is dead on.  Secondly, because the unit is simple and includes less features (hence why its $90…ok, officially it’s $99, but street is about $90), there’s less to write about.  As such, while this is an in-depth review, there’s just less compared to a $400 run watch.  And yet, that’s totally cool.  How cool?  Well, you’ve gotta read on to find out.

So, with that introduction, let me put up the usual notes about my review:

Like all my reviews, they tend to be pretty in depth (perhaps overly so) – but that’s just my trademark DC Rainmaker way of doing things.  Think of them more like reference guides than quick and easy summaries.  I try and cover every conceivable thing you might do with the device and then poke at it a bit more.  My goal is to leave no stone unturned – both the good and the bad.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular triathlete out there.  I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background (my day job), and thus I try and be as complete as I can.  But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out.  Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.

Unboxing:

The unit comes in a tidy little yellow and black box, complete with the ability to see if the watch in question still has a battery charge (not that it matters, because you’ll just charge it back up anyway):

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Once you open the outer shell, inside you’ll find the watch hanging out on its little plastic perch:

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After removing it, you’re down to the bare essentials:

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Inside you’ll find basically three things, two of which are important.  First up, is the watch itself:

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Then we’ve got the USB charging cable and clip.  This plugs into any USB port you find around your house.  If you lack USB ports around the house…well…we’ve probably got other issues.  The charging clip does not transfer data in any capacity to the unit – since as of this time the unit doesn’t support downloading of data (but we’ll talk about what’s coming down the line there in a bit).

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Then we’ve got the manual itself.  I haven’t really found a need for the manual as of yet, since really everything is so simple to use and self explanatory.  But if I did need it, it’s there for me.  With that, that’s all there is on the unboxing front – probably one of the quickest unboxings I’ve done!

To give you some context on size in comparison to another unit, I’ve strapped it on my wrist with the Garmin FR610:

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And here’s some shots of different perspectives of the watch, I thought the saying on the back was pretty funny.IMG_7449IMG_7458IMG_7451IMG_7457

Running:

When you first turn on the unit to go running it’ll begin a search for satellites.  Now this is the only portion of the unit that seems to lag a bit compared to its competitors.  On average I found that it took about 1-2 minutes for the unit to find satellites in clear sky.  This is in comparison to most Garmin/Timex units being well under 30 seconds with Hotfix technology.  Had it been summer I probably wouldn’t have noticed as much, but given it’s winter and 30*F or colder, you tend to notice these things.

Thus, my recommend as always is to simply place the watch in a windowsill as you get your shoes on, it’ll go ahead and find the satellites and you’ll be on your way.

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Once it has found satellites it’ll let you know the current battery level (in percentage) and then the current memory left.  As of this moment after 2.5 weeks of running I have 20 hours left of running time, though at the time of this picture I had 28 hours left:

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After that you can change through the five view modes.  Each mode has the current distance at the top, then the current activity time, and then the bottom field is changeable.  The bottom field can alternate between the following fields: Pace, Speed, Calories, Clock.

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For running you’ll likely just keep it on pace – since that’s the common display format for running, such as 7:30/mile, like below:

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For cycling, you’d likely use speed.  And, if you’ve been enjoying too many Christmas Cookies (like me), then perhaps calories is your best bet.  Calories just uses a simple running equation involving weight and distance.  Obviously this isn’t quite as accurate as some of the heart rate based algorithms, but for most individuals this gets you within the ballpark.  You’ll configure your weight, height, age and gender information via settings on the watch.

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Once you’ve started the unit and begun running the unit will immediately update your distance and pace progress.  I’ve found that the pace is smoothed a bit, which helps to remove any of the common GPS jumpiness that often results from instantaneous pace.  Based on my observation, I’d guess that a 10-second smoothing filter is applied to it, which is a reasonable number for most pacing situations.

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During runs I had set it to automatically create a lap marker every 1-mile.  You can change the autolap parameter for between .5 miles and 5 miles (.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, off).  Additionally, you can configure it to automatically alert you each lap – which simply means that it’ll beep.  When autolap is enabled it’ll go ahead and display the current lap time as you complete that lap.

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Note that if you switch the watch mode to kilometers (instead of miles), then all said information is in relation to kilometers instead of miles.  Thus metric instead of statue.  And of course, you can create a lap marker anytime you’d like merely by pressing the lap button.

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Note that since it’s colder out I’ve largely been using gloves – and I’ve had no problems using gloves with the buttons, not that I’d expect any issues.

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Once you stop the watch at the end of your run, you can hold the center button to save the run to the units memory.

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This allows you to later on pull up information within the run data (history) menu.  This menu allows you to drill into specifics about the run such as start/stop time, total run distance, pace, speed and time, as well as average speed information.

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You can retrieve the same information for each of the laps that you specified as well.

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Finally, in addition to the GPS based running mode, the unit also contains a simple chrono mode, which you can use for basic timing as needed without the GPS enabled.

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Cycling:

While the unit isn’t designed for cycling, it does work just fine for that purpose.  Now, because it’s in a watch form factor, it’s not quite as visible as most handle-bar mountable bike computers.  But, you can easily combine it with either the cheap Garmin or Polar mounts (usually about $10) and be on your way.

In my case, I had the Garmin rubber wrist watch mount handy, so I just wrapped it around that.

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When you switch modes (running to cycling), you’re merely changing the display field options to be speed (MPH/KPH) instead of pace.  Thus, you can pretty much do so at any time.  Officially there’s no cycling mode or running mode, it’s just changing the view.

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I had no problems reading the numbers from my seat, with it mounted on my handlebars.  But if small and skinny numbers are tough to read for you, I’d imagine that this would probably be fairly difficult to read from a distance.  Of course, this isn’t designed nor advertised as a cycling watch, so I can’t exactly fault them for that.

As a timepiece (regular watch):

The unit is easily small enough to function like a regular watch, and given its battery life, using it as a day to day watch is completely within reason.

The unit supports multiple saved time zones, and you can easily swap back and forth with a single button press on the view button while in watch mode.  At the top of the unit it’ll display which time zone it’s in – such as ‘T1 US-E’ – indicating ‘Time zone 1 US Eastern’, or in the case of London – ‘T2 LON’.  It doesn’t have a lot of space to work with, but it’s pretty easy to understand what its trying to tell you.

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In addition, the unit also supports the creation of five alarms.  Each alarm can be configured for one of the two time zones that you’ve set.

While the alarm beeping sound is loud enough that I can hear it anywhere within the room, though I don’t believe it would wake me from a deep sleep.

Backlight:

The unit includes a indiglo-style backlight that easily illuminates the display at night.  The backlight illumination time is not configurable, but does stay on for 12 seconds upon press of the backlight button (lower right button).

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The contrast level is high enough that you can easily make out the numbers on night runs, I had no problem and about 75% of my runs with the unit have been at night.  You can also adjust the contract level within the watch, based on your preferences.

Charging and Battery Life:

The unit features a USB charging cable, as shown below.  The charging cable clips onto the watch using waterproof connectors on the back of the watch, very similar to most watches in the market today.  Note that you shouldn’t attempt to charge outdoors in the water however, I’m merely noting that the connector pads on the watch itself are waterproof.  So no showers with the laptop, got it?

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As far as battery life goes in my testing, I’ve been really impressed in that my 2.5 weeks since having the watch, I have yet to charge the unit.

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In fact, I never even bothered charging it after it arrived and I unboxed it.  It just continues to chug along, right now at about 20% battery left as I write this.  I’m running four times a week with run length being between 40 and 90 minutes.  The rest of the time it just sits there and displays the time, date and day of week.

Software/Downloading:

As noted earlier, at this time the Soleus GPS 1.0 unit does not have any mechanism to download workouts from the watch to your computer (nor upload routes).  After all, that’s in part what allows the device to be as inexpensive as it is.

However, I did ask if this was something that could be possible down the road – and they noted that they are working on an accessory that would enable this scenario.  The current timeline is ‘Early 2012’, so it’s not yet there today, but I think this could really open up the market and immediately reduce prices of many of the common competitors (Garmin, Timex, Suunto, etc…).  The price gap currently is about $90 (Soleus) to $180ish (Garmin FR110/FR210/Timex Run Trainer) – a lot of difference there for the only substantial feature on the Garmin side being downloading and heart rate monitor (and footpod for the 210/TRT).  On the Timex side, you’ve got quite a few more features though beyond that on the Run Trainer.

If they can price the accessory at a reasonable price (i.e. $20-$30) – and if the data recording rate is sufficient, they could enable some pretty interesting scenarios.  We’ll have to wait and see here.

Also on the radar is a new model coming in February (the 3.0 unit) that will include both GPS and HRM capabilities.  You can see that they are likely using the same display for both units, since the Heart icon is visible on the upper right portion of the screen.  I also noted that there are some marking such as ‘in zone’ along the bottom – thus I suspect there’s plenty more in store here…

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Comparison Chart:

The Soleus GPS 1.0 doesn’t really stack up in price to anyone, since it’s nearest competitor is twice its cost.  That said, it most closely stacks up in features against the Garmin FR110 and Garmin FR210, as well as the Timex Run Trainer.  Additionally, from a price standpoint you could consider the Garmin FR305 – though that is no longer being made (but still quite widely available).  And because I already had the info in the table, I left the Nike+ GPS and Motoactv watch on there as well.  It’s like one big party now! (Click to zoom).

Function/FeatureSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 10th, 2014 @ 7:01 amNew Window
Price$90.00$99$169$150.00$150.00
Product Announcement DateAug 6, 2014May 5, 2014JAN 25, 2010
Actual Availability/Shipping DateLate SEPT 2014May/June 2014JUN 23, 2010
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYes, but no uploadingYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBNoUSBUSBUSB
WaterproofingIPX750m50 metersIPX750 Meters
Battery Life20 hoursGPS: 6 hours8 hours20 hours15 hours
Recording IntervalPreset1-secondSmartPreset2-Second
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoNoNoNoNo
Quick Satellite ReceptionOkTBDGoodOkGreat
AlertsSound/VisualSound/VisualSound/VisualSound/VisualSound/Visual
Backlight GreatnessOKTBDOKOKGood
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoNoYesNoNo
ConnectivitySoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingNoNoNoNoNo
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoNoNoNoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Designed for cyclingBarelyNoBarelyBarelyYes
Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsN/AN/AN/AN/ANo
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFN/AN/AN/AN/ANo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoN/ANoNoYes
RunningSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Designed for runningNoYesYesNoYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)NoNoYesNoYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNoNo
VO2Max EstimationNoNoNoNoNo
Race PredictorNoNoNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoNoNoNoNo
Run/Walk ModeNoYesYesNoNo
SwimmingSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Designed for swimmingNoNoNO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)NoNo
TriathlonSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoNoYes
Multisport modeN/AN/AN/AN/AYes
WorkoutsSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoNoNoNoYes
On-unit interval FeatureNoYesNoNoYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoNoNoNo
FunctionsSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Auto Start/StopNoNoYesNoYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoPace AlertsNoYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoYesNoNo
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNonoNo
GeocachingNoNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoNoNo
NavigateSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNoNoYes (Barely)
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNoNoYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNoNo
Back to startNoNoNoNoYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoNoNo
SensorsSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Altimeter TypeNoneN/ANoneNoneGPS
Compass TypeNoneN/AN/ANoneGPS
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleNoNoYesNoYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoNoYesNoYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoNoYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoYesNoYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoYes
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
Di2 Shifting IntegrationNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsNoNoNoNoNo
SoftwareSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
PC ApplicationN/ANoGTCSoleus AppTraining Peaks Agent
Web ApplicationN/ANoGarmin ConnectNoTraining Peaks
Phone AppNoNoGarmin Connect MobileNoTraining Peaks
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoYesYes
PurchaseSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Amazon LinkLinkN/ALinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programN/ALinkLinkN/A
DCRainmakerSoleus 1.0 GPSTimex Run x20 GPSGarmin Forerunner 15Soleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global Trainer
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Summary:

For those looking to simply know (accurately) how far they’ve gone and how fast they’re going – this is without question the perfect watch.  It delivers on those two requirements easily, but also does so in a manner that’s easy to use.  The autolap functionality is handy as well, which is a common request amongst runners.  The ability to swap it between running (pace) and cycling (speed) mode makes it also ideal for those who are primarily runners, but dabble in cycling.

If I was Garmin, Timex or Polar, I’d be rather concerned about this watch – and what the company plans to do in the future.  Right now they’ve undercut the Garmin FR110 by about $90-$100 (half the price).  Sure, the FR110 does heart rate – and that’s valuable, but I’m also realistic that many folks don’t use or care about heart rate monitoring – they just want to know how far and how fast.  In the same way that all the folks who are using iPhone apps like RunKeeper largely don’t use the compatible HR straps.  Currently the price difference between RunKeeper ($0) and the cheapest currently made Garmin GPS unit is $180 (roughly).  This just made the price gap to a level that becomes much more acceptable – an impulse buy device of sorts.  Sure, the non-GPS FR60/FR70 ($90 w/o footpod) are great little watches, but many just want the ease of use that comes with a GPS enabled unit.

Therefor, I see the Soleus GPS 1.0 unit as a very solid option for folks just looking to get the basics from a GPS standpoint.  There’s really nothing I don’t like about it, aside from the obvious inability to download workouts – but that’s on the way.  If I had to nitpick, I’d say that the audible alerts could be a bit louder, and the GPS satellite reception could be faster. But as noted, from an accuracy standpoint, I found it astonishingly accurate – within .03 miles over the course of pretty much any of my runs, from a few miles to 12 miles.  This was comparing it against a few different Garmin units that I’ve previously tested accuracy on.

To wrap things up, you really can’t go wrong here, it’s a great starter GPS watch.

Found this review useful?  Here’s the super easy no-pain way you can help support future reviews!  Read on…

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.

The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).  As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.  If you found this review helpful in your purchasing decision, you can support future reviews like this by using any of the Amazon links (basically just the unit).  If you’re overseas, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

Thanks for reading!  And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.  Further, you can always e-mail me at the address on the sidebar.  And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below.  Thanks!

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful.  These guides are all listed on this page here.

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97 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Nice review, thanks for all.

    Xorga

    Reply
  2. Thanks for a great review, as always. I noted that you claim that most Garmin devices get their GPS connection sorted out within 30 seconds of turning the watch on. This is not really my experience. My 310XT usually needs at least 2 minutes, and only in very rare cases does it take as little as 30 seconds. In fact, I doubt that my 310XT is any faster than the 305's I've seen. Living in Sweden, 2 minutes start-up time can be quite frustrating with temperatures sub 0C (or sub 32F) most of the time this time of the year. Would you say there is something wrong with my watch? I probably have time left on the warranty window, so I might as well return it if you think there might be something wrong with it.

    By the way, I have also tried the watch in continental Europe and Africa, and it will behave similarly there. Also, the firmware is up to date according to Garmin Connect.

    Sorry about a terribly lengthy post. Again, great blog.

    Thanks,
    /T

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Great review! Searching around on Amazon today I found a GPS and heart rate enabled watch for $99, you can see it at link to pulsewatches.net, just wondering if you've heard of it and if you think it may be any good?
    Thanks again

    Reply
  4. @Tommy I had that problem as well, it kind of works better for me if I leave it still on the floor outside for 10/30s unti it catch the signal if I do my warm-up on my hand (ie: moving) it will wait forever until it gots the satellite.

    Reply
  5. If it had an interval timer (not workouts, just a "beep every xxx minutes" one), it'd be a perfect gift for the new runner who might be doing walk/run and want to know distance, but doesn't want the complexity of the Garmin. And yes, I have someone in mind :)

    Having said that - putting TZ on the main screen? Should have left it blank, developers. Its confusing, and who needs that information at a glance? Just because you have segments doesn't mean you should fill them.

    Reply
  6. Interesting review on the Soleus, but I think the price difference to the 210 is well worth the extra money. The Soleus doesn't upload to a computer, takes twice the time to aquire a signal, doesn't do intervals or footpod (no cadence no indoors) or HRM or ANT+ scales, and doesn't have a very clean looking display (IMHO). You also mention in the review that it does pace, but can you choose between current pace, lap pace and average pace?

    If I NEEDED to stay under $100 then you could argue the FR60 is just as accurate with a calibrated footpod, gives you computer uploading and has more features than either the Soleus and 210 put together.

    Reply
  7. Tim

    You've got the Forerunner 110 as being able to follow a gps course / waypoint... is that correct?

    I was merely looking to review my knowledge of the 110 vs 210 in the chart and that one surprised me.

    Reply
    • Cathy replied

      I really appreciate your VERY thorough reviews. I was nearly sold on this Soleus (or, the updated version now that it's April 2014) but the comments below seems to counter your positive experience. Like Ryan S. (to whom it doesn't appear you replied) I'm looking for a watch that shows an accurate CURRENT speed as I'm needed "tech support" on finding my "gears" both in training and races. Ease of use and price point are important too. I'm not too concerned about having an HR monitor or down-loading. As a working mom of 3 kids, I'm lucky to get my training done and maybe stretch out a bit before I'm back "on duty." I'd very much appreciate your prompt reply as I need to buy a watch last month : )

      Reply
  8. Aaron

    The bigger picture is that we're getting quite close to the point where GPS enabled watch tech will be a non-story. As this continues to commoditize, for any watch over say... $50 the question will become - why DOESN'T it have a GPS? And as MOTOACTV showed, wireless data transmission is coming next.

    Reply
  9. @Chmouel, thanks. It does help trying to stand still, and for some reason I've never been clever enough to actually place the watch on the ground while warming up. Will give it a shot!

    Reply
  10. Ray, do you think you could add the FR110 to the comparison image? My wife (and probably others) will be choosing between it and the 110. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Thank you for the great review on this watch, as well as all the other great reviews that have led to many purchases by me.

    I noticed that there wasn't anything on the waterproofing of this watch. Now, I understand using this for swimming is out of the question, but is it resistant to sweat and rain if one gets caught in a spring shower?

    Reply
  12. hartley

    Another great review, Ray. Thanks.

    The uploading of data becomes very important. Many people working for companies these days have fitness plans where they can earn points toward insurance discounts. In order to get credit for such workouts, the run data has to be uploaded to a site like mapmyfitness.com in some way. So, I look forward to seeing the next version that makes uploading even basic data possible.

    My guess is the price point my go up a bit for this added functionality.

    Reply
  13. @Harrison_Z, if you look at the comparison table you will see that the Soleus watch is waterproof class IPX7. That means you shouldn't swim with it, but any amount of sweat or rain should be perfectly fine.

    IPX7 is the same standard as most Garmin watches (except 310XT, 910XT and potentially other multisport watches).

    Reply
  14. i've got both FR110 and Soleus 1.0. i prefer using the Soleus. it acquires GPS faster than my FR110 (might be arguable) the battery life lasts longer (and you can turn off the GPS manually) it shows the current speed/pace (compared to FR110's average pace) and it's cheaper.
    if you don't need the following:
    - heart rate monitor
    - download data to PC (you can copy the data it manually)
    - maps to show where you've been
    then Soleus is a very good option.

    Reply
  15. Thanx so much for the comprehensive review, mine is being shipped as we speak!

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    If you get a City Sports Friends and Family 25% off Coupon through Sunday you can purchase the Timex Run Trainer for +/- $100 after the $50 rebate from Timex - puts it in the same price Range as the Soleus GPS 1.0 with lots more features but a bigger watch.

    Reply
  17. My Garmin 305 takes a lot longer than 30 seconds to find the requisite satellites and certainly doesn't last 2.5 weeks without a charge...that said, I do like the watch even if its much bigger than the Soleus. I look forward to the next iterations of the Soleus...one may replace my Garmin.

    Reply
  18. I've had this watch for about 2 weeks. I am really impressed with the battery life and the ability to wear it as a regular watch.
    However, I am not enamored with the Av. Pace calculation at the end of my runs.

    Every single run has an avg pace calculation that is way off...almost embarrassingly.

    For example I had a 6.1 mile run in 48:19, yet the AV pace displayed was 8:00. All my runs have been like this with the avg pace 10-15 seconds/mile slower.

    I know you can plug the number into training software, but then it makes the avg pace useless.

    Reply
  19. I have that Boston shirt! :)

    Very interested in checking this out - we carry Soleus at my running store, and my Garmin is getting "near the end" ... thanks for the review!

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    I've had mine for a week and the average pace is off 5-7 seconds. Same problem Mike the Harrier wrote about.

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    DC Rainmaker,
    I noticed in one of your photo's you ran 12.08 miles in 1:27:07 and the watch showed average pace as 7:30. That is wrong average pace would be 7:12.

    Reply
  22. So are these paces occasionally wrong or consistantly? Are they a big deal to the guy who is more interested in accurate milage? Seriously, lol, I'm a slow runner, accurate milage w/total time is more important to me...

    Reply
  23. Based on what I've seen, the avg-pace shown at the end is INCLUSIVE of stoppage time (stoplights in my case). That's a good point, I had noticd that along the way but forgot to mention it.

    Seems like a minor bug, one that oddly enough others have made in the past in various products (Timex, Training Peaks, and one other I can't remember that I saw).

    Reply
  24. Nice review. Thank you.
    Does the watch support interval training?

    Reply
  25. Anonymous

    This review was wonderful. I am definitely using my christmas money to purchase this.

    -an xc runner

    Reply
  26. Xandra

    Thank you so much for your very thorough review. I took a lot of what you said into consideration when purchasing my first GPS running watch and for me the Soleus sounds like a great buy!

    Reply
  27. Jon

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply
  28. Jon

    Ray,

    Great review, as always. Did a quick Google search and found that they are taking pre-orders on the 2.0 and 3.0 at Holabird Sports. Just an FYI!

    2.0 Here: link to holabirdsports.com

    3.0 Here:
    link to holabirdsports.com

    Thanks,
    Jon

    Reply
  29. Fantastic review -- thanks so much! I'm really leaning toward this, since my Garmin is now about 100 years old and on its last legs. Just trying to decide if the display is clear enough for me, but I think I'd get used to it. Anyway, I really appreciate your hard work!

    Reply
  30. Hi, Thank you for the great review with all of your information! I do have a question though, I have been unable to find out how to reset my timers. It seems as if my watch is constantly running, even though i push stop. My battery is only lasting a day. Any help would be appreciated!

    thank you!

    Reply
  31. Not seeing the accuracy here. I just got one and tested it out on a 2.02 mile course (according to Google Maps - MapQuest says the same course is 2.01mi) and the Soleus GPS 1.0 said it was 1.88mi! I'll try again this weekend on a longer run, but if it is 5-7% off on that, back it goes. I've reached out to Soleus to see if this is "normal" or if I might have a defective unit.

    Reply
  32. Anonymous

    Thank you for taking the time to review the watch. My only question is can you turn it off? Mine gets bumped around and the gps likes to turn on if that happens!. I used to have the Garmin and it had an on/off button. Thanks again!

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    Hi, here is another GPS,HR product under 100$. It is very difficult to name it coz you can found them under many rebranded names such as:
    link to conrad.de
    link to amzn.com
    link to amzn.com
    link to amazon.co.uk

    Really strange but the main point is some of my friends are using them above a year and are really satisfied.

    Reply
  34. Anonymous

    I'm new to running with a GPS watch so I'm not great at figuring out all of the common sense aspects of the watch right away. How do you clear the Soleus after a run?

    Thanks for the great review!

    Reply
  35. Apologies if this is a really stupid question, but I have never used a GPS watch before....

    Can the Soleus (or other watches) help navigate by giving me latitude / longitude points of where I am? Is that what you mean on the "Follow GPS course" on your table? Or does that mean that you can pre-load a route, and it tells you to go left / right etc in the same that a SatNav does?

    Thanks for your help, excellent review of this product.

    Reply
  36. Wow, if the average pace is inaccurate so is your review. If someone wants the basics that is about as basic as you get.

    Reply
  37. Hi Karthik-
    RE: Interval training

    No, it does not.

    Hi Jon-
    RE: New variant of watch down the road

    Thanks for the heads up!

    Hi Holly-
    RE: Can't stop

    Hmm, I haven't seen that, I'd definitely give support a ring - sounds like something not working.

    Hi Ed-
    RE: Accuracy

    Would love to hear back if they resolved it.

    Hi Klute-
    RE: Follow GPS course

    This refers to the ability to create a course, usually on a desktop or web software application, and then follow the course - similiar to printing out directions from Google Maps. Many watches support breadcrumb trail following, basically little dots on the screen. ONly a handful of devices show actual roads/mapping. In either case, Soleus does neither.

    Hi Unknown-
    RE: Pace accurate

    As noted in my comment above, they selected average pace to include stops. This is actually somewhat common in the industry, with most watches offering both average pace included with stops, and without stops. Had it been my decision, I probably would have done average pace w/o stops - but, I didn't design the watch. I'm not sure how that makes the review inaccurate, it is what it is.

    Thanks all!

    Reply
    • clara replied

      hi,
      I like this watch but I can't put the time.... There's United States and London, but I want Canada!! on the box, it is written that there are 106 preset city codes...where??? please help me...

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The full list of city codes to enter is located in the third PDF file here: link to soleusrunning.com

      Reply
  38. Anonymous

    supereddies@aol.com
    Eddie
    Great review. But { there is allways a but} i am new to this tech age and also running. all i want to do with the watch is see how far i have run and how long it took me.Unfortunatley i have not got a clue which button / buttons to press, i have tried to use it a couple of times i know the watch is working ok but dont know if i am using it correctly, please help Thanks

    Reply
  39. Hi,

    I am new to the technology and this is the first GPS enabled watch I bought. How do I clear the laps data. Can I change the time shown on the watch?(I live in India)
    Like Eddie's post of 29th Jan,can you tell us as to how to start the watch, just to find out how many miles I ran & in what time and what my lap time is

    Thanks

    Surya

    Reply
  40. My Garmin 305 just up and died (and efforts to revive it have, so far, been unsuccessful). So based on your very thorough review, I just ordered a Soleus! I wish that there was a woman's version of the watch; I have tiny wrists, and every GPS watch I've owned has been really big on me. But that is a minor quibble.

    Is the Soleus your daily "go-to" watch on your runs?

    Reply
  41. Hi Rhea-

    Because I record all my data and upload it to a computer, it isn't my primary watch day to day. It's still a great watch for many, but for me, I desire the ability to have data including heart rate and cadence - neither of which the unit does.

    Enjoy!
    -Ray

    Reply
  42. Anonymous

    Hi,

    I purchased the Soleus GPS watch and after a week of trouble I am sending it back. The GPS is extremely slow, ranging from 20 to 45 minutes to connect. This is no exageration. I have run with my run club friends who have everything from a FR110 to the FR610 and their watches connected wihtin minutes. Perhaps I have a dud.

    Today I walked to work (20 minutes), again the watch could not connect to the GPS. It just constantly searches.

    Someone asked about clearing data in an earlier post. This is not intuitively done on this watch (i.e. reseting numbers to 0 to start a new run).

    The selling point is the price, but really this is not new technology and the price is about right. Unfortunately, I really wanted this watch to work, but will have to return it.

    ps; this is just my experience.

    Reply
  43. Hi Anon-

    That's definitely not normal. I'd hit up the Soleus support folks and have them swap it out. If mine did that, I would have likely thrown it in front of a moving bus.

    No worries though, I'm sure they can get you a new one pretty quickly.

    Good luck!

    Reply
  44. My question is around Trail Running. Any opionion of the Soleus or any other GPS to work best on trails. I plan to purchase early spring and track my local trails before the leaves get on the trees? My budgeted max spend is $200.

    Reply
  45. Hello Rainmaker, Have you heard or tested this yet?

    link to soleusrunning.com

    Reply
  46. Anonymous

    How do you reset the timer to 0? It just keeps going for me.

    Reply
  47. Anonymous

    What does "Lap Full" mean and how do I delete that?

    Reply
  48. Anonymous

    Thanks for the helpful review. How do you reset? The instructions that come with the watch only mention stop and save functions.

    Reply
  49. Anonymous

    you can reset by holding down the stop/save button, it then should show something along the lines of "save file 001" then press enter/light (a couple of times), then it should all reset to 0.

    This however bizzrely does not work everytime!

    Overall, for me a very average watch; I think it is actually overpriced. It has caused me more frustration than joy. The gps function is quite poor. Dont buy it if you havent already.

    Reply
  50. Mary

    I have this watch but wondering if i'm at a stoplight can I push a button to stop & then start back up after I cross? Didn't know if pressing stop w/out holding & saving will allow me to start back up?

    Reply
  51. Very thorough review... thanks.
    I'd been happy with my Soleus throughout my training, taking the advice to put it outside to pick up the satellite while I put on my shoes... and brushed my teeth, and warmed up on the bike, and....
    It really let me down at the start at my first big race with it.... too many people accessing the same satellite. My Soleus wasn't able to pick up the satellite until about 20 minutes into the race... a total of about 35 minutes since it had started searching.

    Reply
  52. Ryan

    I was just wondering if and how you can set it to average pace in run mode. I find in regular pace mode it jumps around a lot and on long runs I just want the average pace to see where I am at. Any ideas

    Reply
  53. busterm2

    I think that the clock keeps running when you stop is good as that is what happens when you run a race and stop for water, etc. Your Start to Finish Total Time including stops is the time that they use to see if you won an award. I know when I stop for water it takes 10 sec. almost everytime to gulp down 6 swallows of water. I take that into account when I review my splits to see how I ran. Thanks for the review.

    Reply
  54. Just wanted to say, thanks for this review! I just found your site and this is super helpful.

    Reply
  55. Anonymous

    anyone have any idea how to delete a run after you have completed it as well as how to delete a saved run?

    Reply
  56. Laura

    Hi
    I just got this watch and I had it all set up and ready to go in seconds! I was shocked at how easy it was to set up without even ready the directions. went for a 20 minute stroll around the block and was so excited to see that my distance and calories burned were displayed. The gps only took about a minute to find a signal and i live in the middle of nowhere so I was happy.
    the only thing i'm not crazy about is that i have very small wrists and the watch looked a little big on me, but it works great and for the price i think i can live with that.

    thanks so much for your review it helped a ton

    Laura

    Reply
  57. Anonymous

    Just found your site looking at reviews for something with which to replace my Soleus 1.0 (I bought the Garmin 210). I thought you might like to know what happened to my Soleus after about 6 months of use. I liked it very much; it's true that sometimes it was very slow to pick up a signal, and it's true that a couple of times, it simply refused to do so. But I adjusted-- then I started doing a lot of hot weather running. The rubber backing on the case began to perish, leaving sticky black residue on my wrist. I assume there was something about the sweat/ sunscreen combo that caused the problem. I did contact Soleus; they said they hadn't heard of the problem before, and suggested I take it back to the store where I bought it. The store said they couldn't take it back, as I'd had it for 6 months. The watch was perfect for me in many ways-- it was small, simple, and cheap-- but in the end, it wasn't worth it.

    Reply
  58. Anonymous

    the watch takes average pace from all the miles he ran jot the average it should be.. so when you see the picture with 12 miles in about 1:28 rounded of the avg. Pace is decided not on what it should be for the time but what YOU ran so if the pace is off by a few seconds then maybe most of you miles were slower than others

    Reply
  59. Marathon Mom

    Hi Ray,

    I don't usually post on folks' blogs and quite honestly read them. However, I've been searching for exactly the right gps watch for me and what I want it to do. This search has brought me to your blog. First you do an awesome job of explaining each and every detail of them and I appreciate that. Now, to the reason I posted a comment. So long story short, well actually probably long. I've been running a few years, my husband and I shared a Garmin 305 for a year or so and it got complicated, as you can imagine. I decided it was time for my own. I simply wanted one that tracked distance, CURRENT pace and total time oh and beeped at each mile(that's my walk break on long runs). So I began my search and decided the Garmin 110 would be the perfect match. Wrong. It did it all BUT current pace. It did give the average lap(ea.mile) which is helpful, but it's very important that I have the actually current pace I am running at that moment. If I'm acutally "racing" in a race, I need to know what I'm doing, anyway. I have my own little way of gauging that most folks dont go along with. To each their own. After reading your reviews I think I've narrowed it down to the Soleus 1.0 or Timex Marathoner. Also I stumbled upon another that seems to have potential. The New Balance GPS Runner. I didn't see a review of that one. Ok with all that said what would be your recommendation. So sorry for the long windedness. I've had to resort to sharing with the hubs again and I don't care for the situation. Any info is greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  60. ity23

    Can this watch b used for indoor activites(Zumba,kick boxing, spinning) showing kcal burned & distance? Thats why I bought, Im not a runner yet.

    Reply
  61. No, it doesn't support a heart rate strap (required for indoor activities), or any other way to track indoor use (like a footpod, etc.). Sorry!

    Reply
  62. Hey, so I'm going to be buying a gps watch for the coming cross country season, and I was just wondering whether Or not having an altimeter in a GPS watch makes it less accurate. I could care less if it told me what my height differential is, as long as that didn't affect whether or not the distance was accurate. The way I see it, wouldn't measuring distance without taking altitude into account be like measuring the distance between point a and point b without including any turns?

    Reply
  63. No, nothing appreciable. I've never seen any issues/differences between the watches that have barometric altimeters and those that don't when it comes to distance accuracy. Even while wearing multiple watches on routes that are pure climbing (10K+ in a day).

    Reply
  64. Anonymous

    Nov 3, 2012.
    For any U.S. folks, I saw this watch in a Radio Shack today for $70.

    Reply
  65. Anonymous

    If you go to dailysteals.com today and today only, you can get this watch (Columbia brand version) for $49.95 + $5 shipping. Not a bad deal.

    Reply
  66. Tzimkas Theodoros

    Great review! I have only one question to make, because I'm ready to buy it!
    When you say "Finally, in addition to the GPS based running mode, the unit also contains a simple chrono mode, which you can use for basic timing as needed without the GPS enabled."
    In the chrono mode, is it able to show splits? Obviously manual by holding the top right button. But can it be happened?

    Reply
  67. Cookie Monster

    Thank you for the complete in-depth review of the watch. I am new to running, and have been in a few 5k races with more already registered for. I wanted a GPS watch to help train and use in racing and this watch seems to fit that bill! Until I prove to my wife that running won't be just a "fad" She doesn't approve of a high priced piece, so we are ordering this watch(which is now only $59 through their site).
    My only question is "why is the time it takes to aquire GPS satellite's so important?" My question is because I wonder if I turn it on does it start tracking my stats right away? Or only when I hit "start"? If I turn it on, and as it is searching I do my pre-run warm-ups/stretching will it start tracking time and distance? Or can I move around and it not track anything until the race or run actually starts?
    Once again, thanks for the review, as a person only interested in my time/pace/distance, this review made my decision a no-brainer. I have an app on my I-pod I use for tracking my runs anyway!

    Reply
  68. Mark B

    Just received the 1.0 version as a gift. I charged the unit overnight and now it doesn't work at all. Display shows date and time but none of the buttons work at all. Tried the required reset but still not working. Does anyone know how I can contact the manufacturer of this product?

    Reply
  69. Megan

    This watch is not the 1.0. Looks like the 3.0....

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I can assure you, it's the GPS 1.0. The GPS 3.0 didn't even exist when I wrote this (nor did the 2.0).

      Today, they have the 'GPS FIT 1.0', which is their latest entrant, replacing the 1.0 but really only offering bigger letters than the original 1.0.

      At the end of the day, all three watches look identical from the outside and have nearly identical functionality. The download cable is what takes the 1.0 to the 2.0 (allowing for data download), and the addition of the HR strap from the 2.0 to the 3.0.

      Reply
  70. Alex S

    I have a naive question to ask you: can Garmin 610 and Soleus 1.0 set automatically time, minutes and second all around the globe, if I travel to, for example Falkands Island? And can it timepieces set automatically summer time and vinter time?
    Best regards and thanks for a good independent reviews.
    From Copenhagen (Denmark).
    Alex S

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The FR610 will automatically set the time based on location, but the Soleus requires you to manually set the time.

      Reply
  71. Jacqueline Brown

    Hi, I found your blog site after many visits to the London (UK) running shop from where I bought the watch (on sale in January at a great reduced price) and since then have been struggling to get a good reading each time I run. Am training for a marathon in April so I really want to know if my pace is good for my proposed time. It seems to be hit and miss on the chrono /distance/pace all working. Out of many runs only 50 per cent have been successfully recorded. This could be my ineptitude... however I press 1) GPS, search signal. Get signal, press
    2) View button, selet Chrono/Dist/Pace
    3) Press the Start button -- top right. Sometimes I don't do this.
    The watch whizzes through the chrono time on the top, then I don't see the km distance I am running, then the all-important pace. At least, not every time.
    I am getting a little frustrated and on the verge of taking it back and replacing it for a Garmin, although fearful that might be more involved in its operation.
    Help !!! Thanks

    Reply
  72. Jack Guthrie

    Brilliantly trailed review, thanks. BUT, like others (inc. the Londoner on 7th March), it's often frustrating for me, a newcomer to GPS watches, with simple tasks, e.g., starting, stopping,restarting, saving, etc. Could you please give detailed instructions on these. In particular, can you confirm the starting procedure, i.e., (1) log on to the satellite then (2) select "run" via the "mode" button (although "run" mode is supposed to be selected automatically), then (3) select "Chrono/distance/pace" via the "view" button and (4) press "start".

    For people like me, who are only interested in time and distance, there appears to be too much information and hence much more expensive software. Is there not a simpler GPS on the market? Many thanks again.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The Garmin FR10 is pretty much the cleanest/simplest watch on the market today. A touch bit more expensive ($129 retail, though $115 at Clever Training), but worth it in my opinion.

      Reply
  73. Leslie Menard

    Not Liking the Soleus. Takes too long to turn on, then shuts off if not engaged in less than 15 minutes. Can never figure out how to clear/delete days once it's full

    Reply
  74. Eva

    I was in doubts but definetely made a decision after reading your thoroughly useful review. Everything so well explained and detalied. I'm a beginner to running so I wasn't into spending too much money, but I think this one will make the trick for me. Can't wait to get my Soleus GPS 1.0 at home and start using it asap.

    Reply
  75. Schiff

    My charging cable broke and i was looking on the soleus website and i see that theres two different cable options. So if i get the 30 dollar data transfer cable instead of the 10 dollar regular charging cable, will i be able to upload my workouts to the computer?

    Reply
  76. Bostjan

    Hello, nice to have reviews like this. Although i have an old Polar H3 still working and dont really like this gadgets and like training without anything, i decided to have a go with sth...but not sure what is right for me. So if anybody can help me, i would appreciate it. So run and bike (mountain biking, routes saving-so i guess altitude, elevation is important); GPS so i can upload and use with google maps or sth, real pace when running, current speed, distance, lap timer so i can run for instance on 360meters stadion and have the results of each lap (i have seen that some has sth like auto lap only from400m), time and alarm. So was looking Soleus 3.0 and garmin 110 or 210, but not sure anymore what is with this current pace thing, dont even know if this watches has manual lap timer or what, can be used to see the route had been with mountain bike on Maps. Maybe even rcx5 from polar, i guess -no elevation- means that suitable more for "city" flat training, not in the nature when want to see in maps. I really like its size though. Soo best budget gadget that could do all this? Gps download and maps, lap timer, heart rate monitor and real pace? :)...thx for reading and writing ;)

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      I'd go with the FR210 over the FR110. But if you don't care about HR data, then I'd actually go with the FR10 instead.

      That said, you won't get barometric altimeter data from any of them, but you will get it post-ride/run on Garmin Connect.

      For HRM, then look at the FR210 or the Timex Run Trainer 2.0. On the Polar side, you can look at the Polar RC3.

      Reply
  77. Ryan S

    Hello,

    Many people have commented here about the average speed being inaccurate. Is this because they have stopped running? Have you worn the Soleus at the same time with another watch? If so, has the information been similiar?

    Is this the best GPS watch for around 100, in your opinion? I wouldn't mind spending up to 150$.

    I need the watch to:
    - Display CURRENT speed
    - Show me the pace each mile was ran at, after the fact
    -And showing average pace would be nice too, but current is more important

    Based on what I've read, the watch does all of these. Am I correct?

    Thanks for a fantastic article.

    Reply
  78. RJ

    Awesome review by the way! You've mentioned that its waterproofing level is only IPX7, but why does the manufacturer's website claim that it's 30m water resistant?
    link to soleusrunning.com

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      That model is the Fit, which is a slightly (by slightly, I mean barely) updated version compared to the 1.0 reviewed above. If you're looking at the 1.0, I'd just get the FIT, it just does a few UI tweaks, adds better waterproofing and includes the upload cable I talk about (the older 1.0 didn't).

      Enjoy!

      Reply
  79. c Taylor

    The GPS Fit 1.0 is on woot.com for $57.99!

    Reply
  80. stavros baverstock

    Hi all,ive been using this watch for a few months now and i'm beginning to have a few doubts;

    Ive done several races and the GPS seems inaccurate - it always says you've run more than you have. I've compared this to other runners' watches and this watch always is more. I did this in a 10 mile, half marathon and marathon (where it recorded 27.2 miles!!). In the marathon the pace was all over the place until mile 4. I can't use the informaiton as I don't know what is accuate. i all races ive done the watch's mile markers have been ahead of the course's mile markers.

    The pacing is basic. it seems to work in bands (8;27, 8:34, 8:41 etc). if you drop pace or pick up pace just a little it will only show the the next band. so if your pace is 8:27 and you speed up a litttle it will tell you your pace is 8:20 - there is nothing in between any of these bands - that is it will never tell you that are running at 8:23 pace for example.
    These 'pace bands' are linked to the speed bands - e.g. 9:13 pace is 6.5mph, 9:21 pace is 6.4 mph etc.

    I suppose the problem is that while training you find in a race that you're not quite at the level you thought you were and trying to pace during a race becomes difficult.

    It was great to start with but I think it's time to move on to a more reliable watch. the garmin FR10, which fellow runners have, seems more accurate on the GPS tracking. So this might be the option at this price range.

    Reply
  81. stavros baverstock

    it's a fair point and I see what you're saying - even so when I run with people who have Garmin watches (as opposed to my Soleus 1.0) my watch always has longer distance in it depsite the fact we've run virtually together.
    Thanks for your links as it will make my running more efficient in future - in theory anyway.

    Reply
  82. Kathleen

    I notice this review is a few years old, does this watch (or another version of it) have the ability to download runs onto your computer now? All I really want is; distance, pace, timer, and download when done.

    Reply
  83. max

    hello
    how do I get the watch off indoor mode to outdoor...it seems to automatically default to indoor and the pace function doesnt seem to work in this mode.
    Cheers
    Max

    Reply
  84. Brian

    I noticed your comparison chart has the Soleus 1.0 at a whopping 20 hours of battery life. Is that using the GPS? It's far too short for standby (which you say is 2-3 months). If you could clarify, that would be terrific. I'm an ultra marathoner who is looking for maximum battery life when it comes to tracking :)

    Reply
  85. Michael

    I just got this watch on eBay for 39 dollars new. What a deal ! Thanks for the great review.

    Reply

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