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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 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated June 18th, 2016 @ 5:57 amNew Window
Price$90.00$169 (on sale)$139$179$99
Product Announcement DateJanuary 5th, 2015Jan 3rd, 2015Sept 25th, 2014Aug 6, 2014
Actual Availability/Shipping DateMarch 2015January 2015October 2014Late SEPT 2014
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesNoYesYes, but no uploading
Data TransferUSBUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTNo
WaterproofingIPX750 metersYes - 30mYes - 30m50m
Battery Life (GPS)20 hours10 hours GPS on4 Weeks8 hoursGPS: 6 hours
Recording IntervalPresetSmart Recording (Variable)1-Second1-second1-second
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoYesN/AYesNo
Quick Satellite ReceptionOkYesN/AGreatTBD
AlertsSound/VisualVibrate/VisualSound/Visual/VibrateSound/VisualSound/Visual
Backlight GreatnessOKGoodGreatGreatTBD
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoYesNoNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesNo
Can control phone musicYesNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNo
ConnectivitySoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingNoYesYesYesNo
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesYes (as of May 3rd, 2016)YesNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYesNoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingSoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
Designed for cyclingBarelyYesNoYesNo
Power Meter CapableNoWith some Connect IQ apps (but cannot record data)NoNoNo
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsN/AN/ANoNoN/A
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFN/AN/ANoNoN/A
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoYesNoNoN/A
Strava segments live on deviceNo
RunningSoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
Designed for runningNoYesSorta (no distance)YesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)NoYES (Also has INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)NoYesNo
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNoNo
VO2Max EstimationNoNoNoSortaNo
Race PredictorNoNoNoCan estimate finish time during raceNo
Recovery AdvisorNoNoNoNo (only if you have V800 too)No
Run/Walk ModeNoYesNoNoYes
SwimmingSoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
Designed for swimmingNoYesYesNoNo
Openwater swimming modeN/ANoNoNoN/A
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/AYesNoN/AN/A
Record HR underwaterN/ANoYesNoN/A
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/ANoNoN/AN/A
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesNoN/AN/A
Indoor Drill ModeN/ANoNON/AN/A
Indoor auto-pause featureN/ANoNoN/AN/A
Change pool sizeN/AYesNoN/AN/A
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/A17M/18Y TO 150Y/MNoN/AN/A
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AYesNoN/AN/A
Can change yards to metersN/AYesNoN/AN/A
Captures per length data - indoorsN/AYesNoN/AN/A
Indoor AlertsN/AYesNoN/AN/A
TriathlonSoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoNoNo
Multisport modeN/ANoNoNoN/A
WorkoutsSoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoNoYesYesNo
On-unit interval FeatureNoNoNoYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoNoYesNo
FunctionsSoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
Auto Start/StopNoYesYesNo
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoNoVia Race EstimatorNo
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoOnly on Garmin ConnectNoYesNo
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNonONoNo
GeocachingNoNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoVia Connect IQ appNoNoNo
NavigateSoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNoNoNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNoNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNoNo
Back to startNoYesNOYesNo
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoNoNo
SensorsSoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
Altimeter TypeNoneGPSNoneGPSN/A
Compass TypeNoneGPSNoneGPSN/A
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleNoYesYesYesNo
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoYesNoNoNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoYesNoNoNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoYesNoNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoYes for Garmin VIRBNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)NoNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoYesYesNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNonoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoYesNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoYes (Tempe)NoNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsNoNo--No
SoftwareSoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
PC ApplicationN/AGarmin ExpressPolar FlowsyncPolar FlowsyncNo
Web ApplicationN/AGarmin ConnectPolar FlowPolar FlowNo
Phone AppNoiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/AndroidiOS (now)/Android (Dec 2014)No
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseSoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programN/ALinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerSoleus 1.0 GPSGarmin VivoactivePolar A300Polar M400Timex Run x20 GPS
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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100 Comments

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Just wanted to say, thanks for this review! I just found your site and this is super helpful.

    Reply
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. Anonymous

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

    Reply
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. Megan

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

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      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
  20. 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

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

      Reply
  21. 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
  22. 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

      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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
    • 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
    • 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
  29. c Taylor

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

    Reply
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. Michael

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

    Reply
  36. Lee G

    Thankyou sooo much for your amazing skills!! Can I set the soleus to beep every 30 seconds?

    Reply
  37. John

    Could someone please clarify the definition of PACE, as all too many apps determine it AFTER the run, not WHILE running. Using GPS, a footpod should be mute, I just want a watch that shows my pace (7:45/mile, etc) while I’m running. I don’t need calories burned, distance, route (I have apps for that but it’s on a phone and I don’t wear a phone where it’s visible while running. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  38. Cee

    I’ve got a Soleus SG001 and I’m not impressed with it. It’s a bit difficult to read at times when running, but the most annoying thing is how easy it is to delete all of the saved data at once.

    When presented with a ‘delete all’ prompt it seems that pressing any button other than ‘mode’ will do exactly that without even a ‘Are you sure?’ type prompt one comes to expect with half decent software.

    It’s bulkier than the Garmin and coupled with the fact that data can’t be transferred via the USB lead, it gets the thumbs down despite it’s relatively cheap price tag.

    Reply