It hasn’t been too long since the $99 Soleus 1.0 GPS watch came out, which has ushered in the start of the sub-$100 GPS watches (like the Timex Marathon GPS). But the Soleus 2.0 adds one specific feature: The ability to download workouts after you complete them. But at a $50 premium over the existing watch, is it worth it? Well, as usual, I set to find out.
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. I bought this particular unit back a month or so ago when GroupOn had it on sale.
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.
The Soleus 2.0 comes boxed with an outer shell, sorta like a secondary wrapper.
Once you’ve removed the outer shell, you’ve got the box hanging out inside:
From there, you can pull the insides out of the yellow box and you’ll find the watch on a small box stand, along with the accessories below it.
Below is the full contents of the box once emptied out. You’ve got the watch itself, the USB charging clip, and the manual/quick start guide.
The manual covers both the Soleus 2.0 GPS and the 3.0 GPS. At present, the 3.0 GPS watch hasn’t been made available or released yet. Though my understanding is that it’ll add HRM support.
The USB charging can charge (and download) from both the Soleus 1.0 GPS running watch as well as the Soleus 2.0 GPS running watch (and presumably 3.0 as well). The only difference between the 1.0 and 2.0 watches is really just the cable that comes with them. In this case, the cable with the 2.0 has four prongs, which gives you the extra data connections. Whereas the 1.0 has only two prongs.
And finally, in the box we’ve got the watch itself.
The Soleus watch is inline with other small form factor running watches in the same category. Below I’ve lined up the Soleus 1.0 watch (left), then the 2.0, then the Timex Marathon GPS, then the FR70, and finally the FR60.
As you can see, the Soleus 1.0 and 2.0 are identical. The only difference is the printing on the watch bezel. Taking that a step further, the only difference between the Timex Marathon GPS and the Soleus units is the band form factor and buttons. Functionally and software-wise, all three watches are the same watch with different paint jobs.
Taking a closer look at the Soleus 2.0’s exterior, you can see the contact points for downloading and charging. Additionally, the warning about water sports. I’ve used it in the water (shower) without issue (including rains during runs) – though I haven’t gone swimming (lap) with it.
With that, let’s get into the running!
Before we start our run, we’ll probably want to configure a couple of the user settings. The unit allows you to configure gender, weight, and age. The primary reason for this is to assist in basic calorie calculations.
Once that’s done, you’ll want to set the watch units to either show in miles or kilometers. This will carry through to pace metrics (minutes/mile or minutes/kilometer), as well as speed units (MPH/KPH).
Finally, with all that set, we’re ready to roll. To start the watch and have it receive GPS signal, you’ll press the GPS button on the left hand side. Typically it finds satellites in less than 30 seconds. In fact, I’ll give credit here in that the Soleus is one of the few GPS watches that had no issues tracking my entire flight correctly without dropouts AND showing the full speed (many watches cut off the speeds at over 100MPH). Of course, it’s irrelevant to running – but I was happy to see it performed well in this test.
As you run, the unit will display your current time up top, and your time, distance and pace. You can swap between pace and speed by pressing the left button.
In addition to total time and distance, as well as the current pace – you can set and mark laps. You can do this manually by pressing the lap button, or automatically by using the Auto Lap feature. This function will automatically create a lap for you at a set interval. I use this on long runs, since I like to see how pace fluctuates afterwards in mile-by-mile chunks. You can customize the length of the auto-lap setting to fit your needs, and this is available across both kilometers or miles.
As you hit each lap, a lap display will tell you how far the lap was, and your current time for that lap.
After your run is completed, you’ll save the data by pressing and holding the Stop button down. After a few seconds it’ll note completion.
As a side note, there’s also a Chrono mode and basic time/interval mode. The problem with the timer mode is that all it really does is create a bunch of timers. It’s not actually helping you plan proper intervals (warm-up, work, rest, cool-down) – like virtually all other watches that offer an interval function.
The Run Data menu though is where you’ll be able to view stats about your completed runs, without having to download them to the computer.
Once in the menu, you’ll pull up files by date, and then a numeric identifier after that.
From there you can see totals, such as overall distance, time, pace and calories.
By pressing the right side navigation buttons you can iterate through some of the different data views.
One item of note that covers both Soleus watches is that it incorrectly processes stopped time into the average pace. Meaning, if you go for a 60 minute run, but spend 2 minutes at a stoplight (and pressed stop during those two minutes), it’ll incorrectly process your average time against 60 minutes rather than 58 minutes. Since the watch supports stopping and resuming, it should also correctly process average paces.
While the watch is definitely running focused, it can easily switch into a pseudo-cycling mode. In this mode, you change the view from minutes/mile to MPH (or KPH). This allows runners to take it with them in sports that may not be primary, but they’d still like tracking via the watch.
I’ve taken it on a number of rides lately. This past weekend, I took it for a mountain bike ride and was happy to see that the unit recorded very close to the same distance as the Suunto Ambit – despite plenty of sharp turns and switchbacks.
The unit itself doesn’t actually know the difference between ‘cycling’ and ‘running’, rather, it just changes the display format between the two (pace vs speed). To do so, you’d simply tap the middle-right button, which alternates between the two views. You can swap back and forth as you see fit.
In the photos above, I simply wore it on my wrist, but you can also get a cheap bike watch mount. Either the cheap Garmin or Polar mounts (usually about $10) work well, though I prefer the Garmin one since you don’t have to involve zip ties if you don’t want to.
As a timepiece (regular watch):
In addition to sporting activities, the watch is small enough to use as a regular day watch. The watch will display time zone, day of week, date, and time on the watch face by default.
The watch supports up to five alarms, which can then be configured against the different time zones you’ve set (you can set up to two time zones).
The unit supports audible alarms, but does not have a vibrating function.
The unit includes a backlight that displays for 12 seconds upon pressing the upper left button. It’s Indiglo-style (ironically, on the Timex Marathon GPS branded variant of this watch, they officially call it Indiglo, per the rest of the Timex lineup).
The time the backlight displays is not configurable, though, the contrast is. Meaning, you can adjust the darkness of the text, but not the brightness of the screen overall, or how long the light displays for.
Charging and battery life:
The unit uses a USB charging cable that you’ll plug into an existing USB port in your house. I’ve normally used it a computer (the watch cable doesn’t include a wall outlet block adapter). It actually charges fairly quickly, sitting at the airport tonight it took about 30 minutes to get 60% charged. While charging it’ll display the total charge percentage in blocks of 10%.
The unit notes a 8hr battery life. And in my experience with it and its little brother (same exact watch, different shell), I’m generally happy its battery life. For example, I had the Soleus 1.0 sitting on my desk for months and still showing the time.
And I’ve done some long activities as well, without issues. For example, I recorded a 4+ hour flight on the watch tonight from Chicago to Las Vegas. This was on about a 60% charge, and had some leftover afterwards.
Overall from a battery standpoint the unit is inline with other slimmer units in the competitive landscape.
Software and downloading:
Given the singular reason to buy the Soleus 2.0 over the Soleus 1.0 is the ability to download your workouts afterwards, I was excited to try it out. The software is downloaded free from the Soleus 2.0 portion of the Soleus Running website. It’s only available for PC at this time, but does at least install pretty quickly.
To download information from your unit, you’ll go ahead and connect the watch to the USB charging cable provided. You’ll note that unlike the 1.0 watch, this charging clip has four prongs – whereas the 1.0 had two prongs. Those additional prongs allow data download.
Once you’ve got the unit connected, you’ll go ahead and launch the Soleus GPS application. However note that on my Windows 7 PC, it ONLY consistently works when I launch it ‘As administrator’. Launching it as a regular user will eventually cause the application to crash elsewhere.
This will in turn bring you to the below menu. At first glance you may want for something else to happen. But don’t, it doesn’t. The screen is as bright and white and blank as a newly fallen snowfield.
In order to download data from your watch, you’ll go ahead and click the ‘Download’ button, located off-center below the logo. Note, that both the Enter button and Download button often take 1-5 clicks, usually not right on the text themselves, but in the general vicinity, to get to work. Eventually, they usually do open up.
Once the download window opens, it’ll go ahead and download your data.
At the end of which, it’ll ask if you’d like to clear your data. I generally just leave the data on the watch until I need it cleared out. Sorta like a backup plan.
After the download finishes, you’ll want to click on ‘Enter’ to enter the remainder of the application. At this point, your brought to the below screen.
At first glance, it actually almost looks like a Windows Phone tile setup – sorta Metro UI (like Windows 8). We’ll go ahead and click on ‘Data’. In reality, all options take you to the same next screen, it’s just that depending on which button you click on it’ll default to a different tab within that screen. So to the data tab we go:
Along the top you’ve got summary information about your run. On the left side you’ll see all of your activities. These have dates, ambiguously useless names you can’t change (they’re just the date with an extra zero in them), and total miles. In the middle you have a pace graph of your run. The charge includes two heart rate zone lines on it at all times, though the watch doesn’t support a heart rate monitor. The lines are simply displayed for the fun of it. You can’t turn them off, though, you can move them up or down by adjusting your zones.
And finally, on the right side side you’ll see the 1-second recording interval and the various paces at that point in time. It’s actually kinda unusual to see this level of detail (one-second recording with avg/pace displayed) in a chart format. I like it though.
Along the top you’ve got tabs for different functions. For example, if you click the ‘Lap Data’ tab, which is next, you’ll see lap information for your run, in a bit more detail. You can’t change any of the columns – though, it covers the majority of what most users would expect.
I did like that it notes whether a lap is done automatically or manually. Note my lap 8 below. I hit the wrong button (though almost at the exact right time), but it’s kinda cool that it demarks that.
The next tabs, ‘Week Data’ and ‘Month Data’, simply show you a line chart with the total miles run each week or month. Along the side it notes your totals and averages. Again, the HR is displayed – along with ‘ascension’. The unit doesn’t support heart rate or elevations. So these are both for imaginary benefit.
Next, we’ve got the Google Map tab. This page shows you a map of where you went during the run. This page tends to work about 30% of the time. With the remainder of the time spent between crashing and not finding the internet (even when connected to the internet).
But, when it does work, it’s fairly straightforward and functional.
You’ll see the route, where you went, and using the Google Maps API, you’re able to zoom in/out and switch between aerial/map views (as well as Google Earth using the plug-in).
Next, we move onto the ‘Settings’ page. It allows you to configure all of the options on the watch, in the software itself. So I can setup auto lap here, as well as the display units (miles/kilometers), and the time format. Though, like elsewhere in the software, the heart rate portions aren’t actually of use. They don’t do anything. Overall though, I’m a big fan of allowing users to change and save settings on their computers – as it’s almost always faster than on the watch itself (though, I also note that you should allow a user to do it both ways).
The next two tabs center around deleting data. They don’t have pages themselves, and instead just pop-up boxes confirming you’d like to delete all data.
After that we’ve got the ‘Backup’ tab, which also doesn’t have a specific page. It allows you to backup everything into a .DAT file. This then allows you to utilize the next tab ‘Restore’ to restore everything back into the program. This is useful if you want to move between computers. It’s also useful because when you upgrade versions, it’ll delete all of your history without letting you know. But if you do the backup/restore, you can pull it back in safely afterwards.
Then we have the most useful tab in the entire suite. It’s labeled “MapMyRun”. This tab spits out a .TCX file that you can upload to MapMyRun. Unfortunately, it doesn’t conform to any other standards that others use for .TCX files – so you won’t be able to upload it to Garmin Connect, TrainingPeaks, Sport Tracks, or really anything else (I’ve tried).
On the bright side, when you try and import into MapMyRun – that does indeed work. To do so, you’ll need to have a MapMyRun.com account and be signed in. A free account works fine.
Once logged in, go ahead and click Workout, then click Sync device:
Then click the button one, for the .TCX file.
Then click on the dropdown menu and select ‘TCX’. Finally, click Browse to find your file and then once done, click ‘Continue’.
After a short bit of thinking, MapMyRun will come back to you with the final results. At this point, you’ll want to classify the workout and name it.
The cool part is that once it’s in MapMyRun (or any of the MapMyFitness sites), you can get elevation data as well. Further, they in turn have partner sites that allow you to move data around to other services and platforms (like your phone app).
Finally, the very last option in the Soleus software suite – ‘Print Map’. When you click on this, you receive the following single modal dialog box:
In summary, the native Soleus software is horrible. Without question, it’s the worst sports/fitness application that I’ve ever used by any sports company. Of course, it wasn’t written by a ‘sports company’, but rather – by a generic software company in Asia with likely no knowledge of sports. They were likely just writing on basic specs that allowed them to market the underlying watch to companies like Soleus (and Timex), which in turn rebrand it under their own names. This is why I often saw “NEWCO” in the software when it would have an error or crash (and it’s also listed within the filenames of some of the source files).
The software is barely functional – when it’s not crashing – and the data it exports is only useful with a single service (MapMyRun). I can’t keep track of the number of failure images I have over the last month…because I have so darn many of them. Here, a gallery full of unique crashes – each their own unique snowflake:
With that, let’s move onto other competitors.
This comparison chart is likely better viewed expanded, so you’ll want to click on it to open it up. I’ve looked at all the sub-$200 models in the competitive landscape today. Some models like the Soleus 1.0 and Timex Marathon GPS don’t technically support downloads – so keep that in mind.
|Function/Feature||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 20th, 2022 @ 3:24 pm New Window|
|Product Announcement Date||Nov 8th, 2022||June 2nd, 2021||Mar 24th, 2021||June 30th, 2020|
|Actual Availability/Shipping Date||Nov 8th, 2022||June 2nd, 2021||Mar 2021||July 2020|
|GPS Recording Functionality||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Only via Phone Connected GPS|
|Data Transfer||USB||USB, BLUETOOTH SMART||USB, Bluetooth Smart||USB, BLUETOOTH SMART||USB, BLUETOOTH SMART|
|Waterproofing||IPX7||Yes - 30m||50 meters||Yes - 30m||Yes - 30m|
|Battery Life (GPS)||20 hours||Up to 30 hours||20 hours||Up to 20 hours||Up to 50hrs with phone GPS (4 days standby)|
|Ability to download custom apps to unit/device||No||No||Yes (all Connect IQ Apps)||No||No|
|Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Voice Integration||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Can make/receive calls||No|
|Voice Assistant||No||Music||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Can control phone music||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Has music storage and playback||No||No||No||No|
|Streaming Services||No||No||No||No||Payments||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Contactless-NFC Payments||No||No||No||No||Connectivity||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Bluetooth Smart to Phone Uploading||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Live Tracking (streaming location to website)||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)||No||No||Yes (via phone)||No||No|
|Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)||No||No||No||No||No||Cycling||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Designed for cycling||Barely||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power Meter Capable||No||No||No||No||No|
|Speed/Cadence Sensor Capable||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Strava segments live on device||No||No||No||No|
|Crash detection||No||Yes||No||No||Running||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Designed for running||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Footpod Capable (For treadmills)||No||No||YES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)||No||No (but has accelerometer for indoor running)|
|Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)||No||No||No||No||No|
|Track Recognition Mode||No||Yes||No||Swimming||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Designed for swimming||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Sorta (waterproof but HR only tracking)|
|Openwater swimming mode||N/A||Yes||N/A||Yes||No|
|Lap/Indoor Distance Tracking||N/A||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Record HR underwater||N/A||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)||N/A||Yes||N/A||Yes||No|
|Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)||N/A||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Indoor Drill Mode||N/A||No||No||No|
|Indoor auto-pause feature||N/A||Yes||Yes||No|
|Change pool size||N/A||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths||N/A||20M/Y to 250 m/y||20M/Y to 250 m/y||N/A|
|Ability to customize data fields||N/A||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Captures per length data - indoors||N/A||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Triathlon||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Designed for triathlon||No||No||No||No||No|
|Multisport mode||N/A||No||No||No||No||Workouts||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Create/Follow custom workouts||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|On-unit interval Feature||No||Sorta (offers structured workouts)||Yes||Sorta (offers structured workouts)||Sorta (offers structured workouts)|
|Training Calendar Functionality||No||Has daily suggested workouts||Yes||Has daily suggested workouts||Sorta (offers daily workouts)||Functions||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Virtual Partner Feature||No||No (but can give out of zone information)||Virtual Pacer||No (but can give out of zone information)||No (but can give out of zone information)|
|Virtual Racer Feature||No||Yes (Race Pace)||No||No||No|
|Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Tidal Tables (Tide Information)||No||No||No||No||No|
|Weather Display (live data)||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Navigate||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)||No||No||No||No||No|
|Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)||No||No||No||No||No|
|Back to start||No||No||No||No||No|
|Impromptu Round Trip Route Creation||No||No||No||No||No|
|Download courses/routes from phone to unit||No||No||No||No||No||Sensors||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Optical Heart Rate Sensor internally||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|SpO2 (aka Pulse Oximetry)||No||No||No||No|
|Heart Rate Strap Compatible||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ANT+ Heart Rate Strap Capable||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|ANT+ Speed/Cadence Capable||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|ANT+ Footpod Capable||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|ANT+ Power Meter Capable||No||No||No||No||No|
|ANT+ Lighting Control||No||No||No||No|
|ANT+ Bike Radar Integration||No||No||No||No|
|ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)||No||No||No||No|
|ANT+ Remote Control||No||No||No||No||No|
|ANT+ eBike Compatibility||No||No||No||No||No|
|ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)||No||No||No||No|
|Shimano Di2 Shifting||No||No||No||No|
|Bluetooth Smart HR Strap Capable||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence Capable||No||No||No||No||No|
|Bluetooth Smart Footpod Capable||No||No||No||No||No|
|Bluetooth Smart Power Meter Capable||No||No||No||No||No|
|Temp Recording (internal sensor)||No||No||No||No||No|
|Temp Recording (external sensor)||No||No||No||No||No||Software||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|PC Application||Soleus App||Polar Flowsync - Windows/Mac||Garmin Express (PC/Mac)||Polar Flowsync - Windows/Mac||Polar Flowsync - Windows/Mac|
|Web Application||No||Polar Flow||Garmin Connect||Polar Flow||Polar Flow|
|Ability to Export Settings||Yes||No||No||No||No||Purchase||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
|Chain Reaction Cycles||Link||Link||Link||Link||Link|
|Wiggle||Link||Link||Link||Link||Link||DCRainmaker||Soleus 2.0 GPS||Polar Ignite 3||Garmin Forerunner 55||Polar Ignite 2||Polar Unite|
At the end of the day, the very reason they created the 2.0 watch (to allow download of data) – is the sole reason that as a package the Soleus 2.0 sucks so much. They miscalculated that they could charge $150 for a complete system that barely works, and even when it does work – it’s just downright horrid. At $150 they’ve entered the pastures of the ‘majors’ – Garmin, Timex, Nike, Polar – most notably. All of which offer products in this range with complete, full and tested software suites that ‘just work’. If they’re going to charge a premium and move out of the sub-$100 watch market, then ultimately they have to deliver software that’s competitive in the $150 market. And it just doesn’t do that today.
In my ideal world, they’d partner up with someone else to handle the software side of things. That could be a legit partnership with MapMyRun where MapMyRun develops an agent to download the data. Or it could be a partnership with TrainingPeaks. Or just someone else. Really, anyone else.
Further, the watch would have to be reduced in price. At $150 it’s simply too expensive compared to other units out there. The Nike+ unit is $16 more, with light-years more functionality. The Timex Run Trainer waffles in the same territory as well – again, bounds of functionality and stability. Or even the non-GPS FR60/FR70 – with tons of software goodness as well. The comparison chart table I have above is choke full of options that are better (another one, the Timex Global Trainer – these days at $130ish).
So, in summary, no, I can’t recommend you buy this unit. Even if it were to drop to $95 (same price as the Soleus 1.0), I still don’t think I’d recommend it as a data downloading watch. I’d recommend just paying $30 more for one of the others that has tons of functionality.
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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. Of course, since I’m really not recommending you buy this unit, you can still use the Amazon links to buy something else. Another watch, a diamond ring, a small country…whatever floats your boat (like a Yacht).
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.
Great post, only one thing in comparission table Timex GPS Marathon is 30m waterprof (not IPX7)
Great review (as usual). Thank you. I have the Soleus 1.0 and that’s good enough for me. I doubt I’ll even bother with the downloading cable when they release it later this year. Thanks again for the depth and breadth of your reviews.
This is a complete mockery 🙂
They took the old watch, cut some holes for the pc connectivity, threw in some generic software and increased the price.
With version 3.0 they will take again the same watch, unlock the HR feature, throw in a crappy HR strap and sell it for 200$ 😛 By the time it reaches Timex, Garmin etc functionality, it would cost 700-1000$
For that level of (bad) quality anything above 70-80$ is a steal…
So sad, My daughter bought this crap at Singapore $230 after a discount of 30%, it is almost US$ 190.
Thanks and good health to you.
I did the same mistake (at a similar price or more), bought this straight after a run – high in spirit, proud of my performance – I thought a sports watch made sense to support my “new” running hobby. If only I researched online first. It’s funny, I get Soleus promotion flyers in most my running kits in Singapore…
Thanks for great review! What really impresses the most is honesty and lack of bias towards the manufacturers who produce crap and you say it outload. Keep up the great work!
I would first like to thank you for all of your help in making my decision on my first GPS watch. All of your reviews have been very helpful. This weekend I will be completing a 12 week training program to run the GOTR 5k in Augusta, GA. This will be my first race and I am so excited. I never thought that I could actually run over 3 miles. I have always struggled with my weight and over the last 1 1/2 years I have lost 88lbs. I hope to conquer the weight loss journey with continued training and hopeful run a 10k one day. Anywho, thanks again for all of your time and energy helping a newbie like me make an informed decision.
I found your Soleus 2.0 review while searching for ways to download files off the watch, so I could then upload them to Strava (so far have not been able to use the .TCX export for that).
I just wanted to say I agree whole-heartedly with your review, and only wish I had read it before making this purchase! I had the exact same opinion when using the software — “this is the worst software I have ever seen!” I am amazed this somehow gets decent reviews across the interent… just goes to show it pays to go with reviews from a known source online.
i live in france, and i bought the same product for an anthoer brand. but i meet a problem for view my run on google map. only map show on my pc without my run. do you have meet the probem with your watch gps?
i’m sorry for my english who isn’t very good.
thanks for your help or information
Soleus has updated the software to version 1.07 on their website. Any improvement?
They look like they did some very minor UI (user interface) cleanup, but overall, it’s still mostly the same junk.
Am I wrong or is this exact watch sold under several different brand names? I have a Schwinn 800 (which has decent HR functionality btw) and it looks like the same watch with a different logo. The buttons all have the same location and function, the charge/sync cable is identical, and it comes with the same super-crappy software. If my observation is correct then that means that the Soleus 2.0 is also the same watch as the New Balance N9, and the Mio Quest. Coincidentally, I bought the Schwinn branded version in a brand new box on eBay for $60
Sorry, that should be Schwinn 810, not 800
I can’t thank you enough for this post. I’ve had this watch for about 6 months now and thanks to your website I’ve finally learned how to use it to it’s full potential. The pictures and very easy to understand explanations were awesome, THANK YOU!
I found a website for a guy that is attempting to write better software for the Schwinn 810 GPS. He has the Soleus and Timex watches listed as probably compatible.
link to github.com
Interesting, kinda cool. Would love to see where that ends up in a couple months. Thanks for sharing!
GREAT review. I have the GPS 1.0 and I sorely miss the ability to download the data. I’m still on the fence about buying the USB 2.0/3.0 charger so that I can retrieve the data off of my 1.0 watch. It’s $30 on the Soleus website. Have you confirmed that you can indeed retrieve the data off of the GPS 1.0 watch using the 2.0 watch charger? Anyone have a source for a cheaper yet compatible cable?
Yup, you can definitely download from 1.0 with 2.0 cable – no issues there.
Btw – go check out the FR10 that was just released today (see sidebar).
Could you use the 1.0 charging cable to charge the watch? The only place I could seem to find to buy just the cable was from Soleus and it’s 10.00 for the 1.0 cable and it’s 29.99 for the 2.0/3.0 cable! I’m thinking, what’s the difference between the cables to warrant a significant price difference?
From a charging standpoint, yes. But not a data transfer standpoint. The 1.0 cable has two pins and two wires in it – both wires/pins just power electricity. The 2.0 cable has four pins/wires in it, two of which are power, two of which are data.
great review no doubt. juz got my 2.0 n it is quite good.so far quite happy with the software..no crashes just yet.use it in mapmyrun n works perfectly.. btw bought in Amazon for 135 during promo.. good deal.
I almost bought one of these before reading your review, so thanks for saving me ~$150 ill-spent.
That being said, does the added HRM functionality of the 3.0 make it a better option, especially considering that one can get one (or a rebranded equivalent from New Balance, or Pyle, or Mio) for around $120 on EBay now? Or would someone considering such a purchase be better-served picking up a Timex Global Trainer or Run Trainer for around $40-$50 more? I’m looking from a strictly running perspective, so no real worries about the lack of serious cycling functionality or waterproofing (aside from sweat and rain) would come into play…
Great review. can you please post the links to your top GPS watch sunder $200..the ones you most strongly recommend.
I run 5k-half marathons and my workouts include speed intervals.I want to be able to download my data and was leaning toward getting this device until I read your thorough review about the software and how unreliable and primitive it is.
This will be my first GPS watch and with so many options and so many yay and nay sayers (Amazon review a lot) I am stuck in a rut and don’t know the best one for me.
Great review. can you please post the links to your top GPS watch sunder $200..the ones you most strongly recommend.
I run 5k-half marathons and my workouts include speed intervals.I want to be able to download my data and was leaning toward getting this device until I read your thorough review about the software and how unreliable and primitive it is.
This will be my first GPS watch and with so many options and so many yay and nay sayers (Amazon review a lot) I am stuck in a rut and don't know the best one for me.
I read only too many positive things about these watches I was to pull the trigger today, good that I postponed the thought until I found your review. Your website is my place to go when I am in the market for some sports gadget.
I want something simple, I have no patience to fiddle with too many options and charts, I am used to the Nike+ Sportsband which is ridiculously easy, but want a bit more, mor accuracy, and ability to map my runs… Not sure I¿d like to buy the Nike+ Gps watch, and the Garmins are at this present moment, out of the question…
I guess I´ll just wait a bit longer, for a good offer on a Garmin Forerunner…
Awesome reviews by the way!
I’d just go with the Garmin FR10. It’s $129, has what you want (doesn’t have ANT+ for heart rate though), but looks pretty and is clean to use. The review is up there under Product Reviews > Garmin.
It came out about 6 months after the Soleus 2.0 unit.
I bought a Soleus Watch (2.0) in Singapore and within a couple of months, the plastic on the back side of the watch (not the strap part) started disintegrating leaving black marks on my wrist whenever i wear it in Sun (so much for a runing watch!). I called the local service partner (Crystal Time) and to my dismay, they refused to even have a look at the issue citing that outer parts don’t come under warranty. I wrote to Soleus US and had a lukewarm response. Beware of buying this watch outside of US and Canada. Their service sucks.
I bought the 1.0 in January, 2012 (in large part because of your favorable review), and have liked it. It has done what I needed it to do. I just found out about the new cable that can upload the 1.0 stats, and bought it. Worked GREAT, and there was an automatic upload to STRAVA.com, which worked very well.
I am not tech savvy, so if I was able to upload my 1.0 stats for about 20 runs on my 1.0 to STRAVA, it must be easy. I’m excited about the development- I still have paid a relatively small price overall, even with the $29 cable.
I have this watch and I have noticed the GPS distances are off. I took it over to the local high school track and it was off by almost a half mile for every mile. It also contradicts distances on map my run and google earth. I am really pissed….is there anything I can do???
Hmm, something is wrong/defect with the unit. While tracks tend to cause every GPS watch some issues, it’s definitely not on the order of half a mile. Typically on a track you tend to see closer to .01-.03 per mile off, whereas on open road you should see spot on.
Do note that when using MapMyRun/Google Earth, you’re going to see some differences (similar to above), but not anywhere near half a mile per mile.
I bought the soleus 2.0 two months ago and I have a problem with the software.
I ‘ve downloaded the software but when i check the USB with the watch, the software don’t recognize my files. An error message appears : “Input string was not in a correct format”
I opened the software as an administrator but still the message “Input string was not in a correct format”
I’m a french user in France. Version SoleusSync: 220.127.116.11
Can you help me please ?
J’ai récemment acheté la SOLEUS 2, et j’ai le même problême que toi, la montre n’est pas reconnue par mon PC.
Je suis pour l’instant dans l’impossibilité de télécharger mes données sur mon PC.
Je suis très déçu et je ne recommanderais pour rien au monde cette montre à mon entourage.
Je suis sur WINDOWS 7, si quelqu’un a une solution pour remédier au problême, je suis preneur.
J’ai essayé les deux programmes l’ancien et le 64 bits,
ça ne marche toujours pas, avec windows 7.
Un ami l’a fait avec Vista, ça marche très bien.
Avez vous trouvé une solution ?
Jérémy, try other bundles for the same generic watch from other brands:
The Schwinn 810 GPS, the same generic watch:
link to blog.timjacobs.net
REDCLOVER Traing Center for GPS GPS Xplor, the same generic watch.
link to redcloverwatches.com
MIO QUEST GPS, the same generic watch. They have the best written manual so far:
link to cdn.shopify.com
They also have several versions of their custom built software:
Mio Quest Software Download page:
link to mioglobal.com
Jérémy, see which one of them works on your machine. I am using the Soleus and MIO soft bundle with the Highgear XT7 and it works perfectly, whilst the Highgear bundle does not work properly on the machine which I am using.
The Highgear XT7 Alti-GPS, the same Generic watch with some added options
Highgear’s Software Bundle:
link to highgear.com
I am looking to purchase one of the cheaper gps watches, pace and time per mile being my main requirements. Taking away the obvious differences in data transfer, as far as watch and gps performances of the soleus 1.0 and the forerunner 10 is there much between them?
I’d go with the FR10, primarily due to the much cleaner device (user interface), as well as the better site and ability to easily transfer the data everywhere.
That said, for pace and time per mile only, both watches will work just fine there. Performance wise the FR10 is faster for satellite acquisition, but ultimately both are quite good there.
I have a Soleus GPS Running Watch but I have lost the charger – does anyone know where I can get one / order one from the UK?
I ordered a Soleus 1.0 off Amazon and it came with the 2.0 charging/sync cable. I installed the software and it appears to be communicating and working fine. For $50, can’t beat that price and functionality. Just a heads up to anyone considering buying the 2.0, might be worth checking the 1.0 first.
Can you set the intervals on the Soleus for time, not distance. ie 3 minutes on 1 minute off (rest), like you can with the Garmins?
Not on this particular unit. I haven’t tried some of their other units though to see there if they do. Sorry!
Thanks for the most comprehensive review of a gadget that I’ve seen in a long time! You have encouraged me to stick to Garmin.
I’m a novice runner as and I just bought this watch. Too bad I just read your review after the purchase. Oh well… Hope all the kinks of the software have been sorted out since you wrote this review.
I am very sorry but I have no Idea where the appropriate place to post this is. Could you make a review on the SVP sportwatch T1 GPS. I seem to find it available on many different websites, including ebay and amazone, but no review is available, and no data sheet is seen on the Sillicon Valley Peripherals website.
hi… I enjoy reading your different review on gps watches available in the market.
I have the new Soleus GPS 3.0 and been using it for almost a month already. It is basically same with the Soleus GPS 2.0 except for the Heart Rate Monitor. Quietly, I enjoyed this watch coz it does what I wants for a GPS watch to do in tracking my running activities.
Regarding the old sync software, I am with you that it looks primitive as compared to others. However if you are not a premium member of any good running apps, you cant see your heart rate VS pace analysis. In the Soleus software you can have it in the graph.
By the way, their latest sync software (as of Dec 2013) will upload directly to STRAVA.
But for me, I still prefer the old sync software (ver 1.1.2) because of the HR vs PACE analysis, and then save my data to TCX or GPX format to upload it later to my MapMyRun or Strava account and its good to go…
The only cons I have on GPS 3.0 as of the moment is the absence of vibration alert and not so big font on the display…
Soleus is now working their upload info throug Strava, have you taken a look at that or any of the new Soleus GPS watches?
Concernant the Soleus 2 model is it possible the change the battery easely ? same question for Soleus 1 ?
I can get a Soleus Pulse+GPS for “free” through my employer’s wellness program reward points. I’m assuming this is what you referred to as the 3.0 model. Any idea if the software has been fixed/improved for this newer model? I like the GPS+HRM integrated into the watch so I don’t have to wear a chest strap, but unfortunately this is the only model that offers those features through the wellness program.