Small enough to use as a daily sports watch, yet advanced enough to measure and track your vital athletic statistics, the Soleus GPS 1.0 will shatter any expectations you may have for a GPS watch that costs less than $100.
Highly capable and loaded with core-running features, the Soleus GPS 1.0 ensures that cost will no longer stand between you and a valuable training tool.
Pay to Play…
If you are serious about your sport, whether it be running, cycling, or even hiking, a gps-enabled watch can be a powerful tool for tracking, measuring and improving your performance and helping you keep pace during race day. Unfortunately, it can also be cost prohibitive.
Thanks to Soleus, a full featured gps-enabled sports watch is now within reach for those of us on a budget. The Soleus GPS 1.0 is chock full of features that will satisfy novices and experts alike while being offered at a bargain basement price that should send tremors through the corporate offices of the GPS big boys.
Features and Performance…
If you’re worried that purchasing a GPS watch priced below $100 means that you’re going to get short-changed on features, rest assured that’s not the case. As a matter of fact, the GPS 1.0 is so stacked with features we could have easily doubled the length of this review delving into each and everyone of them.
When you get ready to head out and hit the pavement, the Soleus GPS 1.0 offers a variety of displays from which you can choose. The GPS 1.0 display shows three lines of information and a few additional icons for battery life, satellite connection strength, and chime activation. It also has a powerful on-board memory capable of recording up to 30 runs with up 100 laps to store past workout data.
Most of our training runs were spent utilizing a view that displays the total elapsed time, total distance and current pace. However, for more intensive training days you have the option of keeping track of split times or creating lap markers at regular intervals. By simply utilizing the “view” button you can sort through the various modes and toggle between screens (ie Chrono/Distance/Pace, Chrono/Distance/Calories, etc).
Runners, cyclists and hikers alike will welcome its calorie and speed feature as it gauges and records the current or total calories burned – calculated by an algorithm using body weight and distance run – at the speed you’re going.
Electroluminescent night-light illuminates the watch face for those evenings you decide to ignore the setting sun and go for another loop. The backlight is plenty bright, in fact on my first few night runs I had to do a double take as my eyes adjusted to the bright light and slimmer numbers on the Soleus digital display.
With an solid array of features for a sub $100 priced watch, perhaps the best feature offered is the high sensitivity GPS receiver.
Activating the GPS mode is quick and easy: simply press the GPS button and let the watch search for the satellites. In the regions of Northern California where we put the Soleus GPS 1.0 through its paces, lag time between pressing the GPS button and satellite acquisition was minimal. In fact often times, the Soleus GPS 1.0 would sync faster than our trusty Garmin Forerunner 305.
Unlike other brands we’ve taken over the hill and through the woods, the Soleus GPS 1.0’s high-sensitivity GPS receiver not only ensured accuracy, it consistently remained locked onto satellites, while winding our way across the fire trail under tree cover. We had the same experience on days our runs wound through urban forests of skyscrapers and towers.
Simply put, if your run route takes you off the pavement and into the world of gravel and dirt, the Soleus is a cut above the rest. If on the other hand, your running regime takes you around the globe, you’ll be pleased to know that the Soleus GPS 1.0 offers world time with 106 cities and all their time zones.
Once loaded the battery life was better was on par with other more expensive gps watches – and will last up to eight hours in GPS mode. By simply turning off the GPS in between runs the battery life kept strong for a full week with a calendar of 5 and 10K training runs. Even when the watch notified us of a low battery charge, we could still head out on a five miler with confidence knowing there was plenty of juice left to keep us informed.
It is worth noting that the rechargeable lithium-ion battery does not come with any other means of charging the watch outside of the included USB cable. But let’s be honest, it’s 2012 and finding a USB outlet shouldn’t be a problem for most of us.
Considering the slender size of the watch and the fact that the battery life last much longer when out of GPS mode, it’s nice to know that the Soleus GPS 1.0 doubles up as a water resistant sports watch – because let’s be honest, you aren’t running all the time.
It’s true that most GPS units can survive a few splashes, or the accidental dropping in the kitchen sink, but using your watch for swimming or diving is definitely not recommended. That being said, the GPS 1.0 is water resistant up to 3 ATM. That translates to nearly 34 feet of water. While we wouldn’t put that depth to the test it’s nice to know that you won’t need to worry about replacing your watch when halfway through your 10 miler you get caught in a thunderstorm. Run on my friends… run!
Room for Improvement…
Despite the extensive list of features offered in the Soleus GPS 1.0, our Gumption Gear gadget guy had two significant criticisms of the watch. First, you cannot download the data from your watch to your computer. While the watch has enough on-board memory to store approximately 30 runs, if you want to track more runs you’ll have to go old school and break out the pencil and paper. If the ability to download run data is important to you, the Soleus GPS 2.0 is now available. That being said, at under $100 for a GPS watch that performs this well, our crew was more than happy to go without a downloadable data feature.
Our second critique is about the size of the display. If you’re used to running with a watch that offers a larger display with bold digits, the Soleus GPS 1.0 display will take some adjustment, and you may find yourself having to do a double take on your run to fully absorb the information available. In future versions we’d like see bigger, bolder numbers on the display.
Time is Money. In a world of high priced gear and technological gadgets, the Soleus GPS 1.0 is the perfect option for the athlete who wants to accurately track, measure and improve their performance at an affordable price. This no-frills, easy to use yet highly functional GPS watch is designed by runners, for runners at a price that won’t force you to choose between your next GPS watch and your race schedule.
MANUFACTURER: Soleus (www.SoleusRunning.com)
AVAILABILITY: SoleusRunning.com as well as retailers nationwide.
- Case Height: 34 mm
- Case Width: 34 mm
- Case Depth: 20 mm
- Band Width: 3⁄4 in
- Band Circumference/Length: 10 1⁄4 in
- Weight: 2 oz
We do want to point out that the GPS 2.0 is now available. While we haven’t reviewed the 2.0 our readers will be interested to know that the new features include Interval Timers and Data Upload, and Soleus still offers the updated model at price point well below the competition.