In recent years, GPS watches have revolutionized the way runners train. With the ability to track your pace, distance, heart rate and more, GPS watches can collect all your training data and then help make sense of all the numbers, providing a complete picture of how you’re doing–while you’re doing it. It’s like having your own dedicated and data-obsessed run coach strapped to your wrist.
The downside of the technology, is that some GPS watches provide more statistical information and detail than the typical runner or outdoor athlete may need or want. Abiding by their development philosophy, “provide the runner with Everything They Need, But Nothing They Don’t,” Soleus has introduced the cleverly designed, easy-to-operate Soleus GPS 3.0. The GPS 3.0 watch from Soleus does it all. Speed, distance, pace, calories, interval timers, data upload and a heart rate monitor in one package so you can maximize your run without a lot of distractions.
The Down and Dirty….
Long runs, tempo runs, speed drills; you expect a lot from your body… and from your training gear. But let’s be honest, at the end of the day the most important thing your GPS watch can provide is accurate information. Towards those ends the Soleus GPS 3.0 follows in the footsteps of the 1.0 and 2.0 in providing incredibly accurate, and reliable information.
A high-sensitivity internal receiver stays in constant contact with satellites to provide up-to-the-second GPS info. As our team experienced with the GPS 1.0, whether careening through canyons, concrete jungles or forging your way under heavy tree cover, the signal of the GPS 3.0 holds steady, ensuring that you’ll never be left questioning how much of the run didn’t get tracked.
The GPS 3.0 is also Soleus’ first GPS watch that comes with a heart rate monitor. This not only gives you the benefit of informing you of your body’s status during runs and race days, but allows you to train in a certain heart rate zone or compare your pace and heart rate to past performance on the same run.
A wireless connection between the transmitter and the heart rate monitor watch is created once the transmitter is secured around your chest and has picked up your heartbeat. The sensor can measure 15 to 240 beats per minute – a perfect range for measuring most users’ resting and active heart rate.
A common problem with the typical GPS watch that runners often complain about, is the size and bulk factor. No matter how valuable the data provided, nobody likes to run with a miniature toaster oven on their wrist. One of the best features of the Soleus 3.0 is its compact design. With sleek, stylish lines wrapped up in a sporty package, the Soleus 3.0 is part personal trainer and part sport watch earning high marks from both our male and female runners in terms of style and comfort.
For those who read our review of the Soleus GPS 1.0, one of our only criticisms pertained to the size of the display which proved to be difficult to read during training runs. With the GPS 3.0, the Soleus design team tackled that issue, crafting this version with a larger display, making it much easier for the athlete to spot the data no matter when you’re hitting the pavement.
Like the Soleus GPS 1.0, 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 unless you’re spending weeks traversing the backwoods of Alaska, finding a USB outlet shouldn’t be a problem for most of us. Moreover, for those of who believe that patience isn’t really a virtue, you’ll be pleased to know that the 3.0 charges fairly quickly and displays the total charge percentage in blocks of 10% while charging.
Once loaded, the battery life was on par with other more expensive gps watches – and will last up to eight hours in GPS mode. When not in GPS mode, the battery life runs long enough that you can count on your Soleus to serve as your go to sports watch for any week-long Hawaiian vacations that you may have in the works. And because the Islands can be finicky when it comes to weather, the Soleus 3.0 is water resistant up to 3 ATM. And while we wouldn’t recommend using it for lap swimming or snorkeling, it’s good to know that you’re protected come rain, shine, or salty ocean spray.
By the way, Honolulu is also one of the 106 cities covered by the 3.0’s time zones.
Once you’re back home, the Soleus 3.0 allows you to hook up to your computer and download the data so you can compile, track and analyze your performance. The software is downloaded for free from the Soleus 3.0 portion of the Soleus Running website. The software is PC compatible with an update for Mac computers in the works.
The software installs quickly, easily and pain-free. To download information from your unit, you will connect the watch to the USB charging cable provided. The included USB clip is also the method for transferring your training data to the computer. Not only will you be able to track your heart rate with the included software, but because the heart rate monitor also has GPS capabilities, you can track pace and speed improvements and see your running route.
True, the Soleus software doesn’t have the fancy bells and whistles of programs associated with some other GPS units, but it provides all the information, stats and data most runners could possibly want.
As we learned in our Q&A with Soleus, their formula is all about having core functionality, easy-to-use features and aggressive coloring in sport watches that flash like a burst of speed, and the GPS 3.0 follows that philosophy. Whether you’re a daily runner, or determined to earn that next PR, the Soleus GPS 3.0 has everything you need to kick your training up to the next level.
Manufactured by Soleus, the GPS 3.0 retails for $199 and is available from SoleusRunning.com and other online retailers.