In early March, a company called Soleus Running asked me to test and review their new GPS Fit running watch. They graciously sent me this really badass, cute little watch pictured on the left.
Here's my review of the little pink number called the Soleus GPS Fit 1.0.
Disclaimer: I haven't tried every GPS Watch out there -- only the Garmin 10, the Garmin 310XT, and the non-GPS Polar FT heartrate watch.
Ease of Use:
This thing is super easy to figure out. Meaning, if I can figure it out without the detailed instruction manual, any human can. I pulled the Soleus out of the box, charged it up, messed around with it for about five minutes and then set off on my first run. The watch itself comes with a really simple start-guide that gets you on the road quickly. For more detailed instructions, a video, and support, the website has everything you need.
The watch allows you to create your user data and then set up your "Mode" which is auto lap, time, unit, user, night, contrast, chime, and alarm. In a nutshell, you're deciding whether the run with a backlit screen, which user is running, whether you want the watch to beep on laps or set distance, and whether you want to clock in kilometers or miles. After that, you lace up, walk outside, and get a signal. On your run, you can press the LAP/ENTER button to change your display to PACE, SPEED, CALORIE, CLOCK, OR DISTANCE info. The screen data is large and easy to read, even in brash sunshine, and has a backlight for the dark. Thumbs up.
When you get the watch, you need to charge via USB it for four hours before use (like most GPS devices.) After that, each time you plug in the watch (via USB) it displays the percentage of charge. This is helpful to me, because I'm notorious for setting out to run and realizing my watch is dead. The USB charger is simple and can be plugged into any standard phone charger or computer port. Even if you don't have the software downloaded, you can simply charge it on your laptop. For me, a watch with longer battery power is optimal, because sometimes I hit the road for more than 8 hours. But for most running purposes, this battery life is more than suitable. Thumbs up.
Getting a GPS Signal:
The watch takes anywhere from two to five minutes to find a GPS signal. The amount of wait time changed day to day, for me. But as a disclaimer, I live very close to the coast (2 miles) and sometimes location affects GPS signal waiting time. Your watch may contact outer-space faster than mine does. Still, this wasn't a terrible wait time at all. You can stretch on the driveway or even take a walk-lap around your street while the watch searches for a signal. I took this watch on five runs, and it never lost signal once I started, even while running on the beach. Thumbs up.
I really liked wearing the GPS Fit. The one Soleus sent me is pink (see above), and I usually run far away from pink and purple and ponies and rainbows, but this pink watch is Hear Me Roar Pink rather than I am a Disney Princess Let's Have Tea Pink. (See photo.) You can get a Soleus GPS Fit in six other colors too, and they're all pretty cute. This is one thing I'd rate over Garmin. I think this watch is most comparable to a Garmin10, which I tried out by borrowing from a friend when I started running, and I'd say the Soleus comes in more attractive designs and colors. This is a purely subjective judgement, and you know what you like. (Check out the other colors -- the purple and blue are also stylish.) The watch is a great size and very lightweight -- check out my wrist-to-watch comparison (below). Having used the much bulkier Garmin 310XT lately, the Soleus was a really welcome change in size and weight. I would rate the size of the watch as a 10/10. Major thumbs up.
Downloading your Data:
Even though I'm not big on keeping my run data stored online, I tried it out for this watch. Downloading your data is fairly simple. You'll need a STRAVA account, and then you'll download SoleusSync from the Soleus website, which is compatible with both Mac and PC. Next, you plug in your watch to the laptop. (By the way, if you also use other devices like Garmin, TomTom, SUUNTO, or Timex, you can upload to your STRAVA account.) Once everything is installed (which only takes a few minutes), you can open up SoleusSync and connect to your watch. Your data downloads and displays your runs, times, pace, and route. You can delete or save runs as you please, and this account also syncs with MyFitnessPal, JawBone, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It's like Minority Report - you can practically create your own fitness police state. (Just kidding.) Even though I'm not wild about storing all my run data online, thumbs up to this process for anyone who likes to look at their stats and keep it all online.
I think this is an awesome watch for anyone looking for easy use, fashionable design, and quick uploads of your data. The watch retails for $99 USD on the website and comes with a ton of support. When I was sent the Soleus, I'd already been using a Garmin 310XT for about six months, and I'm used to the multitude of features on that watch -- bike, swim, run, 20-hour battery life for ultramarathons, long training days, forgetfulness in charging, etc. But if I'd had the pleasure of a GPS watch when I started running, I think I'd pick this one easily. In purple.
Head to the Soleus website to check out the GPS FIT and other watches! And follow SOLEUS RUNNING on FACEBOOK to get updates, news, and specials on their gear.
Okay -- and now for the giveaway: Because I'm blessed to already have a GPS Watch and really love to pass on great gear to new runners, I'm going to pass along this adorable pink GPS watch to some lucky runner. A lot of people have passed on good information, gear, and help to me, so I'm paying this one forward. To enter your name in the hat, post a comment below and share one reason you love to run -- either on the blog or on the Miles Over Matter Facebook Page where this review will be posted. On Wednesday, March 25th, I'm going to ask an unbiased third party to pick the most awesome comment. If you're chosen, I'll contact you for your address to send you the watch and charger.
Happy running :)
-Miles Over Matter
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