As many of you know, the GPS running watch market has exploded. Back in the day, it was Garmin or nothing. Now with the likes of Tom Tom, Timex, Nike, Polar, Suunto and a whole host of apps for you phone, the choice can become overwhelming. Add into the mix all of the activity trackers, and what’s a runner to do!
Well, along comes Soleus. This small Texas company named for the muscle in your calf is made up of an experienced product team focused on creating innovative timing devices including watches, GPS, HRM and Cycling Computers. They value simplicity and performance and thus their watches deliver you the most important data for your run, without all the bells and whistles. The most expensive GPS running watch in their arsenal goes for $299.
The Soleus Fit 1.0 retails for $99, but you can find it on Amazon.com for as little as $75. The watch comes in a multitude of colors to fit your style. It is also very sleek looking so it can be worn as an everyday watch.
The first thing I like to do with a new running watch is charge the battery up and just use it as a watch for a while to see the battery length in this format. With the Fit 1.0, the watch went two weeks in watch mode without losing battery life. I feel that this is really good and lets you know that you can just wear it as an everyday watch (plus, it looks good on your wrist too).
The accuracy of the watch is very impressive as well. I took it on multiple routes with known distances and each time, the watch measured within 0.01 miles of the distance.
Another feature of the watch that seems to stand out is the pace that is shown on the face. With most watches, the current pace jumps around and can vary up to a minute per mile at times. With the Fit 1.0, the pace doesn’t jump around as much which makes it easier to stay on target.
Overall, the use of the watch while running is top notch. It is easy to read and the data screens can be changed to you liking.
Where the watch falls short is on the ancillary stuff that many come to expect with a GPS watch. The first thing I noticed was that I could only upload my data to Strava.com. While there are a lot of people who use this online tool to track their training, there just as many who do not. I for one am on Strava, but I prefer to download all of my workout data locally to my computer and use a program called SportTracks. With the Fit 1.0 watch, the only way for me to do that is to upload the data to Strava and then download a GPX file from there to my computer.
It also seemed to take twice as long to lock onto a satellite signal than some other brands. While not a killer problem, it does hurt if you are at the start of a race waiting to find a signal or standing in your driveway in a snowstorm.
Also, the charging cord is sometimes difficult to attach. It is set up so that it clips onto the watch, but if it is not in the exact right position, the watch will not charge.
My overall impression is that if you are looking for an accurate, low cost GPS watch, then the Fit 1.0 is for you. If are on Strava, or all you really care about is your data for your workout on a particular day, then you should give the Fit 1.0 a try. If you are one of those people who does not like Strava (or the social nature of it) or you are looking for a lot more data to analyze in multiple ways, you should consider purchasing a more expensive device.