It’s a bold statement, I realise. I’m a long term Garmin fan, but when I saw the possibilities of the Timex Ironman One GPS+ watch in a press release, I was mind blown.
But Rob, its just a watch. Trust me, this device is a major step forward for fitness watches and though it will never get the hype of an Apple iWatch, this release is the future of GPS devices for competitive athletes. Let me walk you through what I love about it.
Stand-alone wireless connectivity
The likes of the Garmin Forerunner 620 and 220 come with Bluetooth connectivity which when in range of your smartphone, you can use for extra features such as uploading activity post-run or sending out your position via LiveTrack.
To be honest, if you’re a committed runner whose getting the miles in, you’re going to hate the faff of carrying around a mobile phone while jogging. It’s an inconvenience, and can make you feel unbalanced and will probably get a little sweaty. Wouldn’t it be nice to leave the phone at home and still enjoy some advanced connectivity?
Thanks to input from AT&T, the Ironman One watch needs no cell phone to get connected. It may seem gimmicky that with this GPS device you can receive and reply to email-based messages from the face of the watch itself. It has some practical uses if you’re meeting up a friend on a running route or someone needs to contact you urgently. It’s true use though arrives in the next feature.
Find Me Mode
Though it may be inconvenient to carry a phone along your route, the concept of being connected whilst on a run is certainly great for safety. If you’re going to struggle getting home, you can send out a predefined message and your location to a friend so they can pick you up. Whether you’re too dehydrated or you’ve pulled a muscle, this feature saves you having to struggle to get home. Hopefully a feature you’ll never have to use, but its an essential feature if you love to go for long runs in the middle of nowhere.
In my eyes, a lack of mobile connectivity will be a downfall of the impending Apple iWatch release, which will rely on Bluetooth of an iPhone or iOS device to lock onto GPS location and send messages. Timex 1, Apple Nil.
Music on the move
Blasting music into my ears on a run always helps me to dig that little deeper when the legs are feeling it on a tempo. With the Ironman One, there’s storage of up to 4GB inside the watch, which is around 700 tracks; that’s enough choice for one jog. Don’t worry about having to plug your headphones in, as with Bluetooth connectivity you can roll wirelessly.
So that means no more carrying an iPod strapped to your arm on a run. Just upload your songs onto the One GPS watch. Though the 620/220 Garmins both have Bluetooth connectivity neither have the storage space to allow music to be played on them.
Verdict: the Ironman is the best GPS watch yet!
So going off the spec sheet the latest release from Timex is on another level to the GPS watches we’ve seen from Garmin. It’s a product which removes the need to carry a mobile or mp3 player on your run, ensuring you can focus more on the exercise.
If you live in the US or Canada you can buy the One GPS+ with an entire year of data connectivity from AT&T bundled in. For me living in the UK, its TBC whether it’ll reach my shores yet but if it does I’ll give it a proper test.
In summary, I’m really impressed with the specs of this announcement. Though I’ve owned basic Timex sportswatches, I’ve never seen them as a serious competitor to Garmin in the GPS running watch market but the Timex One puts them ahead. Let’s see how Garmin respond with their next release.