Soleus GPS 1.0 Review
Soleus are a Texas based company specialising in the most accurate, most comfortable, most insight-driven running watches on the market. They make watches, nothing else, so you expect them to be good!
The GPS 1.0 is the first running GPS watch in the UK which has an RRP of under £100. It finally makes GPS available at a reasonable price point, but has too much been sacrificed to make that happen.
Soleus say that their GPS 1.0 "Soleus GPS 1.0 has everything you need, nothing you don’t." There is only one way to put that to the test, by having a look at it.
The watch comes in three colourways, an all black, and then one with green trim and one with pink.
The watch comes very neatly packaged, in a small box.
A little look at the features
In the box you get:
•Soleus GPS 1.0
•USB Charging Unit
I had an absolutely geek out when I saw the inscription on the back
"MAY THE COURSE BE WITH YOU"
That is it. Nothing else! So far, so simple
The watch is not very large at all, about the size of a Garmin 110. It looks very nice, and I am very fond of the Lime tint around the screen. The Soleus GPS 1.0 has 6 buttons, split evenly on both sids of the watch.
Left hand side buttons
Right hand side buttons
front on view
On the left hand side (as you look at the watch face) at the top is the view button, then the GPS button, and the bottom on the left is the mode button.
The right hand side, the top button is your Start/Lap button. In the middle there is the Stop/Save button, and the lowest button is the Light/Enter button.
When you get the watch, it will probably already be on. There is no initial set up to go through, the watch is ready to run out the box.
However, you will probably want to change a few settings on the device first so that you are happy with everything and there are no surprises on your first run, such as auto lap!
To navigate the menu, press the mode button. There are 6 menu options.
Navigating to set, you can change a number of items, to scroll through, press the + or - buttons. to change a setting, ress enter, then use the '+' or '-' buttons to adjust the values, and press enter again to confirm changes
A really useful feature of the GPS 1.0 is the auto lap function. This is done by distance, and you can have .5, 1, 2, 3,4 and 5. Depending on the units you have the device set to, this will be in either miles or kilometres.
There are up to 5 unique alarms that can be set on the GPS 1.0, so no excuse for mussing any appointment.
If you do not want the device to beep each time a key is pressed, turn this off.
The contrast can be adjusted from a level of 1 - 19
A really useful feature, during the time of 6:00 pm to 7:00 am, (on T1), any button you press will automatically activate the light.
To get more accurate calorie calculation, you should enter your specifics here. Gender, Age, Weight and Height are all that is needed.
Select form Miles of Kilometres depending on whichever you prefer.
The GPS 1.0 has 2 time zones, which can be set automatically or manually. If setting automatically, it will use the GPS to set the time, you have to select
The world time code
Enable/Disable Daylight Saving
Time display format
Date display format
If you choose to manual set, you have to set time and date, then the time and date format.
Those are your settings. There are enough bit here that you can customise the watch to your liking, but nothing extra and unnecessary. Once that has all been played about with, it is time to get out and go for a run.
The set user page
On the run
GPS can activated in any mode, all you have to do is press the dedicated GPS button.
The first Satellite discovery took around 30 seconds, and each subsequent one has taken that amount of time. The only problem I had with discovering a Satellite was in the the docklands with lots of high buildings around, and it took a little longer to get a signal.
The watch will then flash GPS, it will also display 'indoor' below, if you press the '+' or '-' button, indoor will then flash and GPS will be displayed. The mode which is flashing is the mode which will be selected.
Once it has finished flashing the watch will display SEARCH GPS and a progress bar will display. If you move away from this screen the Soleus GPS 1.0 will still search for GPS Satellites.
Once the watch has found a GPS signal, the watch will auto-cycle through
•remaining battery power
•remaining hours of memory
it will then auto change to the Run mode
There are two running modes to choose from, RUN and CHRO (chrono).
Run mode is used to view
•speed pace and calories burned
Chronograph mode is used to view
•lap split time
To start the run, press the START button, and you are off.
Press the LAP button:
Once you have pressed the lap button, the lap-split and total time will show for 10 seconds
Lap Split and total time shown
To end a run, press the STOP button
Press and hold the SAVE button to save your run.
In Run Mode, pressing the VIEW button button cycle's through the following views
You are most likely going to use the chrono/distance/pace view as this has the most relevant information you are likely to want.
The pace is your current pace value, but it has been smoothed a bit (as often with GPS you will get some jumpiness).
In CHRO mode, pressing the view button will cycle through two view modes
One cool feature is you can switch between RUN and CHRO mode and the timer will continue to run.
Don't save a run
If you don't save a run then the next time you go to start a run, if it is a different type, (for examples if you do an indoor workout, then turn GPS on ) the workout will have been deleted.
One difference between RUN and CHRO modes are that AutoLap function, which I spoke about earlier, will only work in RUN mode, and the GPS has to be on!
This is the mode you will want to come to to view your runs. The maximum capacity of the GPS 1.0 is 30hours, 30 files and 100 laps, which in real terms is plenty of data.
The initial view shows
•the data file number (D - (1 - 30))
•the date of activity (month,day) and it will display either a 1 or 2 next to it, which denotes if it is from time 1 or time 2.
•a G (GPS activity) or H (indoor activity)
Use the '+' or '-' button to navigate to the file you want to review
press enter to review the selected data
Start Time of activity
Finish Time of activity
The calorie value given to you by the Soleus GPS 1.0 is just done on a basic equation involving your weight and distance, so not as accurate as any heart rate based algorithm but it will give you a good figure to go on.
One problem with the Soleus would be if I was out doing a threshold session. I am in run mode, do an 11 minute warm up and have to then do 3x15minutes with 90 second recovery. The first one is fine, because I have to stop the watch at 26minutes, however after the 90 seconds recovery I have to start doing a bit more maths to work out when to stop the effort. However, I could go to CHRO mode and this would be easier, however, I would then not have access to any pace statistics on the run. This isn't the worst scenario because you shouldn't be a slave to your pace values when running, but it isn't an ideal solution.
The Soleus GPS 1.0 has a very good backlight, which stays in for 10 seconds upon the press of the light button.
This and the night time function make the Soleus GPS 1.0 a very good device for running all time of day.
Using the watch every day
The watch is small enough that it isn't too bulky on the wrist and the home screen has plenty of data on it.
One thing that I have noticed is that I have accidentally pressed a couple of side buttons on the watch whilst using it.
It will show either T1 or T2 depending on which time zone you are using, next to that the world time code will show if you are using Automatic time.
in the middle you get the current time
the bottom row has the day and date and month.
Pressing the view button moves you to from T1 to T2 or vice versa.
Charging is done via a clip with a USB connector. The Soleus GPS 1.0 doesn't ship with any charging block to use with a wall socket, so you will either have to find a free USB port on the computer or a wall socket adaptor - which isn't hard to come by.
Charging takes around 3 hours and the device will give you 8 hours of GPS running. I have found it last over a week with no need to charge the device and use it normally, so it will last.
The Soleus GPS 1.0 has no syncing option, so to update your training log it has to be done manually. Whilst I don't think this is a problem, some people may be put off by this lack of connectivity, especially if you are used to seeing your results in beautiful colour on Garmin Connect for example. With such detailed run data available in the run data history, you will be able to fill in all your running data metrics after the run, whether online or in your training diary. This lack of connectivity also means that the watch wont receive any firmware updates, what you see with the Soleus GPS 1.0 is what you get.
Having used the Soleus GPS 1.0 for a few weeks I have found the accuracy to be very good compared to any other GPS watch. The only time it struggled is when I was on the windy canal by the river, the Soleus struggled whereas my FR610 on 1 second recording mode was a bit more accurate. In short, no complaints from me.
That is the Soleus GPS 1.0
It is a very nice GPS watch, probably the biggest item missing from the Soleus GPS 1.0 is no Heart Rate Monitor connectivity. I am a huge fan of Heart Rate training and this is the biggest disappointment for me with the Soleus.
However, everything else about the watch is great. It has taken me a few days to get used to the watch, and I would suggest looking at the manual before hand because I don't think the watch is the most intuitive to use out the box, but once you know how to navigate and the what to expect from each mode it makes a lot of sense and is a really great watch.
Who would buy this watch?
You want to know how far and fast you are going, you often do intervals of 1 mile or kilometre in length so will use the auto lap function, you either don't write your training down or keep a training diary and most importantly don't want to be spending a lot on a GPS training device then the Soleus GPS 1.0 is for you.
It gives you GPS at a fantastic price point, and does not compromise too much.
If you want PC connectivity, more customisable screen and Heart Rate then you may need to look elsewhere for a watch, however you will not find it at this price point.
One interesting fall out of the Soleus GPS 1.0 is that other brands have started to reduce their GPS devices, and the Garmin 110 has come down a lot from its original £199 price point.
The Soleus GPS is available at £99 form Alton Sports.