GPS run watches have officially become affordable. We compared the Soleus GPS Fit 1.0 ($99, Soleusrunning.com) with Garmin’s Forerunner 10 ($130, Garmin.com) to see which of these bargain buys can help you train most effectively.
GPS functions are limited but effective. It can display instantaneous speed and total distance, but lacks an on-the-go lap-split function, making some interval workouts difficult to track. Viewing the screen is quicker and easier on the FR 10 than on the Soleus. The display is vivid and the numbers are huge. Data can be uploaded to Garmin Connect or other training software.
The ability to track an interval workout is the biggest reason to choose the Soleus over the Garmin. In addition to providing speed and distance, it can record split data—a key feature for executing and reviewing workouts prescribed by most coaches. Viewing the data while running is a struggle. Only the biggest data field is legible
at a quick glance.
Ease of use
There is practically no setup or menu navigation required to get started using the Forerunner 10. Press a button twice and it’s ready to go. Loading data into Garmin’s Connect training software is easy. This watch is also remarkably small—it’s noticeably more compact than the Soleus.
Menu complexity is the tradeoff for the Soleus’ additional display and tracking features. While navigating this watch is fairly intuitive, it requires learning a more complex series of button presses to personalize the display than the Garmin does. To upload data to a computer, the user must purchase a second cord for $29.
These two watches are suited to two distinctly different types of runners. To quickly and easily track basic distance and speed, the Garmin is the clear winner. But if you plan to run intervals or track individual segments of a workout without presetting the lap distances, only the Soleus offers this essential function.
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