Timex recently introduced what I think could be a game changer in the GPS world. It’s called the One GPS+ and I’ve had a chance to test drive one for the past several days. I have used many models of GPS through the years from Garmin, Nike and Timex. The One GPS+ contains several features that I think many runners will appreciate that aren’t found in any other wearable GPS unit. I have broken down many of the more relevant features of the One GPS+ below. If you want a more detailed review check out DC Rainmaker’s review here.
- Auto Upload. Automatically upload your workouts to various fitness apps including Strava, RunKeeper, and MapMyFitness. Since the One contains a 3G chip (AT&T service) this info is uploaded via the included cell service immediately after your workout is completed. No need to plug it into your computer or sync with your phone, which might not sound like a big deal but once you don’t have to do this there’s no going back to the old way (trust me on this one)
- Live tracking. Running your big race this weekend and want your friends to follow your progress? Want your family to track you while you are on your long run? No problem with the One. A simple website link that you can send to anyone enables them to track your progress live as it happens. Live tracking is dependent on having cell service so if you’re out of cell range it’s not going to work.
- Messaging. Since the One contains a 3G chip live messaging via email is possible. You can even do text messaging if you set up your friends’ or family members’ text messages to transmit via email (almost all phone servers allow this).
- SOS. Injured in the middle of your long run and need a ride home? Need extra water for that last 5 miles? Just send a quick pre-programmed message to your SOS contact and it’s done. As long as you have cell service this is possible.
- Music. The One contains 4GB of memory to upload all your favorite music, podcasts, etc. No more carrying an additional gadget for your music in addition to your GPS. Bluetooth headphones are required since there is no headphone port.
- Touch Screen. Full color touch screen that is visible even in sunlight.
- Low Battery Email. When your battery is low you get an email notification. This sounds kind of silly but after getting these for the past couple of weeks I’m not sure how I got along without this feature.
- Size. GPS watches have gotten smaller over the years but the One harkens back to the days of the Garmin FR305 and 910XT. Squeezing in all these features has a price and that price is bulk. If you are accustomed to the Garmin FR10, FR220 or FR620 you will notice this. If you are coming from the larger GPS watches like the Nike+ Sportwatch or the various large Garmin units it won’t be an issue.
- Actual Pace Smoothing. No GPS is very accurate when it comes to giving you your current pace but the One is particularly weak in this area. When running a steady pace on a flat section of road my pace would swing above and below what I was actually running. The total distance, overall average and mile splits were accurate but the current pace was very jumpy. This could improve as they issue software updates down the road.
- Battery Life. Timex says to expect 8 hours if you are using GPS. I haven’t run the GPS continuously until the battery is dead but 8 hours is probably pushing it. Plan on re-charging a couple of times a week or more depending on how much you are training.
- Cycling. For now there are no cycling functions, only running metrics. For those of us who ride this is a big issue and Timex has promised a software update in the future that supports cycling. Until then it’s running only.
- Paid Service. The 3G cell service is included in the price for the first year. After that the price will be $40/year and it’s through AT&T. I think this is fair and affordable but you can decide if it’s right for you. The 3G service is only needed for auto uploads, live tracking and messaging, it is not required for the basic GPS functions.
- Price. $400 for the non HRM version and $450 for the HRM version. This is in line with other premium offerings from Garmin, Suunto, etc. but it’s still not cheap. When the Garmin FR10 at $100 is perfectly fine for most people quadrupling that price makes the One a tough sell even with all the extra features.
I am very impressed with the One. Live tracking, SOS, messaging, and music storage are some things no other wrist GPS unit offers right now. Yes, you can get these options on your smartphone but there are still a few of us who just aren’t going to carry a phone when we run. I also think there are some people who carry their phone when running who would like another option. Some of the newer smartwatches have similar functions to the One but once again you are tethered to your phone in order for most of their features to work. As phones continue to get larger carrying one while running becomes even more of a hassle, plus the added risk of damage from sweat, rain, dropping it, etc. The One gets most of the key features most runners need for running and puts them right on your wrist.
How the One GPS+ stacks up size-wise to the Garmin FR620 and 920XT.