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Sunday, January 22, 2012

More than Garmin

Here in Singapore, practically every runner I know who wear a GPS watch have a Garmin. Mostly because there isn’t much of an option in the first place. Other than the Garmin, the only other “running” watch easily available here is the Polar.

But unlike the Garmin, the Polar watches do not come with any built-in GPS. For measuring distance, it relies mainly on the separate foot pod or as in the Polar watches which all require a separate GPS pod which comes with its own arm band for wearing on the arm. Not very runner friendly!

Then there are a small number of people who go for the sexy factor and pump for the Nike Sportband. This is of course a poor cousin to the GPS based watch as it utilizes a pedometer to count the strides and distances.

But there is hope for those who do not want a Garmin.

First off is Nike who has come up with a GPS watch – the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS. It looks pretty cool too and should be a hit when it reaches our shores.

Timex, the Ironman watch has been surprisingly slow in catching up with Garmin and I am sure it has lost market share but it is slowly catching up with the Timex Global Trainer launched in 2010 and the Timex Run Trainer last year. The Timex Ironman Global Trainer is now available in Singapore but it may take a while for the Run Trainer to find its way here. Hopefully they can also price the watch as cheaply as their Ironman series!

Timex Run Trainer

And then there is the uber expensive Suunto X10. A beautiful rugged looking watch for the adventurers and trails runners but at a big hole to the pocket. Price check on Amazon is USD580.00
For those who are budget conscious and not prepared to cough up well over $300.00 for their watch and do not need all the works but just need a watch to tell them how far they ran, there is the nifty cheaper Soleus GPS 1.0. Just a basic watch with a built in GPS to measure the distance and that’s about it. No frill and with a no frill price of less than USD100.00.

Surprisingly, there is a new entrant to the market – the Motorola MOTOACTV. Now just why Motorola has chosen to enter this segment of the market beats me, maybe because they getting a beating in the mobile phone market and needs to look for new revenue stream? This is a great little watch with GPS and MP3 and wifi and a thousand other little features. And oh yes, it tells the time too. USD300.00

Finally, fresh from this year CES, comes the Magellan Switch and Switch Up GPS Multisport Watch. Not a very pretty looking watch but quite feature packed from the review. But will it ever reach our shore? And at what price?

Last not least, there is a rumour that Casio is also coming out with a GPS watch. Now that will be one watch to look forward to.


  1. Suunto's latest upcoming model ambit gps watch certainly packs a punch. sexy appeal. and nice for daily wear as well. seems like a competitor to the 910XT if one does running purely. :)

  2. the Chinese should come up with GPS watches and make them cheap..

  3. There are actually a few "non-branded" gps watch out in the online market. But how reliable are they? Nobody knows.