Timex’s New GPS Smartwatch Ain’t Charming, But It’s Cheap

Timex’s New GPS Smartwatch Ain’t Charming, But It’s Cheap

Very 2src15-2src16 chic. The screen ain’t exactly crisp—you can definitely see some pixelation.

Extremely 2015-2016 elegant. The screen ain’t exactly crisp– you can certainly see some pixelation.
Picture: Victoria Song (Gizmodo)

When Timex announced previously this year that it was returning into the smartwatch video game, I was a little perplexed. That’s primarily because, at a look, the new Ironman GPS R300looks a lot more like the sort of smartwatch-fitness tracker hybrid that was popular back in2016 than a gadget you ‘d relaunch a product line with in2020

It’s not just that the Ironman GPS R300 looks retro. But, I suggest … the bezels. They’re gigantic! Then there’s the user interface, which counts on a mix of buttons and swiping. The Timex app isn’t the worst I’ve utilized, however the gadget itself isn’t as zippy when it comes to syncing or setting up over-the-air updates as newer physical fitness trackers and smartwatches. Overall, the Ironman GPS R300isn’t providing anything you have not already seen in a GPS view. It has push notifications, minimal on-wrist training, a transflective color touchscreen, music control, continuous heart rate-monitoring, and, obviously, integrated GPS. It also tracks sleep. That’s all on par with other physical fitness trackers. Calling it a smartwatch? That’s a bit of a stretch. There’s no NFC payments, no app shop, no third-party app integrations, no voice assistant capability– generally, the new Timex lacks most of the functions you ‘d get out of a smartwatch in 2020.

I have actually been wearing the R300 for about 2 weeks now, and while I’m not a fan of its 1980 s appearance, it’s lightweight and comfortable enough for 24/ 7 wear. It does what it’s supposed to when it comes to tracking workouts, even if the experience isn’t the best. However this is a relatively mediocre watch, even if it’s quite budget friendly at $120 That has to do with $30 less than the Fitbit Charge 3, and $40 cheaper than the Fitbit Versa Lite, which are two similar options to the R300.

But there’s something the R300 truly excels at: battery life. In its statement, Timex stated this thing will last around25 days on a charge with every function made it possible for, and20 hours with constant GPS. Initially, that sounded too good to be real. My review system came out of the box with 55 percent battery, and I have not charged it in about two weeks. I still have29percent left. Granted, I am not quite as active as I was pre-social distancing, and I switched off constant heart rate-monitoring outside of workout because of that. However, I have been using GPS for at least 30 minutes daily for 15 days directly. Any method you slice it, the battery life on this thing is outstanding.

While some people discount long battery life, in my experience it’s an important consider whether somebody is most likely to stick to a wearable for any length of time. The less often you need to charge, the more likely you are to keep the device strapped to your wrist, which implies you’ll get a better image of your activity with time. I frequently forget I have the R300 on, and while I personally think it’s is an eyesore, it’s less likely to sit forgotten on my nightstand when I have a busy morning. I make a point of removing wearables before I hop in the shower, but the R300 it waterproof approximately 50 meters, so you in fact do not have to.

But besides battery life, the R300 is likewise accurate at tracking GPS throughout your activities– although there is one caveat. It takes the watch a bit to discover a GPS signal compared to your phone or other wearables I’ve checked. It’s nothing too major, however I discovered if I tried to begin a workout and simply remained in location, the watch simply wouldn’t pick up a signal. Alternatively, if I began strolling or running, about a half-block later I ‘d get a beep alerting me it had. Once or twice during testing, I forgot to hit the center button on the watch’s right side to begin the workout when I got that confirmation beep. That’s discouraging, and I feel like it could be prevented with a more thoughtful interface.

Three of the four buttons you use. They’re fine, but sometimes you can navigate by swiping and sometimes it doesn’t seem to register, so you have to use buttons.

3 of the 4 buttons you utilize. They’re great, however in some cases you can navigate by swiping and often it doesn’t appear to register, so you have to utilize buttons.
Photo: Victoria Tune (Gizmodo)

But I found the impact of the GPS lag on the overall distance tape-recorded or my specific mile splits was negligible. The watch underreported by a couple of hundredths of a mile at worst. A 3.13- mile work on my phone was logged as 3.1 miles on the R300 Also, a 2.13- mile walk on my Apple Watch Series 5 was logged by the Timex as 2.08 miles. That stated, bearing in mind that lag and keeping in mind to hit that record button results in more accurate results than when I avoided GPS tracking. On test runs where I felt too restless to wait on GPS and opted to bypass it, my outcomes were way off. The watch logged a 3.4 mile run on my phone as 2 miles, which, at that point, it’s unworthy recording. On GPS-less runs, I had the ability to modify the range at the end, but that’s not handy for individuals who are aiming to run without a phone.

Technically you can run without a phone, however just if you like running in silence. You can control music from your wrist, however there’s no real method to pack any offline playlists or pair Bluetooth headphones. You can also pack “training” workouts onto the device with the app– a mechanism that I actually like, however the readily available alternatives are minimal and require more futzing around to personalize than I ‘d prefer.

Heart rate-monitoring was precise during exercise, varying from my Polar H10 chest strap by about 5 beats per minute at most– not too worn-out. Sleep-monitoring was also relatively accurate when it pertained to logging sleep period, what time I fell asleep, and when I awakened. I was rather baffled by the approximate scores the watch designated me. On a night where my cat decided to yowl for no good reason at 5 a.m., the app told me I ended up losing over 2 hours and 12 minutes of sleep– however still provided me a rating of92

The app is also fine, though somewhat limited in comparison to competitors.

The app is likewise fine, though somewhat limited in comparison to competitors.
Image: Victoria Song (Gizmodo)

Another thing I found irksome was connection. Syncing and over-the-air-updates with the R300 feel outdated compared to some other smartwatches. It takes longer than it should, sort of like with older Polars and Garmins from a few years back. Those syncing problems extended to notices. Periodically, I ‘d look down and see my watch had actually lost its Bluetooth connection to my phone. While I was reliably getting notices from my Apple Watch, I was missing out for hours at a time on the Timex until I reconnected. Not everyone will see this as a negative– lord knows I was in fact grateful recently to be missing news informs when notices began triggering my anxieties. But if you want to see all of your notifications– apps, calls, texts, e-mails, and even disconnections from your phone– those have to be by hand switched on. I did like that you can pick and choose which apps you got alerts from via the Timex Smart app, however the list to choose from wasn’t what I ‘d call extensive. Slack, for example, wasn’t on there other than as part of a blanket “other apps” alternative.

I eventually shut off the Timex’s notices for a totally different reason. Each time you get one, the watch loudly beeps in addition to vibrating. It’s mainly fine when you’re working from house, however I discovered it irritating whenever I was on a video call or in the zone while composing a blog. Navigating settings in the Timex app isn’t hard, however I didn’t find any choices to shut off sound under notifications. Even if I could, the vibrations on this watch are absolutely audible compared to other smartwatches and fitness trackers I have actually checked.

Do you love the bezels? This is also as bright as the display gets on its transflective screen. That said, the 41mm watch is comfortable to wear 24/7.

Do you like the bezels? This is likewise as intense as the display screen gets on its transflective screen. That stated, the 41 mm watch is comfortable to wear 24/ 7.
Photo: Victoria Song (Gizmodo)

All in all, the Timex GPS R300 might be a lot worse. I’m just not sure what the play is here. The trend recently has been fitness-y, full-featured smartwatches, and more trendy hybrids for folks searching for more casual activity-tracking. Yes, the Timex is more economical than a few of its competitors, but it’s really just worth it if you desire built-in GPS. Which, to be reasonable, some individuals do! But what you’re sacrificing in exchange for that is a more fully-featured app, an elegant style, and third-party combinations. If you’re a runner only trying to find a fundamental watch with accurate built-in GPS, Timex is strong and low-cost. For everyone else, there are better choices

README:

  • The battery life on this thing is ridiculous.
  • GPS precision is excellent, though you get some lag before it picks up a signal.
  • Other health functions are fine, however nothing that genuinely stands apart.
  • The beeps and vibrations are too loud! The app seems like it’s from 2016.
  • Young boy, it unsightly.
  • It’s competitively priced compared to rivals, but only worth if you’re a runner searching for integrated GPS on the low-cost.

Learn More